• Mankiewicz is my next auteur/director study after Antonioni- this is actually his fourth film behind the camera but sadly the first available for study
  • It’s oddly random that I’m seeing this so closely tied to David Lean’s (or Noel Coward’s) 1945 Blithe Spirit– a film/comedy about the afterlife starring Rex Harrison (Harrison is the spirit here as opposed to the previous work and he’s much stronger here)
  • The Bernard Herrmann score here is excellent—it’s radiant and voluminous- it fills the screen- he called it his single best work- and although I disagree- who am I to say?
  • Not sure if it’s a trend for Mankiewicz yet but Gene Tierney here is described as “obstinate” and is tired of “people always telling me what to do”—maybe something in common with All About Eve. It’s also great to see Harrison’s trademark arrogance and stubbornness clashing with that (like he would with Hepburn in My Fair Lady)
  • The screenplay (not written by Mankiewicz) is witty- “I didn’t raise her, she just happened”-Tierney referring to her daughter implying her daughter is self taught (Natalie Wood- same year as Miracle on 34th)- then her maid says “that’s what my mom said about me. I was her 11th (child)”- haha
  • Odd that Mankiewicz didn’t write- he was nominated for a total of 6 best screenplay Oscars in his career
  • Harrison shows up 20 minutes in and takes the film over—frankly the scenes without him cry for him to come back though George Sanders is great in his role as well. Harrison’s character describes Sanders as a “perfumed parlor snake” and that’s perfect for this Sanders character and just about all of his 18 archivable film roles frankly
  • Skillfully done difficult shots of both Rex and Tierney in the frame at different depths—he’s a spirit and her a human and that comes across
  • It’s an inventive and polished love story. He loves her clearly and lets her go
  • Great shot of Tierney and Sanders kissing, then we zoom back to show them framed by a tree with Harrison watching
  • Earns some poignant moments on love, death and memory
  • Great final shot/scene of her passing and leaving with Harrison through the door
  • R/HR border