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Night Tide (1961)

max from fearless · 1 · 795

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max from fearless

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on: September 14, 2014, 11:57:04 AM

Ok, so Jenkins and myself were talking about low-budget pictures in the shoutbox (i had just seen Coherence) and he recommended this and it was a nice picture, so here are some thoughts:

Dennis Hopper plays the most chilled out, easy going, protagonist, ever. He just drifts through the movie, with an ease and sly charisma you don't see in movies these days. He is innocence personified in this picture, with the best/worst luck in picking up girls.

The music is great. The way the score shifts from potential mystery/suspense/horror to an optimistic, good ol' American score of the 50s/60s at the start is a nice code for how the movie is going to flow. David Raskin delivers.

Dennis Hopper watching Mora in the jazz club is great. Just the amount of time we take in the jazz club is nice. Lots of time spent building up a sense of place and vibe, which I always crave. This never feels confined and restricted like a lot of low budget pictures. There are a lot of open spaces. There are animals and the sea. The movie roams around.

Thought of Demme a lot whilst watching this. The characters, their interactions. There all slightly wacky or eccentric archetypes, but they somehow work. Why? Is it the chilled out vibe of the film? Is it because the plot isn't in a hurry to announce itself? From the Captain and his stories. To the girl that fancies Hopper and is always on hand with coffee or tea. To the clairvoyant to Mora herself. Hated Captain's explanation/confession. B-movie vibes with an affection for the people in the story. Loved the sound effects, the sound of bells throughout, what was up with that? More dream-drift vibes.

The Mora the mermaid plot was nice when you didn't know a lot. Once it gets spilled out by various characters it turns to dust. Mora was gorgeous. The shot of her walking out the bathroom and embracing Hopper. The shot of Dennis Hopper dreaming of having sex/being attacked by a sea animal. Hahahaha. Great funny/subtext/metaphorical stuff. The occasional appearances of the sea-people woman, now that was creepy and resolved in the best possible way I thought...

Hammy B-movie plotting aside. It's the tender vibe of this thing. The innocence and the sweetness and naivete of the relationship between Mora and Johnny. The scene of them having breakfast or him sleeping on the floor and checking on her. It's a wholesome movie with these edges that should be nasty but never come across as so. Which should work against it, but somehow don't. This is Demme and Lynch territory, sure it lacks their bite and cinematic storytelling, but there is something carefree and easy and natural in the way this movie just relaxes and unfolds itself like a body getting limber on the beach, before taking a plunge in the deep blue sea.