Frenzy (1972)

Cinematography Gilbert Taylor
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

In London, a serial killer is raping women and strangling them with neckties. Most of the film takes place in Covent Garden, which at the time was still the location of the city’s wholesale fruit and vegetable market. Fairly early in the film, the audience sees that fruit merchant Robert Rusk (Barry Foster) is in fact the murderer. However, circumstantial evidence has already built up around his friend Richard Blaney (Jon Finch).

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Blaney’s ex-wife, Brenda (Barbara Leigh-Hunt), runs a matchmaking service that Rusk used until he was blacklisted for beating up his dates. One day, Rusk shows up at her office and tries to seduce her; when she spurns his advances, he rapes and strangles her in a fit of rage. Suspicion falls on Blaney, who is previously seen threatening his ex-wife in public, as well as being seen leaving her building shortly after her murder. The subsequent murder of Blaney’s girlfriend, Barbara “Babs” Milligan (Anna Massey), occurs off-screen: the audience sees her entering Rusk’s apartment with him, but the camera then pulls back down the stairs all the way out to the other side of the street.

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The audience next sees Rusk at night carrying a large sack and lifting it into the back of a lorry among sacks of unsold potatoes bound for Lincolnshire. Rusk soon finds that his distinctive jeweled tie pin (with the initial R) is missing, and realises that Babs must have torn it off as he was murdering her. He climbs into the back of the lorry, but it starts off on its journey north. The killer desperately scrabbles through the sack of potatoes to find the dead woman’s hand. Rigor mortis has set in, and he has to break her fingers in order to prise the pin from her grasp.

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Owing to fake evidence set up by Rusk, Blaney is gaoled while protesting his innocence. Chief Inspector Oxford (Alec McCowen), the detective investigating the murders, reconsiders the previous events and begins to believe that he has arrested the wrong man. He discusses the case with his wife (Vivien Merchant) in several scenes of comic relief concerning her pretensions as a gourmet cook.

With the help of his fellow inmates, Blaney escapes from prison. Oxford knows he will head to Rusk’s flat for revenge, and immediately goes there. Blaney arrives first, to find that the door to the flat is unlocked. He creeps in and sees what appears to be Rusk asleep in bed, and strikes the body three times with a tyre iron. However, the body is in fact the corpse of another of Rusk’s female victims, strangled by a necktie.

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Oxford bursts through the door. Blaney is still standing by the corpse holding the tyre iron, and begins to protest his innocence, but then they both hear something or someone banging heavily coming up the staircase. The two men wait in the flat and witness Rusk dragging a large trunk inside to cart away the body, only to come face to face with two determined witnesses. The film ends with Oxford’s urbane but pointed comment, “Mr. Rusk, you’re not wearing your tie.” Rusk drops the trunk in defeat.

Tense and thrilling Hitch’s film about his usual theme : the wrong man

29 August 2010 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Tension/suspense/mystery abounds in this thriller from Hithcock who combines his ordinary elements. A down-of-luck man named Richard (Jon Finch) is accused of killing , he frees for his wrongful conviction and is helped by his lover (Anna Massey).

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Covent Garden wholesale fruit merchant is the real serial killer who strangles women with a necktie. Meanwhile a Chief Inspector (Alec McCowen) along with his sergeant helper (Michael Bates) are investigating the grisly murders . And the strangler killer going on his murder spree . The panic expands on the city by the necktie murderous and Richard becomes a prime suspect . Bewildered Richard chased cross London by the police who think he is an assassin as his ex-wife (Barbara Leigh-Hunt) has been also murdered and all caught by the circumstantial evidence . Later on , Richard learns the real murderer and he’s headed to seek revenge against him.

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All typical Hitch themes are here as a man wrongly accused of murder , his Quintaessential issue , numerous amazing camera shots and slightly black humor . Hitchcock was encouraged to return to England and promptly made this unusual film for his eventual British period. The picture packs tension , thriller,suspense and excitement. The intriguing story written by Anthony Shaffer -Sleuth- is one of the splendid thrillers with ‘false guilty ‘ as its theme, achieving the maximum impact on the audience and containing numerous exciting set pieces with usual Hitchcock elements .

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The movie is full of lingering images as when the camera shows the astounding killings , the strange fighting with a corpse in a truck load of potatoes , the camera descending from a first floor flat , the Inspector ‘s mealtime along with his wife Vivien Merchant , among others . However , it contains some nudism and disturbing scenes as the unsettling rape, strangling and murder scenes. Colorful cinematography by Gilbert Taylor showing marvelously the Covent Garden streets. Suspenseful and enjoyable musical score by Ron Goodwin . This good thriller by the master himself, who preys on the senses and keeps the suspense at feverish pitch . The movie is directed after ¨Marnie(64)¨and ¨Topaz(69)¨his worst movie, subsequently made ¨Frenzy¨ and ¨Family Plot¨ his last film. Rating : Better than average, worthwhile seeing thanks some Hitch’s touches.

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Great, but not Hitchcock’s best

8/10
Author: abgkasjlkasjla from Denmark
6 November 2004

Some of Hitchcock’s final films weren’t great; some went so far as to call them really bad. True, they are not the masterpieces that Vertigo and Psycho are, but I don’t think they are all as bad as some claim. I finally got a chance to see Frenzy, and I must say that it’s a great piece of typical Hitchcock thriller. The story is about a killer who strangles women with a necktie, after raping them. After a bunch of unfortunate(but not unlikely) situations the police suspect the wrong man, and we follow his actions as he tries to evade the police. Like all the Hitchcock greats, it features great characterizations, dialog and situations. Not to mention those little details that lift him above the level that most other directors are at. The plot is very good, and well-paced.

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The acting is very good; I was particularly impressed at how ‘British’ they managed to be, considering how many of the actors are Americans. I suspect Hitchcock played a big part in making the film so authentic and true to life. The characters are well-written, credible and interesting. The suspense and tension is extreme at points of the movie, and Hitchcock (once again) proves his perfect understanding of the film-making elements and his ability to put them to good use. I found it interesting to see so much nudity, in a Hitchcock film. Of course, it wasn’t just graphic and pointless, like it is in most films(not just from that period); it’s there for a purpose. The famous “continuous” shot looked great, though it was obvious where the cut was.

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Hitchcock is known for his innovative shots, angles and pans, and this is no exception to the greatness of his cinematography. I doubt that we have seen a much more innovative or intelligent film-maker since him. It’s nice to be able to see that even such a short time before his death(about 8 years, I suppose), Hitchcock delivered something so great. Much better than the dime-a-dozen flicks that most films released consist of today. A great film for any fan of Hitchcock, or even of thrillers in general. I recommend this film to any fan of thrillers or Hitchcock. Great film. 8/10

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Goldfinger (1964)

Directed by Guy Hamilton
Cinematography Ted Moore, BSC

Bond is back and his next mission takes him to Fort Knox, where Auric Goldfinger and his henchman are planning to raid Fort Knox and obliterate the world economy. To save the world once again, Bond will need to become friends with Goldfinger, dodge killer hats and avoid Goldfinger’s personal pilot, the sexy Pussy Galore. She might not have feelings for Bond, but will 007 help her change her mind?

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Effortless cool, Bond was never greater

5 October 2008 | by The Spectacular Spider-Man (Can you get me a cup of coffee, please?) – See all my reviews

Now, we’re talking.

What Goldfinger does, that so many subsequent Bond movies forget, is not overdo things. It underplays everything. This is a movie of such effortless cool and style that it’s sweeps the viewer along with charm. Many Bond movies also jar between action and non-action scenes (The World is Not Enough, for instance). Goldfinger moves through the gears with aplomb.

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Goldfinger is so stylish that even the pre-credit sequence contains more cool than the entirety of most 007 films. You have the iconic wetsuit/tuxedo scene; Bond lighting a cigarette just as an explosion goes off; the unflinchingly brutality of Bond electrocuting a man then just turning away to make a quip; and finally him slamming the door – even than leads perfectly into the Shirley Bassey theme.

Everything is pitch perfect. Goldfinger himself is the ideal combo of vulgar greed and gentlemanly host. A perfect foe for for Bond. Pussy Galore combines the voluptuousness of 60’s Bond girls with the spirit of the more modern ones. Connery himself is the epitome of Bond; charismatic, tough, ultra-suave.

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There are plenty of standout scenes; the laser-beam table is unmatched in the series for sheer, pure tension; the aston martin chase is again one of the best in the series and shows up similar scenes in the likes of Die Another Day as merely visual showcases – this one is genuinely exciting. Bond’s fight with Oddjob set the template for numerous, ‘How do I stop this guy?’ cat-and-mouse fight scenes, especially in Spielberg movies.

You might argue than Goldfinger could do with at least one more action set-piece, as it does slow down before the climax whilst Bond is Goldfinger’s guest. But it wouldn’t really fit into the story. As a Bond film, Goldfinger is practically perfect. Connery even has the best wig.

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Best Bond movie ever.

10/10
Author: MovieAddict2016 from UK
7 May 2004

Goldfinger could best be described as the quintessential, definitive Bond film, the first of the series to set the necessities of the entire saga in motion. It is also the best of the Bond movies, arguably the most suave and sophisticated, far superior to the Roger Moore era and those who followed in Connery’s footsteps. It is the Bond ultimatum, so to speak.

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Goldfinger was the first of the iconic legacy to feature Q (Desmond Llewelyn) as a recurring comic relief figure. (He was introduced in From Russia with Love, the second film in the series, where he was credited as Major Boothroyd, and given little screen time.) It was also the first to truly setup the suave nature of 007, the tongue-in-cheek humor (absent in the first movie, Dr. No), the far-fetched gadgetry (including fast cars, this one being an Aston-Martin) and, arguably, the first of the series to feature the famous line, “Bond, James Bond,” as a 007 catchphrase, versus a mere line of dialogue. When Bond storms out onto the patio of the motel room, the camera zooms in towards his face, the 007 theme song roars through the speakers, and he says his motto with cool confidence. It’s Bond, baby.

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Both of Goldfinger’s predecessors were darker, more serious motion pictures — more in-tune with the writing of Fleming versus the suaveness to later be salvaged from the series with the third installment. Although Dr. No was a terrific movie, and although From Russia with Love is exciting, Goldfinger beats them both. It features the best (and most famous) Bond villain to ever grace the screen, constantly spoofed in countless productions: Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), the target of Austin Powers in Goldmember and, according to IMDb, referenced and spoofed in well over 100 other productions.

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There isn’t much of a plot, really. Goldfinger plans to rob Fort Knox and become the richest man in the world. Bond finds out and tries to put a stop to his mission. What entices us, and what makes the film so entertaining despite the absurdity, is its leniency towards itself. It doesn’t mind being silly because the entertainment value far outweighs any flaws. Plus, it has some of the most memorable scenes in history, and arguably the best Villain Explanation Scene to ever be recorded. “Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?” Bond (Sean Connery) asks as a laser beam slowly makes its way towards his groin. “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” he says with mock ridicule, before walking away. The following shots is one of the only sequences in James Bond history where the iconic character actually seems fairly worried that fate may be playing a deadly hand.

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Released in 1964, forty years later it stands as one of the most risqué Bond films to date. Especially for its time, there is brief nudity during the opening credits, sexual scenes, constant innuendo (including a Bond girl named “Pussy Galore,” played by Honor Blackman) and implications of lesbianism.

Galore’s sexual orientation is not delved into as deeply and explicitly as it may be dealt with in today’s day and age, but the inclusion exists. Bond struggles verbally with Galore, trying to woo and seduce her, and she subtly implies from their very first meeting that she will not be seduced, claiming it is impossible for Bond to get very far with her, thereby insinuating that she is, in fact, a lesbian. According to the director of the film, Guy Hamilton, the entire situation is given much more emphasis in the novel by Ian Fleming, but it was simply too foul a subject for audiences back in 1964. Surprisingly, the verbal exchanges and implications behind the subject matter are much more effective.

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All of the actors in Goldfinger are, at the very least, very good. But of course, it is really Sean Connery who demands our utmost attention and respect, for it is Connery whose inhumanly strong screen presence launched Bond into the heights of Movie Legend.

