Until Criterion announced the imminent release of a restored 2K Bluray on 1.17, I’d never even heard of Jack Garfein‘s Something Wild (’61), much less seen it. Yes, it was released on an MGM DVD five years ago but I somehow ignored this. Boilerplate: “A complex exploration of the physical and emotional effects of trauma, Something Wild stars Carroll Baker, in a layered performance, as a college student who attempts suicide after a brutal sexual assault but is stopped by a mechanic (Ralph Meeker)—whose kindness, however, soon takes an unsettling turn. With astonishing location and claustrophobic interior photography by Eugen Schufftan, an opening-title sequence by the inimitable Saul Bass, and a rhythmic score by Aaron Copland, Garfein’s film is a masterwork of independent cinema.”
I’m half intrigued because of the presumably gritty New York locations, but that’s all. I’m not walking around with blinders. I used to work at the Carnegie and Bleecker Street Cinemas (both were highly regarded repertory cinemas) in the late ’70s. If this is such a good or fascinating or magnetic film why haven’t I heard about it until now? If Baker gives a “layered” performance, what’s a good example of an un-layered performance?