The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, December 23-29

sleep-my-love

Sleep, My Love (1948)
Directed by Douglas Sirk
“I’ve always been perfectly healthy and happy… in fact almost monotonously,” Claudette Colbert informs a psychiatrist. It’s a very Sirkian way of assuring him she’s just fine after recurring erratic behavior like awaking on a train with amnesia and a gun, with which she purportedly shot her husband (Don Ameche), in her purse. Neither Colbert’s character nor the film are as heartbreakingly poignant as Barbara Stanwyck’s in later Sirk masterpiece There’s Always Tomorrow, but he’s already very much the sensitive poet of repression with a natural mastery for emotional mise-en-scène and cinematography. That psychiatrist, played with menacing neurosis by the great George Coulouris, is a phony, a cog in a wife-murdering plot hatched by the gaslighting Ameche. The average thriller template is made excellent by clever supporting turns and Sirk’s unmistakable stamp. Justin Stewart (December 27, 2:45pm; December 28, 6:30pm at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Sirk retrospective)

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