Reviews written by registered user
|67 reviews in total|
With that title one would expect either a western, a p.i./cop dark streets noir,or a war drama. Well it's in the West on a sheep ranch and Rory Calhoun is the protagonist. Jean Simmons is there to provide the standard romantic figure but is way too sophisticated to be believed as a outland waif. Stephen McNally like his contemporary Charles McGraw just looks of villainy so its surprising when he carries a badge while Mr. Ahearne like his screen daughter just looks out of place. So one gets a character study instead of a shootalot as the title implies. The actors do the script,the director sees his slide continuing,and the viewer wonders why the title wasn't used by Randolph Scott for one of his Ranown epics.
At another studio perhaps there would have been a happier ending,with all the little people getting together and buying that farm. Capra maybe for that or over at Twentieth Century Fox Shirley Temple could have sung some happy tunes while Bill Robinson danced with Lenny and George in the background Lenny and George being her caretakers until they find her rich relative's ranch in the San Joaquin Valley. Over at Warners perhaps a shootout ending with George killing Curley before collapsing dead with Lenny and Mae free to fall in love. Lewis Milestone directed a realistic drama about the forces that drive us to be either humane or inhuman,whether inside of ourselves or beyond our control. The character of George could have treated the retarded Lenny as a beast of burden to bolster his own image but it's the ranch owner's son Curley who does that to most of the workers except for Charles Bickford who he envies and fears. The character of Mae is meant to be seen as both shrill and pathetic trapped in a loveless marriage in a setting where she thought she would be elevated considered one of "better people" of the community;has come to realize too late her true role as a breeder of more Curley's. Lenny represents the trusting masses who follow whatever voice is loudest or gives the most reward and by not being able to discern his own innate strength mot destroyed or ruthlessly controlled. The example of Nazism and Communism alive and baring fangs in Europe gave added weight to the role of Lenny. Both had taken over stricken societies with visions of a new day with rewards for the faithful brutal remorseless doom for those who challenged them. Film is not escapist fare no bright tomorrow over the horizon as in Ford's version of The Grapes of Wrath,only one little man permanently crippled and alone in a society that barely knows he exists.
The only thing the real Tecumseh and this film's Tecumseh have in common is they were both Native Americans. Following on the heels of the successful Broken Arrow with James Stewart and Jeff Chandler as The Apache Leader Cochise,Hollywood flirted with the Indian as A Sympathetic Figure for a moment in series of films of dwindling quality. Columbia got on the bandwagon with this non epic depicting the historic Tecumseh as wishing to live in peace with the advancing White Eyes. In reality Tecumseh led a bloody campaign that for a brief moment seemed to be on the point of keeping the Midwest Native. The Indian Wars East of the Mississippi were far more bloodier than the ones John Ford,Raoul Walsh and others portrayed for the movie going public. Anyway The Bad White Eye and the Bad Indian ruin everything even causing the scene from the Glen Ford William Holden western The Man From Colorado of a burning town to be used again. So historical no as usual, action packed in recompense, no. Worth a peek only if you need to.
Alfred Newman's thundering score delivers more epic feelings than this film conveys. Is there some scenes that were cut? Did the producers run out of money? Not one battle scene to match the grand score's promise.A mismatch of promise and actuality. Over at Warner Brother's the great Max Steiner let loose the class A "The Adventures of Don Juan" theme that matched that films' much more lively proceedings. Tyrone Powers and Errol Flynn are labeled swashbucklers because their early career triumphs were in slash and bow movies, with IMHO Flynn the greater. By this time in their respective careers they were quite sick of the label but while The Captain is all serious except for Cesar Romero's lusty portrayal of Cortes' Don Juan has a tongue in cheek appeal though when the time comes Errol and Steiner's score rise to the challenge of rescuing the kingdom. See Don Juan for the action, humor,and score listen to Captain's theme and what could've been.
This is one of the great glimpse into another world films the world being the pre WWII American Army and a particular company. Burt Lancaster plays 1st Sgt.Milt Warden a "professional" professional soldier who in another time would've been senior centurion in the legions of Rome. His domain is his company which he runs for an empty shirt captain more interested in winning Boxing tournaments than leadership. Some of the NCOs in the company have earned their positions by being on the boxing team rather than individual merit but Lancaster's Warden keeps them in line;he can kick all their asses. Into this self contained world comes PVt Robert E.Lee Prewitt another regular with a very strong individualist streak. Played by Montgomery Clift in subtle macho mode the two lifers and the others that populate this film live in a special sealed off environment the dangerous romances with officer's wife Deborah Kerr and the hooker Donna Reed?, the Treatment Prewitt endures for not joining the boxing team, the drills, the monotony, and the friendships Prewitt and his good buddy Maggio Frank Sinatra in particular,and the forces of evil the bullying NCOs and Ernest Borgnine's brutal bear of a stockade overlord, are portraits of a lost world that would be ripped open by Japan's attack on December 7 1941. While John Wayne's Sgt. Stryker may be the NCO of Moviedom but Lancaster's Warden is three times as intelligent and just as macho with a ladykiller smile. This and Tunes of Glory and The Hill are good looks at a military world not on the firing line.
