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ecarle (9850)


Nifty 1970 Movie Poster Nomadland: Pros and Cons "Nomadland" and the Tradition of The American "Road Movie" I Call This an "ARRRRRGH!" Movie A Great Scene Between Russell and JT Walsh From Hitchcock To Tarantino (And the Decades In Between) Janet Leigh/Psycho VS Liz Taylor/Butterfield 8 at the Oscars in 1960 Three Tense Scenes NOT OT: The 2020 Best Picture Oscar Front on TV Right Now The Outtakes During the End Credits View all posts >


Ooops...i took that from another poster without correcting it. Lost in america! Economic American wreckage in the wake of COVID could indeed put more nomads on the road -- "COVID nomads?" But the film does show them to function "outside and distanced," so the disease won't be as much of a problem as the economic devastation. The movie makes the point (I think) that opposed to the general homeless population(which has a lot of mentally ill, non-functional people in it)...the nomads are committed to taking care of themselves(both alone and in groups), working when they can...simply living off the grid with little need for the amenities that a bigger salary can allow you to have. Frances McDormand is a great actress...possibly on track here for her third Oscar. That will tie her with Meryl Streep, and put her in distance of Kate Hepburn(four Oscars.) As to the SPOILER, well.... SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER might be right. Evidently, the movie was originally written -- and filmed -- to show three separate mystery stories for Holmes to solve, like an anthology. One of the three stories was cut completely, leaving two -- without explanation as to why one story just ends and a new one begins. Hawks ended his career with Rio Lobo in 1970. But Hitchcock and Wilder kept on going...and only Hitchcock had one more hit. It was in 1972: the R-rated sexual shocker, Frenzy. As if trying to keep up, Wilder put some nudity(of Jack Lemmon! And Juliet Mills) into Avanti that year, but only Hitchcock had a hit. After 1972, Hitchcock made only one more film: Family Plot(1976.) Hitch died in 1980. After 1972, Wilder made three more films, all failures: The Front Page, Fedora, and finally -- in 1981, one year after Hitchcock's death, the terrible "Buddy Buddy." The Front Page and Buddy Buddy were weak Lemmon-Matthau vehicles made out of loyalty to Wilder; Fedora starred Bill Holden(Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, Sabrina) -- another Wilder pal. Sherlock Holmes ends up being well after Billy Wilder peaked, but surprisingly before "the end." He soldiered on as an "old Hollywood name" and kept getting greenlights after failure after failure after failure. Until he didn't. Sherlock Holmes differs from most of Wilder's fifties/sixties movies. It is in color and wide screen. And it is far more melancholy and sweet than his tougher movies (like Ace in the Hole). In the end, though, it was one of those 1970 movies that signaled not only the end of an era, but the loss of directorial prowess..Sherlock Holmes is big and overblown and slow and dull ...and embarrassing in much of its sexual innuendo(on the gay side.) I do rather like the beautiful French woman who ends up revealed as a spy...flapping her umbrella in Morse Code to say farewell to Holmes, and thus setting up a beautifully sad ending for the famous detective. That was nice. I wonder if this would have been much better if the Two Peters HAD done it? (O'Toole and Sellers.) When Billy Wilder was picking up one of his three Oscar's for 1960's "The Apartment"(Picture, Director, Screenplay), the presenter behind him whispered, "time to quit, Billy." For "The Apartment" had followed another Wilder classic, "Some Like It Hot," by just a year and those two were like a one-two punch of top filmmaking and box office performance. And it was 1960...Wilder was really being rewarded for being a great 40's and 50's filmmaker. Like another director who had a great 1959 and 1960: Alfred Hitchcock. North by Northwest('59) and Psycho('60) in his case. HUGE hits(especially Psycho.) Great movies. But neither Wilder nor Hitchcock was inclined to "quit while they were ahead." They were "hot." There were well paid. They could get their movies greenlit with ease. So each man worked on through the sixties and each man watched as "something happened" to their winning streaks. 1964: Marnie for Hitch; Kiss Me Stupid for Wilder. 1966: The Fortune Cookie for Wilder(a Matthau Oscar but a flop), Torn Curtain for Hitchcock(superstars Paul Newman and Julie Andrews in a movie that just didn't work). Came 1969 and 1970, Hitchcock and Wilder both looked dangerously old hat. And neither one of them could attract stars. Sherlock Holmes was intended for Peter O'Toole(Holmes) and Peter Sellers(Watson). Wilder ended up with Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely. Hitchcock's Topaz was offered to Yves Montand and Sean Connery -- Hitchcock ended with...Frederick Stafford(?) Throw in Howard Hawks' 1970 Western Rio Lobo(with John Wayne and Hawks finally striking out after Rio Bravo and El Dorado) and you had it: three once-great directors fallen on hard creative times. I can never really think of Wilder's Sherlock Holmes without thinking of Hitchcock's Topaz and Hawks' Rio Lobo. Just ten years before, these three directors were "hot with hits" : Rio Bravo, NXNW, Some Like It Hot, Psycho, The Apartment. Ten years later....great names no longer so "hot." CONT Some knowledgeable musical