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Whirlpool

 

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Whirlpool

Otto Preminger 1949
USA | Format: 35mm | 98 minutes

"I cannot remember anything about this picture," Otto Preminger once said, with a mixture of self-deprecation and utter contempt for his interviewer. Which is ironic, since it's one of his best. Ann Sutton (Gene Tierney, owner of one of cinema's sexiest overbites) has a shoplifting problem, and help arrives in the form of hypnotist David Korvo (José Ferrer), who convinces the store where she's caught to drop all charges and leave her in his care. Hypnotism seems to be the cure-all, until Ann gets into even hotter water—emerging from a trance next to a dead body and charged with a murder she didn't commit. Whirlpool ranks among the most fascinating and least known films of Preminger's Fox period, when he brought his dry, mean poetic eye to bear on a variety of genres.

“In Whirlpool, the very specificity of the seventh art, the mise-en-scène, came across crystal clear, luminously to me. It revealed to us what makes direction an almost exact science.”—Pierre Rissient

Images courtesy of 20TH CENTURY FOX / THE KOBAL COLLECTION

Series: NYFF50: Men of Cinema: Pierre Rissient and the Cinema Mac Mahon

Venue: Howard Gilman Theater

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