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Matt Hough

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While it’s long and measured in its story-telling, John Huston’s Freud offers a complex look at the young Sigmund Freud as he crawls and claws his way to some of his early psychological conclusions on sexual instinct as the basis of human personality.



Freud (1962)



Released: 12 Dec 1962
Rated: Passed
Runtime: 140 min




Director: John Huston
Genre: Biography, Drama



Cast: Montgomery Clift, Susannah York, Larry Parks
Writer(s): Charles Kaufman, Wolfgang Reinhardt, Jean-Paul Sartre



Plot: An examination of Czech-Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud's career when he began to treat patients diagnosed with hysteria, using the radical technique of hypnosis.



IMDB rating: 7.3
MetaScore: N/A





Disc Information



Studio: Universal...

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Capt Cheese Pro

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This dark and mystic film grabbed me as a kid, Montgomery Cliff does a wonderful job as the cranial pioneer, and a decent supporting cast. But the thing for me, that amped up the erie-ness of it, especially during the dream sequences was the inner narritve by the Director John Huston...his voice is very unique, even years later in his role in Chinatown, for example, his voice draws you in, like a snake!! This seems to have been a very personal project for Huston and fought hard to be able to do his production that he had in his mind for years. I'm glad he did it, the films not for everyone but it is well done and this edition is a nice addition.
 

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Thanks for your review, Matt.

Despite its length (this is the 140-minute "Director's Cut"), I found "Freud" totally spellbinding, with the sexual candor a bit astonishing for 1962. A quietly intense Montgomery Clift gives one of his best late-career performances and a young Susannah York lends dramatic subtleties to her complex character. Douglas Slocombe's cinematography is striking, especially in the dream sequences, which were shot in high contrast. Director John Huston is to be commended for tackling such a difficult subject and rendering it in riveting fashion. The Blu-ray video transfer from Kino-Lorber is close to pristine and Tim Lucas provides an insightful commentary.
 

mskaye

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Thanks for your review, Matt.

Despite its length (this is the 140-minute "Director's Cut"), I found "Freud" totally spellbinding, with the sexual candor a bit astonishing for 1962. A quietly intense Montgomery Clift gives one of his best late-career performances and a young Susannah York lends dramatic subtleties to her complex character. Douglas Slocombe's cinematography is striking, especially in the dream sequences, which were shot in high contrast. Director John Huston is to be commended for tackling such a difficult subject and rendering it in riveting fashion. The Blu-ray video transfer from Kino-Lorber is close to pristine and Tim Lucas provides an insightful commentary.
At this stage of his career, every film directed by Huston demonstrates remarkable intelligence and a unique approach. Particularly, there's an intimacy and a clarity in his direction of actors. Cinematography, camera placement always smart and inspired. I will buy this one.
 

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At this stage of his career, every film directed by Huston demonstrates remarkable intelligence and a unique approach. Particularly, there's an intimacy and a clarity in his direction of actors. Cinematography, camera placement always smart and inspired. I will buy this one.
You're so right about John Huston's films in this stage of his career. I recently saw "Moby Dick" for the first time and found it thrilling. "The Misfits", perhaps a bit ahead of its time, is also ripe for rediscovery.
 

Matt Hough

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What I love is that even at this stage in his career after all his awards and celebration, he was still experimenting. Moulin Rouge and this film (and Moby Dick) have such creative visuals unlike the other films of their era, and he'd do further experimentation with The List of Adrian Messenger and tackle Tennessee Williams and later Carson McCullers soon after this film.
 

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What I love is that even at this stage in his career after all his awards and celebration, he was still experimenting. Moulin Rouge and this film (and Moby Dick) have such creative visuals unlike the other films of their era, and he'd do further experimentation with The List of Adrian Messenger and tackle Tennessee Williams and later Carson McCullers soon after this film.
I recently watched Reflections in a Golden Eye and was really overwhelmed by every aspect. None of his choices were cliche. His compositions were always intriguing even if they weren't overly stylized. Even with the hyperbolic subject matter, it's always under control. And as you state, still experimenting with color - the blu ray with his original color scheme is preferred.
 

lark144

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I recently watched Reflections in a Golden Eye and was really overwhelmed by every aspect. None of his choices were cliche. His compositions were always intriguing even if they weren't overly stylized. Even with the hyperbolic subject matter, it's always under control. And as you state, still experimenting with color - the blu ray with his original color scheme is preferred.
Going off topic but since we're all discussing other Huston films...

