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This movie features a toned down and austere Rita Hayworth who owns this movie. She makes this movie happen. Her presence so dominates the screen that the rest of the cast, including Orson Welles, are practically obscured. The entire story revolves around her, and with good reason: Hayworth's incredible screen presence. The close ups, the wide-angle shots and all other shots in-between show Rita Hayworth at her most glorious best. But there is more to this movie then just Rita Hayworth. The movie tells an intriguing story that is full of suspense and has a surprising ending. The location shots in Acapulco and San Francisco are fantastic. The movie also captures the essence of the American courtroom, and how passion can cause people to make irrational decisions with tragic consequences.
This movie may have been released decades ago but its theme resonates today. Although the story is presented in a stagy and melodramatic manner, that in no way negates its power as a tragedy. The movie depicts the wasting of human potential. It's about pent up anger that distorts one's conduct. It's about the institutionalization and dehumanization of the individual. The social message is clear: anyone who winds up in prison is doomed. The principal character, Tommy O'Connor, played by Spencer Tracy, symbolizes all the troubled, angry, alienated and damaged people for whom the only solution is incarceration. Betty Davis plays his loyal girlfriend. Yet, as the movie so aptly shows, even someone deemed incorrigible is capable of acting responsibly and even honorably if treated with compassion. Tracy gives a convincing performance as a cynical and hard-bitten gangster who redeems himself, but at a high cost. To find out what that high cost entails, watch the movie.
This is a message movie. Everything in this movie is meant to have deep, symbolic meaning. The problem is: trying to decipher those meanings. If a story cannot be understood, then the movie loses its value as drama. The principal character, Rusty James, is a young man trying to find himself. The setting for the story is surrealistic, which gives the movie a certain off-beat avant-garde quality. Although a wise-guy, Rusty James has certain endearing qualities, which makes him someone with whom the audience can empathize. The movie is about consciousness-raising. When his older brother, played by Mickey O'Rourke, enters the story, Rusty James is forced is deal with the emptiness of his life. To find out how he deals with that revelation, watch the movie.
James Stewart fans will enjoy this movie. Stewart drives this movie forward. The movie also provides an interesting glimpse of contemporary urban life. Although the movie is a crime drama, it depicts the compartmentalization of existence and the isolation of individuals in large groups. People live in the same building, yet there is no sense of community. A murder can take place and nobody would even know it. The most nefarious acts could take place and nobody would know it. People living in close proximity yet emotionally so disconnected. This is captured by this movie. The social statement may be unintentional yet it is unmistakable. The format of the story itself does not seem complicated: a man watches his neighbors and believes that something bad has happened. The problem is in trying to prove it. Hitchcock uses several clever devices to heighten the suspense. But it is the acting of James Stewart that takes precedence. This is James Stewart at his best.
This is an entertaining, campy movie. The poor crocodile isn't really a monster; it just acts that way because it's aggravated. It's the people who exhibit bizarre behavior. This movie offers a dreary and troubling depiction of people. The only character worthy of respect is the crocodile. Everyone else is loud, obnoxious, incompetent and greedy. No wonder the crocodile wants to be left alone. The plot bears a slight resemblance to the original King Kong. In both movies a large, menacing creature is exploited, causing much havoc. The cinematography is good and the depictions of the crocodile are convincing. This is a big creature. But it is not a monster. Rather, it's an animal that is being mistreated and so is defending herself. The creature lacks the intelligence to discern friend from enemy, and so lashes out indiscriminately. Lacking decisional capacity, the crocodile is blameless for any harm done; that is attributable solely to the humans, many of whom are hysterical. There is little character development, but the movie provides enough information for a coherent story. Although this movie has its flaws, nevertheless it is interesting and entertaining, and teaches that one should respect other creatures, especially ones that weigh thousands of pounds and have huge, sharp teeth.
Surprisingly, this movie has a coherent story and almost succeeds in actually being dramatic. Dwayne Johnson delivers an impressive performance as Hercules, half-god/half human, who has to prove to the world that he is for real, and not just a hyped up legend. It would be easy to dismiss this movie as just another overblown live cartoon with a bunch of comic book characters with personalities that are about as deep as puddle of water. But that would not be accurate. The movie actually deals with certain themes that give the story depth (yes, depth). One can root for Hercules without being embarrassed and can take the movie seriously. The problem with the movie, and this is a problem for all these action-adventure half sci-fi-half fantasy movies, is that they are so obviously potboiler productions that even when an effort is made to actually tell a serious story, it still comes across as cheesy. But that's just the nature of the genre.
