THE American SCENE, A SERIES NUMBER FOUR: THE TOWN (Josef von Sternberg, 1944) ***
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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