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Robert Ryan's Mob Boss Talks About His Wife The 8 Parker Movies (Where He's Only Called Parker in One of Them) The 8 Parker Movies (Where He's Only Called Parker in One of Them) The 8 Parker Movies (Where He's Only Called Parker in One of Them) The 8 Parker Movies (Where He's Only Called Parker in One of Them) The 8 "Parker" Movies (Where He's Only Called Parker in One of Them) I Really Want to See the End of That Episode of "Bounty Law" Pretty Damn Scary for a Kid on TV in the 60's -- Kind of a Laugh Later On In His New Book, Tarantino Talks Psycho and Hitchcock Comparing the "Mitchum Marlowes": Farewell My Lovely(1975) and The Big Sleep(1978) View all posts >


Hitchcock himself liked "air pockets of silence" and the first 10 minutes of Topaz are very much like that, as is the early "Scottie follows Madeleine" part of Vertigo (including very quiet scenes at the art museum and the churches.) --- If anyone else makes a film like that there's a 99.99% chance that no one except certain earnest film-school types will ever see it. Maybe Jeanne Dielman getting such a prestigious placing in a big List will lead it to break out of the tiny viewership it's had. -- I realize that -- as with the Oscars -- this wasn't a "calculated vote by one monolithic group" but it DOES seem aimed at giving a particular little known masterpiece its day in the sun of scrutiny. For 10 years! It also advances things to the 70's (hah, only 50 years ago now) and it does bring a "woman's POV" in . (How funny it now seems that when we talk about the Old Masters -- Hawks, Ford, Welles, Capra, Wyler, Hitchcock, Stevens -- hell, they were ALL men, it was a man's field, even Ida Lupino couldn't really get to the top. That is about to change...unless the movies are still meant to be driven by know, "Movies for Guys Who Like Movies." --- I guess that I can imagine 'seeing JD and responding to it' becoming something like a Tik-Tok challenge for certain groups of status-hungry show-offy teens. We'll see. -- Yes. --- But, yeah, the whole main list is very academicky and plainly very interested in issues of inclusion and representation. --- Well, the academic part has always been part of Sight and Sound, the inclusion/representation part is important today but they gonna hide all those white male Old Masters? (Let's thrown in Lubitsch, Preminger, and Wilder.) I guess they'll just end up like Founding Fathers... Well, OK. I respect your opinion in these matters, swanstep, but its a world you live in, not me. -- I didn't quite put that right, swanstep. Its not meant to be dismissive or snobbish, its LITERAL...I don't really live in a world where I KNOW ...let alone SEE...all that international cinema out there as you do. That said, I've looked at some of those American titles on the list -- Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown -- and sure, I saw those. --- It's funny, there's a whole side of art cinema that turns on slow-down and on inducing a meditative or hypnotized state in the audience. 2001 & Solaris are probably the closest that mainstream audiences have ever got to that sort of cinema, but they were anomalies. --- I didn't see Solaris, but I certainly recall the utter silence and stasis of the last minutes of 2001 after the "space gate" sequence and those minutes DID affect me. There is something to be said for 'slowing down the film to silence" and FEELING how it affects the human nervous system. Our movies move so FAST now. I have always disdained the way-too-overlong build-ups in Leone scenes(and he does NOT use slo mo) but I found more respect for him when someone wrote that Leone simply felt that movies moved TOO: FAST. So slow it all down and see how it plays. NOW I get it. CONT The film establishes its right to its Title in that first scene, then the film itself can quiet down for the next hour because now we know *exactly* what could break out at any moment. (I guess it functions much the way that Saving Private Ryan's opening does.) --- Yep. Though Saving Private Ryan keeps things gory and grueling all the way through and climaxes with the "up close and personal" hand to hand combat and slow stabbing of an American by a Nazi. That movie never really lets up until it does that total CGI-morph curve into a tearjerking ending. Some were annoyed by that but I think many were moved by it. ugly getting there. Back to The Wild Bunch...between the indeed horrific opening and the indeed exhilarating climax we have the great train robbery and bridge blow up. The violence is minimal, the action is maximum and