John Baumgartner


UGETSU (1953, Mizoguchi)

Today’s shot is a beautifully haunting trick shot from Japanese master Mizoguchi, who’s my third favorite Japanese director from the 50’s, after Kurosawa and Ozu. This from the lyrical ghost story and cautionary parable Ugetsu.

I love a good execution of that old trick of swapping things out when the camera momentarily pans away – kind of like the chairs in Poltergeist.  SPOILER ALERT: This use of it is to a very emotional end, in that our hero, who has ignored warnings of impending danger to his family, has left his wife and child to pursue his business ambitions.  Returning, seeing his house in ramshackles, he knows that worst has occurred.  But he gets one more reunion with them, whether they’re ghosts or a hallucination of his slipping sanity…


  • April 18, 2012

    Intro is hot, John. I guess I haven’t been around since the horrorfest in October. My favorite scene in Poltergeist is when the mom rolls around on the walls and ceiling, though. As a boy in the early 1980s, that was pretty hot, too.

    • April 23, 2012

      John, yeah I caught that. Know what else I caught? Some behind the scenes short for Poltergeist on AMC over the weekend. Looked pretty much like Spielberg was running the show. Makes perfect sense to me. No way a guy makes something like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, then a bunch of poo, then something like Poltergeist, then a bunch of poo.

      Sorry for hijacking the thread, but you know I love horror movies. To make-up for it, I’ll request you do a shot-4-shot on Onibaba, which is my favorite old school Japanese horror movie. Mika loved that one, too. I’m not into the new stuff. I think pale chicks with long black hair are hot, not scary.

  • April 20, 2012

    I’ve had no patience for Japanese filmmakers ever since they ripped off The Magnificent Seven and Star Wars.


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