This is a great movie. The story, music, acting and choreography are excellent. The musical numbers are beautifully staged and performed by extraordinarily talented actors, most of whom are not known as singers and dancers. The story is about a movie director who is in an emotional tailspin which is affecting his ability to create. Unless he is able to bring order to his personal life, his future is bleak. The movie shows how the creative artist can alienate others as he strives to involve them in his projects. He comes across as being selfish and manipulative when actually he intends no harm. Hence, he sends out mixed messages which confuse and frustrate others and leads to wires being crossed. The entire cast is excellent. Daniel Day-Lewis gives a powerful and convincing performance as an Italian director. The other cast members, which include Nicole Kidman, Fergie, Kate Hudson, Judi Dench and Sophia Loren, are spectacular and, not surprisingly, incredibly beautiful. This movie is proof that when it wants to, Hollywood can still make high-quality musicals.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a great movie. This is a powerful. It's about people dealing with repressed emotions. It is about denial. It is about love. It is about an angry woman who falls in love with a brain-damaged ex-football player, and cannot accept the fact that she in love with such a man. It is about a traumatized police officer who denies his real feelings for his deceased wife. It is about the ex-football whose calm and pliable demeanor masks rage. This may be Francis Ford Coppola's greatest movie. It is unpretentious, it is real. The story is timeless; the themes relevant and compelling. A woman wants to break away from convention, and so flees. She is out of control, but maintains her sense of compassion. She wants love, desperately, and feels love too, but is too mixed up to sort out her thoughts, which remain jumbled in her mind. What she cannot admit is that the object of her love, the person for whom she really, truly cares for, is a man that is so far removed from what she considers to be one worthy of love, that it freaks her out. And this is the gist of the story: how people are so out of touch with how they feel that they cannot accept the truth even when it is right before their very eyes. She ran away from home, and came to the end of her journey, but too late. She wanted to be free but was unwilling to jettison all the bourgeois, middle-class junk that was keeping her enslaved. The character of Killer, played with great skill by James Caan, symbolizes the kind of man that contemporary society mocks and scorns - he is quiet, kind, loyal and strong without being pushy or bossy. Yet he is what the woman really wants, except that she cannot admit it, because of her own hang-ups, until it is too late. The strength of this story is contained in its honesty. The story and the characters are plausible and are not caricatures. It's just too bad that in this movie the truth is unpleasant, but if it were pleasant, then the movie would be hokum, and who needs that?
The trouble with Harry is an offbeat comedic movie that starts off slowly but ends strongly. This is not Hitchcock's usual style, but is effective. Once again, the audience is taken on an emotional roller as characters interact over a "problem" that is contrived and even morbid yet drives the story. Uncertainty abounds as the characters disclose their own violent acts, thus revealing the superficiality of their otherwise pristine and seemingly innocent small-town personas. Lurking inside the human being is the propensity to commit violence. Death is reduced to the level of a triviality and is treated as an inconvenience. The sheer callousness of the characters has a lot to do with making the story so fascinating and strong. No matter how likable they are, the characters in this story are not good guys. This movie reveals so much about people and about a society that can treat death with such indifference.
This movie features incredibly powerful acting by the two stars, James Stewart and Kim Novak. In fact, this story is so actor-driven that it is unlikely that with different actors the movie would have been as nearly as powerful. Stewart plays a character, Scotty, who is being cruelly manipulated by two people for ulterior purposes that become apparent only later in the movie. What drives the story forward is the interaction between Scotty and the woman, Madeleine, whose deviousness is only matched by her own emotional vulnerability. Emotions become confused as victim and manipulator become more involved. Besides being arguably James Stewart's most emotionally evocative performance, it propels the movie to a dramatic crescendo that is completely engaging. It is virtually impossible for an audience not to empathize with Scotty's emotional torment. Yet, what makes the movie even more provocative is the way in which the two characters are portrayed - as people with whom one can identify. Scotty and Madeleine are plausible characters. Without going into detail, suffice it that Kim Novak gives the best performance of her career. The cinematography is excellent. This is a great movie.
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