Recently in London I attended a James Bond exhibition, and as I made my way through a maze of Bond memorabilia and objects used in all twenty-something movies, I found myself realizing that the myth of 007 propels the films farther than anything else ever could. There is a sort of iconic legacy surrounding the entire Bond franchise that will probably never die. Different action heroes come and go, and nowadays Rambo looks criminally out of date, but Bond, in his black-and-white tuxedo, with all his suave sophistication, will never grow old, because he is a timeless hero who is comprised of all the greatest heroic attributes to ever be assembled, and although his style and looks may grow weary amid the changing ages, his character will remain the ultimate hero, and I very much doubt that we will ever live to see a day when Bond.

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The superlative James Bond film

9/10
Author: Kyle Milligan (toldyaso@planeteer.com) from Toronto, Canada
20 July 1999

First of all, I must state for the record, Sean Connery is THE James Bond. Even though the first Bond film I ever saw was “For Your Eyes Only” with Roger Moore. I was very young and very much drawn in. I have seen every one of the Bond films and without a doubt, “Goldfinger” is the finest the 007 saga has to offer.

Before I had begun an appreciation of the Connery films, i.e. before I’d seen them, a good friend and cartooning mentor, Ross Paperman, sorted me out. He helped me see how Connery’s Bond was suave and sophisticated but also demonstrated a quality the other Bonds do not portray: fear.

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Not a panicky soil-your-pants kind of fear, mind you. But Connery’s Bond actually has a few anxious, sweat-soaked-brow moments. A perfect example is when Bond is strapped to a table as Goldfinger’s captive with a laser beam primed to cut him in half. 007 has to think fast. “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” A famous scene and line from Bond’s most enjoyable film.

Perhaps what makes the earlier films more enjoyable is that they had fresh, innovative elements that have now become cliché and gimmicky. The new films are often stale and already covered ground and they don’t even appear to be trying anymore.

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But it’s more than that. Even watching “Goldfinger” today, having seen all the latest in special effects and technology that Hollywood has to offer, it still is riveting and thoroughly entertaining. That is also without the added advantage of being overly nostalgic about “Goldfinger”. How could I? I hadn’t even been born when it first hit theaters, and it was far from my first 007 experience. The story, the characters and the fun of “Goldfinger” is timeless and if given a chance could probably rope in a whole new generation of fans. It just doesn’t seem likely to happen.

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Much of the satire from the Austin Powers films is directly derived from the Connery films, especially “Goldfinger” and “Dr. No”, proving their lasting effect on popular culture. As well, John Barry’s scores from the Connery films are finding their way into the ears of a new generation through pop music as snippets from his soundtracks are sampled by such artists as Robbie Williams, Mono and Curve, to name a few.

But if by some fluke you read this and you haven’t seen “Goldfinger” yet, do yourself right and acquaint yourself with the real James Bond. You’ll probably be hooked by the time you hear Shirley Bassey’s voice in the famous opening theme.

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Bond’s third is a charmer

9/10
Author: goya-4 from PA USA
7 September 2000

Sean Connery’s third go around as James Bond has become the quisessential James Bond Flick and for good reason..from the catch opening chorus by Shirley Bassey and the intro pretty lady decked out in gold to oddjob’s hat and the name of the bond girl Pussy Galore..What else could one ask for? The most popular and arguable the best Bond as James tries to stop Goldfinger and his pilot from robbing Fort Knox.. On a scale of one to ten… Goldfinger strikes a 9

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Genuine candidate for “Worst Bond Ever”

2/10
Author: Jack from Minnesota, USA
9 January 2006

I had a lot of problems with this movie. Let me list them:

1) The number two person in the conspiracy to nuke Fort Knox changes sides and betrays her comrades…because Bond slept with her? Gimme a break. Judging from her personality, she’d be about the last person in the world I’d expect to do such a thing. It’s obvious that the writers couldn’t think of any way of getting out of the corner they’d written themselves into, so they tossed in a deus ex machina cop-out ending.

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2) Bond just doesn’t do much of anything in this movie. He spends the last half of the movie sitting in a cell while other characters run around and do things that don’t advance the plot one bit. It’s boring. I appreciate the fact that he uses his brains to get out of trouble, but he never really “gets out” of trouble, he just turns a bad situation into a slightly less bad one. This is about the only Bond movie where he’s so ineffectual, and it makes for a very unentertaining film.

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3) Bond allows himself to be captured by the bad guys so that he can go and check on the condition of a woman who got hit with a flying hat? He barely knew her! He gave her a ride to a gas station; that’s it. It makes no sense that he’d jeopardize his mission in order to check on the condition of a stranger. What was he going to do, give her CPR? He certainly didn’t want to be captured as part of any sort of plan, as he spent the next ten minutes of the movie trying to get away again.

4) Why didn’t Goldfinger just kill Bond? He hit the nail right on the head when he said that Bond only knew the name of the operation (blockbuster), but he didn’t know any of the details. Then Bond tells him that if he is killed, they’ll send another agent. Well, obviously. Goldfinger certainly must have assumed as much. But how would anyone even know if Bond was killed? It was just another poorly thought out scene.

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5) Pussy Galore is a really unlikable character. Not only is she just plain homely, but she brags and brags and brags about herself.

6) The ending on the plane felt very tacked on and silly. Are we to believe that a woman and a fat guy overpowered all the soldiers in a military aircraft hanger and stole a plane right out from under their noses?

Oh, there are a few good things about the movie. The Swiss Alps are beautiful, even in Summer. The car is really cool. And of course the theme song is fantastic.

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Overall, this is easily the worst Connery Bond film. Much worse than any Roger Moore or Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby Bond movie. I can’t for the life of me understand why people hold it in such high esteem, the writing is just so ridiculously sloppy. I enjoy most of Connery’s other Bond films, but this thing sticks out like a big, stinky sore thumb.

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Awesome Bond film!

10/10
Author: snash93 from United Kingdom
27 June 2010

The third issue of the James Bond series, Goldfinger, hit the cinemas with a huge expectation following the success of its predecessors From Russia with Love and Dr.No and it didn’t disappoint. Goldfinger was the first of four Bond movies Guy Hamilton directed and with a budget of $3million and the gross revenue being $124.9million, it is safe to say that it was the crown jewel of his career and of the James Bond franchise.

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The film has a rather basic storyline of how Goldfinger plans to raid Fort Knox and become the richest man in the world and Bond sets out to thwart him. Though the storyline may have been nothing special but the film’s use of iconography and presentation that made it outshine other Bond issues. Unlike the more recent Bond films such as Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace etc, Goldfinger has that James Bond feel to it. What I mean by this is that the newer Bond issues lack the conventions, which made it successful and unique for example there isn’t as much use of gadgets in newer Bond films. I mean you have a beautiful Aston Martin DB5 and not only has it got the speed, but those gadgets within it which Bond can utilise when he is in a chase scene, that can help make it epic and breathtaking.

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This was shown very well in this film as Bond can shoot from using in his car, track villains down, and one particular gadget, the ejector seat, which simple but effective and amusing. There is something else which also stands out in this film and which is decreased in the newer Bond films and that is clichés. For me I think it is a huge mistake of not utilising clichés in up coming Bond films, as you look in modern times, we can watch so many films of the action/adventure genre, who now also use the similar conventions such as the gadgets, the fast cars etc, that you would want a film which is unique on its own. This is where I feel clichés are really important and how it shows this film having that James Bond feel than of Quantum of Solace for example.

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One real famous cliché, which is used in this film, is when Sean Connery’s character says “The names Bond. James Bond”. The use of clichés in this film like the one I just quoted can show the iconic status of James Bond.

The acting in Goldfinger was absolutely superb especially of Sean Connery and Gert Frobe, who both had unique characters and were the perfect match in the antagonist and protagonist.

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This film displayed Auric Goldfinger as a real legitimate threat and as a sadistic psychopath. There is a famous scene which shows this aspect of his character where a laser beam is about cut Bond in half, James says “Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?” to which Goldfinger replies “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”. In the following moments we see Bond worried and I feel this can allow us to recognise Auric Goldfinger as a powerful enemy and as an equal to Bond. The fact that we see James Bond anxious is very rare in the franchise as he has a very strong screen presence and there is an expectation of him being the powerful, authoritative figure.

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With this expectation, the franchise shows itself as a fairytale and the film also displays this. The character of Bond shows to be a resilient hero that defeats the bad guy and saves the world. But the earlier Bond character, which was acted by Sean Connery, Roger Moore, showed wit and humour which so dearly lacks now. Now that we distinguished the traits and personality of the good character and the bad character, what else does every evil, manipulative villain need in the James Bond franchise? For those who haven’t guessed it, there is one word, which I’m looking and that’s henchman. Henchmen’s play a huge part in the Bond film chain (Stamper, Tee Hee and Gobinda to name a few) as they are presented as the unstoppable force that 007 has to fight. The main henchman in this film is Oddjob who is played by Harold Sakata and to be quite honest with you, he is my favourite henchman throughout the whole series.

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The reason being is that he is silent, manservant of Goldfinger but is a ruthless killer and ends up having an epic battle with James Bond, who has to use his intelligence and resiliency to defeat the Korean born wrecking machine.

As always every Bond film needs Bond girls! Now first of all I would like us to consider the fact that Goldfinger was made in 1964, so naturally back then, the female gender was seen as the inferior sex however that did not stop the persistent use of sexual innuendo but it isn’t as explicit as it used in the more recent Bond movies. The main Bond girl in this film goes by the name of Pussy Galore (note the strong use of innuendo in the name!), but she isn’t the stereotypical Bond girl that gets taken in by 007.

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When we see her first meet James Bond, there is a clear indication that she will not be seduced and she is playing hard to get. With this we can make the clear assumption that she is not the stereotypical female, and to emphasise this further, in the film her profession is a pilot and she also has learnt judo, thus revealing the masculine nature in the character, evidently summing up why she isn’t easily taken in by Bond. Eventually however, she falls for him and again it’s mainly about Bond’s character, his wit, his bravery, and his intelligence. Having such characteristics is sure to woo even the likes of Galore.

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Bond, Bowler Hats, Galore and the Man With the Midas Touch.

9/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
21 April 2012

Goldfinger is directed by Guy Hamilton and adapted to screenplay by Richard Maibaum & Paul Dehn from the novel written by Ian Fleming. It stars Sean Connery, Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton & Harold Sakata. Music is by John Barry and cinematography by Ted Moore.

Operation Grand Slam.

Connery’s third outing as James Bond sees 007 investigating the movements of wealthy gold dealer Auric Goldfinger (Frobe). Little does 007 or MI6 know, but Goldfinger is hatching a master plan that will spell disaster for the world’s financial climate.

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Undeniably the turning point in the James Bond franchise, Goldfinger is also one of the most fondly remembered by the cinema loving public. Here is when Bond not only went go-go gadget crazy, but he also impacted on pop culture to the point the waves created are still being felt today. Bond traditionalists are often irked by the mention of the change Goldfinger represents, and with just cause, because this really isn’t Fleming’s core essence Bond. Bond has now become a gadget using super agent, a man who laughs in the face of death, a quip never far from his lips. Yet the hard facts are that this Bond is the one the world really bought into, ensuring for the foreseeable future at least, that this type of Bond was here to say. Marketing was high pitched, fan worship became feverish and the box office sang to the tune of $125 million. Toys, gimmicks and collectables would follow, the Aston Martin DB5 would become “The Most Famous Car in the World”, in 1964 Bond truly became a phenomenon.

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Purely on an entertainment front, Goldfinger delivers royally, the sets, casting and the high energy set-pieces all seep with quality. This in spite of the actual plot being one of the weakest in the whole franchise. As great a villain as Auric Goldfinger is, with a voice dubbed Frobe simply joyous in the role, his motives are rather dull and hardly cause for some worldwide Bondian panic. But the film rises above it to the point it only really registers long after the end credits have rolled. We have been treated to Odd Job (Sakata instantly becoming a Bond villain legend), that laser, the DB5 and its tricks, the delicious Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore (still an awesome name today and still sounding like a character from a Carry On movie), the golf match, Shirley Eaton’s golden girl and the ticking time bomb finale played out during the chaotic scenes involving Ken Adam’s brilliantly designed version of Fort Knox.

