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November 26, 2022, 01:40:38 AM

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I came to this one because it was the movie the female director made before The Ballad of Little  Jo. Of course it was hailed by Jim Kitses like a great one but, of course, it isn't. Unfortunately I haven't read the novel, so I can't go deeper in my assessment. I can only say this can be watched for the last 20 minutes and nothing gets lost plot-wise.  The look is cheap (but probably CJ will be enthusiastic and say it is pure noir), the actors under amateurish grade, the score (mainly based on repeated arpeggi - not arpeggios - excruciating). At IMDB some say this is the best Thompson rendition with Coup de torchon. So I give it the same 5/10, though probably it's worth even less.

Other Films / The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)
« on: June 29, 2022, 07:59:53 AM »
This was suggested by an essay which recommended this one and Dead Man. Well, compared to that boring  Johnny Depp vehicle this is a masterpiece: but Is this a Western? Yeah, for about 10'. The other 110' are something else. It is interesting, though , but at 70' it could have earned a 7/10 if you like non-action movies and prefer sentimental, romance stories in a western locale in 1800 USA. Not my cup of tea, though. 6/10

General Discussion / He Went Thataway
« on: June 20, 2022, 09:28:47 PM »
He Went Thataway: The Form and Style of Leone's Italian Westerns by Marcia Landy. (1992). This "essay" is full of pearls like this one:"Leone's films mix the melodramatic and the comic, the monumental and the everyday. The foregrounding of the body communicates the constraints on the conforming body via an eruption of unruly antagonisms that signify the impossibility of total submission".

Off-Topic Discussion / Ray Liotta R.I.P.
« on: May 26, 2022, 11:23:18 AM »
At 67.

P.S. how come the button New Topic doesn't show on my screen of this thread?


This was the last match of the season, a very important one for the team of Salerno (southern Italy) as it might have decided about the permanence of the team in the major league (Serie A)  or being relegated to Serie B in the next season. In the end it wasn't decisive , thought the lost 0 to 4 to the team of Udine.

Off-Topic Discussion / The Batman (2022)
« on: April 22, 2022, 04:32:11 PM »
A candidate for worst Batman ever (a toss-up with Batman And Robin). 165' for a plot that could have been shortened easily by half. No humor. No action: worst car chase I can remember and final scene worthless. Apparently Catwoman must not be pretty nowadays. So what's left? Nothing of the franchise : Batman could easily find a substitute in any action hero. The photography is mediocre (though I saw a bad copy), the score annoying. Of the cast only Turturro is up to task. 4-5/10

For a Few Dollars More / Colonel Lee
« on: April 21, 2022, 03:47:56 PM »
It came into my mind that Leone had gone to the USA to sign Lee Marvin for the role. But the actor, at the last moment, when everything seemed set,  declined and signed for Cat Ballou instead. I wonder if it was pure chance that Leone opted for an actor by the same name and that, in a register listing actors by their first names including a photograph of same, would follow the first pick. (Of course, he told interviewers that he picked him up because of the small parts he had played before). Or anyway it was the name that reminded him of LVC.  Leone was a liar as Fellini and I also reflected that he said that he had picked Eastwood because of the way he walked as seen from behind. Which reminds me of what Bertolucci told him before Leone engaged him to write OUTITW: that he liked the way he shot horses behinds. Leone probably adapted the line to justify his hiring Eastwood only because of the limited money available.   

Off-Topic Discussion / Catherine Spaak RIP
« on: April 18, 2022, 03:09:04 AM »
At 77.

Other Films / Rustlers' Rhapsody (1985)
« on: March 25, 2022, 03:21:50 PM »
A spoof of the singing cowboy genre (but also of the SW "I was always jealous of these guys because they had better background music than we did". The parody is explicit and all the formulae of the genre remarked by the main character played by Berenger himself. But the movie lacks pace in the second half, so I give it 7/10.

