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The Town (1944)

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THE American SCENE, A SERIES – NUMBER FOUR: THE TOWN (Josef von Sternberg, 1944) ***
5 March 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

With this film, I begin a retrospective of yet another favorite film-maker; by this time, Sternberg had been virtually ostracized by Hollywood – in fact, throughout the decade, he only notched up a couple of official credits…with the film under review being a documentary short lasting a mere 11 minutes! He managed to imbue the essentially mundane life of a small town in the American Midwest with great feeling for the place and its people. Following a history of the locale, highlighting the influx of different nations that led to a versatile architectural sense, we settle down to exploring the current customs. These are often quaint, sometimes unapologetic (such as a man who prefers to go fishing on Sundays rather than attend the traditional church services!), but always with an eye on the vital upkeep of Democracy – let us not forget WWII was still raging when this came out.


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