Josef Von Sternberg Tony Richardson - Essay

Tony Richardson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Inevitably, one approached a work so obviously personal [as The Saga of Anatahan] with certain associations and expectation. The subject itself seemed to give ideal scope for certain aspects of von Sternberg's past work: his eroticism, his sensationalism, his decorative flair. Part of the fascination of the film is that it satisfies none of these expectations—so much so, in fact, that it has an almost unconscious "alienation" effect…. Von Sternberg deliberately eschews violence, and most of the murders take place off screen; only in one set—a charming hut entirely hung with variously shaped shells—is there evidence of his mannered, personal use of décor. Instead, von Sternberg has attempted to treat...

(The entire section is 414 words.)