Monday, 11 April 2011
A carnival worker (Fassbinder) wins a lottery but his wealth doesn't last long as predatory 'friends' begin to swarm around him.
In FOX AND HIS FRIENDS painfully skinny Fassbinder essays one of his most memorable lead roles.The film explores the director's favourite theme: longing for and simultaneous deep distrust of any kind of relationship.
A lot of the cast of this gay drama occasionally featured in Eurocult films.
Harry Baer (Fernando Di Leo's I PADRONI DELLA CITTA '76) plays the man whose charms threaten to destroy Fox's idyllic cohabitation with Peter Chatel (Aldo Lado's WHO SAW HER DIE?). Adrian Hoven (producer of a Jess Franco classic SUCCUBUS'68, in which he also co-stars) is cast as Chatel's father who also wouldn't mind a piece of Fox's fortune to save his firm from bankrupcy. Karl Boehm (PEEPING TOM) has a part as the furniture dealer who introduces Fox to the gay community.
The story is dramatically flawed, but purposely so. Fassbinder isn't just constructing a tear-jerker here. He is trying to make a point: exploited people are complicit in their own misery and suffering.
FOX AND HIS FRIENDS can be alternatively viewed as a colourful melodrama or as an anti-gay (!), mysoginistic picture, as well as a critique of capitalism. But it's worth seeing all the same.
Helen, a mute girl, works as a maid at a sinister mansion where a psycho killer happens to reside...
Enjoyable melodrama with several effective suspence scenes.
Dorothy McGuire is instantly believable in the lead. Her moving performance elevates THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE above it's genre origins to the level of true drama.
Good story (the final killer identity reveal is no big surprise, though) and excellent monochrome photography are also worth noting.
This Robert Siodmak film has undoubtedly influenced the early horror films of Jess Franco - GRITOS EN LA NOCHE and especially LE SADIQUE BARON VON KLAUS (both from 1962).
Dario Argento included an explicit visual reference to THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE in his 1975 giallo classic PROFONDO ROSSO.
Recommended to those who don't need their horror to be graphic and enjoy B/W Academy ratio compositions.