The Beguiled Times Two

The_BeguiledAfter recently watching Sofia Coppola’s first rate remake of the 1971 gothic western, The Beguiled, I was motivated to take a look at the original Don Siegel directed film which I have not seen since it was first released back in 1971. Both films stay close in plot, but head in alternate directions when it comes to a point of view. That may be in part due to the gender difference of the directors as well as the mores and attitudes that have evolved in the more than forty years separating the two works. Continue reading

Between the Lines (1977) Joan Milken Silver

LinesI have always had an affinity for newspaper themed films. As a kid in Junior High, I had, for a short period, illusions of being a newspaper reporter. I’m not sure what exactly sparked this interest, but while the desire to be a reporter died my love of films with newspapers/reporters has remained strong. Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, Sam Fuller’s Park Row, Alan Pakula’s All the President’s Men, Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday, Alexander MacKendrick’s Sweet Smell of Success, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, Phil Karlson’s Scandal Sheet, Richard Brooks’ Deadline U.S.A. and more recently Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight are just some of my favorites.  As you can tell from this small list, newspaper reporting can be an heroic endeavor or it can be down and dirty, even scandalous. Continue reading

The Visitors (1972) Elia Kazan

IMG_1395One of the earliest films about the American involvement in Vietnam is the little known A Yank in Vietnam (1964). The film was directed by and starred Marshall Thompson. It was made in Vietnam before the escalation, the large buildup of American troops, and the anti-war fever back at home. Produced during these early years of the conflict, the film is free of all the political baggage that came only a few years later.  As the American involvement in the war grew and the war became more and more unpopular at home, Hollywood saw Vietnam as a hot potato to be avoided. Continue reading

Home for the Holidays (1972) John Llewellyn Moxey

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Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays                                                                                ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam                                                                                          When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze                                                                            For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!                                                                                      Home for the Holidays – Al Stillman & Robert Allen Continue reading

Sisters (1973) Brian De Palma

sistersBrian De Palma admittedly has been tapping into Alfred Hitchcock since his earliest works going back as far as Murder a la Mod in 1968. However, many other filmmakers have drawn inspiration from or just plain copied the master of suspense over the years including Henri-Georges Clouzot (Diabolique), Jonathan Demme (Last Embrace), Francois Truffaut (Mississippi Mermaid), David Fincher (Panic Room), D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) and  Woody Allen (Match Point) just to name a few. It’s difficult to make a suspense film without leaning at least a bit on the master.  De Palma’s second foray into Hitchcock’s world came in 1973 with Sisters. After a series of low budget independent films: the previously mentioned Murder a la Mod, The Wedding Party, Greetings and Hi Mom! De Palma signed up with Warner Brothers to make the social satire, Get to Know You Rabbit. Creatively and financially it was a dud. Continue reading

The Front (1976) Martin Ritt

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   The Hollywood Blacklist was one of the most notorious outcomes resulting from the creation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Originally formed in 1938 to investigate American citizens with Nazi affiliations, the committee became famous in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. This occurred when a House of Representatives run commission began to investigate the private lives of American citizens suspected of being members, sympathizers or having any sort of connection to the Communist Party.  Soon after, ten Hollywood writers and directors, the famed Hollywood Ten, were cited for contempt and each one was sentenced to jail for refusing to testify before the HUAC. Continue reading

Watching The Godfather Epic

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   Over the last several days I have been watching the approximately 423 minute version of The Godfather and The Godfather 2 entitled The Godfather Epic. It’s a re-edited version of the first two films in chronological order with some deleted footage included.  The Godfather Epic was originally released in 1990 as a box set on VHS. A similar version, running slightly longer at 434 minutes, known as The Godfather: The Complete Novel for Television, aka The Godfather Saga was broadcast on NBC back in November 1977.[1] As mentioned, both versions include scenes not in the final films such as  Michael’s first meeting with his father after returning from Sicily and Sonny’s taking charge of the family after his father was severely shot in an attempted assassination. In total, the Novel for Television/Saga included approximately 75 minutes of unseen footage. Since it was made for broadcast television some scenes of violence and nudity were trimmed to meet the commercial TV standards of the day. Continue reading