Out of the Fog (1941) Anatole Litvak

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“Out of the Fog” is based on a 1939 play called “The Gentle People” by Irwin Shaw. The play ran for a respectable four and half months on Broadway and had one heck of a cast that included Franchot Tone, Lee J. Cobb, Sam Jaffe, Sylvia Sydney, Elia Kazan, Martin Ritt and Karl Malden. It was produced by the legendary Group Theater and directed by the visionary Harold Clurman.  The play was an anti-fascist parable (Shaw subtitled the play, A Brooklyn Fable) of the meek overcoming the arrogant and the powerful. In the play the two main characters were elderly gentle Jewish men, Jonah Goodman and Philip Anagnos, who are shaken down for five dollars a week in protection money by a smart aleck, stylishly dressed, wise ass gangster named Harold Goff (Tone). Goff also awakens the dreams and sexuality of Jonah’s bored daughter Stella (Sydney) who has hopes of leaving her meaningless existence for a more exciting life. When Goff learns the two fishermen have money saved to buy a boat, he demands they hand the savings over to him too. In order to rid themselves of Goff’s extortion and threats, the two fishermen lure him into their boat. Once they are out in the ocean they kill him and toss him overboard but not before taking his wallet filled with the money. Continue reading

Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) Leo McCarey

With the tough economic times we have faced over the past few years many families have been forced into situations they never envisioned, like grown children moving back in with their now aging parents, or in some cases, the other way around.

There also seems to be certain times when art is in perfect  alignment with the times. Whether a painting, a written work, a song or a film it seems to be exactly in synch with a point in time. Such is the case with the film I am writing about here, only the film happens to be over seventy years old.

The movie is  “Make Way for Tomorrow” which some folks may view as a tear jerker, however calling this film a tear jerker is reducing the significance of  a work that has much more substance and depth than a standard tissue wiper. “Make Way for Tomorrow” earns its emotional pull with honestly in its storytelling and the strength of its characters. Generally, when a  film attempts to tug at your emotions the filmmakers create an emotionally fake situation that  rips open your tear ducts without shame or reason; Arthur Hiller’s film version of Eric Segal’s bestselling waterfall, “Love Story” is prime example.  Here the film earns its sentiment honestly with the passion and love of the two elderly characters facing a crossroads in their final years that is out of their control, yet they still manage to hold on to their dignity.  Orson Welles once said in an interview to Peter Bogdanovich, “only a stone could remain dry” after seeing this film.    Continue reading

Out of the Fog (1941) Anatole Litvak

“Out of the Fog” is based on a 1939 play called “The Gentle People” by Irwin Shaw that ran for four and half months on Broadway. The play had one heck of a cast that included Franchot Tone, Lee J. Cobb, Sam Jaffe, Sylvia Sydney, Elia Kazan, Martin Ritt and Karl Malden. It was produced by the legendary Group Theater and directed by the visionary Harold Clurman.  The play was an anti-fascist parable (Shaw subtitled the play, A Brooklyn Fable) of the meek overcoming the arrogant and the powerful. In the play the two main characters were elderly gentle Jewish men, Jonah Goodman and Philip Anagnos, who are shaken down for five dollars a week in protection money by smart aleck, stylishly dressed, wise ass gangster, Harold Goff (Tone). Goff also awakens the dreams and sexuality of Jonah’s bored daughter Stella (Sydney) who has hopes of leaving her meaningless existence for a more exciting life. When Goff learns the two fishermen have money saved to buy a boat, he demands they hand that over to him too. In order to rid themselves of Goff’s extortion and threats, the two fishermen lure him into their boat, once out in the ocean they kill him and toss him overboard but not before taking his wallet filled with the money.    Continue reading