Off-Topic Discussion / Black Angel (1946) Another Woolrich
« on: February 21, 2022, 05:46:41 PM »
Of course, the movie is only "based" on a Woolrich novel. Where based means they take the basic problem (a wife tries to save her two-timing husband from being executed because accused of murdering his lover), compressing a couple of characters in one, changing and/or disposing of whole parts of the novel. As the plot is quite elementary in the novel, the modifications do not compromise the result which is satisfying also thanks to, obviously, Duryea and Lorre (Crawford is not up to par, he is probably not sure how to play the cop: hard-boiled or human). June Vincent, though not being gorgeous, is better looking than most of the other femme fatales ladled to public in those years. CJ gave it a 7/10, I raise it to 8/10 both for movie and novel.

Off-Topic Discussion / I Died a Thousand Times (1955)
« on: February 09, 2022, 03:58:05 PM »
This has been reviewed here but not in a specific thread, if I'm not mistaken. In case merge. It's a remake of High Sierra. I think I saw HS in the '80's and was bored, melodramatic just as this one. But here the problem is that Palance doesn't carry on his face any sign of weakness that Bogart can't hide under his hardboiled crust. So seeing him falling for the cripple girl adds worse to bad. And if afterwards seeing him  falling for a Shelley Winters is already incredible, his falling for her theatricals is nothing short of disgusting. This guy is playing a master criminal and can't be so naive. And right after that he also tell her about the cripple girl so better than her: this is probably having some bad rsults plotwise but I'm not interested: I just couldn't go beyond this point, this is violence to credibility in an extreme amateurish way. And I won't check on HS to see how these points of plot were developed.

This departs from the original movie version (but, if I remember well, from the novel too) in the second half, I don't know if for the better, but surely that gives a more noirish slant to the story. Visually this reads like a series of tv commercials, with the director proving to be a female naked feet fetishist. But the plot devised by Rossi I have the impression here is not as thrilling as in the original movie version because the director is too interested in devising visuals that in keeping the pace adequate to a thrilling story. I can't be sure about that having watched the original just before this one, but even the choice of, for example, showing the restroom attack deprives the story of tension. Same for the meeting with the italian after the discovery of the corpse (the scene in the garage in the Litvak's version was one of the highlights of that movie). The actors, well, the girl is young (yeah): nothing remarkable about her (but the same went for Eggar). Germano: how this guy got into the business? He's ugly and makes me regret even McEnery. The music is unremarkable (but same went with Legrand's). 6-7/10

I was flabbergasted by the title when it first came out: too long, it must be boring, I thought.Then, a few years ago I read Rossi's novel and now, having watched the movie (on youtube) I am convinced that Rossi was the true heir to Woolrich. This is a living proof of what the common authors of books on the genre dub as "absurd": this is the most absurd plot of all, a squared Woolrich. In fact the plot makes little sense, the characters act far away from what a common person would act and (I'll add) having shot the movie with the main actors being english, they had to add the even greater absurdity of showing most of french people being able to speak their language: which is absurd to assume today but completely crazy in 1970. So it is not pure chance that a classic noir practitioner like Litvak picked up this french noir for his last production (though I wonder how Mrs Chabrol's - here acting dubbed? - hubby let it slip through his hands).  And it gets 8/10, though McEnery  looks and acts like a poor man's Terence Stamp and visually there is little noir except the psychedelic lights in the interiors subbing for the contrasted b&w of old. And Legrand, alas, is not in his best form.

Other Films / Un bounty killer a Trinita' (1972)
« on: December 18, 2021, 02:40:05 AM »
A town (Trinita': guess why they picked up this name) is in thrall of a gang of criminals (the navajeros) so the city fathers hire a bounty killer (Scarciofolo, who also utilizes a crossbow) who little by little eliminates them. This was "directed" by Massaccesi who, except for a handful of moments, is unable to keep the camera standing: it's all an orgy of movements, zooms, hand held shots which do little, though, to give substance to this roman artifact. But it is better than your regular Fidani, so it gets a solid 4/10.

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