Moonrise Screen 5 articles

Moonrise

1948

Moonrise Poster
  • [Mose isn't] a great character, but by giving him a second job as the handler of hunting dogs, which the Sheriff eventually co-opts to hunt down a fugitive Borzage inserts an unsettling racial parallel and another connection to Antbellum evils, culminating in a hard-edged third-act that reaffirms the film’s relevance.

  • Frank Borzage's last masterpiece (1948) and one of his best-known films, although in many ways it's atypical of his work. Made on a middling budget for Republic Pictures—the studio of serials and cowboys—the film adopts a rich and elaborate expressionist style; with its shadows and tension-racked frames, it resembles no other film in the Borzage canon.

  • Despite its dark themes and brooding look, the Siren thinks maybe Moonrise doesn't qualify [as a film noir] at all. The film is too warmly sympathetic to Danny's plight. Real noir starts from the premise that people are no damn good, and proceeds to reaffirm that, step by step. Borzage probably couldn't have taken that viewpoint on a bet. Moonrise instead makes the classically humanist point that criminals are not born, they're made--and can be un-made with sufficient compassion.

  • Anyone could be forgiven for doubting that another Golden Age Old Master’s name needs to be canonized, but look at this film’s fairgrounds scene, a staple of any film staged in Small Town, USA. Not only do you get Moonrise’s best sliver of detail work . . . but Borzage’s bravura staging of Danny’s opening up to Gilly on a ferris wheel, to the toot of “Oh, Susanna,” is incontestably fine, fluid work, ramping in emotional pitch into a vertiginous freak-out.

  • The combination of black-book fatalism and dreamy night photography is all but one-of-a-kind (though anyone who attended last month's revival of Allan Dwan's SLIGHTLY SCARLET should be somewhat prepared); that the director wrests the tawdry material to fit his personal theme of transcendence is even more surprising.

More Links