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Say Goodbye (1971)
Hard piece of propaganda
I remember very well the effect this film had on me and many of my friends at the time. It was set to make us opposed to hunting in all forms and shapes. Perhaps it has a part in shaping some of the movements we see today especially among young people, who are vegans and anti violence, anti research, anti meat production, and anti a lot of things. Although they likely never have seen or heard of this movie.
Those who write here that several of the species portrayed in the movie are now extinct - which species are you talking about? Take polar bears - they have QUADRUPLED in numbers since 1960, because they are no longer hunted (and perhaps this film contributed to ending the hunt?). Are there any other species in the movie that have been eradicated? I don't think so. It is just a fiction of your mind. I remember one thing in particular about this movie - it was one voice that said that it was "ALREADY TOO LATE". I had to think about that. If it was too late, then why not just relax and enjoy what there is? We can't do anything anyway. That was my first contact with the apocalyptic visions that are common among environmentalists. These days, they are everywhere, with the fears for climate change. I have grown to become very skeptic of these movements, that I was once a very active part of. As a piece of propaganda, even Oliver Stone would have been proud of "Say Goodbye".
Bergmanesque by Bergmanites
This movie about a female gynecologist meeting a soldier on the subway is worth seeing more for the actors and beautiful b/w photography then for the story. It reunites Harriet Andersson and Lars Ekborg a decade after their memorable summer together. Many people connected to 'the Ingmar' were involved. Father and son Fischer did cinematography and photo. Lots of close up shots of ms Andersson should please her American admirers. The whole film focuses, Bergman style, more on moods and emotions than on story or character development. Lots of closeups of interesting faces. There is some witty dialog. Music by Swedish jazz legend Jan Johansson, his first score. This was as far as I can tell Alf Kjellin's final effort in Sweden, and then he settled in Hollywood.
Pull My Daisy (1959)
I, too was taken in by Kerouac's writing when I was adolescent. Free sex with willing babes, philosophy, drugs, travel, adventure, freedom to the max - what could be wrong with that? Why women would be interested in his lifestyle was less apparent to me. He could obviously talk for days and nights. Which together with his ability to remember conversations word for word for a long time makes me think of someone with a light touch of autism. Also the distance to others that is apparent in his writing. In the end he came across as a troubled and melancholy soul. This film gives us a rare view of the environment he spent part of the fifties in together with his chummy beatniks, where a myth was born (and is still being fed by some). You also get his voice over which runs the length of the film and is much like his writing. Endless associations and playful word games, stream of consciousness as they call it. One of the things that now puts me off is the negative depiction of women, in this film and in beat culture overall - unless they are the kind who are easily subordinated and available. Delphine Seyrig as the mother who actually feeds her son and takes him to school is the bad guy here. As is the Bishop's mother with her unamused expression - here you have them both, the mother and the wife from a beat perspective. Seyrig later went on to direct "Scum manifesto", no doubt fed up with a--holes like these jerks who never did the dishes. The talented David Amram wrote the score and plays some horn. He has called Kerouac a genius and one of the greatest of communicators, and I wouldn't mind having spent time with Jack. But I would rather have spent that time say, with Henry Miller, who was more joy than sorrow, and a better writer. Having said his, I too can feel nostalgia when I think of the beat era. I once went to a reading by Ginsberg and Orlovsky and was moved to tears and laughter like the rest of the audience. But, if you want the real story rather than the myth, read Carolyn Casady's "Off the Road" for starters. Btw, this film can be seen at google video.
En kärlekshistoria (1970)
I actually didn't see this movie when it came out, although I was 13 at the time. I just saw it for the first time. I have heard good things about it, so I watched until the end. It is told slowly and beautifully, as we would expect from this director. The boy, the girl and their teenage love are the story. As a backdrop, we have dysfunctional adults, parents, relatives, friends and others, none of who seems to enjoy life even one bit. That is one of the problems with the film. If it is understood that this is depicted from the children's point of view, then it is perhaps OK. But except for the young couple, they're all cardboard, one-dimensional.
