The Clock

The Clock ★★★★★

What’s remarkable is that this was clearly a war-time shot in the arm on the MGM ledgers, but Minnelli imbues it with such a steadily escalating intensity. By the final stretches your heart is racing. The line from BRIEF ENCOUNTER applies here and it’s sustained for 90 minutes: “I've fallen in love. I didn't think such violent things could happen to ordinary people.” But Minnelli swaps Lean’s interiority by also foregrounding the ordinary (its vision of urban sprawl is vivid, if a bit idealized). The psychological acuity is still there (“I don’t feel very married” is a perfect character moment) but the singularity of voiceover and closeup are rejected in favor of the delicate democracy of Minnelli’s gliding camera and incomparable m-e-s. The single take subway separation might be my favorite moment in all the Minnelli I’ve seen.

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