Lee Remick (of Wild River and A Face in the Crowd, great in this) is a banker who gets phoned up by a psycho and threatened into stealing some money, in a 5-minute close-range opening scene with no music. Warned not to contact police, she calls Glenn Ford anyway, and he investigates, talking with Patricia Huston, who ends up dead.
Patricia is discovered by the landlord, “Mr. Curry” in my notes but maybe I just wrote that cuz he looks like Tim Curry:
A stoolie named Popcorn gives Glenn some leads, the killer’s girlfriend refuses to cooperate and says he’s a good man who pays for her son’s medical treatments. The baddie eventually kidnaps Lee’s sister Toby (Stefanie Powers, future star of Hart to Hart) to guarantee compliance, and arranges the handoff at Candlestick Park during a Giants/Dodgers game, where things go wrong for him, and he’s gunned down by Glenn Ford on the pitcher’s mound.
The baddie also sneaks up on Lee in a hallway disguised as an old woman… I forget why:
Written by The Gordons, who are best known for That Darn Cat!, and scored by Henry Mancini, the opening theme sounding like a warmup for The Pink Panther the following year.
A gritty, efficient movie… hit man Vince Edwards is sent by his unseen boss to knock off a guy at the barber, a guy at hospital, then one of his own associates Mr. Moon. Vince gets a big head about being good at his job, suddenly making self-important speeches to everyone and being shitty to waiters. Then he loses his composure upon finding out his next target is a woman. He wires her TV knobs to a high voltage line but she defeats him by using the remote control, and the whole criminal conspiracy starts to fall apart.
“The only type of killing that’s safe is when a stranger kills a stranger… now why would a stranger kill a stranger? Because somebody’s willing to pay.”
Vince the Barber:
Vince’s hired hand, Herschel Bernardi of TV’s Peter Gunn and Arnie, gets a side plot where he learns to shoot a bow and arrow for one of their attempted hits. Their loud annoying partner Phillip Pine was in a sci-fi apocalypse movie the same year, later directed a 1972 anti-drug movie which potheads watch to laugh at. The girl, Caprice Toriel, was never seen before or since, but Kathie Browne, the hard-drinking party girl who lets Vince know that his second attempted hit killed a cop instead of the intended target, appeared in the late Howard Hawks comedy Man’s Favorite Sport?
Vince, almost getting away with it before falling into a police trap:
First movie watched on the new Criterion Channel! Irving Lerner would not go on to direct The Empire Strike Back – that’s Irvin Kershner, and I get them confused. Lerner also edited films for Scorsese, Kubrick and Vic Morrow and made two other crime dramas in the late 1950’s. Lead killer Vince Edwards was in Too Late Blues and played the wife’s boyfriend who gets everyone dead in The Killing. Composer Perry Botkin must’ve recently watched The Third Man.
It’s a good thing Criterion is releasing the slow-moving serious-art early Dumont films on blu-ray, because I need to catch up, and this also gives me auteurist justification for absolutely loving this goony miniseries where aliens visit the town of Lil Quinquin and start duplicating the residents. The twitchy racist cop is given more screen time than ever, but I’m into it this time. Random resident Mr. Leleu gets copied, then Coincoin’s brother Dany, his ex-girl Eve, D’nis, then the captain himself. The Captain and Carpentier find out about the clones, are on the case, guns drawn, with the kids at their side, and then instead of solving the alien mystery, the “Cause I Knew” girl returns as a zombie and the series ends with a full-cast singalong.
It becomes less random as the series goes on and sketches start calling back to each other or continuing from previous episodes. It is pretty random tho, also one of the most imaginative series I’ve ever seen. Seems like a high-budget Adult Swim thing, with sketches and animation and music and interviews – can’t believe it’s on HBO, or that creator Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty) landed a big-budget live-action cartoon on the heels of this.
Very many participants, including actress Dominique Fishback, the Ghanaian director of Afronauts, and Solange Knowles.
Shula is not a witch, but is tied to a leash and sent to live in witch camp, with other women who are actually not witches but have proven inconvenient to keep around. From the enraging first section (mob superstition meets government corruption) and the tragic/triumphant ending, it’s a beautifully shot movie, and our first from Zambia.
I keep thinking I haven’t watched a Gaspar Noé film since I Stand Alone, but that’s because I forget about Love, which if I’d remembered, I might not have gone out to let this movie mess up my mind on an especially heavy weekend. But Love is forgiven, because this totally worked for me, as horror and a filmmaking exercise and an ensemble dance piece and an extended collective freakout. Every player gets their own solos (in interview, dance and neurosis), and their interactions after the spread of the drug punch (and/or the collective paranoia) prove horrible, sometimes fatal. It’s all shot with a confident, formalist flair, unafraid to get ugly.
Blake Williams in Filmmaker:
The film ends up reaching, or at least approaching a state where it can’t even decide itself who is fucking and who is dying — the camera, now upside down, even loses its own bearings on gravity and horizons. It’s a monumentally liberating film, and so what if it offers us nothing other than the pleasure of being entirely there with it for the time it’s in front of us.
This wasn’t supposed to be our closing night movie – it was gonna be an early night to make up for Treasure Island the night before, then our third Chinese movie One Child Nation in the morning, an undecided afternoon, and The Magic Life of V before the drive home, but a snowstorm changed our plans.
This was an endurance test along the lines of The Task, but far less easy to figure out what is happening and why. Supposedly they are recreating “happenings,” and there’s some mysterious tension but very little happening when a group is approached by a helicopter then asked about about the experience, or when we spend an eternity in a room with a handful of people waiting to be interviewed. These are separated by wandering academic discussions in a library with no tension at all. I focused hard on every detail at the time, hoping to unlock any meaning, even after Katy ditched the movie to go drinking at the Craft Beer Cellar, but no time for post-film note-taking then a stressful drive home has wiped out any useful thoughts. “Repetition is the main concept” says Felipe on letterboxd, and I’m starting to think you need to have studied the Oscar Masotta theories to grasp the film at all… in fact, I’ve belatedly discovered the accompanying 320-page book online.
I wrote that “Nicholas from Iowa” opened, “quiet and GOOD,” so I guess he was this year’s Lomelda. We managed to get a stout at Ragtag, but it’s madness there. Long single takes at first separated by black and/or film leader, but sometimes it’s multiple shots with sound continuity and straight cuts between. Scenes from around the country, sometimes natural scenes and some posed. My faves are when everyone acts natural except one person stands still, staring into the camera. Michael Sicinski has useful context and references in his letterboxd writeup.
We picked up a biscuit with butter and jam from a biscuit-focused food truck, stopped at Gunther Hans, then headed to the Globe for a double feature… and there was The River Arkansas again, still good. I believe this was a new restoration – shockingly clear photography with lots of close-ups. Journey film with slightly confusing storyline, though it seems like it should’ve been straightforward, intertitles explaining each phase. Katy is concerned with shooting India as an outsider, not understanding the Hindu rituals or family dynamics. I don’t know what anyone else thinks, since this was missing from letterboxd until now, but the Finnish director was present to tell horror stories of the difficulty of filming (or maybe I read that in the Neither/Nor book afterwards, I forget).