[25 October – 30 November 2014] explores the intense, influential and revolutionary school of acting espoused by New York’s legendary Actors Studio in the 1950s.
On The Waterfront Something Wild Baby Doll Something Wild Kitten with a Whip
Obviously I made a point of seeing (1961) at The British Film Institute on 27 November and it was indeed wild and a real experience! I’d never seen this rarely-revived and obscure psychological drama before but had always been curious about it.
I was expecting something a bit more sexploitation-y, kitsch and . Having now seen Something Wild, I eat the words I wrote above! In fact it was relentlessly bleak, dark and very much an uncompromising somber European art film that just happened to be in English and filmed in New York. It stars luscious blonde Carroll Baker in what must surely be her career-best performance. The film both looks and sounds incredible. The dissonant jazz soundtrack is by Aaron Copeland. The film’s stark noir-ish black and white look is via cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan. Something Wild was apparently his last film. He’d begun his career working in German silent cinema under Fritz Lang in the 1920s and he invests that knowledge of German Expressionism to Something Wild, which frequently unfolds like a dream (or a nightmare). In 1960 Schüfftan had worked on the eerie French horror film Les yeux sans visage – he brings a similar sense of menace and dread to Something Wild.
Further reading: Read Kim Morgan's analysis of Something Wild here