Category Archives: Films

“Get Off Our Land, White Man” (The Rest of You Too): Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, November 2016 Edition, Vol. 1620

“Get Off Our Land, White Man” (The Rest of You Too): Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, November 2016 Edition, Vol. 1620    This year, the season of Thanksgiving finds greater than normal reasons to give thanks, not the least of … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” (1957)

      John Sturges’ rousing “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” could never be confused with an historical study aid; the film is structured as an illustrative compliment to the ballad form, here colorfully vocalized by Frankie Laine, and commensurate with the said form, the … Continue reading

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Cowboys Will Be Boys: “The Sons of Katie Elder” (1965)

           “The Sons of Katie Elder”  (1965)      If the challenge for any film is for that movie to deliver an original and memorable experience, then that challenge may become doubly daunting in the case … Continue reading

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Happy Hostage: “Bandolero!” (1968)

      “Bandolero!”   (1968)      A most peculiar entry in the western genre is Andrew V. McLagen’s “Bandolero!”, a film which gives a fresh-  though unpersuasive -perspective to the notion of the Stockholm Syndrome, is also a vehicle … Continue reading

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Make Him Dance, Boys: “Pale Rider” (1985)

     In “Pale Rider”, director Clint Eastwood has fashioned not so much a remake of “Shane” as a reinterpretation of the story’s key elements mixed with a retooling of the basic supernal retributive conventions of his own 1973 “High … Continue reading

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Stacking the Deck: “Posse” (1975)

        When a commercial western advances an ambitious thematic agenda within the inevitable genre tropes, it is perhaps an occasion to pay greater attention to the work at hand, while concurrently such increased scrutiny might also lay bare … Continue reading

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Treading Water in a Desert: “The Train Robbers” (1973)

     If one considers the staggering volume of western stories related on both the big screen and  television (this latter sausage grinder of ideas devoured such an incomprehensible amount of scripts that even the occasional trace of originality would be … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Mackenna’s Gold” (1969)

        Marshal Sam Mackenna (Gregory Peck) is kidnapped by long-time nemesis John Colorado (Omar Sharif) and his gang who believe the lawman is privy to the location of a spectacularly rich lode of gold in J. Lee Thompson’s … Continue reading

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Out to Pasture: “Rio Lobo” (1970)

     “Rio Lobo” reeks of exhaustion. The final film in the lengthy and often illustrious career of director Howard Hawks, this western is a continuation of a pattern of laconic narrative drifting that has increasingly characterized the greater number … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Smashing Time” (1967)

      “Smashing Time” is a perfect example of a movie whose failure is evident  from its belief in it’s own terminal cuteness; an affliction suffered by any film which features either an onscreen crowd or audience  shown to … Continue reading

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The Riding Wounded: “Hang ’em High” (1968)

      With the successful American release of Sergio Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy, the time was right for Clint Eastwood to re-emerge on the domestic movie front with this western tale of vigilantism/revenge, which more than any other work up to this … Continue reading

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The Western’s Last Stand: “True Grit” (1969)

      By 1969, the Western as a film genre had begun to be officially- but prematurely  -declared dead, in no small part due to the overabundant proliferation of western programs on television. Yet, that same year found the … Continue reading

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Breaking Badly: “The Missouri Breaks” (1976)

A BRIEF NOTE:  The recently posted You Can’t Go Homestead Again: Notes on Western Revisionism was actually the introductory portion of this very review, which was not only running a bit lengthy, but also threatened to dilute the attention away … Continue reading

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You Can’t Go Homestead Again: Notes on Western Revisionism

     The dirty little secret about revisionism is that it rarely provides the intended setting for demythologizing without creating, not a revealing truth, but a substitute mythology.       The move toward revisionism in the western film genre is generally … Continue reading

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Shots in the Dark: “The Quick and the Dead” (1995)

            The spaghetti western differs importantly from its American western inspiration in that while the American tradition is based upon genuine historical experience (however mythologized), the Italian western is based upon the cinematic form of … Continue reading

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MONTHLY PHOTO QUIZ VOL. 1620

SINCE YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, YOU MUST  HAVE HAD A LOVE AFFAIR WITH BOLOGNA: NOVEMBER 2013 CLASSIC FILM IMAGES QUIZ, VOL. 1620     Here we are, boys and girls, with another exciting edition of America’s favorite duty free brain … Continue reading

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The 2013 Annual Critical Establishment Readers Survey

________________________________________________________________ All readers, bloggers and film enthusiasts are encouraged to participate in the following 59 question  survey. ________________________________________________________________________________ 01.  Who/what do you feel is the most overrated actor, actress, director and film?   02.  Who/what do you feel is the … Continue reading

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Leap of Faith: “Evel Knievel” (1971)

    Marvin J. Chomsky’s film”Evel Knievel” is a supposed biography of the famous motorcycle daredevil, though any relationship to persons living or dead are surely coincidental. This biographical film starring George Hamilton (no stranger to cinematic impersonation, portraying Moss … Continue reading

