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In Cold Blood (1967)
I don't think it had the effect on the audience that Capote wanted...
... at least for me, because by the end of the movie, I really, really wanted Dick and Perry to die. It wasn't a feeling of revenge. I didn't care if they suffered, in fact it is too bad lethal injection wasn't around before it was, because I'm sure a botched hanging could be an awful way to go. I just had a feeling that the earth was a safer place without these two guys in it. The movie did a great job of humanizing two cold blooded killers in a way that few films had done before. It showed their backgrounds, it showed that Dick was the leader and definitely the more dangerous of the two. He didn't really care that he killed four total strangers, and he was even somewhat apathetic about his own death. Perry probably would have had none of this killing business and just gone on to re-offend and be re-incarcerated for less violent offenses the rest of his life, AS LONG AS he didn't meet up with a stronger more forceful personality such as Dick Hickock, who called Perry on his fantastic tales of untrue crime.
Before DNA and the many advances in forensics since 1959, Alvin Dewey has a huge task on his hands. Who would kill four likable people like the Clutters with seemingly no motive? Today the answer is - almost anybody. In 1959 this killing made national news because of its random senseless nature and its rural locale where crime was very low. John Forsythe was mainly an actor on television his entire career, but he was outstanding as the lead investigator in this crime. He keeps the police procedural part of this film quite interesting with his methodical sensible approach.
The last part of the film shows Dick and Perry on death row for five years. If you didn't see the first part of this film you'd think these guys were artists, poets, philosophers. That's just because they are being told when to get up, when to go to bed, when to eat, etc. Even the most hardened of criminals will seem OK if you take all of their decisions away from them, and that's how parole boards get fooled, which is something society has learned the hard way over the last 50 years. Or have we? I watch this film and I can't help but think about the Carr brothers. Next to them Dick and Perry look like Rotarians. There are so many similarities. Both killed in Kansas, both picked houses occupied with complete strangers where they thought there was lots of cash, both killed the household dog - the Carrs as a parting shot after executing four people after hours of ritualistic sexual torture and robbery - Dick and Perry killed the Clutter's German Shepherd because they weren't going to be able to get near the Clutters without doing so. Yet the Carr brothers remain alive 15 years after the crime with their death sentence being overturned by the gutless Kansas Supreme Court. Google "Wichita Massacre" to see what I'm talking about.
Finally this film teaches how not to react to a home invasion, a term that would not exist for another 35 years after the Clutters were killed. If somebody breaks into your house BECAUSE you are there, you can assume they are after much more than your stuff. Your first duty is ESCAPE because then the criminals realize the clock is ticking, especially in the age of cell phones and 911. Resist with lethal force if you can, escape when you can. If the Clutters had all scattered in four different directions rather than allowing themselves to be tied up to protect the other family members it is likely that at least Perry would have panicked and that would have been the end of it.
Most chilling scene to me - Nancy Clutter winding her alarm clock before she goes to bed as a train whistles - the same whistle is heard by Dick and Perry as they slowly drive up to the Clutter home. Her killers and her own death were that close and she didn't have a clue. Highly recommended.
Great memories of a great campy show!
Being just eight when this show debuted, it was my first exposure to the character of Batman, and I was quite surprised, years later, when I found out Batman had been penned in the comics as "The Dark Knight". There is absolutely nothing dark about Adam West's rendition of the character.
In this age of infomercials and reality TV, reruns have become a thing of the past, but I've really been enjoying revisiting the show via the newly released DVDs of this short-lived sensation. Looking back on this show nearly 50 years later, I just don't know how the players kept a straight face with their intentionally cheesy lines. Neil Hamilton, a film actor of some prominence from the silent era through the 1930's, is just great as the stone-faced Commissioner Gordon. I didn't even know his place in film history until years later when I got into classic films.
And as for Adam West, I've always admired his great positive attitude about his short lived fame. Through the years he's often parodied his role in commercials and you could tell he was really enjoying himself and poking fun at the character he once played. The DVDs have a long interview with Adam West and he really is a great guy. Now in his 80's, West just said he felt very fortunate to have had work as an actor throughout his career, to have good friends and a great family, and to have been part of such a big part of 60's TV culture, even if for a short time - what a class act who did not let fame go to his head.