I first saw "Reflections" in a neighborhood theater, so it was without the gold tint. And I loved it. I wasn't expecting to. But what got me were all the subtle interactions between the characters; not so much the dialogue but the body language and those glances, seemingly haphazard but meaningful. It really pulled me in. The whole film seemed to be about the different characters' different perceptions of what was going on. And Huston managed to convey this, not in the usual manner of point of view editing, but in master shots with the characters in different areas of the frame, which could have been the far side of the moon, considering those different perspectives. I thought that blocking was innovative, perceptive and amazing. Then I watched Huston's preferred tinted version when it was released in Blu, and I couldn't get into the film at all. The problem was, those subtle interactions of facial recognition or confusion couldn't really be seen. That heavy tint got in the way. It was really hard for me to watch the individual actors. That gold made everything meld together. The film was much colder, more abstract, less direct. Yes, impressive and artful and innovative, but it was missing that compelling humanity that it had before. Was it just me? Had my perceptions changed? So I watched the normal color version, and everything that I liked about the film in 1967 was still there. It's a different film, but in my view, a better one, as it's more human, more direct. It's just odd to me that Huston would put all these subtle details of performance and landscape into a film, which in my opinion make it a really great film and then obscure this with a heavy color tint. I understand why he did it. The ending, when it goes into full color, has real impact, but those performances need to be seen in all their potential, in real time and space. It may be an appropriate visual choice to present them as gilded shadows, but the real value of the film is in those flesh and blood performances.

OK. End of rant.
 

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Going off topic but since we're all discussing other Huston films...

I first saw "Reflections" in a neighborhood theater, so it was without the gold tint. And I loved it. I wasn't expecting to. But what got me were all the subtle interactions between the characters; not so much the dialogue but the body language and those glances, seemingly haphazard but meaningful. It really pulled me in. The whole film seemed to be about the different characters' different perceptions of what was going on. And Huston managed to convey this, not in the usual manner of point of view editing, but in master shots with the characters in different areas of the frame, which could have been the far side of the moon, considering those different perspectives. I thought that blocking was innovative, perceptive and amazing. Then I watched Huston's preferred tinted version when it was released in Blu, and I couldn't get into the film at all. The problem was, those subtle interactions of facial recognition or confusion couldn't really be seen. That heavy tint got in the way. It was really hard for me to watch the individual actors. That gold made everything meld together. The film was much colder, more abstract, less direct. Yes, impressive and artful and innovative, but it was missing that compelling humanity that it had before. Was it just me? Had my perceptions changed? So I watched the normal color version, and everything that I liked about the film in 1967 was still there. It's a different film, but in my view, a better one, as it's more human, more direct. It's just odd to me that Huston would put all these subtle details of performance and landscape into a film, which in my opinion make it a really great film and then obscure this with a heavy color tint. I understand why he did it. The ending, when it goes into full color, has real impact, but those performances need to be seen in all their potential, in real time and space. It may be an appropriate visual choice to present them as gilded shadows, but the real value of the film is in those flesh and blood performances.

OK. End of rant.
Well stated! I didn't find the gold tint super distracting but then again, I opted for Huston's preferred version and watched it with that in mind. i'll watch the color version soon. I feel that he opted for the "gold" as a bit of a distancing effect to offset some of the melodrama while enhancing the dream-like aspects of it.
 

Matt Hough

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I, too, saw the film in full color in the theater and subsequently on television in that look, so it's the one I was overwhelmingly accustomed to. Seeing the "gold" version was a shock to the system, and while I can admire the attempt, I always defer to the color version when I want to watch it.
 

