I was led to Jonathan Levy‘s hip-hop Yakuza trailer (posted roughly seven months ago) after writing Tuesday’s “Japan-phobia” piece. It doesn’t blow you away, but Levy at least reminded why Sydney Pollack‘s 1974 Japan-set crime thriller is one of the best of its kind. Plenty of swords and robes and flesh-slicings, but with a tone of existential cool. You have to use restraint and watch the fetishy stuff when visiting Japan.
This other Levy trailer, a celebration of Jacques Tourneur‘s Out of the Past, isn’t so hot. It starts out beautifully with those flash-impact titles, and then cuts to that brilliant image of a trench-coated Robert Mitchum framed by vertical iron bars outside Kirk Douglas‘s Lake Tahoe mansion. And then it falls apart. Just a series of visceral, raggedy-ass, occasionally slow-mo clips that emphasize the primal and ignore the undercurrent. Out of the Past is a bitter and profoundly sad film about fate and resignation, and yet Levy’s trailer seems to go out of its way to ignore that. Fail.
The best newly configured, jazzed-up trailer for a classic film remains Cameron Arragoni‘s Psycho trailer: