FRITZ LANG INTERVIEWS

1961:
When Fritz Lang was asked what he thought of his film BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, “I don’t like it at all. I made it, let’s face it, because I was bound by a contract.
I think it is impossible to place the audience in the presence of a hero for an hour and a half and then reveal in the last 5 minutes that he is an assassin.”

1962:
“When I made FURY, on the subject of lynching,I couldn’t hope for the abolishment of hanging. I simply wanted to put my finger on the subject.Otherwise I would have to become a politician. I am not a miracle worker.”

1965:
Yes, I like westerns. They have a simple but necessary moral. I made 3 – THE RETURN OF FRANK JAMES, WESTERN UNION and RANCHO NOTORIOUS.”

“WINCHESTER 73 was a project for Diana Inc,the production company I ran with Walter Wanger and Joan Bennett. They had an option on the original story by Stuart Lake but it expired.”

“The original title of RANCHO NOTORIOUS was CHUCK-A- LUCK which is the name of a ranch in the film, of a game of chance, and finally the title of a song which we hear fragments of throughout the film…
Howard Hughes who owned RKO changed the title to RANCHO NOTORIOUS because he said no one in Europe would understand what it meant.but in Europe, do we understand any better RANCHO NOTORIOUS ?”

“Often I am asked which of my films to I prefer – M, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW,SCARLET STREET and WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS.”

1969:
On WOMAN IN THE WINDOW I took the liberty of changing the ending with such a corny old trick that it seemed almost new. I had the whole thing turn out to be a dream. I did it by having the main characters in the story revealed as employees of the club- Dan Duryea is the hat-check boy and the murdered man is the porter.
Some reviewers attacked the dream ending but that didn’t worry me.”

“I had some wonderful actors on CLASH BY NIGHT- Bob Ryan, Paul Douglas, Barbara Stanwyck and of course Marilyn Monroe..
Working with Barbara Stanwyck was one of the greatest pleasures of my career.”
(All quotes from FRITZ LANG INTERVIEWS edited by Barry Keith Grant (2003)

2 responses »

  1. Francois Truffaut comments that Lang’s style is inexorable. Each shot, each maneuver of the camera, each frame, each movement of an actor is a decision and is inimitable. He gives an example from an early american film, You Only Live Once, (1935) Fonda asks his wife, who’s on the other side of the grate, to get him a revolver. As he whispers “Get me a gun,” exaggerating the words with his mouth, we only hear the consonants – just the guttural sounds of the g’s and the t, which pronounced with a look of chilling intensity.
    You Only Live Once should be seen often, and Lang’s later films should be thought about in light of it. The man was not only a genius, he was also the most isolated and least understood of contempoary filmmakers. (written by Truffaunt in 1958)
    My own view there is a tiridness about Lang’s last American films, his disapointment in cast which were often good, showed his frustration in American contemporary cinema. His freedom had for the most part vanished and his creative powers, although still there was compromised. Truffaut loves his early American films because there was a freshness and his German Expressionist influence is still prominent. The mise en scene in the late American films do not have that German Expressionist mood, power and menace.

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