Reggie W

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So, I have this blu but have not yet watched it. I am not certain but I think I have seen this picture exactly once, in a late night showing on TV in the 1970s. As a boy then I was aware of Brando, Dean, and Clift and so tried to catch anything with one of them in it when it was shown on TV.

This story will point out a huge difference between how we watch films now and how we watched them in the days before the internet.

The Sunday paper would come with a weekly TV guide. Also my father would at times have TV Guide delivered via subscription. When a guide would arrive it was treated like a Christmas catalog and I would lie on the floor with a pencil and scour the thing looking for movies and events I wanted to catch when they were shown. It was a regular activity every Sunday for the coming week. Back then you had to catch the film when it was on or it may be years until you had a chance to see it again.

There were only a small handful of stations and PBS or TV38 were two of the big opportunities to catch a film that would be a rarity at the time. Also Channel 56 in the Boston area. So, I recall that I found Freud listed showing on a late night movie and saw Clift was in it and that was a very rare film so I marked that down and the night it was on I watched this bizarre black and white picture about Freud...oddly even as a child I knew who he was. The big draw at the time was Clift though because it seemed harder to see his pictures than Brando or Dean back then.

I can't recall much about the film though. Too long ago and I think it was a lot for a 7 or 8 year old boy to take in. Anyway, years later we had these movie guide books in the house and I read a review of Freud in one of these guides and the guy trashed it saying it was a horrible film and Huston had his head up his rear end to have made something so ridiculous.

At that time I could not just go and revisit the film because I don't think it was available and it was not something they showed on TV. So all I had was this faded memory of seeing it and some guy in a book calling it a ridiculous film. It was funny as a kid back then I always thought if I thought something was good that everybody else must think it was good too. Now I had read all these things about Brando, Dean, and Clift that raved about these three actors and how they changed movie acting forever, so, I just assumed that because of this any film they were in was a must-see picture. So it seemed odd to me that the guy in the book was so hard on this film.

I have this blu set aside so I can try to recreate the moment when I watched this as a boy. At night, alone, and riveted to the screen. I want to see, not just how I feel about the film all these years later, but what if anything is left of that faded memory of watching this picture as a child.

All that and I am a giant John Huston fan.
 

Capt Cheese Pro

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At this stage of his career, every film directed by Huston demonstrates remarkable intelligence and a unique approach. Particularly, there's an intimacy and a clarity in his direction of actors. Cinematography, camera placement always smart and inspired. I will buy this one.
another John Huston classic with Humphrey Bogart and his father Walter Houston is Treasures of the Sierra Madre. The Huston touch in storytelling is amazing!!
 

Matt Hough

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So, I have this blu but have not yet watched it. I am not certain but I think I have seen this picture exactly once, in a late night showing on TV in the 1970s. As a boy then I was aware of Brando, Dean, and Clift and so tried to catch anything with one of them in it when it was shown on TV.

This story will point out a huge difference between how we watch films now and how we watched them in the days before the internet.

The Sunday paper would come with a weekly TV guide. Also my father would at times have TV Guide delivered via subscription. When a guide would arrive it was treated like a Christmas catalog and I would lie on the floor with a pencil and scour the thing looking for movies and events I wanted to catch when they were shown. It was a regular activity every Sunday for the coming week. Back then you had to catch the film when it was on or it may be years until you had a chance to see it again.
Reading about your routine for watching TV back in the day echoed my own young life. I DEVOURED TV Guide each week searching for films and shows I was desperate to see (or see again). It was part of our weekly life, and it's such a sweet memory.
 

Reggie W

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Reading about your routine for watching TV back in the day echoed my own young life. I DEVOURED TV Guide each week searching for films and shows I was desperate to see (or see again). It was part of our weekly life, and it's such a sweet memory.

Yes, when the guide arrived it was a big thing to go through it and find the movies or shows that you wanted to watch that week. The other kind of cool thing about that back then was everybody else you knew were likely to be watching the same thing because there were no VCRs or streaming or 1000 channels to choose from. It was what was on the half dozen or so channels and that was it.

