4 items from 2015
Jules Dassin didn’t do much in the way of subversion. At least not cinematically. He didn’t have many overarching themes to his work, he didn’t twist his genre films into something they weren’t. What he did was utilize every one of the handful of tools he was given, and pushed his films to their absolute breaking point. His subversion was a sort of perversion, an excess of imagination and a willingness to show the world as he saw it. If that meant creating a filmography that looked suspicious to the House Committee of Un-American Activities, well, that was just the natural result of having an eye and an ear for how the common man lived.
It can’t have helped that his last film before the blacklist order came down was Thieves’ Highway, an all-out indictment of capitalism cloaked in the noir-drenched mode of a typical Fox gritty, »
- Scott Nye
★★★★★ Alongside Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, and John Huston, Otto Preminger was one of the most influential film noir directors in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. This new collection by the BFI gives us three of his finest works, namely Fallen Angel (1945), Whirlpool (1949) and Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950). The collection itself is handsomely, if a little sparsely, presented with a small but informative booklet, and trailers and commentaries for each film.
- CineVue UK
1971 was an incredibly violent year for movies. That year saw, among others, Tom Laughlin’s Billy Jack, with its half-Indian hero karate-chopping rednecks; William Friedkin’s The French Connection, its dogged cops stymied by well-heeled drug runners; Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, banned for the copycat crimes it reportedly inspired; and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, featuring the most controversial rape in cinema history. Every bloody shooting, sexual assault and death by penis statue reflected a world gone mad.
It seemed a reaction to America’s skyrocketing crime. Between 1963 and 1975, violent crimes tripled; riots, robberies and assassinations racked major cities. The antiwar and Civil Rights movements generated violent offshoots like the Weathermen and Black Panthers. Citizens blamed politicians like New York Mayor John Lindsay (the original “limousine liberal”), who proclaimed “Peace cannot be imposed on our cities by force of arms,” and Earl Warren’s Supreme Court, »
- Christopher Saunders
Written by Doran William Cannon
Directed by Otto Preminger
Of the nearly 70 films I’ve written about in this column, I would whole-heartedly recommend each without reservation, to not only watch, but to spend good money on. With 1968′s Skidoo, out now on a new Olive Films Blu-ray, I’m breaking that tradition. I wouldn’t suggest anyone purchase this film, though everyone should see it. This is a most unusual, absolutely indefinable, wholly unique motion picture.
I initially viewed Skidoo on the sole basis of its starring Alexandra Hay, who I’ve been smitten with since first seeing her in Jacques Demy’s Model Shop, released the following year. On this point, Skidoo succeeds. Hay is a delightful beauty, charming in a way that is very much of the era. Admittedly unfamiliar with her biography, I can’t imagine why she didn’t have more of a career. »
- Jeremy Carr
4 items from 2015
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