PAUSE IT: What do you see? Screen idol, Fedora (Marthe Keller), has gone under the knife to preserve her star-making visage in director Billy Wilder’s Fedora (1978). A dark, and at times satiric thriller characterizing Hollywood’s ongoing obsession with youth and beauty, one could always count on Wilder’s caustic observations to cut more than skin deep. Oftentimes downgraded in the eyes of critics for his perceived lack of visual flair, here Wilder makes use of all the tricks of the trade he learned over the course of his more than fifty-year career. A complex image drawn from simplicity there is a tactile quality to its white gauze and linen which renders the posing figure part helpless patient, part terrifying mummy. But throughout the eyes are present. Cast in all white the still takes on a haunted quality, proving that sometimes to show less is just as powerful and as interesting a choice.

Director: Billy Wilder
Cast:  William Holden, Marthe Keller, Hildegard Knef
Cinematography by: Gerry Fisher
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