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Bond staples also serve the production well, the title sequence is neatly strung together as scenes from the movie play out over a writhing golden girl, who was model Margaret Nolan and who briefly appears in the film as Dink. The theme tune is a blockbuster, sang with gusto by Shirley Bassey and the locations dazzle the eyes as we are whisked to Switzerland, Kentucky and Miami. Stock characters continue to make their marks, with M, Moneypenny and Q (setting in motion the wonderful serious v jocular axis of his “to be continued” relationship with Bond), starting to feel like old cinematic friends. Only let down is Cec Linder’s turn as Bond’s CIA counterpart, Felix Leiter, gone is the swagger created by Jack Lord in Dr. No, and while Linder is no bad actor, he doesn’t sit right in the role, he’s looks too world weary. A shame because he is integral to how the plot pans out.

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Director Guy Hamilton was helming the first of what would end up being four Bond movies on his CV, he made his mark by bringing more zip and quip to the Bond character. Connery was firmly ensconced in the role of Bond, he was a mega star because of it, but cracks were beginning to appear in how Connery viewed this gargantuan success and the impact it was having on his hopes to be viewed as a serious actor. However, he was signed up for Thunderball, the next James Bond adventure, and Terence Young would return to the director’s chair, could they top the success of Goldfinger? 9/10

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The Wanderers (1979)

Directed by Philip Kaufman
Cinematography Michael Chapman

Set against the urban jungle of 1963 New York’s gangland subculture, this coming of age teenage movie is set around the Italian gang the Wanderers. Slight comedy, slight High School angst and every bit entertaining with its classic 1950’s Rock n’ Roll soundtrack such as “Walk Like a Man”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by The Four Seasons and “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels. Focusing around a football game where the different gangs play with and against each other, then at its grand finale, come together in a mass of union to defend their honour and their turf. Nostalgic stuff and above all a Rock n’ Roll retrospective on a grand musical era.

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Filming of The Wanderers began in September 1978, most of which occurred in the Bronx. Kaufman said that during filming, “[This] Puerto Rican motorcycle gang came pushing its way through the crowd; wanting to see what was going on”, and “they pushed everyone aside”. They walked away after bumping into van Lidth. The crew also encountered trouble from former members of the “real” Baldies, who complained the film portrayed the Baldies incorrectly, saying: “[The movie] is a lie! This was not a bad neighborhood. There was no crime, no robbery. Murder, yes, but no crime!” Rose Kaufman eventually told them to “fuck off”, which nearly resulted in a brawl between the former gang members, Wahl and several other actors.

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An homage to the end of an era

8/10
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.
23 February 2004
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Based on a novel by Richard Price, Philip Kaufman’s 1979 film The Wanderers is a surreal comedy about teenage gangs in the Bronx during the sixties that is both a coming of age film and an homage to the end of an era. The film was considered too strange for American audiences but gained popularity in Europe and eventually landed a theatrical re-release in the U.S. in 1996. Set in 1963 just prior to the Kennedy assassination, The Wanderers deals with a group of high school friends who must ward off challenges from rival gangs while coming to grips with the problems of growing up during rapidly changing times.

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The film has great music, an authentic sixty’ish look, colorful characters, and nostalgia for the days when alcohol was the favorite drug and the football field was the only battleground. In the film, ethnic gangs populate the Bronx but there are no guns and no knives. We meet the Wanderers (Italian), the Del Bombers (Black), the Wongs (Asian Kung Fu), and the Fordham Baldies (oversized bald guys). All except the sadistic Ducky Boys who seem to suddenly materialize at the opportune moment, are more like social clubs and do little besides partying and hanging out.

Led by slick, good-looking Richie (Ken Wahl), a pizza parlor employee discovered by Kaufman, and his friend Joey (John Friedrich), The Wanderers have their hands full fighting the Baldies and their 6′ 7”, 400 lb. leader named Terror (Erland van Lidth de Jeude).

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One of their members Turkey (Alan Rosenberg) even crosses over and enlists in the Baldies to keep his gang connections going after graduation but the Baldies comically end up enlisting in the Marines. When newcomer Perry (Tony Ganios) comes to the Wanderers’ rescue during a street brawl, they recruit him for their gang and become confident enough to challenge the Del Bombers to a fight. After an abortive attempt to discuss racism in class ends in a brawl, the stage is set for a rumble but local mobsters channel this energy into a football game. When the Ducky Boys show up, however, the game turns into a free for all. Although there is lots of violence, it is of the comic book variety and never seems quite real.

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The energy never flags throughout The Wanderers and the film is assisted by a great soundtrack that includes many sixties favorites: “Runaround Sue” performed by Dion and other classic oldies such as The Contours’ “Do You Love Me,” the Shirelles’ “Soldier Boy,” and the Surfaris’ “Wipe Out”. Karen Allen plays Nina, Richie’s new crush who competes for his attention with his long time girl friend Despie (Toni Galem), the daughter of a local mobster. One of the best scenes is a hilarious game of strip poker with Nina and Despie that is fixed by Richie and Joey to achieve an inevitable outcome. When Nina, the symbol of the new generation, goes to Folk City to hear Bob Dylan sing “The Times They Are a-Changin”, and the boys watch television accounts of the Kennedy assassination, it is clear something has shifted and their lives will never be the same. For those who lived during this time, The Wanderers will bring back many memories. For others, it is an entertaining but often sad journey back to a time of innocence that now seems so very long ago.

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An Underrated Classic Of Gang Films,Teen Films,Coming of Age films and Cinema.

10/10
Author: jcbutthead86 from United States
13 June 2012

The Wanderers Is one of the most underrated,overlooked movies of all time and a classic of gang films,teen films and coming-of-age films and one of my all time favorite movies.

Based on Richard Price’s novel and set In 1963 Bronx,New York, The Wanderers tells the story of an Italian gang called The Wanderers focusing on three members of the gang Richie(Ken Wahl),the leader of the gang,Joey(John Friedrich),the hyperactive little guy In the gang who lives with an abusive Father and Perry(Tony Ganinos),the gentile giant who’s new In town and joins The Wanderers and Is a neighbor of Joey’s. The three characters along with The Wanderers deal with love, growing up, changing of the times, and rival gangs such as the all-black gang The Del-Bombers, the bald headed gang The Fordham Baldies, an Asian gang called The Wongs and probably the scariest gang of them all The Ducky Boys a group of small guys who are silent,but come in large numbers.

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The Wanderers Is a great film from beginning to end and will stay with you after you watch it because it’s funny,tragic,nostalgic,haunting and unforgettable. The film is funny because of the way it depicts teenage life for The Wanderers in the early 60s,whether it’s picking up girls,going to parties,or getting in fights with other gangs. The music fashions,style and the way the characters act seems true to what was going on at the time and they’re definitely is a realism to it.

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The film is like a great mixture of George Lucas’ American Graffiti,Walter Hill’s The Warriors and Barry Levinson’s Diner all in one. The film also paints a world where every teenager in the Bronx is in a gang and all of the gangs are different by race like the all Italian gang (The Wanderers),a Asian gang(The Wongs) Black gang(The Del-Bombers),Bald gang(The Baldies),a silent gang(The Ducky Boys). The way the gangs are shown in the movie is exaggerated,funny,surreal and at times scary but also unique. The film has an episodic nature where some scenes aren’t connected to one another and sometimes character tend to disappear,but there isn’t a wasted scene in the film and the movie has a great energy and flow.

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Some of the scenes will have meaning and will stick with you after you finish. Like the best Teen films or Coming Of Age films The Wanderers is a film about dealing with the last grasps of being a teenager and facing the tough challenges of being an adult,where the characters face the fact that they’re not going to be teenagers or in a gang forever,or it’s dealing with life teenage and other relationships,parents or an uncertain future. This is one of the reasons why The Wanderers sets itself apart from other gang films. Like American Graffiti,The Wanderers is about the end of the 50s and the beginning of the 60s where the innocence and fun of the late 50s was being replaced by the dark times of the 60s. The characters especially Richie,Joey and Perry know that the times are changing faster than they and they’re is a bunch of powerful moments in the film that give way to the changing of the era’s and will stick with you after the film is over.

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The film moves at a solid pace and at times feels like a 90 minute film than a 117 minute film with great energy and break neck speed. Although The Wanderers is not an Action film they’re a couple of fight scenes in the film that are well done and brutal and add to the greatness of the film. I know people have been comparing The Wanderers and The Warriors and trying to say which film is better,stop comparing them. As someone who owns and loves both films they both shouldn’t be compared,The Wanderers is coming of age Comedy-Drama,The Warriors is an Action film,the only thing they have in common is that they’re both gang films. Both are classic films and shouldn’t be compared. The ending of the film is beautiful,sad,tragic and at the same time optimistic and will make the viewers make up their minds about what happened to the characters. A great ending.

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The whole cast does a great job. Ken Wahl does a great job as Richie,the leader of The Wanderers. John Friedrich is wonderful as the hyperactive Joey. Tony Ganios is wonderful as Perry,the gentle giant who’s new in the neighborhood and becomes a member of The Wanderers. Karen Allen does a great job in her small role as Nina,a girl Richie and Joey meet. Toni Kalem does a fine job as Despie,Richie’s girlfriend. Alan Rosenberg is funny as Wanderers’ weasel Turkey. Jim Youngs does a great job as Buddy,a ladies man. Erland Van Lidth is excellent as Terror leader of The Baldies. Linda Manz is outstanding as PeeWee Terror’s girlfriend. Dolph Sweet gives a memorable performance as Chubby,Despie’s father and a local gangster who helps The Wanderers out when needed. William Andrews frightening and intense as Emilio,Joey’s abusive Father.

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Director Philip Kaufman does a masterful job Directing the film moving the camera when ever he can, never slowing down. Kaufman’s direction gives the film a since of edge and realism and at times creepiness. A year before in 1978 Kaufman directed the great remake Invasion of the Body Snatchers a creepy and terrifying film and Kaufman brings the same terrifying tone in this film with The Ducky Boys scenes.

The soundtrack is amazing with great songs like Walk like a man,Soldier Boy,Baby It’s you,The Wanderer,Stand By Me and many more. The soundtrack greatly fits with the tone of the late 50s and early 60s.

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In final word,if you love Gang films,teen films,Coming of age films and love films like The Warriors,The Outsiders,Rumble Fish and American Graffiti or cinema in general,I highly suggest you see this underrated classic. Highly Recommended. 10/10.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

8/10
Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom
14 April 2010
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Philip Kaufman’s “The Wanderers” opens with a couple kissing on a couch. He wants to have sex, but she doesn’t. “You’re a guy,” she says, worried about getting pregnant. “Guy’s don’t have to worry about their reputations!”

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Kaufman undermines her proclamation by immediately cutting to a shot of skinhead gang members gathering on a street corner, “Walk Like A Man” playing on the soundtrack. As the film progresses, Kaufman will use this scene (a horde of gangsters standing outside a military recruiting station, trying to recruit new members of their own) as a jumping off point to delve into such issues as loyalty, sex, racial tension, adolescent swagger and the pros and cons of machismo. In other words, the film is about guy’s worrying about their status and reputations within their own little communities.

More importantly, though, Kaufman takes this theme (male identity under threat) and then builds a sequel to his earlier picture, “Invasion of The Body Snatchers”, creating a film which is more about migration, movements and group formation.

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The film’s two main protagonists are Richie, leader of a gang called the Wanderers, and Joey, a kid with artistic aspirations. As the film unfolds, we watch as the various boys and men of the picture form cliques, join gangs and jump from one group to the next, always seeking the solace and protection that these ready made support-groups offer.

