Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Week of Movie Watching

The Hill – Sidney Lumet film from 1965 about the conditions in a WW2 British army stockade. This one is very good, as a defiant Sean Connery clashes with the camp commander, played beautifully by Lumet regular Harry Andrews. Lumet uses the camera to subtly expose the madness in the camp, starting out in long and medium shots, and then gradually getting right close up to the characters as they come unhinged. Highly recommended.

TopazTopaz is always cited as one of Hitchcocks’ lesser works, but I have to say that I liked it quite a bit. It’s an espionage film, but isn’t quite in the same vein as North By Northwest or Notorious. This is more like a John Le Carre story. There are still a few classic Hitch touches, my favorite being a brazen attempt to steal a briefcase right out from under the nose of the bad guys. Recommended.

Walk on the Wild Side – This one was a bit of a hoot. Laurence Harvey as a love-struck Texas drifter searching for his true love Halley (Capucine), who unbeknownst to him has become a prostitute. Casting Harvey for this role was a bit strange, but he’s actually not bad here – A little more warm and personable than usual. Barbara Stanwyck is a madam who is REALLY attached to Halley, in one of the most visibly lesbian characterizations of the Code era. Clifford Odets had a hand in doctoring the script. A young Jane Fonda also appears (below).

Mayor of The Sunset Strip – A nice doc about LA disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer, who managed to be involved with literally everyone in the LA music scene from the sixties till today. God, EVERYBODY shows up in this film, from the Doors and Frank Zappa to X to Coldplay. It’s also a great little encapsulation of the excesses of the time.

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