“The Return of Frank James”, and Fritz lang took to the western

In the 1960s, he could be seen on the terrace of Deux Magots, in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the monocle screwed over his eye, the newspaper unfolded, observing the events of the world with an ironic and elegant detachment. Fritz Lang, then, was already an ancestor, a monument: young directors like Godard sometimes asked him to play a role (in “Le Contempt”), or listened to his directing advice. Strangely, it was his Hollywood period that was the most appreciated. However, Hollywood had failed to reject this director with the sharp methods, with the tone of great lord. ” At Hollywood, he will say later, producers meddle in what you do all the time. We have no freedom. »

In the 1940s, Lang had tried to fit the mold with two westerns (“The Return of Frank James”, “The Pioneers of Western Union”), but had not quite succeeded. His cowboy stories were superb, but far from the inventiveness of Metropolis” or “M le Maudit ». Gradually, Lang found a tone halfway between soft expressionism and acceptable storytelling for the studios. Hollywood and Fritz Lang: a marriage of chance, crossed by flashes of passion, concluded by a divorce of reason.

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BA – “The Return of Frank James”

Monday September 19 at 8:50 p.m. on Arte. Fritz Lang’s American Western (1940). With Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney, Henry Hull. 1h30.

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