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Another side of "Vertigo".
In spite of some mistakes and unexplained turns already mentioned by other people, what makes this episode of "The Streets Of San Francisco" interesting, is the fact that there is some kind of "salute" to ALfred Hitchcock's classic. Not only the city of Frisco itself, with some of the same spots(they seemed to me), but the plot also contains elements... it is about a man who recreates the same lover, over and over again. Is like the "dark" side of James Stewart (Scottie Ferguson felt guilty, but was no serial killer). There are even some remarks about the hair of the girls, as Stewart did with Kim Novak... By the way, the name of one of Powers' characters is... Kim.
A Game with No Rules (1994)
Extraordinary exercise on style.
Indeed. An extraordinary exercise on style. It is one of the best short features I´ve seen. Of course, a salute to the old noir films, filled with femme fatale and losers (like that Ulmer´s masterpiece "Detour") but mixed up with that sign of the times called "twists of the plot". Anyway, it´s a pleasure to watch this funny game of seduction, murder, jealousy and... ¡oh, sure!... that beautiful and sooooo evident screen shots like they used to make on the forties and fifties. Should be played in cinema schools.
Man of the West (1958)
The most cruel redemption ever filmed.
I have always thought that `Out of the past', might have been the right title for `Man of the West', but there already was another masterpiece (Jacques Tourneur, 1.947). The idea of Past, chasing and catching up the characters had appeared before in other Mann's pictures (`Raw Deal', `Winchester 73', `Bend of the River'.), but in this one, the characters are trapped as if , suddenly, Time itself had gone back. Even some dialogue lines, talking about the passing of time, seem really abstract. For instance, we know that the times of killing on Link Jones´ (Gary Cooper) life were back on his youth. now Cooper looks quite old in this picture, but his Uncle Dock (Lee J. Cobb) doesn't realize. This distortion on the time perception should be added to that remannence, even perennity of the Tobins; meaning this: after all this years, they're alive, they're in the same place were Cooper deserted them. and even more amazing: their perpetuation. Because.where are their women? Or where have they been? No trace. And from the men portraits, you can't picture the kind of women they'd be. and there's a feeling of endogamy, of decay, so is full of meaning the presence of Trout (Royal Dano), a crazy deaf-mute gunfighter..
Many critics have commented `Man of the West' to be a Fantastic picture more than a Western. A time travel. destination: the past. Inside that trip, another one: a trip to nowhere, to a city called Lasso, to get the biggest bank robbery. the trip develops an empty land, without traces of civilization, without point of reference. a trip through `nowhere'.
A good medium for Link to revival the days of wilderness and violence with the bunch: an attempt to rape, a duel, a murder in the family. and at the end of the trail, Lasoo: a ghost town, where only a old couple of Mexicans live. The wife will be killed by Trout, pointing this way the meaningless of the Tobins existence. After that terrible crime, Mann creates one of the most cruel moments remembered on a fiction: Link shoots Trout who -agonyzing- runs, hands on the belly, through the abandoned streets of the ghost town. Mann raises the crane, as we hear Trout's animalistic howling.
Later, Link waits ceremonially for the rest of his family (sits patiently, smokes, loads his guns.), to proceed with Tobin´s extermination, to rid free from his past, to exorcise it. In this duel, Mann shows his master talent on the use of Cinemascope, wisely, containing on the same frame, the oficiant and the victim, letting us watch the sacrifice of an entire age, and so, the rebirth of the new Link Jones, of the new civiliced West (again, a civilization based on crime and violence). The most cruel redemption ever filmed. Cause basically, `Man of the West' is an atrox, cruel picture.
In those scenes where Dock talks Link, making him remember who he was, his own crimes, the Cinema -that always takes memories back, once and again- makes us see Cooper's juvenile face. That Cooper of `The Plainsman' or `The Westerner'. That young man playing the violent part that Dock Tobin designed for him, and that now, he refreshes sharing his memories.
The beginning of this time journey couldn't start anywhere but on a train, cause that's the symbol of the beginning of Cinema, and that's the most perfect Time Machine men has been able to invent, up till now.