Does anyone remember Tay Garnett? I imagine that from time to time the Cinémathèque puts on his One Way Passage. I would really like to know whether today when, at the beginning of the film, in ‘the biggest bar in the world’, the hero and heroine – God, Kay Francis was beautiful – exchange their first glances, young cinephiles respond to these two crossed close-ups as we did in the days of the Studio des Ursulines, that is, as an overwhelming manifestation of Eros, as the certainty that a beautiful tale of love and death had just begun.
It was the golden age of the American screen. Speech had just rid films of all that visual rhetoric, while preserving the image’s potency of dream. In this cinema, love was essentially love at first sight, the predestined couple, fatal attraction, where desire is idealised and passion is absolute, in brief, the incarnation on screen of the old myth of Tristan and Isolde, that Denis de Rougemont has rightly called the major myth of the Western psyche.
- Roger Leenhardt, 'L'eros, la plume et la caméra', Artsept 3 (1963), p.37