Nicholas Ray

Nicholas Ray & Budd Schulberg – Wind Across the Everglades (1958)

The co-drectorial attribution to producer Budd Schulberg is both miselading and unjustified. BP’s meddling “contribution” consisted of cutting and re editing a number of key sequences, beginning with the very opening. Thus Christopher Plummer’s train carraige shared with the array of befeathered floozies en route to Florida is weighed down by a banal voiceover making Ray’s subtle and amusing connection between the finery of the whores and the pillaging of native wildlife screaminlgy obvious, rather than visually graceful. Accordingn to Bernard Eisenschitz Ray was effectively locked out of the shoot for the final sequence – the film was shot largely in sequence- thus the closing scenes in the swamp were in fact directed by Bud Schulberg. Read More »

Nicholas Ray – Bitter Victory (1957)

Synopsis:
In North Africa during World War II, Major David Brand is assigned to lead a British commando raid into German-held Benghazi to retrieve whatever documents they can lay their hands on at the German headquarters. His number two will be Capt. Jimmy Leith who speaks Arabic fluently and knows Benghazi well. Brand also learns that his beautiful wife Jane and Leith were lovers before the war, creating tension between the two. Brand is untested in battle and freezes at a critical moment, losing the respect of his men. After the raid, the trek back is arduous and takes its toll on the men. It also results in only one of the two senior officers surviving. Read More »

Nicholas Ray – The True Story of Jesse James (1957)

Synopsis:
The last eighteen years in the life of Jesse James, showing his home life in Missouri, his experiences with Quantrill’s raiders, his career of banditry with his brother Frank and the Younger brothers, and his attempt to lead a peaceful life after the disastrous attempt to rob the bank at Northfield, Minn. Read More »

Nicholas Ray & Wim Wenders – Lightning Over Water [+ Extras] (1980)

Lightning Over Water is a penetrating and touching film of the last days of cult American director Nicholas Ray, most well-known for Rebel Without a Cause.

.”I knew that he wanted to work, to die working”, Wim Wenders says in the movie. And through his work with Wenders and the crew, Ray transformed his dying into an act of collaboration and a work of art.

Dying slowly of terminal cancer, Ray chose not to institutionalize himself in a hospice and fade away in an old people’s home but stayed in his modest New York City loft, surrounded by his closest friends — a sharp and poignant contrast to the comparative luxury of his Hollywood years. Read More »

Nicholas Ray & Ida Lupino – On Dangerous Ground (1951)

Quote:
A superb noir thriller with a difference. Ray’s second film with producer John Houseman (the first being They Live By Night) starts off in the sinister urban jungle, with Ryan’s cop increasingly brutalised by the ‘garbage’ he is forced to deal with. Finally, his methods become so violent that he is sent to cool off in snowy upstate New York, where his search for a sex killer brings him into contact with Lupino’s blind woman and her mentally retarded brother (Williams). It’s a film about the violence within us all, about the effects of environment and family upon character (Lupino, peaceful and a healing force, even has a tree in her living room), and about the spiritual redemption of a fallen man. Read More »

Nicholas Ray – Party Girl (1958)

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Synopsis:
Lawyer Thomas Farrell has made a career defending crooks in trials. He has never realized that there is a downside to his success, until he meets the dancer Vicki Gayle. She makes him decide to get a better reputation. But mob king Rico Angelo *insists* that he continues his services… Read More »

Nicholas Ray – They Live by Night (1948)

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John Greco wrote:
Three men escape from prison, two seasoned bank robbers T-Dub (Jay C. Flippen) and Chickamaw (Howard Da Silva) along with young Bowie (Farley Granger) who was innocently convicted of murder. The three men rob a bank. When Bowie is injured he is brought to Chickamaw’s brother’s place where he meets Keechie (Cathy O’Donnell), Chickamaw’s tomboyish niece. After another bank job, the young lovers take off to get away from Bowie’s two thug partners and a life of crime. Unlike Bowie, his two cohorts quickly blow their share of the money and want Bowie for another bank job which goes bad resulting in T-Dub’s death. Bowie and Keechie are again running only this time instead of running to a new life they are running from the law and straight toward a tragic end. Read More »