Tag Archives: Karl Malden

King Vidor – Ruby Gentry (1952)

Synopsis:
Despite their different social class Ruby and Boake grew up together in the 1950s North Carolina. Ruby Corey lived with her poor family in the swamps while Boake Tackman lived in a mansion with servants. As long as their friendship stayed within the socially acceptable limits no one objected. In adulthood their friendship becomes a mutual romantic attraction. Ruby wants to marry Boake but he only seems interested in romantic play without commitment. Maybe conscious of his social status or maybe being afraid to offend his snobbish family and conservative hometown folk, he marries a rich girl. Out of revenge Ruby marries Jim Gentry, a recently widowed rich old man to whom many townsfolk and local businesses owe money. When Gentry dies in an accident, the town blames Ruby. A now rich Ruby takes revenge on the town’s folk by calling in their debts and loans. The girl from the swamps has become the town’s biggest nightmare. Read More »

Elia Kazan – Baby Doll (1956)

Quote:
A child bride holds her husband at bay while flirting with a sexy Italian farmer.

When the film was released in 1956, it was enormously controversial for its extremely risqué subject matter. The Catholic Legion of Decency condemned the film for its “carnal suggestiveness”. Cardinal Francis J. Spellman condemned the film in a stunning attack from the pulpit of St. Patrick’s Cathedral two days before the film opened. He said that the film had been “responsibly judged to be evil in concept” and would “exert an immoral and corrupting influence on those who see it”. He exhorted all Catholics to refrain from patronizing the film “under pain of sin”. Cardinal Spellman’s condemnation of the film led to the Legion of Decency’s first-ever nationwide boycott of an American-made major studio film. All over the country, almost 20 million Catholics protested the film and picketed theaters that showed it. Read More »

Marlon Brando – One-Eyed Jacks (1961)

This is a western like no other, combining the mythological scope of that most American of genres with the searing naturalism of a performance by Marlon Brando—all suffused with Freudian overtones and masculine anxiety. In his only directing stint, Brando captures rugged coastal and desert landscapes in gorgeous widescreen, Technicolor images, and elicits from his fellow actors (including Karl Malden and Pina Pellicer) nuanced depictions of conflicted characters. Though the production was overwhelmed by its director’s perfectionism and plagued by setbacks and studio reediting, One-Eyed Jacks stands as one of Brando’s great achievements, thanks above all to his tortured turn as Rio, a bank robber bent on revenge against his former partner in crime. Brooding and romantic, Rio is the last and perhaps the most tender of the iconic outsiders that the great actor imbued with such intensity throughout his career. Read More »

Elia Kazan – On the Waterfront (1954)

Quote:
Marlon Brando gives the performance of his career as the tough prizefighter-turned-longshoreman Terry Malloy in this masterpiece of urban poetry. A raggedly emotional tale of individual failure and social corruption, On the Waterfront follows Terry’s deepening moral crisis as he must decide whether to remain loyal to the mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) and Johnny’s right-hand man, Terry’s brother, Charley (Rod Steiger), as the authorities close in on them. Driven by the vivid, naturalistic direction of Elia Kazan and savory, streetwise dialogue by Budd Schulberg, On the Waterfront was an instant sensation, winning eight Oscars®, including for best picture, director, actor, supporting actress (Eva Marie Saint), and screenplay. Read More »

Franklin J. Schaffner – Patton (1970)

Synopsis:
“Patton” tells the tale of General George S. Patton, famous tank commander of World War II. The film begins with Patton’s career in North Africa and progresses through the invasion of Europe and the fall of the Third Reich. Side plots also speak of Patton’s numerous faults such his temper and tendency toward insubordination, faults that would prevent him from becoming the lead American general in the Normandy Invasion as well as to his being relieved as Occupation Commander of Germany. Read More »

John Frankenheimer & Charles Crichton – Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)

Synopsis:
In 1912, the notorious and violent prisoner Robert Franklin Stroud is transferred to the Leavenworth Prison convicted for murdering a man. When a guard cancels the visit of his mother, Elizabeth Stroud, due to a violation of the internal rules, he stabs and kills the guard and goes to trial three times. He is sentenced to be executed by the gallows, but his mother appeals to President Woodrow Wilson who commutes his sentence to life imprisonment. However, the warden, Harvey Shoemaker, decides to keep Stroud in solitary for the rest of his life. One day, Stroud finds a sparrow that has fallen from the nest in the yard and he raises the bird until it is strong enough to fly. Stroud finds a motivation for his life raising and caring for birds and becomes an expert in birds. He marries Stella Johnson and together they run a business, providing medicine developed by Stroud. But a few years after, Stroud is transferred to Alcatraz and has to leave his birds behind. Read More »

Dario Argento – Il gatto a nove code AKA The Cat o’ Nine Tails AKA Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971)

Synopsis:
Franco Arno is a blind man that lives with his young niece and makes a living writing crossword puzzles. One night, while walking on the street, he overhears a weird conversation between two man sitting in a car parked in front of a medical institute where genetic experiments are performed. The same night someone breaks in the institute and knocks out a guard. Arno decides to investigate with the help of reporter Carlo Giordani. Read More »