Now for the show itself. Everybody wanted to be a guest star villain, and many did. As well as the original villains from the Batman comics such as the Riddler, The Penguin, and The Joker, there were some added that were unique to the series such as Victor Buono as King Tut. The odd thing about Tut was that the show actually showed the origin of Tut as a criminal - a respected Egyptologist who was hit on the head and became an arch criminal when not in his right mind. He was also one of the rare villains for which Batman seemed to have compassion. Nobody ever wondered why The Joker wandered around in loud suits and makeup or why The Penguin never got tired of smoking cigarettes ala FDR and wearing a tux.
Then there is Robin, who is actually Batman's young ward Dick Grayson. Dick is actually in high school, and at Wayne mansion Bruce Wayne is always lecturing Dick about the importance of good diet, exercise, education and seat belts. Yet, that doesn't prevent Bruce Wayne as Batman from putting someone not of legal age repeatedly in harm's way. And harm never seemed to mean mere gun play. Instead it was the danger of being eaten by giant clams or being sawed in half by a buzz saw. You couldn't say Gotham's criminals lacked imagination.
Finally an observation about Batman in relation to "Wild Wild West", both of which aired at about the same time in the 1960's. Wild Wild West had good ratings, but the show's producers decided to cancel because CBS said the show was too violent, when the fight scenes were no worse than Batman's fight scenes. Maybe they should have added some cartoon KAPOW!, OUCH! and POW!. Seriously, add those captions into the Wild Wild West fight scenes and you would have had the same thing.
So if you have some time and spare cash, get the Batman DVDs and watch one of the great fads of television that people still remember fondly 50 years later. And see if you notice the little jokey touches like Ma Barker's buxom daughter's prison number being "35-23-34" and the fact that Robin's bat pole was smaller than Batman's pole. Phallic humor for the ages. Highly recommended.
Day of Reckoning (1933)
Una Merkel steals a show that is short on details and motivation
Richard Dix as wealthy John Day is celebrating his birthday with his wife Dorothy (Madge Evans) and their friends. But there is trouble brewing. In the opening scene the milkman (Stuart Erwin as Jerry) has been instructed not to give the Days any more milk until the bill is paid up, which Dorothy makes excuses for, yet she still manages to keep a recently purchased expensive evening gown. The cops break up the celebration and arrest John for embezzlement, which he minimizes as just some kind of misunderstanding. It is - other people don't seem to understand that John has taken to "borrowing" money that is not his to satisfy his wife's expensive tastes.
The Days soon find out who their friends are as John doesn't even have the money to make bail. The only person who will help them is Hollins (Conway Tearle). However, his motivation is to keep John in jail so he can have his way with John's beautiful wife. He pays off a crooked lawyer to do just a bad enough job that John gets two years in the county jail when normally he would have gotten probation.
Dorothy talks the talk of the loyal wife, but she likes Hollins' gifts. Two years gives Hollins just enough time for Dorothy to forget John, have his way with her for awhile, and then discard her. However, Hollins' plot is not foolproof. You see, he has a recently discarded mistress, she does not like being replaced by Dorothy, plus she apparently has access to firearms. I'll let you watch and see how this all works out.
This love quadrangle - John, Dorothy, Hollins, the discarded mistress - and the story behind somebody in jail who is loyal to John beyond reason (Raymond Hatton as Hart) would take at least 90 minutes to flesh out halfway properly, but this was probably a second bill film so 68 minutes is all we are allowed. As a result, I felt like I had really been rushed through a story I didn't truly understand.
Now for the bright side - Una Merkel as Mamie, the Days' loyal servant, who somehow manages to keep everything going for the Days' two very small children, nursing them in sickness, and even bringing them to the yard in front of the jail so John can see his children. She is much more of a mom to these kids than their actual mother. Then there is the sweet romance that brews between Mamie and Jerry the milkman. You know how Jerry feels upfront, but you are not sure just how serious Mamie is until the very end. In this film that is a sea of characters who have bad intentions or at least bad actions, Mamie and Jerry are a breath of fresh air and actually take up more screen time than Richard Dix gets.
I'd recommend it, but just remember this little precode was probably never intended to be an A list film.
Worth it just to see Montgomery and Garbo in their only film pairing
There is really nothing that unique about the plot. Variations on it have been done prior to this and would be done after this. Plus, for a precode, it sure had lots of moral lessons.