folks here...on a thread I started 16 years ago! And eventually comes something I was waiting for: the van she drives for hundreds of miles ...breaks down. And money becomes a serious issue. Nomadland invariably busies itself on how to survive in this "utopia"....showers? defecation? food? freezing temperatures? Money(an RV park quotes Frances a monthly rental of $ can't live ENTIRELY off the land.) Social security benefits enter in to the story and we realize that a lot of these nomads are...older people, done with earning a big living and somehow not able to retire. (The nomad population that we see is rather white, as I recall, not sure what to make of that.) But occasionally a "shock on the road" appears: young families with young children among the nomads. One lone teenage boy, all by himself. One gets the feeling that you shouldn't be a nomad when you are too is a killing lifestyle better for finishing out one's life. The "socio-political" aspects of Nomadland(in which everybody is pretty nice to everybody else; I liked that) yield to the cinematic poetry of vistas of American desert and mountains(and eventually redwood trees and coast) is a movie of stark beauty with a moving musical score..THAT's not documentary style. This is also a major plus of the movie. Funny bit: in a near-empty, depressed and depressing desert town..Frances stands by a battered movie marquee: The Avengers. One realizes that the billion-dollar MCU sometimes visits very poor and desolate pockets of America. Food for thought: This was filmed before COVID. One figures that these nomads would survive COVID well. They are outdoors and distanced most of the time. The Coens' trio of Blood Simple, Fargo, and No Country obviously stands tall, as does Michael Mann's quintet of Thief, Manhunter, Last of the Mohicans, Heat, Collateral, as does about half of Fincher's output including his Mindhunter TV show. But I guess in all these cases the directors have a lot of other interests. Ditto people like Danny Boyle and Edgar Wright I guess. --- More, more, MORE examples of fine successors to Hitch. I'm reminded that while few people were making "thrillers" when Hitchcock was extant 1930-1960, there were plenty of gangster movies and noirs, and guys like Bogart and Cagney and Eddie G. are precursors of QT's wise-cracking bad guys. The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Key Largo(a seminal hostage story), The Asphalt Jungle..THESE films pointed to some of the crime movies of today too. Still, Hitchcock rather had the field cornered in all other thriller areas through 1960. I contend that once NXNW and Psycho hit big back to back, the 60's opened the floodgates on thrillers: Cape Fear, Dr. No et al, The Manchurian Candidate, Baby Jane The Prize, Charade, Strait Jacket, Homicidal , Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Mirage, Arabesque, Gambit, Wait Until Dark...maybe even Bullitt. As one Hitchcock scholar noted: "Hitchcock's competitors became legion." And then his imitators. Hitch got out just in time. That said, it is, yes, genuinely thrilling when someone decides to punch up the thriller aspects of, say, a typical modern superhero cgi-fest: Cap 2:Winter Soldier really jumped out at the time for this (and got its directors the Avengers 3&4 jobs). --- Yes..I liked Cap 1 for its "Indy Jones" like sense of WWII nostalgia(with a bit of The Dirty Dozen and great supporting perfs by a gentle Stanley Tucci and a grouchy Tommy Lee Jones), but Cap 2 "went all modern" and gave us Robert Redford's glorious heel turn as a nastier Philip Vandamm. --- And there are people like Leigh Whannell who was part of the Saw franchise and who's had a couple of doozies recently, Upgrade and Invisible Man who's using a lot of Sfx but has got that genre-thriller gene big time. --- Well, suddenly my theme is changing: its not that we "don't have a Hitchcock" anymore. Its that we have LOTS of them, but some of them work other genres and some of them are more "invisible" than Hitchocck was...because there are so MANY of them. Which is really another of my points: Half of the modern movie output is some sort of thriller. Musicals died out. Westerns died out. War movies in the main died out. Drama remains. Comedy remains. And thrillers -- well, every action movie, horror movie, murder movie AND comic book movie is a thriller. I would say, however, that Hitchcock has to share the honors with Ray Harryhausen, George Pal, and all those 50s SciFi makers for the other place the movies have gone: SciFi and Fantasy. Not really Hitchocck's turf at all...less The Birds and maybe, the Rushmore climax of North by Northwest(a sort of "Land of the Giants.") Think of Carpenter's, Cameron's, Jackson's or even Nolan's career in this connection. --- Those are three more with Hitchcockian roots...but making their own kind of movie, now. Carpenter tried to take that kind of "Alfred Hitchcock's" possessory title early on, but the movies he turned out got progressively more "B" -- he was closer to "William Castles'. And how about that James Cameron? Finally making that "Titanic" movie that Hitchcock was brought over to make in 1940? Nolan has ended up at once more arty and intricate than Hitchocck ever was (Inception, Interstellar) but his Batman films remind us that Batman is perhaps the most Hitchcockian of comic book heroes -- no superpowers, works the city streets in a "modern Gothic"(think Psycho), pitted against all manner of great villains, led by The Joker. View all replies >