Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Men Filming Women in Peril

D.W. Griffith liked filming women trapped in ambushed cabins, alongside men who see only one option left to help her,

The Lesser Evil (1912)
The Battle at Elderbush Gulch (1913)

only to be stopped when armed reinforcements arrived. You can also see it The Birth of a Nation (1915), where the trapped southern belle just misses having her father bash her head in with a pistol butt. 

John Ford apparently played an uncredited Klansman in that movie. 14 years later, he'd film Stagecoach:

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where we get the same situation and interventionist outcome, with the uncomfortable solidification of the "men know what's best for the women folk" dynamic intact. Homage to Griffith, reuse of a suspense-raising trope, or both?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Coogan's Bluff (1968)

ie the first movie that pared Clint Eastwood and director Don Siegel, a collaboration which produced some damn fine films, including Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) and Dirty Harry (1971). Though Coogan's feels more like a warm up to the latter, it does have some highlights:

1) Hollywood's half-assed attempt to capture the counter-culture.

Dig that pad, man! As Eastwood's Deputy Sheriff Coogan experiences it, the NYC scene consists of squeaky clean hippie guys attacking him to the sounds of bad acid rock, while young, nubile & body-painted chicks high on drugs and free love throw themselves at him.

2) The '68 fashion. My favorite is this all-red number worn by Eastwood's potential love interest Susan Clark wears at the very end. Don't have a screenshot, but believe me: everything, boots to coat, is candy-apple red.

3) A chase scene. Around Fort Tryon Park. On Motorcycles.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

High-Rise (2016)

 High-Rise has style, and I'm not just referring to the spot on 70s sideburns-and-shag carpet aesthetic. It was a smart move on director Ben Wheatley and his wife, screenwriter Amy Jump's, part to make the movie adaptation of a 1975 novel a period piece, and not update it, especially since it allows to audience to focus more on grotesque satire of class divides and the Inherent Savagery Within Us, (accented by the effective contrast between gorgeous visuals and growing savage brutality), instead of being frustrated by the lack of cell-phone usage. Seen through a Kaleidoscope lens, the result is a bit pretentious, but I found the movie overall to be fascinating and disturbing, it's downbeat nature slightly levitated by a feminist-leaning ending.

Plus, if it took place today, what chance would there be to see a poster for the 1966 cult classic Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment, hanging on a major character's wall? Or to hear ABBA's "SOS" as a string quartet and a Portishead cover?