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All these gangs assemble at the end of the film, where they face off on a giant football field. The blacks, the Italians, the Chinese, the mafia, the sons, the fathers, all gather on the field, all in their own little testosterone filled groups, waiting for any excuse to release their rage. When that violent moment comes, however, they target not one another, but a ghostly group of men called “The Duckies”, a seemingly phantasmic gang which Kaufman bathes in smoke and treats as a kind of supernatural force; even oppositional groups join forces to curb anxieties.

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After this multi-gang orgy, in which every creed and race teams up to defeat the spectral “Duckies”, Kaufman undercuts the testosterone and exposes the normalcy of gang life. Scoring sex leads to dull marriages, acting tough leads to dead end jobs in the military, violence and machismo masks weakness and anxieties, gang peer pressure leads to death etc etc. By the film’s end, everyone – despite their macho rebellion – is trapped in a future that’s a conformist, carbon copy of the past. All except Joey, the artist who – like the artist character at the end of George Lucas’ similar film, “American Graffiti” – jumps in a car and skips town.

Don Siegel’s 1956 film, “The Invasion of The Body Snatchers”, dealt with a hostile group of aliens who sought to take over a small Californian town. The film used a “cultural invasion” from outer space to symbolise the annihilation of free personality in contemporary society.

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Kaufman’s 1978 remake, however, saw “cultural invasion” as a blend of what sociologist Robert Park calls “migrations” and “passive movements”. Migration as a mass movement usually entails a certain amount of cultural conquest (economic or political) and assimilation, whereas passive movements represent a more individualised negotiation of cultural boundaries within a society (in Kaufman’s invasion film, the humans have to act like aliens who are themselves acting like humans, in order to survive. IE, conformity is itself a kind of parody of a fake humanity).

In Don Siegel’s film, actor Kevin McCarthy stumbles out onto a rural street and yells “They’re here!”, warning townsfolk of the alien invasion. In Kauffman’s remake, the same Kevin McCarthy finds himself bumbling down a busy urban street, again yelling “They’re here!”

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The relocation of the alien invasion from rural town to urban mega-city marks an important shift. By placing the alien invasion within a metropolitan centre the sharp distinctions between ethnic groups (blacks, Irish, Italian, Japanese, American, Commie etc) are down played while the question of the individual as Other within the large, alienating convolutions of the modern landscape takes precedence. In the modern world, individuality as a means of defining oneself against any number of groups becomes lost within the ubiquitous streamlining of social, ethnic, and religious differences, everyone essentially becoming the same in their differences.

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In Kaufman’s next film, “The Wanderers”, he again has a character yelling “They’re here!”, this time when the virus-like “Duckies” appear. Set against the changing nature of ethnic communities within the Bronx, the racial tensions of the film are resolved not by all the different races battling against one another in order to survive, but in the races “coming together” against an external, seemingly ghostly contaminant. Here it is conformity – the very alien behaviour that the humans rallied against in “Body Snatchers” – that allows the various gangs to band together and fight off the foreign invaders.

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Kauffman stresses that it is the basic values that the different gangs share (codes, morals, symbols, colours, lack of weapons etc), that allow them to identify with one another and band against the invading “Duckies”. The “Duckies” themselves are perhaps a stand in for America’s Vietnamese or foreign enemies, which Kaufman sees as a ghostly sham, a boogie man used to whip up home-grown fear.

Why are the gangs so easily whipped up into fear? Because they all agree on boundaries to define themselves in relationship to other ethnic/racial groups. “The Duckies”, however, refuse to acknowledge these basic values. They, like the aliens from “Body Snatchers”, are an external social force that does not distinguish between race, ethnicity and religion, and are therefore threatening to the supposedly “distinct” and “anti establishment” (ie hypocritical) gangs, solely because of their non conformity.

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Rumble in the Bronx.

8/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
7 September 2009

The Wanderers, an Italian street gang in the Bronx 1963, preparing for a rumble with rival gang the Del-Bombers, try to enlist other gangs to help their cause. However, as the times are a changing, The Wanderers and all the other gangs of the city must come to terms with pending adulthood, and, the ending of an era.

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Directed by Phillip Kaufman, this adaptation of Richard Price’s novel stands up as one of the best pictures to deal with gang culture. Laced with crackling adolescent humour, and sublimely sound tracked, The Wanderers triumphs better than most because it captures the time frame perfectly. Encompassing the killing of JFK, and subtly showing (during an hilarious sequence) the enlisting of ignorant youths into the Marines, to be carted off to Vietnam no doubt, The Wanderers has far more to offer than merely angst and high school jinx. The cast are surprisingly strong, Ken Wahl, Karen Allen, Tony Ganios and Erland van Lidth all shine in their respective roles, whilst Kaufman directs with a knowing sense of purpose of the thematics to hand.

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All of which culminates in a quite eerie final third as the deadly Ducky Boys enter the fray. Not quite as serious as The Warriors, which was released the same year, it’s a film that much like this one now feels part of my teen education. The Wanderers is however the smarter picture of the two in terms of substance. The coming together at the finale, the racial harmony bursting out from the screen, is and always should be eternally embraced.

All together now, “I’m the type of guy who will never settle down” 8/10

A Brilliant and (dare I say?) Important Film

10/10
Author: brtndr from United States
19 August 2012

From the very beginning of Philip Kaufman’s “The Wanderers”, you’re immediately transported in an orgasmic explosion of music into New York’s Bronx borough of 1963. Just before the audience is introduced to some of the most original colorful characters in cinematic history, whose personal perceptions of the world are limited to the prism of their ethnocentric gang affiliations that rule their urban jungle environment.

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In contrast to George Lucas’ semi-autobiographical movie ‘American Graffiti’, that re-created his young life filled with hot rods, cruising the main street and drag racing in a small California town in 62′. Philip Kaufman adaptation of Richard Price’s semi-autobiographical novel ‘The Wanderers’ re-creates the atmosphere of the gritty street gang life of Bronx, NY in 1963.

While George Lucas’ American Graffiti enjoyed far more recognition and success than Philip Kaufman’s ‘The Wanderers’ ever did. These two great independent films could serve as bookmarks to one another, with American Graffiti in 1973 being the main inspirational source that launched the whole 50’s & 60’s nostalgic retro entertainment for the rest of the 70’s. While 79’s ‘The Wanderers’ marks the end of the 50’s nostalgia era. With one film about the lives of high school kids in 62′ on the west coast, and the other about the daily lives of high school kids in 63′ on the East coast. Both movies are similar in nostalgic form and independent style, but very different in tone and content.

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Because these two movies are so interconnected to one another, it shouldn’t be any surprise that Philip Kaufman and George Lucas teamed-up to create the story for a little movie called, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1980. Ever heard of it?

While it’s more than likely you’ve already seen ‘American Graffiti’. However, if you haven’t ever seen Philip Kaufman’s “The Wanderers”? Then you definitely want to find it and watch. I assure that you won’t be disappointed.

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It’s truly an independent Philip Kaufman masterpiece, which includes Kaufman’s trademark use of captivating cinematography while the great music of 1963 serves the movie by magnifying the films humor, tragedy, gritty realism, with an occasional touch of the truly bizarre, as we observe the daily lives of the young tough high school gang members of the Bronx in 63′. And, Alan Rosenberg’s portrayal of ‘Turkey’ is one of the most original and uniquely funny, tragic and troubling characters that’s ever been performed for the big screen.

A must see film. A+

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The Anderson Tapes (1971)

Directed by Sidney Lumet
Cinematography Arthur J. Ornitz

The Anderson Tapes is a Technicolor 1971 American crime film in Panavision directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Sean Connery and featuring Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, and comedian Alan King. The screenplay was written by Frank Pierson, based upon a best-selling 1970 novel of the same name by Lawrence Sanders. The film is scored by Quincy Jones and marks the feature film debut of Christopher Walken.

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It was the first major film to focus on the pervasiveness of electronic surveillance, from security cameras in public places to hidden recording devices.  Following the Watergate scandal a few years later, covert surveillance, and who is listening, became the themes of several 1970s films such as The Conversation and The Parallax View.

The Anderson Tapes was filmed on location in New York City, on Fifth Avenue, at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Rikers Island Prison, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Luxor Health Club and on the Lower East Side. Interiors scenes were filmed at Hi Brown Studio[4] and ABC-Pathé Studio, both in New York City. The production was on a tight budget, and filming was completed in the short period of six weeks, from mid-August to October 16, 1970. The film was the first for producer Robert M. Weitman as an independent producer.

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Columbia Pictures was not happy with the planned ending of the film, in which Connery escaped to be pursued by police helicopters, fearing that it would hurt sales to television, which generally required that bad deeds not go unpunished.

Great little gem, sadly forgotten

20 September 2004 | by MovieAddict2016 (UK) – See all my reviews

Sean Connery plays a jail bird who’s let out and decides to pull another heist with the help of a team of experienced crooks; little does he know the cops are monitoring everything.

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What’s so unique about this film by Sidney Lumet, in superb form as director, is that heist films rarely mount the tension by showing us the cops’ side — here it’s like a ticking time bomb, we’re just waiting for Connery and his crew to be arrested and we know that they don’t know that the cops know (err…) and the result is pretty tense.

No fault found in the acting: Connery and a very young Christopher Walken (in his film debut) are great, particularly Walken who shows extensive range very early on. After seeing this I was reminded of his recent role in the “Stepford Wives” remake and had to wonder why he’s resorting to such trash, because he’s just as talented (almost, anyway) as De Niro and Pacino and the difference is he wasted a lot of this during the ’80s and ’90s by taking on small bits in horrible films. I mean, in 2003 he starred in KANGAROO JACK. C’mon!

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Overall THE ANDERSON TAPES is a tense and unique crime thriller that, although very “70s-ish” is entertaining, if a bit outdated in terms of technology. I’m sure it will be remade some day, there’s a lot of potential, however I doubt it’ll ever come close to the original.

4/5

The Man Who Was There! As weird as realism can get.

Author: manuel-pestalozzi from Zurich, Switzerland
7 August 2003
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Forget about the tapes and the surveillance business, they are not the main issue here. At best they are used as a smoke screen to hide the real purpose of this movie: To show us what extents human stupidity can reach.

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For Sidney Lumet this must have been the dress rehearsal for the more famous Dog Day Afternoon. Most of it is shot in a realistic style. But there is more to it, the absurdity of it all is pushed much further and converts realism into surrealism. This is the story of Anderson, a guy who gets out of prison after having served a long spell behind bars. Before he leaves he makes a short speech in which he declaims his philosophy. The essence of it: Everybody steals and therefore everybody has a right to steal. He steps into freedom, gets directly to his former lover’s elegant apartment house off Central Park, looks around a bit and instantly makes the big decision concerning his future life: He will burglarise all apartments in this house in one big sweep and live on what the fence will pay him for the loot for the rest of his life.

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Anderson seems to be a direct descendant of the Coen Brother’s Ed Crane in The Man Who Wasn’t There. And Sean Connery gives a performance as convincing as Billy Bob Thornton. Anderson made a decision – period. He will bear all the consequences, however bloody they will get. And, funny enough, there are people who think the idiotic scheme might be a success. Anderson has authority and leader qualities; he gets financial backing from an oddball son of a big time mobster and can form a team of more oddballs for the burglary (including a very young Christopher Walken). So eventually Anderson drives up to the apartment house with a huge removal truck (remember: this is not filmed in the style of a comedy!).

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I do not want to give away the whole story. Only this much: The viewer sees people on both sides of the law engaged in heavy duty physical exertion. You can laugh and at the same time feel sorry for the poor fellows. The whole enterprise ends in utter disaster for the burglars. Towards the end of the story there is much police present on the street around the apartment house. You can observe ambulance personnel relaxedly unfolding bed linen for their stretchers in front of the Guggenheim. Then some of the gangsters try to make a getaway in a car. The engine roars and the car crashes and overturns after a few yards. This is all filmed very undramatically from a distance, in a matter of fact way, without musical soundtrack. It could almost be a documentary.

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The low key style of the movie heightens the absurdity of the story, strengthens the message and make The Anderson Tapes a memorable experience. There is a very good electronic musical score by Quincy Jones which to my ears still sounds modern, funky and futuristic.