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Apocalypse Why?: “DAMNATION ALLEY” (1977)

    Hollywood loves a good apocalypse. The cinema has been rife with visions of Man’s inevitable (according to filmmakers) plunge into the doomsday abyss, whether through atomic obliteration (“On the Beach”, “The World, the Flesh and the Devil”, “Five”, “Panic … Continue reading

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Hand-Me-Downs: “True Grit” (2010)

    Typical laconic Coen brothers film with as equal a derivation from Portis’ enjoyable but vastly overrated novel as the 1969 Henry Hathaway original. Although the Coens extract a more pronouncedly acute sense of accuracy in their mise-en-scene, the … Continue reading

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DVD WATCH: TCM GREATEST CLASSIC FILMS COLLECTION: SCI-FI ADVENTURE

Includes: “Them!” (1954) Starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, James Arness, Joan Weldon, Onslow Stevens, Sean McClory, Fess Parker. Directed by Gordon Douglas. B/W. 92 minutes, full frame, Language: english, Subtitles: english, french, spanish, portugese, japanese. “The Beast from 20.000 Fathoms” (1953) Starring Paul … Continue reading

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DVD WATCH: RAY HARRYHAUSEN GIFT SET

Set includes the following films: “It Came From Beneath the Sea” (1955) starring Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue; Directed by Robert Gordon; b/w; aspect ratio 1:85 anamorphic widescreen; english language w/english,french,chinese, thai, spanish, portugese subtitles; running time: 78 minutes; no rating. … Continue reading

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Suppose They Committed a Murder and Nobody Cared?: “Le foto proibite di una signora per bene” (1970)

           “Why on Earth should I love you less because of a sex fiend?”        A young woman takes a bubble bath, drinks to excess and pops unknown pharmaceuticals while mentally fantasizing about tormenting her … Continue reading

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The End of the World on $5 a Day: “Crack in the World” (1965)

   Film makers seem to love destroying things; whether out of a sense of misplaced professional frustration (After all, it is the director who is the God-like authority on the set, are they not?) or the thought that since they … Continue reading

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Below the Border: “100 Rifles” (1969)

________________________________________________________________    “100 Rifles” is a fast-paced western adventure unfolding amid the chaos of the Mexican Revolution, completely unlike Tom Gries’ earlier film- the overlooked masterwork “Will Penny” -this film suffers from a perpetual  inconsistency of tone; veering wildly from … Continue reading

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Man Vs. Mollusk: “The Monster That Challenged the World” (1957)

     In a decade in which the human race was menaced by gigantic Atomic Age mutants of every variety, from prehistoric monsters (“The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms”, “Gojira”), to ants (“Them!”), a tarantula (“Tarantula”), scorpion (“The Black Scorpion”), praying mantis … Continue reading

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Slumber Party: “The Switchblade Sisters” (1975)

     Films that purport to be Exploitation cinema but follow the routine thematic formulas of this breed of cinema without encompassing genuine prerequisite exploitation elements is simply trash without a reason to exist.  Jack Hill’s “Switchblade Sisters” (alternately titled … Continue reading

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All Torn Up and No Place to Go: “Willard” (1971)

    Based on Stephen Gilbert’s nasty little chiller Ratman’s Notebooks, Daniel Mann’s 1971 “Willard” is a horror movie that has the feel of a domestic drama about loneliness that just happens to feature a few rat homicides.  Though the film … Continue reading

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MONTHLY PHOTO QUIZ VOL. 684

  PORTRAIT OF A PHOTO AS A TRIVIALITY: JUNE CLASSIC FILM IMAGES QUIZ June is the month of Joyce. James Joyce. Actually, any month is a time for good reading, but the pressure of coming up with new and interesting … Continue reading

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The Dark at the Edge of the Light: “Hour of the Gun” (1967)

BULLETS OF THE MIND: In John Sturges’ challenging “Hour of the Gun”, the most violent confrontations are not among the film’s many gunfights, but are psychological, especially in the heated, knowing exchanges between friend Doc Holliday (Jason Robards) and Wyatt … Continue reading

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Running on Empty: “The Place Beyond the Pines” (2013)

    When a film is lauded first and foremost for the intent of its ambition it’s a pretty clear indication that something has gone seriously amiss, as if the director should collect brownie points for what he (or she) hoped … Continue reading

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Memory Ploys: “The Debt” (2011)

    The end of the Cold War has been a terrible burden on filmmakers, removing the historically aggravating catalyst of Hollywood’s paranoid conspirators, the Communists (ignoring the fact that practically a quarter of the world’s population is controlled by Red … Continue reading

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Love Intestinal-Style: “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein” (1974)

    Filmed immediately prior to “Andy Warhol’s Dracula”, more popularly known as “Blood For Dracula”, Paul Morrissey’s “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein”, filmed under and later re-released under the title “Flesh For Frankenstein” after initial U.S. engagements which capitalized on the fame … Continue reading