The film opens on a party as wealthy Raymond Delval (Lewis Stone)is pouring champagne into five glasses stacked one on top of another. He and his companions then toast each other and Yvonne Valbret (Greta Garbo) as their artistic inspiration - she has been the subject of the writing of one, the model for the sculpture of another, and the subject of a painting for a third. They all seem to be somewhat in love with her, and she is also being "kept" by yet another wealthy man. Garbo is simply beautiful here - an old soul yet full of energy. Her eyes settle on young André Montell (Robert Montgomery), as she is bored with artists. There is instant electricity between the two of them, and the not so subtle insinuation is that they begin sleeping together almost immediately. Now anytime somebody - in this case Garbo - can make the dapper Montgomery look like a tongue tied innocent schoolboy, you know you have a sophisticate on your hands. It turns out that Andre is still a student and plans to enter the consular service sometime soon.
Andre idealizes Yvonne, and although he was at the party - a place where he said he knew nobody so you have to wonder WHAT he was doing there in the first place - he has no idea she has such a checkered past right up to her present living arrangements. Also, there is another fellow who went to prison for embezzlement just trying to get enough money to dazzle Yvonne with presents. Although Andre seems horrified at Yvonne's past lifestyle when he finds out, you have to wonder if he didn't think something was up, because when his "respectable" family pays him a surprise visit shortly before Yvonne comes to call, he heads her off at the pass and is even just a little rude to her in not wanting his family to know about her. If Andre was so in love with her, wouldn't he want the family to meet her rather than shoo her out into the street? So Andre, after learning the whole truth about Yvonne's past, breaks off the relationship. However, Yvonne does not go back to her old life as mistress of a wealthy man, and eventually she becomes poor. Andre sees her in a café and when she doesn't have the money to pay for her meal, does it for her, and things seem to pick up where they left off, but not really.
Andre buys Yvonne a house, so she is in a "kept" situation once again, but she figures this is OK because she believes that she and Andre are in love again. Plus Andre has put her out in the French countryside, and you have to wonder if the isolation isn't intentional because Andre is not exactly being on the level with Yvonne. You see, he has become engaged to a "respectable" girl of whom his family approves and in keeping with his future profession as a consul. Something has got to give, and I'll let you watch and see how this works out.
Like I said in the beginning, there is nothing special about this plot, but it is worth it just for the acting, the atmosphere, and the art design. Earning honorable mention here is Lewis Stone. In the precode era he played more than a few cads, and he does a magnificent job here too, making teenage girls into his mistresses so that when he tires of them they will not be too old to find another man. How generous of him! Recommended but hard to find and not even in the Warner Archive yet at the time I am writing this.
A strange little film
This is a variation and predecessor of "They Drive By Night", and it periodically airs on Turner Classic Movies and seems to be in good condition. That's important because this film is on DVD-R via the Warner Archive and has had absolutely no restoration done to it - whatever happened to be in the Warner vault is what you get. I just thought I'd mention that in case you decide to purchase it - there is no other way to own it.
This film is not an introduction to Bette Davis. She had first worked at Universal and then switched over to Warner Brothers in 1931 where she starred opposite George Arliss in "The Man Who Played God". Universal thought she didn't have any potential. Bette Davis is still playing a largely supporting role here. Paul Muni is the actual star as a Latino man with big dreams (Johnny Ramirez) as he finally graduates from night school with a law degree. However, his first case finds him totally unprepared to the point of malpractice. Next he loses his temper and punches the opposing attorney in the nose. The judge recommends that he be disbarred, and our hero's short law career is over. A disheartened Johnny wanders down to a border town where he becomes friends with Charlie Roark (Eugene Palette), and soon becomes partners with him in a casino there. Bette Davis plays Roark's wife who secretly loves Johnny. She thinks the only thing coming between her and Johnny is her marriage, so she leaves her drunken husband in the garage one night with the car running, making his death look like an accident to the authorities. However, Johnny really loves a society girl, and this drives Roark's widow to even more desperate measures.
Muni's last lines in the film and the apparent moral to the story will have modern audiences probably saying "What the...", but you have to remember this was made in 1935 and appreciate it for the performances.
Chance at Heaven (1933)
Besides the obvious themes ...
... that of how the snobby rich can use the poor, and to them EVERYONE who isn't rich is poor, and how a man's head can be turned by an obvious goofball, there is something to learn here about how men fall in love. I'm going to say upfront that I spoil the plot completely here, but the rather simple plot is not really the point of my review.