A Bold And Audacious Caper

9/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
16 May 2009

The Anderson Tapes occupies a great place in the career of Sean Connery, it is one of the films he likes best in his career. And with good reason, it was the first film for which he both drew good reviews and clicked with the public not playing James Bond. Connery could finally be taken seriously as an actor, not just an international sex symbol.

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The film itself draws from elements found in The Asphalt Jungle and The Desperate Hours. There’s no planner character in this film, Connery himself is both the planner and enforcer in the crew he’s put together for a job. But he does need a backer and that’s where organized crime boss Alan King comes in.

Connery is a Duke Anderson, a con just recently released from prison and he’s got some attitudes similar to that other Connery character from Family Business has Jesse McMullen. Not surprising since both films were directed by Sidney Lumet. Like McMullen he feels that stealing is the most honorable profession going if you’re not a hypocrite since all successful people engage in some kind of crookedness. And since he’s done the full ten year bit with no parole and no strings attached to him, there isn’t anything that the criminal justice system can do to him.

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When he sees how well former girl friend Dyan Cannon is doing as someone’s kept woman in a very ritzy apartment on New York’s Upper East Side, Connery conceives a plan to take down the whole building. And bit by bit he assembles his crew.

Young Christopher Walken gets his first big screen role of notice as a young convict released with Connery from the joint. Another con released at the same time is Stan Gottlieb who’s spent most of his life in stir and is thoroughly institutionalized. With his character, Lumet makes a powerful statement about institutional acclamation, in Gottlieb’s case, it’s an act of cruelty almost to let him out in society, he knows no other way of life.

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Since there’s a lot of merchandise to move from these rich folk’s apartments, Connery needs someone along who knows the value and how to get the best value when fencing. Martin Balsam who’s an antique dealer and fence on the side gets brought in on the job itself. Balsam has one of the earliest post Stonewall portrayals of a gay man and while sadly he does conform to stereotype, still it’s a fine piece of work. And he’s crushing out on Connery big time.

Alan King makes an unusual condition on Connery. He wants the crew to take along mob hood Val Avery on the job and arrange for his demise on same. Avery is something of a loose cannon, the powers that be want him eliminated without their fingerprints on it. When Avery arrives you can see why he’s such a liability. He’s an out and out racist and drivers Garrett Morris and Dick Williams would gladly do it for nothing.

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Connery and his crew take the entire exclusive apartment building hostage, just like the family in The Desperate Hours. And the film itself has an Asphalt Jungle feel to it, both in the planning stage and in how it all turns out.

The title comes from the fact that several government agencies are actually taping this whole proceeding from many different angles, the FBI, the IRS, Immigration, etc. But since it’s all quite illegal, none of them can really step in to put a halt to the criminal enterprise. It’s a nice touch, but quite superfluous, the film works beautifully as a straight out caper film.

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Sean Connery and the rest of the cast play this thing to perfection. Two of the best performances are from a pair of little old ladies, the shocked Margaret Hamilton and feisty Judith Lowry who just loves being taken hostage and robbed, it’s the most excitement she’s had in years.

As for Connery he could finally put James Bond to rest, after just one more film. His next role, 007 in Diamonds Are Forever.

A Safe Place (1971)

Directed by Henry Jaglom

Cinematography by

Richard C. Kratina

A young woman named Noah lives alone in New York. She is a disturbed flower child, who retreats into her past, yearning for lost innocence. She recalls her childhood, searching for a “safe place.” As a child she met a magician in Central Park who presented her with magical objects: a levitating silver ball, a star ring, and a Noah’s ark. She is romantically involved with two totally different men. Fred is practical but dull. Mitch is dynamic and sexy, her ideal fantasy partner. Neither man is able to totally fulfill her needs.

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Surprising

28 May 2004 | by laffinsal (California) – See all my reviews

This experimental piece of work, from Henry Jaglom, is actually something of a gem, if not for it’s unique direction, for the typically stunning performance from Tuesday Weld. Weld is wonderful in her characterization of a simple, juvenile young woman, caught in the limbo between innocence and adulthood. This film is from the period which I consider Weld’s peak. She is beautiful, charming and completely earnest in her delivery.

Others in the cast are interesting at best. Orson Welles is good as the father figure in Weld’s life. Philip Proctor is not much acting wise, but at least he has a pleasant voice. That seems to have helped his career in the years following this film. Jack Nicholson is his typical cocky, slimy character in this one. I didn’t feel his acting was anything new here, but his presence makes for an interesting triangle relationship.

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The editing is choppy, utilizing audio and image clips flashing by, altered, and repeated again. It would seem to get old after a while, and it does to some degree, but it’s effective nonetheless. There are some good vignettes here and there throughout the film, namely a scene where Weld describes to Proctor the importance of telephone exchanges. Not every actress could pull this off well, but Weld does so with empathy and charm…brilliant! The Ouija board scene also stands out, as do the ones of Weld and Welles in Central Park Zoo.

A fascinating and surprisingly engaging film. If for no other reason, it’s worth watching for Weld’s performance.

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Jack Nicholson appeared in this film mainly as a favor to the director, Henry Jaglom. Nicholson did the film for no pay, his only demand was that he be given a new color television set.

This film was originally a play written by Henry Jaglom in the 1960s and had a few performances starring the film’s lead actress Tuesday Weld. Offered a debut in cinema by BBS Productions (governed by Bob Rafelson, Burt Schneider and Steve Blauner), a subsidiary of Columbia Pictures, Jaglom decided to give his play the cinematic treatment. Currently, it is being re-realized as a play. After meeting Tana Frederick, Jaglom dusted off the original manuscript for “A Safe Place” with the intention of having Frederick play the part of Susan/Noah.

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A beautiful relic of its time

Author: lcrews from USA
27 September 2003

Only in the post-“Easy Rider” early 1970s could a film like this be made by a major Hollywood studio. Totally devoid of anything resembling a plot, “A Safe Place” will probably seem incomprehensible to most. But if you already have an appreciation for the 1950s-1960s works of Fellini, Antonioni or Godard, come on in. You’ll feel right at home in this “Safe Place.”

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Henry Jaglom was the unsung hero amongst the circle of friends that brought us “Head,” “Easy Rider,” “Five Easy Pieces,” and several other lesser-known classics of the era. Jaglom is more responsible for the success of “Easy Rider” than Dennis Hopper, as he took Hopper’s three-hour cut–a mishmash of flashbacks, flash-forwards and art- damaged nonsense–and shaped it into the legendary film it is today. His close relationship with Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and others gave him a chance to write and direct his own movie for Columbia Pictures.

Jaglom in turn delivered this dream narrative starring Tuesday Weld as a young woman who copes by retreating into isolationism and fantasy. Orson Welles pops up here and there as a magician who represents a physical emodiment of her retreat from the world. Or does he only exist in her head?

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It’s best not to ask questions like that. Free your mind, sit back, and take in the feeling and mood. Where Hopper failed with his cut of “Easy Rider” and “The Last Movie”, Jaglom effortlessly succeeds with such lofty and artsy ambitions. “A Safe Place” coasts by like a gentle dream in an afternoon nap–full of beautiful, detached imagery, illogical but comforting.

“A Safe Place” is a beautiful relic of a brief time in American cinema. Even Jaglom– always on the fringe of mainstream cinema–would never make anything like this again, as he later developed the documentary/verite style which has become his trademark.

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One of the worst motion pictures ever made

1/10
Author: (jauritt@comcast.net) from Warrington, PA
23 December 2015

The title of my review is no exaggeration. The only saving grace to watching this movie is that it’s only about an hour and a half in length, even though it seems at least twice that long to view. The screenplay (assuming there really was a screenplay to begin with, because the dialogue feels totally improvised…not because it sounds “real”, but because it’s strained and ludicrous) is annoying to the nth degree, unless you like hearing profound voice-over comments such as “I love you from New York to Rome..from Rome to Madrid, etc. etc. etc. over and over and over again. If I was on a deserted island with a DVD player and this was the only DVD I had with me, I’d break it in a hundred pieces with a coconut because, otherwise, I’d end up searching for a shark to eat me as soon as possible. If I had a choice between being water-boarded and being forced to watch this movie repeatedly, I’d have a VERY tough decision to make. But, other than that, the movie was great.

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Think “Annie Hall” crossed with “Magical Mystery Tour”

10/10
Author: rooz from MN
1 June 1999

Wonderfully bizarre and experimental piece of work for which Jaglom should be very proud. Welles and Nicholson are great in this head game. Let yourself go when you watch this–experience it–this is not a “movie”–this is a trip!! You will get as much out of this as you allow yourself to take.

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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

Directed by Bob Rafelson
Cinematography Sven Nykvist

The sensuous wife of a lunch wagon proprietor and a rootless drifter begin a sordidly steamy affair and conspire to murder her Greek husband.

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With pleasant performances, but a bit uneven

13 December 2013 | by Bene Cumb (Estonia/Tallinn) – See all my reviews

I have not seen the “original” from 1946 but anyway – I am not into black-and-white movies, with the exception of those with Chaplin and Lloyd perhaps. Thus, I decided to watch the one in question, besides, Jack Nicholson (as Frank Chambers) and Jessica Lange (as Cora Smith/Papadakis) are much more known and admired by me than John Garfield and Lana Turner… Their performances were really good (although not among their best), they had sizzling mutual chemistry, but it seems that the topic/script has become timeworn, seen at present as a rather trivial crime thriller, as the main theme – lovers trying to get rid of (rich) husband – has been exploited a lot. The plot does not run smoothly and the inclusion of e.g. Anjelica Huston as Madge Gorland did not provide any additional value; on the other hand, bigger inclusion of past history of the protagonists could have been interesting. The ending was also too abrupt and when the end credits appeared, one could feel confusion about the meaning of the title.

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Underrated, but still not entirely realized

8/10
Author: Dennis Littrell from United States
10 July 2002

This remake of the 1946 film which starred Lana Turner and John Garfield is significantly better than its reputation. The script, adapted from James M. Cain’s first novel, is by the award-winning playwright David Mamet, while the interesting and focused cinematography is by Sven Nykvist, who did so much exquisite work for Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. An excellent cast is led by Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange, whose cute animal magnetism is well displayed. Bob Rafelson, who has to his directorial credit the acclaimed Five Easy Pieces (1970) and The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), both also starring Jack Nicholson, captures the raw animal sex that made Cain’s novel so appealing (and shocking) to a depression-era readership and brings it up to date.

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Hollywood movies have gotten more violent and scatological since 1981, but they haven’t gotten any sexier. This phenomenon is in part due to fears occasioned by the rise of AIDS encouraged by the usual blue stocking people. Don’t see this movie if sex offends you.

Lange is indeed sexy and more closely fits the part of a lower-middle class woman who married an older man, a café owner, for security than the stunning blonde bombshell Lana Turner, who was frankly a little too gorgeous for the part. John Colicos plays the café owner, Nick Papadakis, with clear fidelity to Cain’s conception. In the 1946 production, the part was played by Cecil Kellaway, who was decidedly English; indeed they changed the character’s name to Smith. Also changed in that production was the name of the lawyer Katz (to Keats). One wonders why. My guess is that in those days they were afraid of offending Greeks, on the one hand, and Jews on the other. Here Katz is played by Michael Lerner who really brings the character to life.

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Jack Nicholson’s interpretation of Cain’s antihero, an ex-con who beat up on the hated railway dicks while chasing any skirt that came his way, the kind of guy who acts out his basic desires in an amoral, animalistic way, was not entirely convincing, perhaps because Nicholson seems a little too sophisticated for the part. Yet, his performance may be the sort better judged by a later generation. I have seen him in so many films that I don’t feel I can trust my judgment. My sense is that he’s done better work, particularly in the two films mentioned above and also in Chinatown (1974), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and such later works as The Shining (1980) and Terms of Endearment (1983).

