Ni liv / Nine Lives (1957, Norway, Skouen)
A resistance fighter battles ice, snow, blindness, gangrene, and, incidentally, one or two German soldiers, in the mountains of northern Norway. Watched it before, several times, and again now. There are two basic Norwegian archetypes: One is the missionary, who goes out among the barbarians to preach the (today, secular) Gospel. The other is the one we meet here: The lone, foolhardy man whose battle with the elements becomes the path to some sort of sturdy peasant’s equivalent of spiritual enlightenment. I like that one better. We all do.
Nightfall (1957, USA)
Enigmatic man gets kidnapped by a gang of mobsters who wants to know where “the money” is. Great setup for a claustrophobic interrogation thriller, right? Instead the movie goes into flashback, to tell us who the enigmatic man is, who the mobsters are, and what really happened to “the money”. Yawn. Watched: 22 minutes. Look, if your story has a dull beginning, don’t just dump it in the middle. Find a better beginning.
Run of the Arrow (1957, USA)
One of those magnificent confederate underdogs you always find hanging about in westerns decide to join up with the Sioux nation rather than give his oath of allegiance to those goddam yankees. Watched it all. Look, never mind the politics, confederates just make better protagonists.