Tag Archives: Allen Garfield

Francis Ford Coppola – The Conversation (1974)

The Director of a large anonymous corporation (uncredited Duvall) asks surveillance expert Harry Caul (improbably pacamac-ed hero, Hackman) to record a young couple’s private conversation. The film opens with Caul and assistants (including John Cazale) endeavouring to capture the said exchange in a busy square with an assortment of concealed mics. Read More »

Wim Wenders – Der Stand der Dinge aka The State of Things (1982)

Fresh from the tangled dramas of two temporarily halted film productions—including his collaboration with Coppola—Wenders used the cinematic quagmires as fodder for a film about filmmaking. Patrick Bauchau, a Wenders-like German arthouse director, is in the midst of making a black-and-white existential science-fiction feature called The Survivors in Portugal when his funding from a US studio is suddenly cut. The lull in production allows the cast and crew—which features Viva, Robert Kramer and Samuel Fuller—to ponder their relationships to the film and indulge in philosophical rambles and wandering detours, biding their time as needs, both creative and practical, float to the surface. Austerely zooming in and out of narrative focus, with an eye on both Hollywood noir and European arthouse, The State of Things meditatively and wryly captures little truths of cinema’s strange dimension. As Fuller’s cinematographer states, “Life is in color, but black and white is more realistic.” Read More »

William Friedkin – The Brink’s Job (1978)

The Brink’s Job tells the real-life story of a group of small-time, working-class robbers in Boston, who came together and pulled off the largest robbery in US history, taking the Brink’s security company for $2.8 million in 1950. Peter Falk plays the ringleader. He tells his wife (Gena Rowlands): “All that money is in there, and it’s being held prisoner, it’s just screaming to me through the walls… Well I’m going in there, and I’m gonna get it out.” The film follows the group’s task (and their environment, and their pursuers) with an eye to the pragmatic, but it’s not so procedural (in the sense of Friedkin’s earlier Sorcerer or French Connection) as to hamper the movie’s broad purpose: reanimating an old news headline, into a fun sort of ensemble heist folktale. Read More »