Saturday, January 9, 2010

1953-THE MAZE a 3D movie in 2D on my TV set

Short, minor and not exciting 3D horror film.  If the film is to be remembered at all, it's mostly because it was directed by William Cameron Menzies.  Menzies was the man who the word "Production Designer" was invented for.

Starting out in silent films, William Cameron Menzies became responsible for the look of the film, he was an influence on almost every director and photographer he worked with.

David O Selznick recognized his genius early on and used him on a number of his pictures.  He gets a large credit on Gone With The Wind with the credit,  "Production Designed by."  Menzies was responsible for the overall unifying look of the film as well as directing the burning of Atlanta sequencesSelznick went through so many directors, photographers and writers on Gone With The Wind that it was amazing he actually produced a film that made sense, much less  a film classic, a lot of the credit for this went to Menzies.

Towards the end of his career Menzies took a shot at directing a couple of cheap films for Allied Artists.  Invaders from Mars and The Maze. For working with some pretty small budgets Menzies got a lot of atmosphere and feeling into those films.

The Maze is about some strange stuff going on at a Scottish Castle, the fiance of the current Lord of the Castle, attempts to get to the bottom of it and the story climax takes place in a maze naturally.

Frankly the story is pretty stupid but it does allow Menzies to show his stuff, with people sneaking around creepy noirish stairways and halls which leads to an inevitable showdown with a scary monster lurking in the castle maze.  As for the 3D stuff, well I don't have 3D.

The final explanation of the monster is so entertainingly ridiculous it has a silly charm to it.

A strange minor piece of a brilliant filmmaker's career.

80 minutes.