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CRACK IN THE MIRROR (1960) a Fox noir masterpiece (1 Viewer)

Richard--W

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Seventeen years before Luis Buñuel attempted to explore That Obscure Object of Desire, director Richard Fleischer compounded the same felony in CRACK IN THE MIRROR (Fox, 1960), a film that balances surrealism with film noir in startling ways. It is easily the best film noir in the Fox catalog awaiting release on DVD.

Fleischer called upon the stars of his previous hit COMPULSION (1959), Orson Welles and Bradford Dillman, to play dual roles that threaten at times to overlap in motive if not intent, especially in the courtroom battles over lovely Julliete Greco. The film is exquisitely lit for noir and composed perfectly in CinemaScope. Feischer stages some visual setpieces that justify the CinemaScope frame, and I don't mean spectacle.

From a reviewer on imdb:
One of the outstanding--albeit forgotten--films of the early 1960s, CRACK IN THE MIRROR is a sizzling, frankly sexual, twist-filled drama with Orson Welles, Juliette Greco and Bradford Dillman giving the performances of their careers. (Make that the "two" performances of their careers!) In the first story, lower-class lovers Ms. Greco and Dillman are so in lust that they plan an intricate murder to rid themselves of Ms. Greco's dull husband, Mr. Welles. Now here's the twist. When they are put on trial for manslaughter, the distinguished judge is portrayed by Mr. Welles. And unbeknownst to him, a fellow detective (Mr. Dillman) and Mr. Welles' wife, the lustrous Ms. Greco, are also in heat and plotting to do away with him. To say anything more about this highly original, superbly-acted thriller would do it a disservice. Just SEE it, and savor three actors at their best (under Richard Fleischer's brilliant direction) in a film long-overdue for the praise it deserved some 40 years ago.
 

Dave B Ferris

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Very persuasive; I would certainly buy this were it to be released.

However, I also feel there are at least two other outstanding unreleased films noir from Fox's catalog, both starring Richard Widmark:

Road House
Slattery's Hurricane
 

Ockeghem

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Based on what I have read here, I too would purchase this film. Nicely written. :emoji_thumbsup:
 

Simon Howson

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This sounds like an interesting film, but I think Fox will release Fleischer's Violent Saturday first. Fox made a new print of it last year, which suggests that it has been preserved to a new IP. If that is the case, they surely would've made a HD transfer.
 

Robin9

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Very encouraging news. My fingers are crossed, my credit card is ready.
 

Simon Howson

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Fleischer is well represented on DVD, especially by Fox which has released about 8 of his films. I hope Warner put Armored Car Robbery in a future Noir set.
 

Robert Crawford

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It seems like we've been waiting on this release so long. They keep showing it on Fox Movie Channel.
 

Simon Howson

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Does it look like a new transfer?

Maybe they can't figure out how to market it on DVD? They could just use it as a Fox Film Noir. I think it is closer to noir than Black Widow.

Apparently it was just a B film in its day; Fleischer says in his memoir that it was the first CinemaScope film Fox made for under $1 million. But it sold so well that Zanuck signed him to a 5 year deal.

It is also a great example of the Fleischer paradox - the less money he had to work with the better a film turned out - see The Narrow Margin.
 

Richard--W

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So do I, but 8 is not enough when several of his principle films remain unavailable. When Banjo (1947), Bodyguard (1948), Follow Me Quietly, Trapped, The Clay Pigeon (all 1949), Armored Car Robbery (1950), Arena (1953), Violent Saturday (1955), Bandido (1956), Crack In the Mirror (1960), The Big Gamble (1961), Che! (1969), The Last Run (1971), The New Centurions (1972), The Spikes Gang (1974), and Ashanti (1979) are released to region 1 in proper transfers, I will consider the director well-represented on DVD.

Of the above, Crack In the Mirror and The Last Run are signature works.
 

Gordon McMurphy

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As a massive fan of Orson Welles, I have wanted to see this film for years. I have read that he gives an amazing speech at the end of the film. It's 2.35:1 black and white too - cinematography by William Mellor who shot Compulsion and also The Diary of Anne Frank (both 2.35:1 black and white). I'd love to finally see it.
 

Richard--W

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I have a hideous old tape recorded off American Movie Classics almost twenty years ago.

Crack In the Mirror is a sleeper screaming for rediscovery. Once people have a chance to see the film it's reputation should soar, like Crime Wave and Murder My Sweet. If enough people express an interest, perhaps Fox will consider releasing it.
 

Charles H

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It's a great film and I'd love to see it letterboxed. I just revisited THE BOSTON STRANGLER and the occasional JAZZ SINGERs and MILLION DOLLAR MYSTERYs aside, Richard Fleischer was very underrated. Zanuck wrote the screenplay under a pseudonym. "Enough people" wanted THE GUNFIGHTER and GARDEN OF EVIL.........and voila!
 

GerardoHP

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I remember the poster for this film when I was a kid, with a crack running through a mirror in what looked like Salvador Dali's artwork. I was very curious then, too, but too young to be let in the theater to see it.

Now you got me curious again.
 

Ockeghem

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Driving to work this morning, I was wondering about a memory I have from when I was about three or four years old. I'm not assuming it's this film, but your post got me to thinking more about it. I've been thinking about this particular memory off and on for over thirty years.

I recall my father placing his hands over my eyes during a scene in a film (or perhaps it was a television show) because it was deemed too frightening for me to see. All I can recall of it was that it had a woman in it, looking into a mirror, and either her face or the mirror began to crack. I remember being very scared during this scene. When it appeared that it was going to occur a second time, that's when my eyes were covered by my father.

Maybe one day before I die I will figure out what on earth I was watching during those early years of my childhood. I would have been two years old in 1960.
 

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