• The unkindest pole: western expansion, Fritz Lang style

Revisiting Fritz Lang’s You and Me for this week’s long review made me want to look into some of the other outlying titles of the master director’s filmography. The project led me first to his westerns, as the ever-Germanic Lang would seem as unsuited to this genre as he did to musical comedy. Yet he was a longtime fan of westerns, and he made three of them during his tenure in Hollywood. Rancho Notorious (1952) is by far the most overtly Langian—which is to say it’s the weirdest and most abstract—but Western Union (1941) is hardly an impersonal project. If you still own a VCR, you can rent it from Facets or the Chicago Public Library (there’s a copy at the Sulzer branch in Lincoln Square—which, incidentally, may have the best VHS collection in town).