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The Colour Out of Place: “South Pacific” (1958)

    The 1958 Joshua Logan film of “South Pacific” is a perfect demonstration of the value of the movie soundtrack album as a preferable experience over a film. In the former, there is much pleasure to be gained aurally … Continue reading

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Double Exposed: “My Week With Marilyn” (2011)

     “My Week With Marilyn” reacquaints the filmmaking world with an occasion to celebrate its favorite subject- itself -in an ultimately pointless exercise in dishonest nostalgia for the sake of the film world’s own self-love.  Portraying real-life personages is always … Continue reading

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Dead Man’s Hand: “The Ace of Hearts” (1921)

    It is often true that the villain is a far more interesting character than the hero of a film. The more lurid the story, the chances are that the colorful antics of villainy will far outshine the interest generated … Continue reading

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The Big Suck Theory: “Lifeforce” (1985)

    Provocative science fiction presents a huge challenge to commercial cinema in that the conceptual abstractions which are often at the center of the story are a bafflement to filmmakers, who must reconfigure what are often obtuse descriptions expressed in … Continue reading

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The Devil’s in the Details: “The Devil in Miss Jones” (1973)

    After the release of “Deep Throat” there were a number of graphic, sexual films that met with both unexpected public enthusiam and excited media attention, that would form the basis of the temporarily fashionable trend known as “porno … Continue reading

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The Look of Love: “Stolen Face” (1952)

    Given the fixation the studios had in manipulating audiences, is it any wonder that the “Golden Age” age cinema is awash in overly produced symphonic assaults on the soundtrack, designed to emphasize to the audience the desired way in … Continue reading

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Changing Times: “There Was a Crooked Man…” (1970)

    If there were ever a film which demonstrates the confusion of veteran Hollywood studio directors in adapting to the then-newly found freedom afforded filmmakers with the abolition of the Production Code, it’s Joesph L. Mankiewicz’ 1970 serio-comic western, “There Was … Continue reading

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Unfair Play: “The Cheat” (1915)

    Cecil B. DeMille’s 1915 “The Cheat” is a morality play that manages the hypocritical feat of allowing the guilty embezzler, the shallow socialite Edith Hardy, to escape punishment from both the law and her particular social class, but excoriate … Continue reading

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Saving Ciphers: “Argo” (2012)

    There has been so much hoopla constructed around Ben Affleck’s “Argo”. most of it concentrated on the meaningless and continuously distasteful circus that is the Hollywood Awards Season- the seemingly year-round orgy of masturbatory, unmerited self-congratulation -with much of … Continue reading

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Corset Interruptus: “The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill” (1966)

    With little relation, save the inclusion of the eponymous heroine’s name, to the famous literary scandalmonger, “The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill” introduces Fanny’s offspring Kissy in a colorfully filmed (by later Hollywood heavyweight cinematographer László Kovács) but narratively … Continue reading

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Drive, He Said: “Bullitt” (1968)

     “Bullitt”, the first of what would become producer Philip D’Antoni’s “chase trilogy”, (the others being William Friedkin’s 1971 “The French Connection” and D’Antoni’s own 1973 “The Seven-Ups”) is notable for an exciting, impressively realized chase sequence up and … Continue reading

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Red Blood, Black Heart: “Blood Feast” (1963)

    Never to be considered in the same breath with any discussion of Art, the appalling 1963 full color bloodbath “Blood Feast” is undeniably a movie (it feels inappropriate except if wearing a hazmat suite to use the appellation film) … Continue reading

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Mixed Messages: “Halls of Anger” (1970)

    Paul Bogart’s “Halls of Anger” finds a barely perceptible niche in the often inflammatory tradition of Hollywood films that claim to expose the volatile underbelly of modern urban education, with all appropriate delinquencies bubbling forth in a gladiatorial arena … Continue reading

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Shooting Blanks: “Death Wish” (1974)

    “Death Wish” is a genuine curiosity; a  terrible movie which prompted a great deal of useful, spirited and intelligent sociopolitical discussion. The theme of the film is justice, or rather the lack of it, and the rise of vigilantism … Continue reading

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Sex, Drugs and TV: “The Groove Tube” (1974)

   Ken Shapiro’s “The Groove Tube” is a raggedy collection of skits satirizing television ads and programs, a not especially challenging target that is met with a lack of conceptual focus and a wildly variant acuity of wit. In fact, … Continue reading

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Shoot. Load. Repeat.: “The Enforcer” (1976)

   It begins as a Squeaky Fromme wannabe is picked up by two gas company employees who are swiftly dispatched in rather gruesome fashion by blonde haired, blue-eyed psychopath Bobby Maxwell (DeVeren Bookwalter in full drooling grimace mode). These are … Continue reading

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Shapeless: “The Blob” (1958)

    Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.’s “The Blob” is a film with an impressive cult legacy, but one that yields few actual rewards upon viewing. This small-town teen versus space monster picture does distinguish itself from many of the grade-B (or … Continue reading

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