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The problem with bringing Postman successfully to the screen is two-fold. One, the underlying psychology, which so strongly appealed to Cain’s depression-era readership, is not merely animalistic. More than that it reflects the economic conflict between the established haves, as represented by the greedy lawyers, the well-heeled insurance companies, the implacable court system and the simple-minded cops, and to a lesser degree by property owner Nick Papadakis himself, and the out of work victims of the depression, the have-nots, represented by Frank and Cora (who had to marry for security). Two–and this is where both cinematic productions failed–the film must be extremely fast-paced, almost exaggeratedly so, to properly capture the spirit and sense of the Cain novel. Frank and Cora are rushing headlong into tragedy and oblivion, and the pace of the film must reflect that.

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A true to the spirit adaptation would require a terse, stream-lined directorial style with an emphasis on blind passions unconsciously acted out, something novelist Cormac McCarthy might accomplish if he directed film. I think that Christopher Nolan, who directed the strikingly original Memento (2000) could do it.

For further background on the novel and some speculation on why it was called “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (Cain’s original, apt title was “Bar-B-Que”) see my review at Amazon.com.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book “Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can’t Believe I Swallowed the Remote!” Get it at Amazon!)

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Grubby film noir

7/10
Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
25 July 2011

This novel adaptation was the second after a first movie in the 1940s. This one retains the period setting but ups the ante in terms of sexual content, featuring one of the most explicit sex scenes ever shown in a mainstream film which goes far further than any film before – or since.

The plot is simple in the extreme: the wife of a Greek man who runs his own diner, bored and neglected by her husband, begins a torrid affair with a drifter her husband employs as his mechanic. From there on in, the story gradually develops in often fascinating ways as the two lovers realise that only one thing’s stopping their happiness: her husband.

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The film is shot through with a grim and gritty emphasis, best realised by Nicholson’s grubby mechanic. He’s nobody’s idea of a sex symbol, although Jessica Lange is quite ravishing as the object of his attentions. This focus on realism over Hollywood fantasy is what makes the film so watchable and, in places, uncomfortable as it becomes clear that the lovers have something of a sado-masochistic relationship.

Things move into courtroom-drama territory later on (featuring some terrific acting work from Michael Lerner as the lawyer) whilst handing a number of blink-and-you’ll-miss-em minor parts to familiar faces (John P. Ryan as a blackmailer, Angelica Houston as – bizarrely – a circus owner, cult favourite Don Calfa as a circus hand, Brion James as a thug and Christopher Lloyd as a salsman).

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I found the film to be sometimes compelling and never boring. It’s one of those films you watch to find out just what happens to the central characters, a curiosity bolstered by the feeling that they’re never going to unentangle themselves from this mess. Come the surprise climax, well…you’ll have to see for yourself.

A movie well worth seeing

Author: brett lanza from West Caldwell, NJ
21 July 1999

I must admit I was quite impressed with Bob Rafelson’s adaptation of the depression era novel, “The Postman Always Rings Twice”. Jack Nicholson plays Frank, a vagabond who eventually falls in love with a sexy waitress named Cora,played by Jessica Lange, who reciprocates this love. However, there is one problem standing in the way: Cora is married, unhappily married, but married nonetheless.

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Aside from an intriguing story, “The Postman Always Rings Twice” is a wonderfully put together film, as Rafelson does a splendid job delving into the characters and their relationships, as well as examining the problems associated with forbidden love. As a viewer, you truly feel the passion between Lange and Nicholson,(who both won academy award nominations), and you almost feel for their pain. In the 1930’s women in America were at quite a different position than they are today. They were expected to stay with the husband no matter what the circumstances, as divorce was quite uncommon. Lange was very convincing as this trapped 30’s woman who eventually broke free the only way she knew possible..

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I definitely recommend “The Postman Always Rings Twice” for any fan of entertaining and thought-provoking movies. Although the character development is not quite as extensive as some of Rafelson’s early work, particularly the 1971 classic “Five Easy Pieces”, the movie combines an intriguing screenplay with superb acting to make its own statement.

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Network (1976)

Directed by Sidney Lumet
Cinematography Owen Roizman

Network is a 1976 American satirical black comedy-drama film written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, about a fictional television network, UBS, and its struggle with poor ratings. The film stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall and features Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, and Beatrice Straight.

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Howard Beale, the longtime anchor of the Union Broadcasting System’s UBS Evening News, learns from friend and news division president Max Schumacher that he has just two more weeks on the air because of declining ratings. The two get drunk and lament the state of their industry. The following night, Beale announces on live television that he will commit suicide on next Tuesday’s broadcast. UBS fires him after this incident, but Schumacher intervenes so that Beale can have a dignified farewell. Beale promises he will apologize for his outburst, but once on the air, he launches back into a rant claiming that life is “bullshit.” Beale’s outburst causes the newscast’s ratings to spike, and much to Schumacher’s dismay, the upper echelons of UBS decide to exploit Beale’s antics rather than pull him off the air. In one impassioned diatribe, Beale galvanizes the nation, persuading his viewers to shout out of their windows “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

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Diana Christensen heads the network’s programming department; seeking just one hit show, she cuts a deal with a band of radical terrorists for a new docudrama series called The Mao Tse-Tung Hour for the upcoming fall season. When Beale’s ratings seem to have topped out, Christensen approaches Schumacher and offers to help him “develop” the news show. He says no to the professional offer, but not to the personal one, and the two begin an affair. When Schumacher decides to end Beale as the “angry man” format, Christensen convinces her boss, Frank Hackett, to slot the evening news show under the entertainment division so she can develop it. Hackett agrees, bullying the UBS executives to consent and fire Schumacher.

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Soon afterward, Beale is hosting a new program called The Howard Beale Show, top-billed as “the mad prophet of the airwaves”. Ultimately, the show becomes the most highly rated program on television, and Beale finds new celebrity preaching his angry message in front of a live studio audience that, on cue, chants Beale’s signature catchphrase en masse: “We’re as mad as hell, and we’re not going to take this anymore.” At first, Max and Diana’s romance withers as the show flourishes, but in the flush of high ratings, the two ultimately find their way back together, and Schumacher leaves his wife of over 25 years for Christensen. But Christensen’s fanatical devotion to her job and emotional emptiness ultimately drive Max back to try returning to his wife, even though he doesn’t think she’ll agree, and he warns his former lover that she will self-destruct at the pace she is running with her career.

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“You are television incarnate, Diana,” he tells her, “indifferent to suffering, insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality.”

When Beale discovers that Communications Corporation of America (CCA), the conglomerate that owns UBS, will be bought out by an even larger Saudi Arabian conglomerate, he launches an on-screen tirade against the deal, encouraging viewers to send telegrams to the White House telling them, “I want the CCA deal stopped now!” This throws the top network brass into a state of panic because the company’s debt load has made merger essential for survival. Hackett takes Beale to meet with CCA chairman Arthur Jensen, who explicates his own “corporate cosmology” to Beale, describing the interrelatedness of the participants in the international economy and the illusory nature of nationality distinctions.

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Jensen persuades Beale to abandon the populist messages and preach his new “evangel”. However, television audiences find his new sermons on the dehumanization of society depressing, and ratings begin to slide, yet Jensen will not allow UBS executives to fire Beale. Seeing its two-for-the-price-of-one value—solving the Beale problem plus sparking a boost in season-opener ratings—Christensen, Hackett, and the other executives decide to hire the Ecumenical Liberation Army to assassinate Beale on the air. The assassination succeeds, putting an end to The Howard Beale Show and kicking off a second season of The Mao Tse-Tung Hour.

It’s so prophetic it’s scary

25 June 2006 | by malikroberts16 (United States) – See all my reviews

Now, here is a film that everyone needs to see, especially today.

Children should be raised on the truth instead of fiction.

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Television seduces, entertains, divides, desensitizes, and corrupts not just kids but adults as well. It’s gotten so bad over the years it’s like some kind of a disease now. Most people believe everything they see, read, and hear. Fortunately for me, I’m not most people. There are things that I question and there are things that I know are very wrong. Lying to the American people in every possible way is very, very wrong.

I’ve never seen anyone open up their window and stick out their head and yell that they’re as mad as hell and they’re not gonna take this anymore. I’ve never seen anyone say that they were a human being and that their life had value. We’re so screwed up in the head we don’t even deserve to be called human beings. We’re like pre-programmed, numbered, clones enslaved from the cradle to the grave; clones that are programmed and structured to obey authority of all kinds.

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“Network” deserved the Best Picture Oscar for ’76, but it lost to “Rocky”. How the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences allowed that to happen is beyond me.

That’s all I have to say about that.

We Have Seen the Future, And It Sucks

10/10
Author: Putzberger from Chicago IL
28 December 2005

This movie came out when I was nine years old, and I saw it on network TV the following year, lured by the brouhaha that surrounded the use of the “barnyard epithet” during prime time. I loved this movie before I understood it, and I worship it now. Like “Elmer Gantry” or “1984,” it’s a work of didactic art that only fails on an imaginative level — Sinclair Lewis couldn’t grasp how debased evangelism would become, Orwell couldn’t foresee the excesses of Mao or Pol Pot, and Chayevsky couldn’t envision the absolute decline of television from a vast wasteland to a malevolent sewer. Fox News, reality TV, even the OJ chase, “Network” anticipates every vile bit of it.

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Now, it’s ridiculously overwritten — NO ONE is as articulate as the characters in this film, and most certainly, no one who works in television is as literate as Diana Christensen (the Faye Dunaway character). I doubt that poet laureates or even Eminem could spew as witty an aside as “muttering mutilated Marxism.” But damn if that isn’t part of its charm. Plus, outside of Max Schumacher (William Holden), the characters are pretty much archetypes instead of real people (the Robert Duvall character might as well wear a black cape and top hat), but their two-dimensionality works as a good metaphor for Max’s seduction into the “shrieking nothingness” or television. Plus the actors are so superb they make screeching caricatures into almost-sympathetic characters: Duvall is a credible and charismatic villain, Finch is a fine mad prophet and Faye Dunaway manages to make a shrill, manipulative, soulless neurotic so damn cute and sexy you’ll want to leave your wife for her, too, just as long as she promises to keep sitting cross-legged on your desk and hitching up her skirt. (Therein lies the real eroticism, forget the intentionally mechanical, unerotic coupling later in the flick). Anyway, this is complex, high art masquerading as popular entertainment, go rent it now.

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The Age of Network

10/10
Author: nycritic
22 February 2005
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thirty years after its release to public praise and multiple Oscar wins, Network is one of those films that instead of dating badly or becoming a product of its time has actually grown and become even more relevant today, and if it were re-released in 2006 for its actual thirtieth anniversary not on film but on national television right at the beginning of the fall season (complete with the most lurid reality TV shows and inane TV pleasers), it would only become more justified in its story.

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The story of the failing network that didn’t have a show on the Nielsen Top 20 and resorted to extreme measures to ensure that this changed seems so today: we see how channels that once had failing ratings churned out shock television right smack in the daytime while still applying Standard and Practices to other “prime-time” shows that could be taken the “wrong” way. Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Rikki Lake, Oprah, Mark Burnett, MTV — they’re all here under different guises, all competing to have their voices heard on television, all eventually becoming as ratings-hungry and establishment-friendly as the CEOs running the show.

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Today we don’t quite have Howard Beales ranting and raving about the ills of society on national TV (although they do “tell” us how we should feel, when we should laugh if we’re too stupid to get the joke, who to vote for, the “truth” about the tobacco industry). Today media is all the rage and televises even a fart if it deems it interesting and guarantees more viewers. Today shows like “20/20” or “60 Minutes” bring us ‘exclusives’ even if it’s at the cost of journalistic integrity. And now, with ‘reality TV’ still the dominating novel trend even in little-seen cable channels, creating stereotypes in leaps and bounds while claiming authenticity of the events depicted, there hasn’t yet been a need to create a lunatic who could sermonize everything and make us Mad as Hell.

