Tag Archives: 1970s

Walter Hill – Hard Times (1975)

Synopsis:
During the Great Depression, the mysterious drifter Chaney befriends the promoter of illegal street fights Speed and they go to New Orleans to make money fighting on the streets. Speed is welcomed by his mistress Gayleen Schoonoverand invites his former partner Poe to team-up with them. Meanwhile Chaney has a love affair with the local Lucy Simpson. Speed has a huge debt with the dangerous loan shark Doty and borrows money to promote the fight of Chaney and the local champion Jim Henry, who is managed by the also promoter. Casey wins the fight, they make a lot of money but Speed is an addicted gambler and loses his share in the dice table. But Doty wants his money back and Speed’s only chance is Chaney accepts to bet his own money that he is saving and fight a winner that Gandil brought from Chicago. Will he accept the challenge? Read More »

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Amator AKA Camera Buff (1979)

Quote:
It all starts when Filip Mosz (Jerzy Stuhr) buys a little 8mm movie camera to film his new-born baby. Like a true enthusiast, Filip enters into the spirit of his new hobby, filming everything that moves and working on the material on a small editing suite. When he is commissioned by his boss to film a reception being held to commemorate the company’s 25th anniversary, he becomes aware of the pressures of outside expectations and even censorship. The film however gets entered into an amateur film festival and wins third prize (second prize really since none were judged good enough to win first prize!) and he soon finds himself caught up in the world of TV and film-making, helped by an attractive film producer. Read More »

Robert Aldrich – The Grissom Gang (1971)

Synopsis:
Barbara Blandish, a young Kansas City heiress, gets kidnapped by some inept local hoodlums for the diamond necklace she is wearing, and then gets kidnapped a second time by the Grisson gang demanding a million dollar ransom. THe Grissons, a family of depraved, ruthless poor white trash, is led by Ma Grissom, a fury whose mustache and house dress clash, whose belief it is that kidnapping plots go awry because the victim is allowed to live. But plans go haywire when her son Slim, a psychopathic, knife-wielder, falls in love with Barbara. Her billionaire father hires Dave Fenner, a cynical private detective, to find her. Read More »

Gary Weis – 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s (1979)

synopsis
The gangs in the South Bronx (about 80 blocks from Tiffany’s in more ways than one) are handled with kid gloves in this one-hour treatment by Gary Weis. The more articulate members of the Savage Nomads and Savage Skulls are interviewed while the less articulate minorities who incongruously brandish swastikas are glossed over. Aside from gang members venting about “social injustice” and cops, there are interviews with the police, a priest, and some community workers. In general, the documentary indicates that this one small part of the U.S. would gladly be engaged in a mini-civil war if left to ferment on its own. Read More »

Mel Brooks – Blazing Saddles (1974)

Synopsis:
The Ultimate Western Spoof. A town where everyone seems to be named Johnson is in the way of the railroad. In order to grab their land, Hedley Lemar (Harvey Korman), a politically connected nasty person, sends in his henchmen to make the town unlivable. After the sheriff is killed, the town demands a new sheriff from the Governor (Mel Brooks). Hedley convinces him to send the town the first Black sheriff (Cleavon Little) in the west. Bart is a sophisticated urbanite who will have some difficulty winning over the townspeople. Read More »

Peter Weir – The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)

Synopsis:
A small town in rural Australia (Paris) makes its living by causing car accidents and salvaging any valuables from the wrecks. Into this town come brothers Arthur and George. George is killed when the Parisians cause their car to crash, but Arthur survives and is brought into the community as an orderly at the hospital. But Paris is not problem free. Not only do the Parisians have to be careful of outsiders (such as insurance investigators), but they also have to cope with the young people of the town who are dissatisfied with the status quo. Read More »

Howard Alk – The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)

Quote:
Chicago native Howard Alk helped found Second City in 1959 and made a name for himself in the ’60s and ’70s as a documentary cinematographer, editor, and director. His debut feature, American Revolution 2 (1969, codirected by Mike Gray) looked at the Black Panther Party in Chicago; this follow-up, a profile of Panther leader Fred Hampton, unexpectedly turned into a true-crime story in December 1969 when Hampton and another Panther were fatally shot during the Chicago Police Department’s notorious raid on a Panther crash pad in West Town. The documentary (1971) presents Hampton as a charismatic figure given to violent revolutionary rhetoric, but after his death the focus shifts to Cook County state’s attorney Ed Hanrahan, whose report exonerating the police department was treated as gospel truth by the Chicago Tribune but belied by a wealth of physical evidence at the scene of the crime. As a first draft of history, this is invaluable, though its topical relevance has hardly diminished. Read More »