Undercurrent by Bosley Crowther

Undercurrent by Bosley Crowther

29 novembre 1946. Ce n’est pas parce que Bosley Crowther détruit le dernier film de Vincente Minnelli que le passant cinéphile va faire l’impasse sur Undercurrent. D’autant plus que Robert Mitchum, Katharine Hepburn et Robert Taylor sont au générique.

Critique d’époque :

« One of those deep emotional tangles into which the movies often manage to arrive by a process of sheer affirmation is the end towards which all forces move in Metro’s Undercurrent, which came to the Capitol yesterday. And one of those silly climaxes such as you’d hardly expect to see on a film starring Katharine Hepburn and Robert Taylor is the solution for it all.

Not because Metro has beseeched us to keep the secret of this « amazing ending » to ourself do we hereby refrain from exposing it, but simply because we suspect you’d never believe us if we told you – and if you did, you’d only laugh – do we desist. For it is one of those melodramatic pay-offs in which Fate plays an opportune hand, to the thundering rumble of menace music, thus giving the troubled heroine a neat way out.But, at that, it is hard to imagine a more consistent way to conclude this emotionally presumptuous story of a fine young lady who finds herself married to a brute – a discovery which she makes in painful stages while unconsciously falling in love with her husband’s mysterious brother whom she has never seen. And if that also sounds a trifle senseless, let us hasten to assure you that it is. It seems that this fondness grows upon her as she learns her brother-in-law likes music, dogs and books.

However, that is Undercurrent – and you must take it upon its own terms, which are those of theatrical dogmatism, if you hope to endure it at all. If you do, you may find it gratifying principally because Miss Hepburn gives a crisp and taut performance of a lady overcome by mounting fears and Mr. Taylor, back in films from his war service, accelerates a brooding meanness as her spouse. You may also find Robert Mitchum fairly appealing in a crumpled, modest way as the culturally oriented brother, even though he appears in only a couple of scenes. And you may like Edmund Gwenn and Jayne Meadows, among others, in minor roles.

And even assuming you can’t believe it – which is a reasonable assumption to make – you may find certain passages engrossing in a strictly melodramatic way. For Vincente Minnelli, the director, has used atmosphere and mood to build up some rather fateful moments in which you wait for the unknown to occur. But Edward Chodorov’s screen play dissipates the freighted tension every time and Undercurrent invariably flows off into creaky conveniences ». Par Bosley Crowther pour le New York Times.

Idiot, risible, incohérent, présomptueux, insensé. Bosley Crowther ne manque pas de vocabulaire pour nous faire comprendre qu’il n’a pas aimé Undercurrent. Seule l’interprétation est à retenir. C’est peu.


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12 réflexions sur « Undercurrent by Bosley Crowther »

  1. Elizabeth Pearce from the group The World Of Noir : « I thought the film was miscast in terms of Hepburn and Mitchum. Robert Taylor was creepily effective ».

  2. Kirk Shaudys from the group The World of Noir : « Katharine Hepburn had her hands full with both Roberts while making this movie. There were behind the scenes undercurrents as well. Taylor was angling for more screen time in his comeback film after serving in WW2. Hepburn and Mitchum did not get along and Kate was stuck in the middle of these scenarios. Oddly enough, she was one of the few actresses Mitchum didn’t like and vice versa. She thought he wasn’t professional enough and he thought she was wound too tight. They never worked together again ».

  3. Elizabeth Pearce from the group the World of Noir : « I think Donna Reed might have been a better choice for the female lead. Both were topnotch professionals, but Hepburn and Mitchum had no chemistry ».

  4. Carlo Chaney from the group Classic Film Noir (1940-1958) : « I think that if you look under « curmudgeon » in the dictionary it cites Bosley Crowther. « Undercurrent » has its drawbacks but is an overall good Noir. Hepburn read her part very well but does not come across as a babe to be fought over nor one to be blindsided by love nor one to have a fantasy romance… Maybe Crowther was right? Um, I loved the sets though ».

  5. Thomas Keith from the group Classic Film Noir (1940-1958) : « Man, I wish I could get a job as a film critic. I could just say « This movie is terrible! » over and over — and get PAID for it! »

  6. Oliver Hazan from the group Classic Film Noir (1940-1958) : « A top example of a movie you don’t like the first time you see it… only to reassess it if you give it another chance. It’s very 40’s heavy. It compares well with another obscure snail paced Hepburn quasi noir, Keeper of the Flame ».

  7. Jim Patterson from the group All Films Noir : « I agree with Dennis Schwartz — both Hepburn and Mitchum were cast against type. The movie was pretty good but somehow had an « odd » feel ».

  8. Alistair Cheyne from the group Classic Film Noir Theater : « What really annoys me about the validity of film critics is that none , or very few, of them have ever made a film , nor written any screenplays and often have very little knowledge of film history and cinema past and present. David Stratton was once challenged at a film festival regarding his validity as a crtic for these reasons. Fellini , also there at the time, defended him , arguing that a true critic acts as a bridge between directors and the public, increasing the viewer’s awareness and understanding of the film rather than merely foisting their personal opinions on their readers. I think Fellini was correct, especially in David’s case ! Erin Free, founder and editor of Filmink also fits this extremely rare definition of a true film critic ».

  9. Cheryl Dover Langille from the group Classic Film Noir (1940-1958) : « Ok, I suppose I’m just an ignorant dilettante because I love this movie. It’s suspenseful and sometimes downright scary and……..Robert Mitchum is in it! »

  10. Luana Conley from the group All Films Noir : « Bosley’s bad review usually always means a classic film experience. The NYT owes us all a belated apology for giving him a platform ».

  11. Risto M K Raitio from the group Noir Films Pre-noir to Classic : « Didn’t hate it myself, but felt disappointed and somewhat underwhelmed at the end ».

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