This experience was hampered for me by a freak situation in which either my flatscreen TV or my blu player, for the first time, didn't have any audio, so, nonplussed yet equally dauntless, I just said 'what the hell', put on the subtitles and watched the film with no audio. (Later, I discovered that I could have just unplugged both for ten minutes and everything would have been normal. You live, you learn. It taught me to pay more attention to what was happening on the screen, so it wasn't an entirely wasted endeavor.)
Here, the weakness, as always, was Ronald Reagan, who makes Keanu Reeves look like a great actor. Still, he wasn't bad (it was a war film, after all, with a role he was born to play), and he and Flynn were assisted by great supporting players, such as Raymond Massey and Alan Hale, who are always 'cash money' for me IMHO. As well, you have one of the greatest American directors of the period in Raoul Walsh, so it's basically win, win, win--except if you're a Nazi.
Being myself a Canadian, I was thrilled to find in my 'TCM Spotlight: Errol Flynn Adventures' (five films made during WWII in which Errol Flynn battles the Nazis) a film helmed by one of my favourite American directors of the period, in Raoul Walsh, with Flynn starring as a RCMP officer (typically called 'Mountie') making sure the Nazis can't succeed in their quest to sneak into Canada and, there, create another front in their quest to bring hell on Earth. As a child, I loved his rendition of one of my very favourite heroes (Robin Hood), and lately I quite enjoyed seeing the ill-starred (dying at 50--again in Canada--from a heart attack brought on by chronic alcoholism) native Australian who was perhaps the second-most alluring male thespian of all-time, behind the equally ill-fated Rudolph Valentino, in an audacious TCM 4-pack of outstanding adventure movies, such as 'Captain Blood' and 'The Sea Hawk', and an equally intriguing 4-pack of Westerns he made as his star began to wane.
This doesn't disappoint, as Walsh directs, just like he always does, with an appealing eye and a talent for setting up suspense and excitement. Highly recommended to either fans of Flynn, war films or of cinema from the period.
Essential for both horror fanatics and fans of early (up to and including the 30's) cinema to own on the highest-possible quality, and regular re-watches. It's simply THAT GOOD.
The fact that its American release date was Valentine's Day (its New York City premiere was two days earlier) only further hits home the fact that its immortality is due to the fact that it isn't simply a cornerstone of Gothic horror but with a vibrant love story at its very heart.
Simply marvelous work by Redford, Gene Hackman, Ritchie and cinematographer Brian Probyn. Essential purchase and rewatches for sports fans and the work of Redford, Hackman and Ritchie especially. Easily my favourite of Ritchie's work, next to, sentimentally, 'The Bad News Bears' (which is a whole different kettle of fish altogether).
One of Jarmusch's more atypical films, 'Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai', is still my personal favourite, but this is right up there alongside. It would also make an intriguing double-bill with Jeff Nichols' stellar, though more serious in tone, recent film, 'Mud'.
The ambiguity at the core of the film (and hence the 'doubt') really acts in the movie's favour. The script and direction are both tense and flawless, and the beautiful New York locations chosen to illustrate The Bronx in 1964 help air the play out, and give it more cinematic scope. It features some of the finest work I have seen from Philip Seymour Hoffman (though my favourites will always be 'Happiness' and 'The Master'), Meryl Streep (my most-esteemed works of hers are 'The Deer Hunter' and 'The Devil Wears Prada') and Amy Adams (this is her finest performance IMHO) as well as a breakthrough role for Viola Davis, who steals every scene she's in. This easily holds up well even with Shanley's Oscar-winning screenplay for 'Moonstruck', and, though dark and depressing, is thoroughly recommended for those who can stomach its subject matter, and peer into that abyss without flinching, as these fine exemplars of 21st-century American cinema so easily do here.
That it didn't win any of its five Oscar nominations is almost as ghastly, to the cinephile, as the misdeeds insinuated here are to the community at large. Must have been a strong year for film, methinks.
I had previously only seen two of Masahiro Shinoda's other works for The Criterion Collection--the earlier works 'Pale Flower' and 'Samurai Spy', and I don't know if it was on purpose by the company in selecting the titles, but I marveled at the breathtaking variety of his scripts, all from such a short timespan (1964-69). Being a patron of the theatre (in many different modes) and as anthropologically cosmopolitan in my approach to life as is conceivable, I salute Shinoda with a profound respect, and look forward to investigating as many of his other works as possible.
From my cheapo 5-film 'Screen Legends Collection'--you can get them for a few different actors and actresses from years gone by--pictured in the main page of this IMDb entry.
Barbara Stanwyck is one of my favourite actresses of the period, and is a classic 'femme fatale'. I've never been a huge fan of Fred MacMurray, but his 'nice guy' persona is used to sheer advantage by Wilder, and he end up both doing his finest work for Wilder (here and in 'The Apartment') and being the ultimate noir male protagonist. Interestingly, one of my favourite actors, Edward G. Robinson, thought so much of the script that he opted out of his demand of never doing a supporting role. Many people admire Wilder the director, but as a writer (or co-writer) he's just as cinematically important and influential.
Like any other film of his, at least that I've had the pleasure to see, it's worth a purchase and re-watches. The dialogue, especially, is simply fantastic. I'd take just one of his early works over a hundred of the films Hollywood churns out nowadays. They're simply that better and intrinsically satisfying. Immortal cinema.