A Swedish whaler is out for revenge when he finds out that a greedy oil man murdered his father for their land. Read More »
Tag Archives: Sterling Hayden
Not a good movie, though a prime example of audacious, rule-breaking cinema. It’s an early seventies French film shown almost entirely in negative exposure, which in itself makes it worth a watch.
LE GRAND DEPART (THE GRAND DEPARTURE; 1972) was the only feature directed by the famed French painter and sculptor Martial Raysse. In keeping with the revolutionary spirit of the time, LE GRAND DEPART has no plot to speak of and appears to have been largely made up on the spot. It shares a kinship with such films as BEGOTTEN (1990) and the X-rated short THE OPERATION (1995), both of which experimented with negative exposure (and far more effectively).
For decades LE GRAND DEPART was thought a “lost” film, but in late 2008 it made its DVD debut (in France), to alternately enchant and disappoint viewers anew. Read More »
Ex-convict Johnny Clay tells his girl friend, Fay, he has plans for making money, and indeed he has. He rounds up a gang and brings them in on a seemingly fool-proof scheme to rob a race track of $200,000. The first thread unravels when Sherry Peatty, wife of gang-member George Peatty, tells her boyfriend Val Cannon about the plan, and he cuts himself in on that action also. The robbery is completed and the gang goes to the hideout where Johnny will join them later. Val sticks up the robbers, a shot is fired, and all hands are soon dispatched. Johnny, with the money in a suitcase, joins Fay at the airport. And the fat lady still hasn’t sung. Read More »
Director Robert Altman, famous for his ability to turn any genre inside out, takes aim at film noir with this evocative adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel. Altman’s Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) is a relatively unsuccessful private eye living and working in 1970s Los Angeles. Stepping into the shoes of the notorious detective, Gould delivers a captivating performance that is the definition of ’70s hip: he spends the entire film mumbling to himself, smoking cigarettes, and making wisecracks to everyone he encounters. This time around, Marlowe decides to investigate the supposed suicide of his friend Terry Lennox (Jim Bouton). Read More »
A manipulative female con artist gets entangled in her own web of deceit. Read More »
Roger Ebert sez:
The Segal character has a loving wife and kids at home, a loving mistress in the city, a manager who wants him to make lots of money, and a harassed conscience. His basic problem is that he wants to do the right thing by everybody, and can’t. How can you do the right thing by your mistress when, just by having a mistress, you’re doing the wrong thing by your wife? And vice versa, these days.
So Segal sinks into the confusions of suburban morality, substituting the martini lunch for the confessional. He can afford ethical soul-searching better than his wife, Eva Marie Saint, who gets to wrestle with the kids while he’s wrestling with his conscience. That’s part of the problem, too, even if Segal gets everything straightened out morally, his marriage may expire from exhaustion. Read More »
The Asphalt Jungle is a brilliantly conceived and executed anatomy of a crime — or, as director John Huston and scripter Ben Maddow put it, “a left-handed form of human endeavor.” Recently paroled master criminal Erwin “Doc” Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe), with funding from crooked attorney Emmerich (Louis Calhern), gathers several crooks together in Cincinnati for a Big Caper. Among those involved are Dix (Sterling Hayden), an impoverished hood who sees the upcoming jewel heist as a means to finance his dream of owning a horse farm. Hunch-backed cafe owner (James Whitmore) is hired on to be the driver for the heist; professional safecracker Louis Ciavelli (Anthony Caruso) assembles the tools of his trade; and a bookie (Marc Lawrence) acts as Emmerich’s go-between. The robbery is pulled off successfully, but an alert night watchman shoots Ciavelli. Corrupt cop (Barry Kelley), angry that his “patsy” (Lawrence) didn’t let him in on the caper, beats the bookie into confessing and fingering the other criminals involved. From this point on, the meticulously planned crime falls apart with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy. Way down on the cast list is Marilyn Monroe in her star-making bit as Emmerich’s sexy “niece”; whenever The Asphalt Jungle would be reissued, Monroe would figure prominently in the print ads as one of the stars. The Asphalt Jungle was based on a novel by the prolific W.R. Burnett, who also wrote Little Caesar and Saint Johnson (the fictionalized life story of Wyatt Earp). — Hal Erickson Read More »