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September Affair (1950)
What's Not to Like
Actually there's not much to not like about SA. But, there are many things to like:
1. A great plot premise. 2. Fantastic chemistry between Joseph Cotton and Joan Fontaine. 3. Fabulous scenery shots of Naples, Capri, Pompeii, and Florence. 4. An all-time standard song weaving its way throughout the movie. 5. As if The September Song wasn't enough, this film also features Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto and the world famous second theme from the third movement.
I'd rate this in the top four of Joan Fontaine's films. 1. Rebecca 2. Letter From An Unknown Woman 3. Suspicion 4. September Affair
What's not to like? Very little. Perhaps I would have preferred a happy ending.
Double Jeopardy (1999)
I Keep Watching It Over and Over
Let me be up-front. I loved it. Easily in my top 20 all time and maybe top 10.
I think it's a "Mind Thriller." The ingenious way she gets Angie's phone no. The scene at the BMW dealer where she gets Angie's new address. Later, she obtains Nick's new and latest name and his address through a Kandinsky painting. She recognized the painting from a newspaper article about Angie's "accident." It had been hanging in her house. She knew that all Kandinsky paintings were registered and used this to find Nick' New Orleans address.
I'm aware of the "relatively" low rating of this film. I've read most of the reviews and many of them are not so complimentary. Many of these people have rated the movie as a "0" or a "1." This is one reason why the rating is so low. I will now address some of the most common complaints about the movie:
1. Double Jeopardy doesn't exist. The main plot point of the movie is that you cannot be tried for the same crime twice in America. Many - apparently knowledgeable - people have said that this is not true as a point of law. I'm not a lawyer but I would like to ask a question: Has it ever been proved in a court of law? Has anyone ever murdered someone, paid their penalty, got out of jail, found the still alive person, and the killed them? I doubt that this has ever happened. If it does, I venture to say they would find the second murder justifiable.
I have always assumed that Double Jeopardy does in fact exist. Even it it really doesn't, then what is the problem? In U.S. culture, it does exist. It is used as plot points in many movies. Why did Charles (Terry Thomas) give a gun to Stanley Ford (Jack Lemmon) in How to Murder Your Wife.
2. No credibility. There are many action scenes in the movie. Each one is believable. Taken together, I guess one's credibility must be stretched. But, what is the problem? This is a movie that exists for our entertainment. Is it really so important that - although she was initially handcuffed - she swims to the surface in the bay, hits Tommy Lee Jones over the head with his own gun, and then swims to shore, is hard to believe. I enjoyed the scene. While watching it, I was not thinking that it's not credible.
Was Barry Kane (Robert Cummings in Saboteur) more credible when he, while two hands were hand-cuffed together, jumped off a very tall bridge, and somehow swam to shore while police officers were in pursuit?
3. Cops out of Double Jeopardy. The complaint was that although she initially wanted to kill Nick, she eventually only wanted her son back and thus reneged on the Double Jeopardy plot point. My response is that she changed her mind after she realized that "Simon Rider" had killed his wife. She now knew that he was more dangerous that she thought. She reverted to the no. 1 priority which was to get her son back. This is not spelled out in the movie and so it's a little like Hitchcock, isn't it? He loved to make the viewers think for themselves.
Speaking, of Hitchcock, I have wondered, what if this movie was exactly the same except he was the Director. Then what would the IMDb rating be? I maintain it would be close to 8.0.
4. Too Predictable. Yes, I admit it was predictable. I knew the moment she went to prison that she would get out and eventually be reunited with her son. So what? The ending was one of the most satisfying I've ever seen.
I watched "High Noon" for only five minutes and knew that the Marshal (Gary Cooper) would have a gun-fight at the end of the movie and that he would win. Didn't stop Gary from winning an Oscar at all.
5. Lacks Suspense. Suspense is not a concrete thing. I can only answer this complaint by saying that, for me, it was very suspenseful. When she found Angie Rider's new address in Colorado and, before going to the door, preparing the gun - was this not suspenseful? Many situations in the movie were suspenseful.
6. The Annoying Hesitation Before Shooting. When Libby (Ashley Judd) and Travis (Tommy Lee Jones) confronted Jonathan near the end, I agree that it was annoying that Jonathan hesitated before shooting. This allowed Travis to jump on him and eventually, allowed Libby to kill him. I didn't like it either but it didn't bother me. This seems to be the Hollywood way.
In summary, Double Jeopardy is great entertainment. It's clever, suspenseful, and has a tear-jerking ending.