The Asphalt Jungle (1950) John Huston

Reblogging The Asphalt Jungle, an article I wrote a few years back. It’s on TCM today at 5:45PM Eastern. Don’t miss it!

Twenty Four Frames

Note: There are spoilers in the article.

Everyone has a weakness, and if you let it consume you it just might do you in:  young girls, high living, horses, it does not matter, they can all become vices and destroy you. That what happens to the various characters in John Huston’s classic caper film “The Asphalt Jungle.” Written by Huston and Ben Maddow, based a  novel by W.R. Burnett whose tough yet effortless style is responsible for such other memorable films like “Little Caesar” and “High Sierra.”

“The Asphalt Jungle” is the first caper movie to detail in a realistic, gritty style, a step by step process on how to pull off a heist job.  It definitely set the standards for future heist films to come like  “Rififi,” “The Killing,” “The Anderson Tapes,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Reservoir Dogs”  and even a lesser film like “Ocean’s 11” all of which owe…

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Shattered Glass (2003)

shattered_glass (1)

Besides wanting to be a cowboy when I was young, I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. At first, a sports writer, then I somewhere along the line wanted to review movies (no surprise there!), and from there it evolved into a news reporter and journalist. In films, the newsroom always looked fascinating to me. Hustling to get the story, beating the deadline, and competitors, the speedy typing, the editor making changes and finally seeing your story in print with your byline on top. That dream faded away like many others, but my love of films with journalistic themes remained. In cinema, many great movies have been made about journalism. Sam Fuller’s Park Row is one of the best, as is Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole. There are plenty of others including All the President’s Men, Spotlight, His Girl Friday, Sweet Smell of Success, Zodiac, Absence of Malice, Deadline U.S.A., Citizen Kane, and State of Play.    There are plenty more that could be added to this list. Some of these films reflect journalism in a good light, sometimes even heroic ways  (Park Row, All The President’s Men, Spotlight, State of Play) while others hold up a mirror to the darker opportunistic side of journalism (Ace in the Hole, Sweet Smell of Success).   Continue reading

Favorite Comedies: The 50’s

For me, the 1950’s can be considered as one of the best decades in film. With films like Sunset Blvd, From Here to Eternity, North by Northwest, Strangers on a Train, All About Eve, Rear Window (Hitchcock again!), On the Waterfront, Touch of Evil, High Noon, and so many others how could it not be? However, with the introduction of television in more and more American homes during this decade comedy seemed to have hit  a bump in the road.  There were not as many comedies, and they generally were not as funny as in the past.   Of course, there were exceptions, Some Like it Hot is one of the greatest sound comedies. One thing that you will notice is  that some of the films on the list are  musical comedies. A style that at this point in time, television still could not emulate.

The previous entries in this series can be found here. Continue reading

1922 (2017)

NerfkusGuilt is the sort of thing that can haunt you, eat at your inner guts, and destroy your mind. It will weigh on you and everyone you come into contact with. Do something horrible, and it can kill you. Based on Stephen King’s novella, 1922 is an exploration of how guilt is unrelenting and its dread can destroy a man and his entire world. Continue reading

Kodachrome (2017)

ed_harris_kodachrome.jpg.optimalThere was a time when photographs actually required film be in the camera instead of a digital disc. Many professional photographers back in the day used Kodachrome because the colors were vibrant. On a bright shiny sunny day, you could get those those nice bright colors, the greens of summers that Paul Simon sang about in his hit song. If stored properly, Kodachrome had a long post processing self-life. Colors did not fade. Kodachrome was also good for magazine reproduction. With the introduction of digital photography, Kodachrome began to lose a significant portion of the market share. In 2009, Kodak stopped producing Kodachrome. In 2010, the last authorized processing facility, Dwayne’s Photos, located in Parsons, Kansas closed its doors. Continue reading

Favorite Comedies: The 40’s

Comedy films of the 1940’s were a fairly diverse group from social commentary, satire to slapstick. From the sophistication of Ernest Lubitsch to vaudeville based films of Abbott and Costello. I love it all. Abbott and Costello narrowly missed the list, as did so many others.  The 1940’s  was a rich period for comedy in films.  It wasn’t easy narrowing the list down to just ten. This is the fourth post in the series. You can read about them here. Continue reading

Seven Days in May (1964)

Seven4In the opening scenes of Seven Days in May we find picketers from both sides demonstrating outside the White House. Tempers are high. A riot breaks out, and the police come in attempting to break up what has turned into a free for all. Those divisive times were more than fifty years ago. It’s amazing how times have not changed. Today it is no different, tolerance and respect are in short supply. For many of us, emotions are driven by fear. We live in a period where Americans fear foreigners, terrorists, North Korea, Iran, Nuclear war and more. Fear drives irrational behavior. Continue reading