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On this aspect alone NETWORK has dated: the 70s were all about counterculture, anti-establishment, revolution, leftists, Patty Hearsts, Lennon and Yoko, “Nova”, the Mansons, the hippies, the Earth-lovers, the militants. Nowadays, buff bodies parade themselves in shows containing outlandish competitions where eating the most grotesque concoctions are the norm, or enduring a barrage of extreme insults has become entertainment (i. e. “American Idol”) and the very concept of dignity flies out the window. Of course, after signing an extensive release form in which they free the network of all responsibilities if something goes wrong because we all know networks can’t be held liable for any faux pas. In short, nowadays people from all over try to become the next It person and outlast their 15 minutes of fame. Nowadays, everyone has their own reality TV show depicting their 24 hour day activities. I wonder if Diana Christensen isn’t alive and well and exerting absolute control over the networks in general, bringing anything and everything that can garner a little bit of shock value (Boy Meets Boy, or any reality TV self-made “villain/villainess”) and eventual ratings, taking over actual scripted shows with real actors.

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NETWORK is a powerful movie of which I can’t praise enough about even if its screenplay, by Paddy Chayefsky is a little too verbose. No one talks the way he makes his characters talk, using impassioned speeches with big, even archaic, words, and more than once the script makes the characters go completely over the top but even then it makes its point. Of the actors, William Holden’s quiet portrayal of a former television exec, Max Schumacher, who has a conscience, but still feels some attraction to danger and risks his own family to experience is who is at the heart of this crazy story who was ahead of its time. Peter Finch’s Howard Beale never comes through enough as a real human being: just someone who was pushed too hard and decided to shut down for the remainder of his life. But Holden holds the moral glue of the story, and interestingly enough, is wise to know that his affair, perfectly scripted as he even states, will end on a high note — he’ll return to his sanity and his wife, and Diana Christensen will bask in her own executive madness, since this is all she knows and holds dear.

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In her last words — “Let’s kill the son of a bitch.” — she informs us this is all she is about without so much as batting an eye. Who comes, who goes, is irrelevant to her, as long as the network can be number one. And that is the inhuman reality of television — a media directed to entertain humans.

Guess What?..Everything is a Commodity!!

10/10
Author: dataconflossmoor from United States
28 April 2005
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Groundbreaking is the term for this movie…It is considered one of the hundred best movies ever made and for very good reason…Director Sidney Lummet has a reputation for the director of the non-conventional!!…A cogency for making the absolute truth a guileless villain, a rude awakening for television viewers, and a stubborn scripture for facts is what purports a film like Network as a masterpiece for the prolific and intellectual!! You could not ask for better acting!! The acting in this movie is second to none!! Robert Duvall, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, Ned Beatty and a whole list of others…

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Perhaps the best acting in any film made whatsoever!! It starts with Howard Beale (Peter Finch) a victim of his own human pitfalls…Ossified and dejected from his declining years going from bad to worse, he becomes isolated, desultory ,morbid and morose and feels his life has no meaning, he threatens suicide on live television and is discarded as being a wacko!!…At first!!..but guess what!! he’s a hit!!…So the ratings crazed cutthroats make him an instant success by labeling him “The Angry Prophet Denouncing the Hypocracies of Our Time”…As long as we’ve gone this far, let’s break all of the rules…Bring on the terrorists, the soothsayers, the insurectionaries, the financial gurus, the faith healers, and the para military radicals, to reduce the severity of hard bitten news to a side show of carnival freaks!!!

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William Holden plays the old school business man with “primal doubts” about his life in general…”male menopause” with “defineable features” He is happily married yet after being bombarded from all sides in the autumn of his years, he is frightened that the new generation is impervious to basic tenets of human morality such as ethics and compassion…The woman with whom he gets involved, is callous not because she is vindictive, but because she is emotionless!! This woman (Faye Dunaway) is the “Television Incarnate” Ice Queen who reduces time and space to “split seconds and instant replays” the daily business of life is a “corrupt comedy” and the only redeeming quality to modern marvels and a “radiant eruption of Democracy” is that it gets a 32 share!!…This acting performance is perhaps the best acting performance I have ever seen…The type of person Dianna Christensen was supposed to be was played out perfectly…

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The delivery of the elaborated monologues and diatribes were absolutely remarkable….She was ideologically explosive yet person-ably obtuse. You knew why she wasn’t the drinking type…she was too emotionally detached…In the thick of women’s liberation, whereby a woman wanted to be just like a man, this movie portrayed how being just like a man had it’s drawbacks!! “Arousing quickly, consummating prematurely” and suffering from the cumbersome fate of being crippled by ineptitude at everything else but your work, made Dianna Christensen perennially wistful of testosterone laden aggression!! Aggregately, she invoked societal demise through channels of deductive reasoning!! Director, Sidney Lummet, was insistent that Dianna Christensen be utterly devoid of vulnerability!! Mr Hackett (Robert Duvall) played the hatchet man for the CCA…A rough around the edges errand boy for Mr Jensen (Ned Beatty) who viewed this network as his big chance and that whatever worked worked ..

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Scruples were never an issue, and ratings were pending exchange!! Howard Beale (Peter Finch) the “Angry prophet denouncing the hypocrisies of our time” surprised even himself with his charismatic clout with the naive television audience!!! He was the UBS star-lighted “Mad Prophet of the airways”…He could arouse anger and counter-culture overzealousness just by appearing crazy!!! One speech Mr Jensen (Ned Beatty) was a bit role but incredibly powerful in his delivery of the basic concept that ideology is for sale and that television is the ultimate vehicle for manipulation!! Paddy Chayefsky is pioneer with this film as an acrimonious depiction for making world phenomena such as the fall of Communism and landing man on the moon to be minimized to a market share!!!..The terms entertainment and egalitarianism now became pejorative!!!! The movie audience is hit with the terrifying reality that a societal caprice will induce the avaricious to capitulate to human catastrophe…

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Give Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lummet credit for unveiling the revelation that ratings and the dollar take precedence over humanity!!! Howard Beale, the decrepit alcoholic, euphemistically transformed to the prescient paragon of intuitiveness, was alright so long as his innocuous chastisements did not disrupt worldwide pecuniary acquisitions!! Once they did, he was quelled, and thus deemed a total ratings chart disaster!! Ultimately, Howard Beale, the once disheveled dipsomania-cal curmudgeon, turned Messianic Savonarola, becomes the typification of the corporate guinea pig!!!!

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This movie is avant-garde in it’s ability to convey the message of greed first democracy second, or third, depending on the sponsors of the Howard Beale Show… An incident was determined traumatic or not traumatic by it’s lucrative marketability potential!! Terrorism is not terrorism if it means ratings!!! The character assassination of all the people in this movie was at the grass roots level!! Their avoidable flaws were entrenched as irreconcilable!! Any people with any conscience whatsoever (William Holden & his wife) were decimated by reveille with selfishness, now it is imperative that they pick up the pieces!! How many imitations of this movie have there been…thousands!! Network however was the first movie of it’s kind to effectively portray the concept of “dying Democracy and dehumanization” probably the best movie of it’s kind as well…

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This is an illustration of how heinous tragedy has to be stomached by the television audience, their response to clinical trauma transcends the impact suffered by the actual victims involved!! It is a proverbial case of ratings eclipsing reality!! The film “Network” resonates itself to a point whereby the American people are reduced to meager by-products of the Fortune 500!! I wish there could be a movie of this caliber made again!! I am angry that there has not been a sensationalistic masterpiece to come around for some time, and I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!!!

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Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Directed by Joel Coen
Cinematography Barry Sonnenfeld

Tom Reagan (played by Gabriel Byrne) is the right-hand man, and chief adviser, to a mob boss, Leo (Albert Finney). Trouble is brewing between Leo and another mob boss, Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito), over the activities of a bookie, Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro) and Leo and Tom are at odds on how to deal with it. Meanwhile, Tom is in a secret relationship with Leo’s girlfriend, Verna (Marcia Gay Harden), who happens to be the sister of Bernie. In trying to resolve the issue, Tom is cast out from Leo’s camp and ultimately finds himself stuck in the middle between several deadly, unforgiving parties.

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The Best Mobster Film Evere Made, bar none.

15 September 2006 | by Blackavaar (United States) – See all my reviews

Contrary to what Pete the Geek says in his comment this film is not a comedy. I suspect he is a fan of the old black and whites and so he believes this is a spoof of them which it is most certainly not. This is a pure drama with perfect dialog and excellent acting all around. The film basically tells the events that unfold around a Gangland war between the Irish and Italian mobs of the late 20s. Gabriel Byrne plays Tom, Leo’s (Albert Finney) right hand man and adviser who disagrees with his boss’s decision to protect the conman brother (John Turturro) of his girlfriend Verna (Marcia Gay Harden) and must work his own wily methods to protect Leo from this decision.

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This is a masterpiece of modern film and definitely shows that the Cohen brothers can do anything with film. The dialog and accents are all perfectly executed in vintage 20s style and flare, the sets are absolutely beautiful and the costume work is so good you almost feel like you stepped back in time. Anyone who doesn’t love this film should go back and try watching it again. The musical score alone is enough to make it worth while.

The Jewel of the Coen Crown

10/10
Author: PClark from Cincinnati, OH
8 July 1999

One of the great undiscovered gems of recent movie history. In my opinion, Miller’s crossing is easily the best of the Coen brothers’ films, and one of the true classics of American cinema.

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On the surface, the story of warring gangsters in 1920’s America is one that has been told many times before. But never before has it been handled with such artistry and precision. The (rather violent) action scenes keep the movie going along at a brisk pace, and the camera work is every bit the equal of “Fargo”.

I became a lifelong Gabriel Byrne fan as a result of this movie, despite his best efforts to disappoint me since. Byrne’s Tom Reagan is a compellingly amoral character, who takes more unchallenged beatings than perhaps anyone in film history. Men beat him up. Women beat him up. Collection men, bookies, gangsters, and even his boss gives him a terrible thrashing, and he hardly lifts a finger in opposition (with one notably humorous exception).

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Albert Finney is tremendous as Leo, the local crime boss. His “Danny Boy” scene should go down in film history as one of the greatest pieces ever filmed. Jon Polito is at once absurdly funny and threateningly psychotic as Johnny Caspar, Leo’s rival in the turf war. J.E. Freeman, John Turturro, and Marcia Gay Harden all lend strong support in a cast that was assembled and performs to near perfection.

I will never understand why this film has not received more recognition and acclaim. As an example of the modern style of Film Noir, it has no equals (“The Usual Suspects” would rate a close second). Among gangster films, only “The Godfather” can compete, and “Miller’s Crossing” features superior pacing and dialog, although it lacks “The Godfather’s” epic proportions. Perhaps someday this film will receive, like “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Touch of Evil”, the belated accolades it so richly deserves.

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The Intellectual’s Gangster Film

10/10
Author: Geoffrey Crayon from New York
24 May 2003

“I’m talkin’ about friendship. I’m talkin’ about character. I’m talkin’ about–hell Leo, I ain’t embarrassed to use the word–ethics.” So Jon Polito, as crime-boss Johnny “Caspar,” describes to his overlord, Albert Finney as “Leo,” his point of view while seeking permission to kill a double-crossing underling (played by John Turturro) in the opening lines of __Miller’s Crossing__. Had the script sought only to explore the power relationship between the two chief mobsters (one the rising Italian, the other the diminishing Irishman), this would have been a very good gangster film. It portrays an earlier era in the nation’s history of organized crime (perhaps Chicago in the late ’20s), and one can imagine Leo as the Irish predecessor of __The Godfather__’s Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando).

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Just as __The Godfather__ was really about family relationships and the ethical complexities arising when familial loyalty collides with the business of violence, however, __Miller’s Crossing__ is actually about, as Caspar tells us, friendship and character put under the enormous strain of that same business of violence. The film, therefore, centers on Leo’s trusted adviser Tom (played flawlessly by the Irish actor Gabriel Byrne). Tom is not a gunsel, but the brain behind Leo’s muscle. His decisions carry life and death consequences, however, and we watch him try to live with himself, to preserve his character, as he works out a code that will help him and his friends survive brutally violent upheavals. Critics of the film have cited its graphic cruelty and the seeming coldness of its characters, yet these are essential features in developing the film’s theme.

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Sentimentality might get any of the major characters killed, and one notes the pathos and dark humor that underline an ironic distance that each character, especially Tom, cultivates as a tool for survival.