So, in school you could have conversations with other children about what you were watching and if their parents had let them or they got creative and snuck into the TV room when their parents had gone to bed, they likely watched it too.

I was always getting up after my parents had gone to sleep and watching late night movies. Back then I felt like well, I have to stay up to watch this or I may never see it again. I would get caught at times by my parents but they would generally just say "OK, just make sure you are up in time to go to school."

Sometimes my father would say "Aren't you supposed to be punished?" or "Remind me to punish you tomorrow." and then just go back to bed.

I remember having notebooks or index cards and I would write down the film, who was in it, and the day and time and station. I would have each week all laid out:

Monday 11pm TV38
The Young Lions
BRANDO AND CLIFT!!!
 
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lark144

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Yes. I remember conversations like that in elementary school about movies we had seen over the weekend.

Where I grew up, there was this shoestring indie TV channel whose studio was in the basement of the Shoppingtown theater. On Saturday nights at 11 they used to show mostly low budget sci-fi and horror, many of them directed by either Edgar G. Ulmer or Ed Wood. We of course, being 10, took these films completely seriously.

Anyway, one night they were showing "Lost Continent", the one with Caesar Romero. They had just ascended the cliff when a meaning roar was heard, the woman screamed, looked above her and I expected to see a dinosaur when the channel went dark. So of course that's all we talked about Monday morning in class. It turned the father of one of my classmates worked at the station, and apparently someone had dropped a rectifier!?--which caused the station to go off the air.
 

Capt Cheese Pro

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Yes, when the guide arrived it was a big thing to go through it and find the movies or shows that you wanted to watch that week. The other kind of cool thing about that back then was everybody else you knew were likely to be watching the same thing because there were no VCRs or streaming or 1000 channels to choose from. It was what was on the half dozen or so channels and that was it.

So, in school you could have conversations with other children about what you were watching and if their parents had let them or they got creative and snuck into the TV room when their parents had gone to bed, they likely watched it too.

I was always getting up after my parents had gone to sleep and watching late night movies. Back then I felt like well, I have to stay up to watch this or I may never see it again. I would get caught at times by my parents but they would generally just say "OK, just make sure you are up in time to go to school."

Sometimes my father would say "Aren't you supposed to be punished?" or "Remind me to punish you tomorrow." and then just go back to bed.

I remember having notebooks or index cards and I would write down the film, who was in it, and the day and time and station. I would have each week all laid out:

Monday 11pm TV38
The Young Lions
BRANDO AND CLIFT!!!
Being from that same genertion, I think is what drives my desire to collect movies and the old and not so old TV series that I love!! In the past if you missed the movie or TV show...you missed it!!! With the only solis that it might re-run over the summer, during reruns, which was pretty traditional back then!! Thanks for the memories!!!
 

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Being from that same genertion, I think is what drives my desire to collect movies and the old and not so old TV series that I love!! In the past if you missed the movie or TV show...you missed it!!! With the only solis that it might re-run over the summer, during reruns, which was pretty traditional back then!! Thanks for the memories!!!

Oh yes, the collecting bug really bit those of us that grew up before the internet was a thing. We had to collect things to hear or see them. Records, movies, whatever. When VCRs became available for homes my father immediately bought one. It was a large piece of equipment and I remember it had a motor that opened the tape receptacle and you would push a button and hear the motor kick in and the door on top would rise up so you could insert a tape. My dad bought this thing, pretty sure it was very expensive at the time and then the first video rental store opened near us in the next town over.

We were the first family in our neighborhood to have a VHS machine so people would come to our house to watch movies. My brother and I and our friends basically lived in that video store. We would be renting stuff daily or rent 5 or 6 films and go back in 3 days and rent 6 more.

It was funny when my father signed up for the membership you could get a family membership and on the back of your membership card it listed restrictions and they would check the restriction box to show what you could not rent. We are in the store and they made a card for each family member and the guy asks my dad "What restrictions would you like checked on the kid's cards?" and my father says "Restrictions for what?" and the guy says "You know so they can't rent R rated movies." and my father says "No restrictions. We don't need that." and the guy says "Well, we rent triple X films too, you want that restricted right?" and my father says "Triple X? Porn?" and the guy says "Yes, in that room in the back." and my father responds "If they want to get into that crap that's their problem. No restrictions on any of the cards."