I always felt this kind of movie has pretensions of realism, that it was made as a protest/alternative to the usual Hollywood fare, to "acting",to cinema as an escape. But it is only realistic to a very limited extent - the central love story. I frankly can't see it as any closer to "reality" than Sound of Music. Some see streaks of dark humor here. I must admit I cannot see that at all. It wouldn't hurt if it had been played as a comedy. I think that would be the only excusable way you could portray a group of people, a neighborhood, a nation this way - with a sense of humor. A modern successor to Andersson is Lukas Moodysson, equally adept with directing children but unable to direct people past adolescence with any depth. And last, folks, this is not a representative view of Sweden at any point in time, although some (including a few Swedes) claim it to be. It was never like this. I know, because I was there.
Jammin' the Blues (1944)
The Greatest Little Film Ever Made...
...may seem like an overstatement, but it is not.
What is so hard to comprehend is - why didn't they make more musical shorts like this? Wasn't the beauty of it totally apparent to everybody involved? I guess not. So many shorts were made for commercial reasons only, and with some luck there may be some artistic value in there. This is one exception - the only one? - where it seems they were the director had a vision and clearly could appreciate the music as art. Why didn't anybody ever think to shoot Lester or Charlie Parker on a live date? Crazy, man.
A pity there were no sequels. If you've seen anything of similar quality please share it!
Cape Fear (1962)
The generation gap
Reading the comments made here, it becomes apparent that these two films have a lot to say about how film-making and audiences changed between the sixties, the end of an era, and the eighties, when sound editing and special effects had become as important as acting and photography. The original - a psychological thriller with mostly excellent acting. Mitchum understated and therefore so menacing. Shot in black and white. A lovely and unnerving score by Bernard Herrmann - the music itself worth the price of admission.
The remake - loud and brutal, with the underlying psychology taking the back seat and the director relying on de Niros (over)acting and special effects.
Don't misunderstand. I enjoyed them both! Scorsese is a very gifted director and de Niro one of the best actors of his generation. But the original is, to me, so clearly superior in important aspects (acting, photography, musical score...). You may say the difference is aesthetical. I think there is more to it than that.
Many of those writing of their disappointment with the original here are probably younger people who saw the remake first, and were expecting something other than psychological subtlety and b/w photography. If generations can understand what they see differently, perhaps something is gained. Especially if the young can see what makes the original great, I think.
I am 47, and yes, I thought "The Shining" was the greatest horror movie I had seen until there was a rubber doll in the bathtub.
Farewell, My Lovely (1975)
Good reasons to watch it - one is the score by David Shire!
Some of the comments here deserve commentary. One complains about the high budget, another about the evident cost-cutting. Reminds me that some people are never happy!
The film is one interpretation of Chandler. I don't see any claims of it being the ultimate or final version. What I see is a film made with care, wit and obvious affection for the story. It is clearly a recreation, which the original films made in the forties were not.
There are many details that caught my eye, making this interpretation very genuine compared to most other movies trying to recreate a place in time. For example the jukebox near the Chinese joint is a well used 1939 Wurlitzer - perfectly chosen for the location and the time. At the end of the movie, a weary Mitchum plays a manikin baseball game in an arcade. The arcade is also carefully set up, and the game is one that is a good choice. It is Marlowe making a temporary escape from the daily grind. It could also be Mitchum himself back in a place where he may have spent his youth playing that same game. The jukebox and the arcade (you may now be able to guess what one of my main interests are, besides films) sets the time as the late forties. The careful choice of props is one thing that distinguishes a great period piece.
Some commented on the score. Listen even closer! There are some wonderful tunes and orchestrations there. This is one of my favorite film scores, and probably the best work of David Shire (lmk if you've heard any better). The theme song with the haunting trombone solo is known to everyone in Sweden, after it was picked as closing signature for the longest running show on Swedish National Radio, "Smoke Rings" with gravel-voiced Leif Anderson playing "Sweet and swinging music for your listening pleasure". He thought it was the perfect musical representation of "a man alone, walking down a rainy street in the night".
That could be Marlowe. Perhaps not the younger, sharper Marlowe, but the older, wearier, _very_ mature Marlowe that we see Mitchum acting magnificently in this film.
Some people want their Marlowe differently. It is a good thing we can have him in many ways, ain't it? This is very close to how I want him. I have yet to find a better one.