Help! – Unbelievable that I have gone this many years before seeing this for the first time. That being said, however, this ain’t A Hard Days Night. Whereas that film was infused with the youthful exuberance of the Beatles, in Help! I can see a “Look at us…Aren’t we cute?!” attitude everywhere (especially from John Lennon). The plot involves a cult seeking a sacrificial ring that just happens to occupy the finger of Ringo. Much hilarity ensues as the cult chases the Fab Four over all corners of the earth. I found the Beatles dialogue was overly cutesy and nonsensical this time, and that wore thin after a while. On the plus side, there is the music, which besides the title track, includes “I Should have Known Better”, “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”, and best of all, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and “Ticket To Ride”. Nooooot quite recommended, however.
Pursued – Listen up, all of you who think Film Noir always is about urban crime and gangsters. This right here is a Noir western. Raoul Walsh made Pursued in 1947, and it’s a unique Western with Noir shadings all over the place. Robert Mitchum stars as a man who is taken in by a woman after his family is murdered, and who still has nightmares about whatever happened that night. Adding to the mix is the relationship he has with his adopted siblings. He is in love with his adopted sister (Teresa Wright), and the film doesn’t seem to think this is strange. There is also a rivalry with his “brother”, played by John Rodney. There is also a shady businessman who is pretty up-front about the fact that he wants Mitchum dead. Throughout, there is the sense that there are terrible secrets under the surface, and the films terrific climax lays everything on the table. Beautifully shot by James Wong Howe, who knew a thing of two about Film Noir. Recommended.