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Ivy

“The visual and narrative aspects of the sound cinema have always competed for attention, but when a visual masterpiece like Ivy is dismissed because of a weak script, it's like dismissing Dreyer and Eisenstein because their images overwhelm their dialogue. It's arguable that the sound cinema has never produced a script of great literary value - but the images from The Passion of Joan of Arc and Ivan the Terrible belong as much to the History of Art as the paintings of Picasso. Ivy is a cold film about a very cold subject: a psychopathic killer who happens to be a coldly attractive woman. It is an interesting and exciting film to watch completely irrespective of whether its dramatic content is properly organized. Its simple theme exists only to excite the brilliant talents of William Cameron Menzies (Production Design) and Russell Metty (Director of Photography). When Ivy opened, nobody paid the slightest attention to its images. They still don't. Reviewers seemed to be blind as bats. It's a visual feast. Metty's lighting looks like something by John Alton out of T-Men. Since Ivy was produced a year before Alton's masterpiece, it seems likely that Ivy was a primary inspiration for a whole series of Noir masterpieces to come out of Eagle-Lion Studios. Alton has admitted to the influence of William Cameron Menzies. It seems logical to assume that he did, in fact, see Ivy and adapted its visual techniques to the greater challenges of the Noir Crime Film.”

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