After watching Nagisa Ôshima’s “In the Realm of the Senses” on Hulu last month (it was available outside of Hulu Plus for a short time), I started to look for other titles from the Criterion Collection online. I watch and have watched a lot of movies, but I know that there are still a lot of important movies I need to catch up with, and the Criterion titles seem like a pretty good place to start.
Hulu Plus has the largest online collection of Criterion titles, but before I sign up there I’m planning to make my way through what is available on Netflix Instant (here’s a list) and the movies I own on DVD or Blu-Ray. Of course I’ll watch everything projected.
I’m going by spine number, which means that I had to make a decision right away. #1 in the Criterion Collection is Jean Renoir’s “La grande illusion,” which I own on Blu-Ray and had already watched last May. I do intend to re-watch those films I haven’t seen projected yet, but “Grand Illusion” is still fresh in memory, so I’ve decided to postpone watching it. I’ll get to it when I’ve finished the Netflix run-through. #2 is Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” – haven’t seen it and it’s only on Hulu Plus for the moment.
So my project started, last night, with #3: Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Lady Vanishes” from 1938. And here’s what I have to say about it:
Uhmmm… it’s okay? I liked it, actually, but I don’t have anything to say about it, really. The mystery (did the lady really vanish or is our protagonist just going crazy) didn’t bring me to the edge of my seat, to be honest. There’s some mildly amusing comedy, but it’s not like I laughed out loud or anything. I’m sorry, I know I’m terrible at writing about movies.
I didn’t see any masterful craft in “The Lady Vanishes,” but maybe that’s just because, like François Truffaut, I “became too absorbed in the plot to notice them.” Or maybe not.
That’s a good segue, though, because next up in my Criterion project is Truffaut’s own “Les quatre cents coups,” spine number 5, on DVD.