'Blacky' Gorman (Joel McCrea) owns a gas station in a small town, and even in the midst of the Great Depression is doing well enough that he is thinking of opening a second station and he owns a modest bungalow nearby. His best girl is Marje Harris (Ginger Rogers). She invites him over to her family's house for Sunday dinner, she helped him figure out a financial plan that got him on the road to success, and decorated his bungalow for him. When there is a social function in town, they go together, but that's just the problem. They've been going together but nowhere in particular for three long years. For a man who makes his living off of other people using roads, Blackie himself seems to have no roadmap when it comes to romance.
Marje is impatient. She asks him "Is there anyone else?" The answer is a truthful "No". But that's the problem there is NOBODY else - as in no competition at all. Blackie says, and I think he means it, that she should know how he feels, that when he gets just a little bit more money of course they'll get married, etc. And then it happens...competition shows up in the person of the extremely helpless and wealthy Glory Franklyn (Marian Nixon). Her only real talent is running into inanimate objects with her car, and she apparently let's snobby mom do all of her thinking for her and doesn't seem to mind. Mom has even picked out a future husband for her.
Now for a guy who has seemed slow and deliberate when it comes to love before, Blackie is bowled over by Glory, and it's not the money. They elope within days after meeting, and both seem happy living in Blackie's modest bungalow, although Glory wants to redecorate it to make it her own. The problem is Marje doesn't just go on with her life, she hangs around to help Glory, since I doubt she could open a can of paint without adult supervision, and Marje even cooks up Blackie's favorite meal and lets Glory take the credit.
Now remember, Glory is a whimsical girl who has the same mindset of whatever dominant personality is around her, and for a few months it has been Blackie. But then Glory finds out she is pregnant and becomes hysterical. Glory's mom - who has always hated the idea of the marriage - comes sweeping back in. She convinces Blackie that Glory would get better medical care in New York, and takes her back with her. Weeks turn to months and Glory does not reappear. When Blackie shows up at the Franklyn New York mansion, he learns from Glory that the marriage was a mistake and that the doctor was wrong - she was never pregnant. The "A" word is never mentioned, but there can be no other explanation for her suddenly empty womb. Mom has regained control of Glory's puppet strings. I'm sure it will come a shock to mom at her life's end when she goes to hell and discovers it is filled with people whose ancestors did not come over on the Mayflower.
So Blackie goes back home, a sadder but wiser guy. Of course Blackie apologizes to Marje for letting his head so easily be turned. Of course Marje takes him back, and the last scene is of them sitting comfortably at his house eating his favorite meal, cooked, of course, by Marje.
How does this film teach us how men fall in love? By showing us exactly how they act when they are not in love. Blackie was not leading Marje on. He found her attractive, accomplished, helpful, and a good companion, but one that he did not love even though I doubt he himself realized it. When men fall in love they do it very quickly - just like he did with Glory. It's just too bad his heart had such bad judgment. Marje would have been wise to just leave Blackie behind after she realized he had feelings for Glory. Instead she hung around until the marriage imploded and is now back where she started - keeping steady company with a man who admires and may even marry her at some point, probably largely out of gratitude, but will never love her.
Highly recommended little B from RKO in the precode era that is heavily laced with interesting themes.
Yellow Jack (1938)
Somewhat like a bad imitation of a John Ford movie
It is circa 1900 in Cuba, and after quickly winning the Spanish American war, the American military is finding more casualties and danger in the mysterious "Yellow Jack" or Yellow Fever than it ever found in the easily dispatched Spanish troops. There are multiple theories as to what causes the disease, and Walter Reed (Lewis Stone), a group of physicians, and a group of ordinary soldiers are set to the task of determining the actual cause.
The dialogue that is written for the ordinary enlisted men which is supposed to demonstrate camaraderie, personal dreams, personal fears - the kind of scenes that John Ford excelled at directing - is just awful. It drifts between boring and silly, especially the lines Buddy Ebsen is stuck with. Among the soldiers is Irish American John O'Hara (Robert Montgomery), in probably one of the worst roles MGM ever gave him.I wonder who exactly thought that Robert Montgomery playing this role with an Irish Brogue was a good idea?
For some reason absolutely beyond me, O'Hara is just mad about nurse Frances Blake (Virginia Bruce). Granted, O'Hara's approach is not at all smooth nor conscientious, but nurse Blake is just plain awful to the guy. When she's not being condescending to John O'Hara, she's trying to use her feminine wiles to get him to volunteer for what could possibly be a deadly experiment in such an obvious way that even the rather thick O'Hara gets that she did not decide to meet him in the moonlight because she suddenly found him irresistible.
