The Cobweb (Minnelli, 1955): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm
This film is also screening at BFI Southbank on May 4 (6.10pm) and May 12 (3.45pm). Details here.
This ripe melodrama is one of the highlights of the Vincente Minnelli season at BFI Southbank. Critic Keith Uhlich makes the case for the film here in this excellent overview of Minnelli's oeuvre on the BFI website.
Little White Lies website review: 'As Sir Walter Scott once wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!” This suitably fraught and fabulous 1955 melodrama from Vincente Minnelli goes behind the doors of the Castle House psychiatric clinic, delving into the lives of its perilous patients and squabbling staff. And with a plot that revolves around the battle to choose the library’s drapes it could equally be called The Curtains. The Cobweb is psychologically rich, stylish and occasionally risqué. Minnelli is assisted in his depiction of towering turmoil by a superlative ensemble and by Leonard Rosenman, whose anxious, avant-garde score is a seminal series of compositions and the first predominantly twelve-tone score ever used on film. The film’s original trailer promises, “startlingly different drama” and it most certainly delivers that. From its sizzling, knowing opening to its terrific tongue-in-cheek ending, The Cobweb is a fine mesh of a movie. Soapy and sophisticated, wild and wise, it’s a marvellous monument to madness.'
Here is an extract on YouTube.