Reviews written by registered user
|6 reviews in total|
In the 1960s spy thrillers were definitely the in thing in cinema, following the success of the James Bond series and the screen adaptation of Le Carre's "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold." As a result of the success of the genre generally, some duds were made that probably would not have been made otherwise. "The Ipcress File" comes to mind, and "The Quiller Memorandum" is only marginally better than it. "The Quiller Memorandum" is not a conventional East vs. West spy film, but instead has the spy (Quiller) investigating a neo-Nazi movement operating out of West Berlin. The chief attribute of this otherwise humdrum film is the excellent set design and on-location cinematography. Even the excellent cast can't save the film from mediocrity due to the unbelievable and contrived story. If you want to see good films about neo-Nazis, try "The O.D.E.S.S.A File" or "Berlin Express". You can skip this one unless you want to see some good shots of West Berlin in the mid 1960s.
One of the most enjoyable films I have seen in years, even if it was at least somewhat fiction. There is a lot to be said for focusing on the positive aspects of Cole Porter's life, even if his homosexuality was only hinted at in this film. Had this film been made today (and it was - the despicable De-Lovely) Porter's homosexuality would be the focus of the film rather than the music. The music and style make this film work. Even if the dance numbers aren't up to Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers standards, there is still a lot of entertainment here. You leave this film with a nice feeling about life, which is more than can be said for most movies made since the Hayes Office went out in the 1960s.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is supposed to be a comedy, but it is really a eulogy to all the
things that Hollywood values (money, sex and drugs in unlimited
quantities, and I almost forgot, euthanasia as well). That may explain
why it isn't really funny. Igby's brother is marginalized in the film
because he is a fairly straight student at Columbia (meaning that he
will eventually graduate and do the unthinkable - work for a living,
even if it is for one of his mom's rich friends). The brother provides
an interesting foil to Igby, who gets away with just about everything,
and is pretty nasty while doing it too.
As a coming of age film it does not work either simply because it is so nasty. In coming of age films the protagonists (if they don't die like James Dean did in "Rebel Without A Cause") presumably learn something about life. Igby learns nothing from anybody, not ever, and is totally abrasive in the process.
The most fitting part of the film the end when Igby takes the bus to California (presumably Hollywood) where he can live happily ever after in his wanton ways. That is what we are supposed to think anyway, that Igby's life will be one continuous Hollywood party. However the real end of Igby once he makes it to Hollywood will be something like dying from a heroin overdose under the Santa Monica Freeway.
For a good coming of age/teen rebellion film, try "Harold and Maude". It is a lot wittier with the gratuitous nastiness of Igby. When H&M was made the coming of age genre was showing signs of wear, but not completely worn out. Whenever I see a film like Igby I think that Hollywood has nowhere to go but up, but I always end up being wrong. Apparently the well of vapidity has not run dry yet.
William Blake poetry juxtaposed with 1930's singing cowboy film cinematography (high contrast/low resolution), and comes complete with Neil Young doing his very best Tangerine Dream. But underneath that jumble the story is unremarkable, trying to present the contradictions of modern culture in an Old West setting. The slow pace does not help things - the film only seems like it is 6 hours long. Even more pompous and tedious than the Coen Brothers "The Man Who Wasn't There". When Kubrik presented cultural contradictions like those in this movie in his films (such as Eyes Wide Shut among others) it worked, but Jim Jarmusch is definitely no Kubrik.
This film is chiefly watchable because of the fine acting performance by Richard Conte and also because of the location being San Francisco, which always seems to add a nice touch to any film. The viewer is led by the title and the opening scene of the movie to believe that it is film noir, which it is not. While it has some noir elements the story, in which Richard Conte hides out on a fishing boat, is more of a personal story of redemption, not for the tragic gambling operator played by Richard Conte, but for the boat captain's son, played by Charles Bickford. Despite the sublimely noiresque opening shot most of the camera work during the movie is uninspired and the noir opening of the movie contradicts the subsequent story. The music score by Frank Skinner is uninspired to the point of being tedious. The directing and screenplay adequately portray what is essentially a fairly weak story. Still worth watching if you like the old black and whites.
This movie is so ineptly made, that it winds up being great. If you have
seen the movie "Ed Wood" then with "Glen or Glenda" you can see how idiotic
Ed Wood really was and how well "Ed Wood" captured the essence of his films.
Crossdressing was undoubtedly dear to Ed's heart and with "Glen or Glenda"
he was trying to make an important statement about it. However, even if he
had been competent enough to manage that, I doubt that 1953 was ready for
any statement about crossdressing. The film is so badly made that it's a
hoot! Definitely a lot of entertainment value in this one even if it is a
colossal failure. For a better made commentary on crossdressing, which is
also quite entertaining, watch "Ma Vie en Rose".