206 Great Directors: Fred Zinnemann

“I’m not in pictures to promote my private personality. I’m in it for the joy of it.”

What Got This Director Here?
: High Noon and his Oscar winning status.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Redes was seen recently and was OK, but…

What Did I Watch: …I wanted to rewatch Day of the Jackal, which I saw on TV several years ago and found marvelously suspenseful.

Where Does He Fit: Day of the Jackal worked a bit better when I saw it on television at some random hour, but it’s still pretty great, a truly incredible piece of editing that gives us a mechanical run through the tension of rooting for an assassin who is ready to throw France into political chaos via a single shot. It’s two and a half hours yet runs smoothly and quickly, with the various foibles of the scheme and the things that go wrong unfolding dirtily until we can hardly stand to watch the cranked up tensions and mechanical plotting. MVP: Delphine Seyrig.

The Seventh Cross, meanwhile, is mostly remembered for giving an Oscar nomination to Hume Cronyn, but I frankly found his performance rather forgettable, playing a seat filling part as a man who is trying to help his best friend Spencer Tracy. With too much voiceover and Tracy giving a typically terrible performance, the film is definitely a case of “interesting” rather than “good” since the subject matter is related to World War II so heavily during a time when that subject hit very close to home for audiences.


Most Valuable Asset: Shifting power dynamics are crazy.
Most Excited For: High Noon and From Here to Eternity.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Undecided.

Coming Up Next: Peter Watkins, truth/lies purveyor.


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