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.

The Yakuza Trailer from Jonathan Levy on Vimeo.

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.

OUT OF THE PAST Trailer from Jonathan Levy on Vimeo.

The best newly configured, jazzed-up trailer for a classic film remains Cameron Arragoni‘s Psycho trailer: