Gordon Hichens

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 180

[The Cool World's] merits and demerits belong, ultimately, to Clarke. Hers is the coldness, the story-line of half-events half-happenings, and the stroboscopic blur and shaky pans masquerading as technical virtuosity. She really must make a bold plunge into expressionism and outrageous satire, for a cold director can pull these off, as she demonstrates in her powerful opening to The Cool World. Alas, the film soon breaks down exactly where she hopes to succeed, i.e., in making us care about characters as people. Clarke's self-effacement in deferring to the intuition of actors is unnatural for her, and she'd do better to engage us through the use of characters as illustrations of her own ideas and attitudes. In this way, she can establish through the use of symbol and startling juxtaposition—for both of which she shows a penchant—her own strong biases and feelings. These are, after all, the stuff of art, to which she aspires. (p. 53)

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Gordon Hichens, "Film Reviews: 'Cool World'," in Film Comment (copyright © 1964 by Lorien Productions, Inc.; all rights reserved), Vol. II, No. 2, Spring, 1964, pp. 52-3.

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