All this film lacked in its atmosphere was a scene of Richard Burton meeting with a seedier version of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre! This is not to say it's a lighthearted romanticized spy drama the pair made their own ala The Mask Of Dimitrios but a grim depressing look at one of the cogs in the Great Game played between the Stalwart Capitalists and the Commie Hordes. Peeled off what is shown is the human beings who are used and discarded by their uncaring governments, the levels and sublevels of the spy business that Burton's character Leamas is aware of and inured to or so he thinks until he gives one of the great acid dipped outbursts of rage loathing and pity in '60's film history. The East Germans could've just as easily been their evil fascist reactionary cousins the Nazis the military uniforms look the same the demeanors and voices match that of the screen Nazis Greenstreet and Lorre knew but their world is drained. The only true believer in the film who would've given the audience rousing speech in a WWII era film is Claire Bloom's Nan, the British Communist, who underneath that title is a lonely woman hoping to flee the fate of her boss at the library where she and Leamas meet. It is one of Richard Burton's finest performance before Liz, booze and Hollywood whoring( Where Eagles Dare, Raid On Rommel, Pardon Me While I Vomit this Performance Out) did his acting credentials in. (Though his last role in 1984 sums up all the Controls, Mundts,Smileys and their lessers in this film quite well)
An adequate attempt at portraying Homer's Iliad which suffers from miscast leads and a biased viewpoint. Ms. Podesta and Monsieur Sernas as the instigators of the ensuing carnage don't give off the melodramatic lust of doomed lovers,while some of the other actors look as if holding their weapons and armor for any length of time would have been a strain. Torin Thatcher is a good cynical Ulyssees,but is overshadowed by Kirk Douglas and Armand Assante portrayal of the tough and wily king of Ithaca. Robert Douglas does capture Agamemnon though a proud,ambitious overlord with over arching delusions of his own importance while Stanley Baker though not physically my image of Achilles the greatest warrior of that far off age,does bring out his easily stung sense of honor and his bloodthirstiness. Also in scene there is a hint of a "relationship" between he and Patroclus that has caused gossip since Virgil's day. Only Menelaus in this film is portrayed as a complete chump The intervention of Aphrodite/Venus into his his marriage and the fact that in Homer, though not as skilled and renowned a warrior as Achilles, Ajax,Ulysses and others on the Greek side he is brave and noble unlike the weasel Paris in the story who is constantly berated by family and Helen for his less than stellar participation in the war. The first assault on the walls of Troy, the duel between an enraged Achilles and a in over his head Hector, and the sacking of the city are the highlights of this Wise effort. If only Steve Reeves and Sophia Loren had been available.
The various Law & Order and CSI franchises had better be glad Dolomite
doesn't pass through. The lady cops,ADAs,and coroners would all be
enthralled and the males be subject to such soul shivering,badge
melting warp speed kicks ( Wouldn't you just love to see David Caruso's
Horatio and that know it all on CSI get Dolomite's Hush Puppies pulled
from their respective asses)Ice T might start crying and get back on
the Playa Trail.
Low low budget,bad but enthusiastic acting,and a vision at what gutbucket nightclubs offered to its patrons;funk bands soul singers,the last vestiges of old style Chitlin Circuit entertainers( that weirdling dance troupe)James Brown,Wilson Pickett,Otis Redding,and a host of others came from those clubs to glory, while their peers labored on in local or regional stardom. Rudy Ray Moore came from that background and the character of Dolomite is a mix of the bold Black badasses who strutted through. He shouldn't have went to the joint, the swine didn't have a warrant, how his middle aged ,blubbery self maintained a loyal stable of kung fu wenches is a mystery only a student of cults can explain, but all that is beside the point. It's a glorious home movie of a legendary performer that compared to the mirrors of actors ranging from Established Hollywood to indie film snorefests,hits its mark. A fun dumb movie!
The other WWII my village is invaded dramas The Moon is Low, This is My Land with Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara,and Lewis Milestones far better production at Warner Brothers Edge of Darkness with Errol Flynn share the same roots as this film small European village is occupied by nasty Nazi hordes, collaborators emerge, then the Germans push it too far and active rebellion begins with soaring end themes and either a Winston or FDR imitator praising the heroic little people. This one is set in Grandfather Tevye's village no mean old commisars and secret police types here everyones happy and well fed and frolicking. Then the Hitlerites come and spoil everything. The ambiguity that the Hollywood capitalists felt in praising Stalin's empire's citizens led to some dreary melodramas and for some of the participants who may have either been in the American Communist Party or liberal organizations naively aligned to it, into Blacklistland. Mr. Milestone has to work with an overly talky Lillian Hellman screenplay and some young actors getting their feet steady. When the villagers finally go Cossack on the German rear echelon it's one big okay now get ready for the next commercial. The Edge of Darkness is similar but far better than this one. Though one is treated to Dean Jagger being heroic
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In The Cat People the issues that still reverberate in America today female empowerment,sex,violence,and isolation are displayed in a noir world. Irena Dubrovna in order to coexist with the humans must deny herself sexual satisfaction lest her inner beast destroys her partner and brings attention to herself. It is implied that she will find her true mate in the caged black panther since perhaps male werepanthers are rare or nonexistent. Alone in the human world in a foreign country she meets and attracts with her feline grace Oliver Reed and steps between a possible romance he has had with a female colleague.Because of her condition she fears to consummate her marriage a fact which doesn't concern her "sister" it seems who recognizes her at the wedding celebration held at the neighborhood restaurant. Reed tries to understand but can only hold out for so long until he and Alice his working partner rekindle their romance and Irina is sent to the care of the urbane Dr. Judd,Tom Conway doing his brother George Sanders proud,who may have practiced his charm on other attractive female patients,but he finds out too late this is no case of simpering upperclass girly neuroses he's dealing with. The violence inherent in Irina's nature is directed at her rival Alice, with sheep and Alice's bathrobe being the chief victims. All in all this belies its low budget origins and stands out as a class A movie horror or otherwise with its atmosphere of doomed self control,fear,and the lovely Simone Simon who would appear in another spooky drama THe Devil and Daniel Webster two years later
|Page 1 of 7:||      |