this is just one of many places in the movie where you see Peckinpah "doing Hitchcock suspense style and doing it right" as opposed to DePalma. Also: The Wild Bunch DOES have a happy ending after all the slaughter. Robert Ryan reunites with Edmond O'Brien: Ryan's hell has come to an end. "Its not like it used to be...but it'll do." . Yeah, it's the *opening* of The Wild Bunch that's horrifying. Not only do we begin with kids torturing scorpions, that first gun-battle is shockingly bloody, explosive, civilian-endangering. It really imprints on you that this film is going to happen in a West we haven't seen before, in what we'd modernly call a 'failed state'. At the time of the film's release, I think people saw the violence of that opening scene as being like Vietnam. -- I saw The Wild Bunch at a fairly young age. I braced for the violence. I found the ending gunbattle indeed exhilarating -- and the lead up to it incredibly moving(as did everyone else.) But I DO remember being mighty shook up by the violence of that opening for all the reasons you mentioned (I mean, REAL scorpions were tortured by REAL ants set up by the film crew and then all of the insects were BURNED alive.) And the movie established early on that The Wild Bunch were far less than heroes, really mean brutal guys. Vietnam was part of it, but so were the dark times. (The Manson Murders happened the same summer of the release of The Wild Bunch.) You know, for as bad as today's times have proven to be -- from about 9/11 on, including COVID -- there was something about THEN that was just..nastier? Its like innocence was lost back then. The assassinations. The riots. The sense of a quagmire of a war. It was a different time and if I may be a little bold I'll say I've always related to that song title "I was so much older then...I'm younger than that now." --- CONT And as for Hitchcock recognizing it in Blow Up? Some of it, I suppose was "giving himself cover as hip."(He was lucky; he had Lew Wasserman protecting him at Universal, other "old guys" got the heave ho.) I'd say you can see a LITTLE of the New Wave/international flavor in the opening silent sequence in Topaz, and the sound tricks in Frenzy when Rusk suddenly appears behind Babs ("Got a place to stay?") just as the camera zooms into Rusk's face from soft focus. BTW, QT may not have interviewed DePalma but he clearly watched the documentary on DePalma -- in which DePalma says everything after Psycho -- even The Birds -- just wasn't good. This no doubt fed QT's "old directors make lousy films" theory(not really true.) And here I am quoting from Topaz and Frenzy... PS. I forgot to mention. Hitchcock comes out OK with QT but John Ford? Fuggedaboudit. QT finds him a racist bigot. "White Supremacy" is mentioned and QT can't much love The Searchers accordingly . Well, Rio Bravo IS more fun. As for the rest, not for me to say except -- I do love The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and its story in particular. Interesting all the way along, swanstep. Yeah I guess Parasite smashed QT's Oscar chances both at a time when he had a "serious" work(for him) and a good screenplay -- and he had pushed for the Bong's career. You never know -- I'll bet QT didn't forsee "a foreign film" dominating American product. Me, I had a better time at OAITH. Meanwhile, DePalma WAS trumped by Scorsese all the way along, wasn't he? Its a judgment call...Scorsese was the real deal in serious auteurship, DePalma was more of an exploitation guy. Indeed, I think the feeling out there is that if DePalma had made Taxi would have been more of a thriller and less "real and sickening in places." Indeed, though it took Scorsese and Spielberg a long time to get Oscar respect -- whereas Coppola ALMOST got it early on(no Oscar win for Best Director for Godfather I), it seems that Brian DePalma was NEVER considered Oscar worthy. I'd say it was his scripts in the 70's(sometimes co-written by him.) I guess it was his content in the 80's and 90's(big hits, non-respected scripts.) Sean Connery won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Untouchables, but I don't think it got a Picture or Director nom. Maybe not even for Mamet's great screenplay. I'll have to check on that. That said, I think Scarface EVENTUALLY beat out King of Comedy -- they were both kinda flops(though I saw Scarface on release and loved it), but Scarface eventually broke free as a cult classic and hip hop favorite. DePalma can take solace in that his pictures were very good entertainment. And of course, Hitchcock never won a competitive Oscar. But DePalma wasn't that