The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, April 15-21

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04/15/2015 6:29 AM |

power and the glory

The Power and the Glory (1933)
Directed by William K. Howard
Preston Sturges’s first credited original screenplay is the story of Thomas Garner—an accommodating, illiterate bumpkin who transforms himself into a cruel and domineering railroad magnate. The film showcases the structural innovativeness—its flashbacks and chronological discontinuity were fresh in the early 1930s—quick pace, and naturalistic yet eloquent dialogue that would become Sturges hallmarks in his subsequent satires. And Spencer Tracy demonstrates his uncanny emotional range and fluidity in a fine early performance, notably the boardroom scene. The Power and the Glory inevitably seems didactic now and may lack the mythic sweep of Citizen Kane (for which it was an acknowledged inspiration) or the mordant brutality of Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. But like those films it captures the potency of capitalism for moral ruin and personal hollowness, and still packs a wallop. Jonathan Stevenson (Apr 16, 2:30pm, 6pm, 9:30pm at Film Forum’s “Strictly Sturges” in a double feature with A. Edward Sutherland’s Diamond Jim)