Monday, 26 October 2009

Carrie, William Wyler, USA 1951

Here in my self-imposed, temporary exile in the North of England I seldom get the chance to go to the cinema. In anticipation of the cinematic dearth, I signed up with, giving me a chance to catch up on my classics.

Last night it was Carrie, one of William Wyler - unjustly, as I was to realise - lesser known offerings. Having once read Theodore Dreiser's book on which Wyler's film is based, called Sister Carrie, I didn't think it possible to squeeze such a rich and dense story into just two hours of screen time, Wyler's talent as a consummate expert on drama and tight story-telling notwithstanding. However, I was pleasantly surprised: Wyler once more proved that he was one of the unrivaled masters when it came to telling a story - often literary adaptations - by abstaining from sentimentality and predictability and focussing on the characters and mise-en-scene instead.
Old-fashioned? Yes! Boring? No!
In fact, Carrie went down like a bottle of Bordeaux: although it didn't offer any revelations, it sucked - almost lulled - you in, much too good to put down!