Kind of hilarious, but we rented every science fiction, horror, western, and war movie they had. All of our friends wanted to go to the video store with us because we had "unrestricted cards" and so could rent anything. This was mainly exciting because we had access to all the horror and science fiction which was what every male child at that time wanted to see.
 

Capt Cheese Pro

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Oh yes, the collecting bug really bit those of us that grew up before the internet was a thing. We had to collect things to hear or see them. Records, movies, whatever. When VCRs became available for homes my father immediately bought one. It was a large piece of equipment and I remember it had a motor that opened the tape receptacle and you would push a button and hear the motor kick in and the door on top would rise up so you could insert a tape. My dad bought this thing, pretty sure it was very expensive at the time and then the first video rental store opened near us in the next town over.

We were the first family in our neighborhood to have a VHS machine so people would come to our house to watch movies. My brother and I and our friends basically lived in that video store. We would be renting stuff daily or rent 5 or 6 films and go back in 3 days and rent 6 more.

It was funny when my father signed up for the membership you could get a family membership and on the back of your membership card it listed restrictions and they would check the restriction box to show what you could not rent. We are in the store and they made a card for each family member and the guy asks my dad "What restrictions would you like checked on the kid's cards?" and my father says "Restrictions for what?" and the guy says "You know so they can't rent R rated movies." and my father says "No restrictions. We don't need that." and the guy says "Well, we rent triple X films too, you want that restricted right?" and my father says "Triple X? Porn?" and the guy says "Yes, in that room in the back." and my father responds "If they want to get into that crap that's their problem. No restrictions on any of the cards."

Kind of hilarious, but we rented every science fiction, horror, western, and war movie they had. All of our friends wanted to go to the video store with us because we had "unrestricted cards" and so could rent anything. This was mainly exciting because we had access to all the horror and science fiction which was what every male child at that time wanted to see.
My father in comparisson was totally straight laced and not into tech at all!!! We didn't have a color TV until well into the late 60s when He found out that the ballgames, Football and Baseball mainly, were all in color now..."In Color" was the HD of then, LOL!!!
My first reason to get a job as a kid was to get my own TV...all the movies were on at the sametime as many of the sports my Dad wanted to watch. And as said before, no mulligans, you miss it when it broadcast and , you missed it!!! My father was the same person that straight faced asked me...why are you watching a black and white movie when we have a color TV!!! Funny now, but saying it's a classic just didn't work!! LOL!!!
Born in the 50s, a kid of the 60s and teen in the 70s - at first it was a battle of the VCRs standard and Beta....both were more expensive than a decent turntable or reciever. So, I had to wait until the smoke cleared and the one true winner prevailed and the prices started to drop!! I remember the VHS tapes almost as expensive as 4K is today (in compairison). So the Video Rentals stores were a cool altrunative, and also the expansion of Columbia House Video Subscriptions....Buy one @regular price - Get 11 FREE!!!!!! LOL!!!
I've been through VHS, never did laser discs, to DVDs and then Blu-Rays and HD formats, always searching for the best quality image and sound - collecting....searching....and the search continues to this day!! Nice taking and sharing with you Reggie!!
 
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Matt Hough

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When I got my first VCR, I was taping night and day: movies (and sitting there to edit out commercials with a wired pause remote), episodes of TV series I loved like The Andy Griffith Show and The Adventures of Superman, and all kinds of specials.

Tapes were expensive if you bought them separately ($15 a pop as I recall), so I bought them by the carton - 12 tapes for $9.99 each was the first box I bought, Prices began to go down over the first year, and by the time blank tapes could be found in drug stores, I didn't have to buy by the box any more. Yes, I taped on the slowest speed to start with to get the most use out of the few tapes I had, but as tape got cheaper, I could splurge and tape prized movies in SP.
 

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