When O'Hara does volunteer for Reed's experiment on the cause of Yellow Jack, Nurse Blake probably makes him wish he would die of the disease just so he wouldn't have to listen to her droning speeches and pontificating that are supposed to be encouragement and flattery?? He probably liked her better when she didn't like him, because she talked less! So what's good about this movie? Lewis Stone as Walter Reed, and believe it or not, I really liked Virginia Bruce here. MGM often cast her as demure likable girls, and she really has me disliking her here, so her performance was good and showed she had range as an actress, it was just a bad role. Also, although everyone has probably heard about Walter Reed, this film tells you his role in eliminating a common killer that was a problem not just in Cuba, but in the U.S. southern states until the cause was found.
Probably worth it just for the historical angle.
The power of a chain reaction coupled with the question - Does motivation count for anything?
What seems like another simple little precode is actually asking some complex questions here and I think it deserves to be more fondly remembered.
Alexander Stream (Warren William) is a wealthy railroad tycoon. He's got a wife (Mary Astor) and son that he adores, but his wife is just more interested in being a society matron with all of its trappings than paying Alex needed attention. She apparently just thinks he's on autopilot and will never stray. It's not that she's a cold person, she's just preoccupied.
Alex's life changes one day when, while yachting, he rescues a drowning girl (Ginger Rogers as chorus girl Lilly Linda). He drives her back to her flat, and he follows her inside for what is supposed to be just a minute. That turns into bunches of minutes as they hit it off. Alex's puzzled male secretary and chauffeur go up to see what happened and walk in on an innocent but strange scene. Lilly and Alex are playing piano and singing "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" with Alex dressed up in some strange kind of head gear! Alex should be afraid, but not of the Big Bad Wolf, because in this beautiful young woman he is finding the companionship and fun he would like to have with his wife if only his wife would notice his frantic yoo-hooing! The friendship between Lilly and Alex turns to an affair when Alex's wife first forgets their anniversary and goes to a society event instead, and then goes on a weeks long yacht trip with her society friends while her and Alex's son is off at military school. There are two flies in the ointment. First, in the only real malicious act Alex performs in this entire film, he gets a cop (Sidney Toler as officer Moran) demoted to walking a beat for giving him not only a traffic ticket but some attitude. The second fly in the ointment is Lilly's - I guess you could call him a boyfriend, but he sure acts like an abusive pimp (J. Carroll Naish as Lou Colima). The only reason I can figure Lilly doesn't give him the air is that he put her in the show she is working in, and she had said before she hadn't been able to find work for a long time. So she needs this creep to butter her bread, but he has bigger ideas. He wants to use letters Alex has written to Lilly to blackmail the tycoon. Lilly wants no part of this, because she actually loves Alex.
In a confrontation gone terribly wrong, Colima threatens Alex with exposure when he comes to see Lilly one night, a fight ensues, and Colima fires Lilly's gun at Alex, hitting and killing Lilly instead when she jumps between the two. Alex finds an oh so convenient second gun (Exactly how many guns did Lilly have lying around this apartment anyways?) and, in self defense, shoots Colima dead.
Now Alex has committed no crime, but even if the police believe his story he is embroiled in a scandal that will ruin not only him, but his wife and child. He switches the bullets in one gun with the bullets in the second gun to make it look like a murder/suicide, hides the second gun takes his letters from Colima's coat pocket, and discretely drives away. His trick actually fools the homicide detectives, but there is one problem. Remember that beat cop who got demoted because of Alex and knows it was Alex that got him demoted? He is at the scene, saw Alex's car earlier in the evening while walking his beat, and looks around and finds the second gun and discovers the trick. He convinces his sergeant to give him 48 hours to solve the crime. How does this all pan out?Watch and find out. And remember that this is still the precode era.
When I asked at the beginning of the review - does motivation count for anything? - I am really talking about Alex and the beat cop, Moran, whose career Alex damaged. The cop probably is more interested in destroying Alex, because he assumes he is a probable suspect, than he is in getting justice. If he succeeds in bring in Alex, he will be a hero by deed, but by motivation he is just doing all of this investigating for petty revenge. Alex never had any malicious intent in his affair with Lilly. He met Lilly completely by coincidence and did a good deed when he fished her out of the water. He would never have succumbed to her charms had his wife noticed he was alive, but here he is embroiled in at best a love nest scandal, and at worst a murder case if he is exposed.
