Sunday, August 20, 2017

Favorite (four), part forty-four

Just like in my other forty-three posts in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  Most of the films I have been glad to see but only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those and my hope is one or two will be good to you as well.

Gordon Douglas' The Detective
I had never heard of this film until recently when I saw it was programmed as part of a series at the Paris Cinematheque focused on late 60s and 70s American cop movies.  Sinatra proves he was once again a double-threat as a singer and actor, very comfortable in front of the camera and believable in a number of roles.  Bisset was gorgeous, reminiscent of  Julie Christie during this period, but even sexier and with an even more dangerous sensuality.  And the film, though raw and uneven, goes deeper than most detective films and gives a real sense of the feelings and conflicted morality many people in the profession must face.  

Stuart Samuels' Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream
A very informative look at a special era in American cinema.  Great interviews abound from Hoberman to Rosenbaum, Barenholtz to Romero, Waters to Lynch.  I finished watching and now want to go watch all five movies that are its focus - El Topo, Pink Flamingos, Night of the Living Dead, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Eraserhead.  

Terrence Young's Thunderball
Although not considered the best Connery as Bond film, of all that I have seen so far it is Connery at his most brash, his most handsome and at his toughest.  Yes, it has a bit of a bloated ending but there are so many other great moments that far outweigh its final minutes.

Claude Chabrol's Que La Bete Meure
Chabrol's work does not have the playfulness of Godard, Truffaut, or even Rohmer, so I am not quite drawn to it in the same way.  But I like the way he uses his camera, moving through frames, capturing details, gestures, expressions gracefully and silently.  The locations and nature bring a warmth that balances out the cold, calculating nature of Chabrol's filmmaking approach.

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