good at that level. CONT I can't swear this, but I think some years ago I watched it on TV and they cut one key bit: Where he sits in an airport bathroom stall, reaches over under the next stall, and grabs the briefcase of another passenger, sliding it over to his stall and stealing the case and the contents. I can see where airlines and airports would not want that "technique" too widely advertised. QT goes after the "first string LA Times critics" of the 70's(Charles Champlin), 80's( Sheila Benson) and 90's(Kenneth Turan.) --- Note in passing. Its funny, I have no idea who the main film critic of the Los Angeles Times is TODAY. There are reasons for that. In the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, I either lived in Los Angeles or worked places where the paper was delivered or could be read in the library. So I followed along as Charles Champlin gave way to Sheila Benson and as Benson gave way to Turan. But somewhere along in the 2000s or 2010s to now, the LA Times disappeared behind a paywall and I only read it occasionally. I think Kenneth Turan continued well into the 2000s and may write a column there now. And I must note this about Turan(because it really bothered me at the time.) Turan reviewed Van Sant's Psycho in 1998. It wasn't a very favorable review, but I REALLY remember this line: "They are using the same script that was used in 1960. Well, I was around for Psycho in 1960, and I can assure you that nobody cared to say much about the script. It didn't matter." Or something like that. My blood boiled a bit and again I thought(in 1998): Joe Stefano is an old guy who hasn't had a hit in awhile and he LIVES in Los Angeles and he must have READ that review. Oh, well, you always have to have a thick skin. I've always said that the best thing about Van Sant's Psycho was that Joe Stefano got paid hundreds of thousands more to touch up his old script than he go to write his old script IN 1960. Yay! As for Turan's judgment on Stefano's script. Wrong ("We all go a little mad sometimes.") Wrong ("Mother isn't quite herself today.") Wrong. ("Why she wouldn't hurt a fly.") This was somewhat made up for with Richard Corliss's review of Van Sant's Psycho around the same time, in which he noted that he had written of Psycho as his favorite movie (in 1973) and that the remake benefitted from showing off "Joseph Stefano's terrific screenplay." Some odds and ends on the QT book: Billy Wilder only gets one mention from QT in the book. QT says that of the "dead on arrival" films of 1969-1970, only Wilder's Sherlock Holmes and Blake Edwards Darling Lili were better than that. Topaz and Hawks' Rio Lobo...nope. This: "Hands down the most horrifying movie I saw as a child wasn't any of the horror films I watched. It was the trailer for Wait Until Dark." (Bravo. That IS a scary trailer, what with a pounding heartbeat keeping the images on screen even more terrifying than they play in the theater.) And QT notes something that I've felt all along: for all of his protesting about how he wanted his gunbattle at the end of The Wild Bunch to be "horrifying," Sam Peckinpah really turned in a gunbattle that was EXHILARATING. I believe that "The AV Club" internet magazine saw Bullitt in 1968 and The Wild Bunch in 1969 as "the beginning of the action film," and the gunbattle in The Wild Bunch - how ever horrific it seemed in 1969, really set the pace for John Woo and Lethal Weapon and Die Hard and Rambo. Exhilarating. CONT Tippi was good in The Birds. Marnie is one of my favorites because it could have been great. I love the concept. Trauma in a girl’s childhood develops into criminal behavior with sexual overtones as an adult. Isabelle Adjani in Mortelle Randonnée or Eye of the Beholder was similar. -- A good analysis. Marnie was a "wobbler" after a series of masterpieces, SOMETHING had to break the streak. I think the issue is that everybody saw that Marnie COULD have been another Rebecca, Notorious, or Vertigo -- but it missed the mark. The Universal backlot cheapo ambiance? (There are no scenes on location, just process.) Tippi Hedren overmatched by a part that needed a big star? Sean Connery not quite ready yet? The script?(the screenwriter, Jay Presson Allen, felt her script was "in Hitchcock's lower third." I think the script rather keeps REPEATING itself , in scene after scene of Connery bullying Hedren. Enough of the great film that Marnie could have been is visible in the movie itself, so it has its devotees still. And this has Bernard Herrmann's last completed score for Hitchocck. He was fired off of Torn Curtain. CONT View all replies >