Give this one a look if you have the chance. Ginger was never lovelier and this is one of Warren William's more complex roles. Highly recommended.
Grand Central Murder (1942)
This time the Thin Man has curly hair...
... and this being a B MGM picture, Van Heflin as Rocky Custer is the civilian sleuth helping the rather befuddled detectives solve a murder, not William Powell.
The picture starts out with a man convicted of murder escaping his police escorts and calling his accuser (Patricia Dane as Mida King), a headliner in a Broadway show. He tells her she doesn't have long to live, and terrified, she leaves in the middle of the show to lock herself in her private railway car. Later she is found dead and, at first, presumed raped.
Unlike the Thin Man movies though, this film rounds up all of the suspects first, and then through them telling their stories in flashback do we find out that Mida was really a pretty awful person and that each person there does have a reason to have killed her. She has been walking on people since the day she hit puberty, and was about to hit her big score in a man with seven million dollars, already planning her Reno divorce before she is even married. The murderer may be guilty of homicide and deserve to go to the chair, but he is probably also eligible for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award for disposing of this completely amoral person. Also unlike the Thin Man films, Rocky Custer, our civilian sleuth, and his wife/assistant are also suspects and therefore herded with the others.
The group of suspects is herded from an interview room, to the theatre where Mida worked, and finally to the private car and murder scene itself, usually by Rocky artfully goading and manipulating head detective Gunther (Sam Levene). What is taking so much time here besides the fact that everybody had reason to be glad Mida is dead? The medical examiner is having a terrible time figuring out what exactly killed her.
Having the entire group together the whole time makes the film a bit claustrophobic, but the flashbacks help with that some. Van Heflin is just great here, and stands head and shoulders above the cast with his performance, not that the others are bad. He just takes what could have been a somewhat dull B picture and brings out the best in the other characters, making it almost an A production. Do pay attention to the dialogue - it is fast, furious, and most of it is consequential to the plot. It is easy to miss something.
Just one more comment - somebody in the comment section said that this was a remake of Murder in the Private Car. They share absolutely no similarity in plot other than the fact that railroads are involved. Recommended.
How can you show any humanity if nobody has ever shown you any?
This film starts just as homeless prostitute Aileen Wuornos is going to kill herself with a gun she ironically keeps for protection, but first she wants to buy a drink with the few dollars she has left in her pockets because she doesn't want anybody to get for free what she worked so hard to get. So she goes down the hill to a gay bar to get her last drink where she meets Selby. Selby is sexually attracted to Aileen, who at first gives her a fierce rebuff. But then Selby tells her a little about her story - how her family is trying to "reform her" from being gay - and Aileen accepts at least some friendship from her, and changes her mind about suicide.
The friendship grows to mutual sexual attraction, and Aileen and Selby run off and move into a motel. Aileen intends to go straight, dresses up for interviews, and gets turned down by everyone. Selby's affection turns to impatience and ultimately angry manipulation as she uses Aileen's attachment to her to get her to go back into prostitution so that they can go out and have a good time. Aileen ultimately gives in, and that's when she meets up with convicted rapist Richard Mallory, whom she claimed to kill in self defense. That is the scenario the movie shows. From that point forward something in Aileen just snaps and she sees every john as a rapist worthy of death, even the ones she had to cajole into accepting her services using sob stories of fictitious hungry children.
The movie is grim and if you read the headlines at all during the late 80s and early 90s you know the story, but just let me say that for once the Academy got it right by giving Charlize Theron Best Actress Oscar. If you've ever seen the actual Aileen Wuornos captured on film, somehow the beautiful Theron got her down even to the wild look she'd get in her eyes - the look of an animal caged.
The movie didn't go too much into the real Aileen Wuornos' past, but all I can say is that she never had a chance given what I read. Born to a teenage girl and a schizophrenic criminal father, abandoned to be raised by grandparents who didn't want to be burdened with her or her brother, and then thrown out of the house by her grandfather after her grandmother's death when she was 15, nobody ever treated her like a human being. I'd like to think the title of this film - Monster - is the ultimate in sarcasm, because what else could Aileeen Wuornos ever have become but a monster given that all she had ever known from other human beings was monstrous treatment.
Highly recommended but very depressing.