Friday, 15 July 2011

Friday Night Film: Freud

'Freud' (also known as 'Freud: The Secret Passion') was directed by John Huston in 1962. As you might expect from a film which takes the unknown depths of the human mind as its subject matter things get pretty weird, pretty quick. An uneasy mix of biopic and dramatised case studies, 'Freud' is filled with hazy trance induced flashbacks, electronically scored (by Henk Badings) dream sequences and shots of 'Siggy' wandering around thinking deeply about stuff.

Eric Portman stares down mental illness.

Pre-electric hypnosis.

Mummy's Boy climbing into a cave? Nothing significant about that.

A typically Cliftian gesture.

Sigmund Freud is played by Montgomery Clift, as nervous and febrile and tortured as ever. His patients include a very young David McCallum and an even younger and terribly pretty Susannah York, bless her. The key scenes centre on the series of psychoanalytical sessions which allowe Feud to make his major discoveries. These are occasionally slightly clunky in introducing key theories, but the atmosphere and imagery is unforgettably unsettling: a series of sickly, time-warped pictures from damaged minds - suppressed, but oppressive memories shot through with the horrible inexorability of a nightmare.

Lovely Susannah tries the talking cure.

A typically Cliftian expression. 

Here's a clip that I hope will convey the peculiar feel of this rather bitty and oddly structured production, Freud's very own recurring nightmare.

John Huston went slightly mental in the sixties, making films as quickly and as diversely as he could all over the world. One of these, 'Reflections In A Golden Eye' (1967), is not only a perfect Friday Night Film of the future, but was due to star Mr. Clift, who had the bad manners to die at the age of 45 just before shooting started. He was replaced by Marlon Brando - Hollywood's greatest exponent of the film genre I like to call 'what the fuck was that?'.

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