Thursday, January 28, 2010

Yesterday was Paul Newman's Birthday

While reading Edward Boe's blog for "Cool Hand Luke" he pointed out the passing of Paul Newman's birthday.  I have been a big fan for many years and though he is represented by five films in "The Book" there are several other performances that I have appreciated through his career.  While not necessarily "Must See" they are definitely worth a look.  

The Hustler (1961)-Robert Rossen's look at the seedy world of pool room hustling.  Newman would reprise his role as "Fast Eddie" Felson 25 years later, in Martin Scorsese's "The Color Of Money".  Previously referenced in "Once Was Definitely Enough" blog.

Hud (1963)- Martin Ritt's film of a modern day ranch family. Newman's Hud is the son that works as a ranch hand, avoiding responsibility whenever possible, probably driven to the lax work-ethic by his father's obsessively high expectations.

Cool Hand Luke (1967) A look at the chaining up of a free spirit. One of the few entries in the short list of PERFECT MOVIEs out there.
Mr. Boe covers this film outstandingly in his latest blog entry.

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)-George Roy Hill contributed to the "buddy" movie genre with Newman and Robert Redford.  A western story that weaves in and out of the historical track. The pair would work again in the seventies and somehow evade ever working together again on screen, despite their mega-box office appeal.

The Sting (1973)- George Roy Hill would bring Newman and Redford together again in a ragtime era con game that is great fun to watch if only for the atmosphere.  The feel of the Great Depression is well done, with a just enough hope for the future. Previously referenced in "Once Was Definitely Enough" blog.

Not in "The Book" but worth a look:

The Outrage (1964)- Martin Ritt remakes Akira Kurosawa's "Rashamon" as a western, a pretty successful formula if you consider "The Magnificent Seven".  Great performances by Newman and Edward G. Robinson make it worth a look.

The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean (1972)-John Huston directs.  Newman portrays this "Legend In His Own Time" figure of the American West with just the right amount of bravado and mirth.  His law west of the Pecos is especially swift when dealing with Stacy Keach as "The Original Bad Bob"

Slapshot (1977)- Newman stars as an aging hockey player that still has a few good moves.

The Verdict (1982)- Sidney Lumet directs Newman as an ambulance chasing lawyer that stumbles on a worthy cause.  You can practically see the switch being flipped that changes him from a cash register to a seeker of justice.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)-The Coen Brothers get to direct Newman in this wonderful era-piece.  Not a starring role but a chance for him to shine in a supporting role.  

Road To Perdition (2002)-Sam Mendez-s tale of 30's era gangsters and loyalty.  Newman is the patriarch that turns on the lead character, a hitman that has been part of "The Family" for years, but is singled out as a threat to an aspiring son.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Germaine Dulac's "La Souriante Madame Beudet" or "The Smiling Madame Beudet"

I applied to my local public library to see if they could get this one for me and they were able to borrow it (in VHS format from the library at Cornell University, how cool is that?

First, let me start by saying, considering the title, Madame Beudet didn't do a whole lot of smiling.  In fact she seemed quite unhappy.  Her husband shows her no respect and can actually be seen removing a gun from his desk, where he keeps it unloaded, and threatens to kill himself to stop his argument.  Madame Beudet, seems to feel that her loveless marriage may be best ended by placing bullets in the gun.  But when the next argument begins that jerkwad of a husband turns the tables and points it at her.  Recognizing the fact that the story and technology available to Madam Dulac was primitive, I was quite impressed by the story and technics used.
Notable Exceptions
The VHS borrowed also had a short surreal film titled "La Coquille et le clergyman" ("The Seashell and The Clergyman") which was a delightful short film.  Released in 1928, it may have been overshadowed by "Bunuel's "Un Chien Andalou" or may have even provided some inspiration.

This quote stolen from Wikipedia says it all for me:
The British Board of Film Censors famously reported that the film was "Apparently meaningless" but "If there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable"

Certainly, any one of these films deserves a place in "The Book"

Kreativ Blogger Award

Who! Me?

As much as I may want, I find myself unable to accept such an award for the following reasons...

I do not follow enough blogs to allow me to nominate seven.  If it wasn't for Mr. Boe's blog roll and movie related sites, there would be an even shorter list of blogs that I visit.

Finally, I really am not worthy.  While I am a movie buff, who may know a bit of trivial minutae about my subject of interest, I am not nearly as knowledgable as others at analyzing the subjects as clearly, technically and articulately. I know what I like and am prepare to say so but often I cannot provide a reason.

I can hear the orchestra warming up, so finally, I would like to thank Ed and the academy and say it's really is a thrill just to be nominated.

Monday, January 11, 2010

La Historia Oficial "The Official Story" 1985

When an upper-class mother begins to doubt the circumstances behind the adoption of her daughter, she must look at her own moral identity and that of her husband who was influential enough to have arranged the adoption of the child of a "Disappeared" political leftist.

Without giving away too much in my critique, I will say that I found this to be a very interesting and important film, well told by Argentinian director Luis Puenzo.  Much like German films looking at their role in the second World War and American movies about the handling of the Native Americans, this one shows that Argentina's political identity has a dark side and that they are prepared to get their story out for examination, especially noteworthy since the film was released less than two years after the fall of the military government behind the purge.

The acting, over all, seemed well done.  With Norma Aleandro's "Alicia" being quite well played.  The struggle she goes through is worn for all to see. Not just because of her own dilemma but also as she learns of the effects on others, strangers and friends alike.