Expressionistic noir photography suffuses David Lean’s Oliver Twist with a nightmarish quality, fitting its bleak, industrial setting. In Dickens’ classic tale, an orphan wends his way from cruel apprenticeship to den of thieves in search of a true home. Here Alec Guinness is the quintessential Fagin, his controversial performance fully restored in Criterion’s new digital transfer.
Milan Calibre 9 (made in 1971 and released the following year) is the first chapter of the famous “Milieu Trilogy”, continued with Manhunt (La mala ordina) and ending with The Boss (Il boss) in which Fernando di Leo explores the different aspects of the world of organized crime. The title of the film is taken from a story by Giorgio Scerbanenco which is part of the book I Centodelitti. This Russian writer also inspired certain parts of scripts ( Stazione centrale ammazzare subitofor the bomb package, Vietato essere felici and La vendetta è il miglior perdono for certain characteristics belonging to the main character, Ugo Piazza). But basically, di Leo created this film independently, using the noir genre as a vehicle for his own sociological, anthropological and also philosophical ideas about the world of crime. Read More »
Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Cage of Gold was a rare non-comic effort from Britain’s Ealing Studios. Jean Simmons stars as Judith, who awakens the morning after her wedding to discover that her new husband has deserted her. Later on, she is told that her husband is dead. After a period of mourning, Judith remarries–only to be subjected to blackmail by husband number one. It’s all a racket, of course, but Judith doesn’t go to the police until it’s almost too late. Featured in the cast of Cage of Gold as a slimy smuggler is Herbert Lom, who later gained worldwide fame as Inspector Dreyfus in the “Pink Panther” comedies. Read More »
Plot / Synopsis
Following a mysterious decapitation (via mechanical digger) of an insurance investigator, Police Inspector Peretti is put onto the case. Slowly more people are found dead… a man supposedly commits suicide, a women is strangled, another attacked in her flat… but all the clues lead to an unsolved case of kidnapping and murder. Can Peretti find the murderer, if his major clue is a little girls drawing??? Read More »
“James Caan as a New York college professor? Somehow it works in Karel Reisz’s interesting, mostly forgotten 1974 drama The Gambler. A quintessential ’70s film with its non-innocent protagonist swimming in a sea of sleaze and self-destructing when he should know better, The Gambler is one of cinema’s best depictions of a person’s addiction to gambling. That may seem like an inflated statement, but gambling addiction hasn’t really been a subject of film interest, at least not in the same vein as drugs or alcohol. And yet its milieu is tailor-made for drama, comedy, and tension. With that, The Gambler is a crime movie wrapped in an addiction movie wrapped in an existential void, during which, fittingly, Caan teaches his students about Dostoyevsky, one of our first existentialists (without knowing the word yet) who had a gambling problem himself. He even wrote a semi-autobiographical work about it called (again, fittingly), “The Gambler”. Like Dostoyevsky, Caan’s character, Axel, knows what he’s doing and can even discuss his psychology and madness in an offhand manner (as he does to his class) while still jonesing for his next win or lose. Read More »
Francis Veber directs this hilarious comedy about François (Pierre Richard), a desperate, novice, bumbling bank robber who takes an ex-con hostage during his attempted hold-up. They are both chased by the police. Jean (Gérard Depardieu) plays the convicted bank robber just released from jail and forced to escape with François. Anaïs Bret portrays François’ 6-year-old autistic daughter, and is the reason why he needed money so badly that he would steal for it. An inventive series of farcical situations and witty dialogue keeps the two men moving one step and several missteps ahead of the police. This comedy was so successful that Veber repeated it in 1989 for English-speaking audiences as Three Fugitives, starring Nick Nolte and Martin Short.
— Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Read More »
Plot: Fishing boat captain Harry Morgan charters his boat. Due to strained finances, he is none too careful as to whom he does business with. Real trouble erupts when Harry hires out his boat to transport four men who turn out to be criminals on the lam from a racetrack heist. Written by Jim Beaver Read More »