Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Beauties of Black & White

Recently I watched the 1943 film Ghost Ship. Those of you who know of my taste for camp will be surprised to hear that nothing supernatural happens in this film. “Ghost Ship” is a metaphor for the dried-up life of the Captain of the Altair, whose struggle to maintain absolute authority over his ship coincides with his mental breakdown. It’s not a sophisticated film, but it has fairy-tale-like charm. Val Lewton, the producer, was responsible for a number of creepy films: The Cat People, Curse of the Cat People, Isle of the Dead, The Leopard Man, and I Walked with a Zombie. Ghost Ship has the atmosphere of the Cat People films: lots of suggestive shadows and fog. The creepiest scenes have no background music to tell you exactly when the bad thing is going to happen. As much as I love color, I wonder if it can convey the same combination of smooth elegance and teasing threat that black & white can.

Well, that’s enough. If you need more, look at the page.

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