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Evening in Byzantium (1978)
Strangely Prescient with Very Strange Casting
The plot premise of Evening in Byzantium really impressed me at the time as being a semi-plausible way that terrorists might be able to attack the US, and even before 9/11 I would sometimes think of it whenever the government proposed spending billions of dollars on missile defense systems that were supposed to protect us from "rogue states".
But the other thing about it that struck me and stayed with me over the years was how strange the casting was. Glen Ford as a scriptwriter wasn't too hard to accept because he becomes an aging action hero as the plot develops. But Eddie Albert was an odd choice in such a serious role, and Shirley Jones (Mrs. Partridge, for heaven's sake!) as a junkie was just bizarre.
A Diamond in the Dust
I stumbled across this film on late-night French TV last night, having missed the opening credits, but I was immediately struck by the sophistication of the production. Within a few minutes I was convinced that it had to be a Friz Lang film that I'd never heard of, but it wasn't until I checked IMDb this morning that I was able to confirm that suspicion. I had no idea that the final section of the film, with the trains of the afterlife, was coming, and I was, as the Brits say, gob-smacked. Corny and theatrical, sure, but also strange, beautiful, well-acted, and filmed with an eye that was a generation ahead of its time.