Clues abound as we wonder what Tom will do next. Follow, for example, the men’s hats over the course of the film. Who “keeps his lid on,” so to speak, and who loses his? Note the number of times characters exclaim “Jesus!” or “Damn!” when saying the name “Tom.” What has he sacrificed? Has he damned himself?

Spectacular action sequences, beautiful production values, top-notch camera work by Barry Sonnenfeld, a haunting musical score, and the best dialogue ever written by the Coen brothers make this a great gangster film. The fascinating and complex theme of friendship, character, and ethics make it one of the great films from any genre.

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masterpiece

Author: (meisterpuck@yahoo.com) from detroit
18 March 2001

In my modest opinion, this film is the Coen’s greatest achievement to date, even greater than Fargo. I was happy to see so many recent entries on this page, because that means something I predicted long ago is coming true: film buffs are finally “discovering” Miller’s Crossing, an underground masterpiece that has dwelt in obscurity for ten years.

The central motif of the hat, and Johnny Caspar’s preoccupation with the altitude thereof, brings to mind another underrated masterpiece, Drugstore Cowboy. The complex Jungian symbolism of forests, doors and especially hats is my favorite aspect of the film.

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The only criticism I’ve heard of this film (and I think it’s B.S.) has to do with the “over-acting”–a criticism that has been directed at more than one Coen film. Admittedly, Coen screenplays read more like novels than movie scripts and are not always actor-friendly. Gabriel Byrne, who appears in all but two scenes, does a great job playing an extremely complicated character. Tom Reagan is a smart guy surrounded by morons, and exists in a scenario where only muscle counts and brains don’t. And he hates it. And he hates himself because he knows he’s all brains and no heart. He tries to redeem himself through a selfless devotion to Leo, whom he hates. All this makes for an immensely challenging part, and the film could easily have fallen apart with a lesser actor than Gabriel Byrne playing the lead.

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But the acting is great from top to bottom: Marcia Gay Harden (in her big screen debut) as the hard-boiled moll; Jon Polito as the maniacal Johnny Caspar; Steve Buscemi as the hop-addicted Mink; J.E. Freeman, who is such a marvellous screen villain you have to wonder why he’s still toiling in obscurity; and Albert Finney, an actor who embodies the term “screen presence.” But the Grand Prix goes to John Turturro, who carries the most powerful scene in the movie: when Tom takes Bernie out to Miller’s Crossing to “whack” him.

Another criticism frequently levelled against the Coens is that they are preoccupied with “scenes” and don’t focus enough on plot coherence. This too is an invalid criticism, as far as I’m concerned. Some people are irritated by a film that you have to watch a couple times to fully understand, but that’s precisely the kind of film that I love, and that’s why I love Miller’s Crossing so much. Every time I see it I pick up on something that I didn’t catch before.

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Speaking of “scenes”, the “Danny Boy” scene is the best. The second best is the following scene, where Tom and Terry walk through a hallway lined with goons. The third is the police raid on the Sons of Erin Club, in which Leo takes on the entire police force.

I’ll resist the temptation to call Miller’s Crossing “The Greatest Film of All Time”–because who has the right to say that? But I must say that it is my favorite film of all time.

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

Directed by Gordon Douglas
Cinematography J. Peverell Marley

From the trial of the survivors, we flash back to amoral crook Ralph Cotter’s violent prison break, assisted by Holiday Carleton, sister of another prisoner…who doesn’t make it. Soon Ralph manipulates the grieving Holiday into his arms, and two crooked cops follow her into his pocket. Ralph’s total lack of scruple brings him great success in a series of robberies. But his easy conquest of gullible heiress Margaret Dobson proves more dangerous to him than any crime…

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The film that Phil Spector and Lana Clarkson were watching in Spector’s chauffeured car on the way to his Alhambra mansion the night of her murder.  in 2003.

Underrated gangster/film-noir gem

8/10
Author: Shawn Taber (filmbuffshawn@netscape.net) from Rock Forest, Quebec
9 September 1999

I can’t believe that this film is not well known. Get rid of the terrible courtroom framing device, and you have a gangster masterpiece. Coming on the heels of Cagney’s better known White Heat, this film takes violence and corruption to a new level. This film starts off with a brutal jail break and never slows down. The cold blooded violence portrayed is quite jaw dropping. Cagney was born to play this role. He is clearly relishing his cold blooded character. The freshness of this film is surprising. You are totally caught off guard. In this sense, it reminds me most of Kiss Me Deadly. For anyone with a passing interest in Cagney, or gangster films, or film-noir, or film violence, watch this film!!

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If they made this movie today…

Author: tostinati from United States
1 October 2001

Spoilers here.

If they made this movie today, they would call it “White Heat 2: Cody Lives”. Cagney is as ruthless as in White Heat, but here, his pathology is under control, (brain surgery after his Oil Tank “accident” in Part 1?) so he can blackmail cops and smoothly double-cross his erstwhile moll while skimming wherever else and whenever he can. In the first couple of minutes of the film, he shoots a fellow prison escapee “just because”. His sense of loyalty to his supposed accomplices goes downhill from there.

Barbara Payton is a more resonant and convincing actress than Virginia Mayo, and it can be argued that her strength as an actress creates much of the tension here: We want to see her get wise to the Cagney character’s dirty game, and also succeed in avenging her brother’s death (the fellow escapee shot in the beginning of the film).

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And unlike the case of Virginia Mayo’s unsympathetic moll in White Heat, we actually do root for her to gain a comeuppance against the Cagney character. But we’re torn. Cagney has so much natural charisma, even when playing a snake, that we can never entirely want him to get his. There is a sense of justice and inevitability to the ending. But there remains the nagging hurt feeling at what Cagney– with all that bristling energy and industry and charisma– COULD have accomplished if he hadn’t succumbed to the dark side. Ten stars. See it!

Coal black, brutish, exhilarating noir!

10/10
Author: oOgiandujaOo from United Kingdom
25 April 2007

How fickle film history is! To think that this most intense crime thriller has been totally overlooked. I wouldn’t say underrated, because it seems that everyone who has watched it agrees with me.

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I woke up ten minutes before this movie started on TV, flicked the switch, and thought, OK cool, a James Cagney movie. I wasn’t prepared for the roller-coaster plunge through abyssal night. Or the violent way with which the riders carom off into the void. The ending scene is totally classic with dialogue and revelation that pitches the film into the darkest reaches of noir.

Everything about this movie is hyped, Cotter (Cagney) hasn’t got a bottle of champagne, he’s got a jeroboam, he hasn’t got a revolver, he’s got an automatic, he hasn’t got one honey, he’s got two, we don’t do 100 kilometers per hour, we do 100 miles per hour, and in a car the size of a carnival float. The guy’s a total psycho, but not in the Robert Ryan way that turns you against his character, in the Cagney way where it’s all like some big game to him.

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There are a lot of totally mesmerising scenes in this movie. Two stand out just for the sheer exhilaration factor – this is the bit where you coo out loud. When Barbara (Holiday Carleton) throws a pot of coffee at Cotter he says, ‘No cream?’, so she throws the cream at him, ‘No sugar?’ so he gets the sugar, and finally ‘No cigar?’. I was on the floor. Then there is the scene where Helena (Margaret Dobson) takes him out for a drive in her sporty little number. She takes it up to a hundred to scare him, and then he stamps his foot on hers and takes it to 110 whilst she frantically swerves.

Some people have commented on how the framing device of the court-case doesn’t work. But for me it’s total brutality, the director doesn’t waste time with the minutiae of court proceedings, he just uses them to makes plain right from the very start that its all gonna end badly. It’s a complete train wreck of a movie, there isn’t an honest man in sight, and the casual nature of the violence just shocks you. Cutting kills people like he’s taking out the trash, it’s just another chore.

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There’s also classic support from Ward Bond, in this movie he always looks like he’s gonna screw you up and toss you away. This role stands apart from the usual supporting roles he gets, either buffoonish (Fort Apache), ineffectual (Johnny Guitar), foolishly vigilante (On Dangerous Ground).

OK so we got broads with pzazz, we got dialogue to die for, we got utter magnetism from the lead actor (as only Cagney can be), and we’ve got total, anthracitic, ebonic, pitch-black noir. 11/10

“Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” is effective Cagney vehicle

7/10
Author: (chuck-reilly) from Los Angeles
5 August 2008
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although not up to the high standards of his previous work in “White Heat” the year before, “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” is still a worthy follow-up for James Cagney. Whereas Cagney’s Cody Jarrett in “White Heat” was a deranged psychopathic killer, his character here (Ralph Cotter) is more of a calculating cynic who plays on the fears and weaknesses of others.

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He’s the type of ruthless criminal who could corrupt a cloister of nuns and he leaves a trail of misery wherever his path takes him. Unfortunately, he has one lovely lady named Holiday who believes all his lies and will do his bidding without question. Played by the beautiful Barbara Payton, Holiday does all she can to aid and abet Cotter until he takes away the only other person she loves in the world: her brother. That’s a mistake that Cotter pays for in one of the most well-remembered death scenes in 1950’s cinema.

Veteran director Gordon Douglas keeps the brutal action moving at a brisk pace and he employs a trove of famous character actors who weave themselves in and out of the twisted plot. Ward Bond is around as a suspicious cop with a shady past. Good-looking Helena Carter plays a young and very rich socialite who Cagney takes advantage of so he can pass himself off as legitimate.

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Kenneth Tobey plays an honest detective and they’re in short supply in this film. Barton MacLane, John Litel, Luther Adler and William Frawley (Fred Mertz from “I Love Lucy”) round out the stellar cast. Director Douglas had a prolific career directing a slew of famous and not-so-famous films all the way into the late 1970’s. Cagney, as always, dominates the screen whenever he appears and his performance definitely raises the level of this work quite a few notches. Without him, “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” would’ve been a standard 1950’s “cops and robbers” film with few redeeming values. As it stands, the movie is not a classic like some of Cagney’s other gangster epics, but it certainly has its moments—especially at the end. When Ms. Payton finds out that Cagney has murdered her brother, she gets the opportunity to give new meaning to the title. She sticks a gun in Jimmy’s face and spits out the words “You can KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE!”

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Oh no, he stopped being smart when he took my money.

8/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
31 August 2011

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is directed by Gordon Douglas and adapted to screenplay by Harry Brown from the novel by Horace McCoy. It stars James Cagney, Barbara Payton, Helena Carter, Ward Bond, Luther Adler and Steve Brodie. Music is by Carmen Dragon and photography by J. Peverell Marley.

Ralph Cotter (Cagney), career criminal, escapes from prison and crudely murders his partner during the escape. Hooking up with Holiday Carleton (Payton), the oblivious sister of the slain partner, Cotter quickly gets back into a life of crime and violence. But will his evil deed stay a secret? How long can he keep the corrupt coppers under wraps? And is his “other” romantic relationship with Margaret Dobson (Carter) doomed to failure? ……

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Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, it seems to have been lost in the slipstream of White Heat that was released the previous year. An undoubted classic of the gangster/crime genre, and featuring one of Cagney’s greatest acting performances, White Heat has unsurprisingly dwarfed many a poor genre entry. However, while it doesn’t equal the searing ferocity of White Heat, both in tone and character performance by Cagney, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a seriously hard movie. Energetic from the off, film is often brutal and cynical and awash with potently memorable scenes, with some deemed as being too much, resulting in the film being banned from theatres in Ohio!

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Female or a cripple, it matters not to the menacing force of nature that is Ralph Cotter.

Gordon Douglas was a multi genre director, unfussy and able to keep things taut, he gets some super performances from the cast while never letting the pace drag. Cagney is a given, give him this sort of character and let him run with it, in fact it is arguably a detriment to the film as a whole, that it can’t match Cagney’s blood and thunder show? But Bond (big bad corrupt copper), Brodie (Cotter side-kick) and Adler (shifty lawyer) do shine through with imposing turns.

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Of much interest is the dual lady characters in Cotter’s life. Both very different from each other, this gives the film a double whammy of femme fatales in waiting. Payton takes the honours, in what is the best written part in the film. Her Holiday Carleton is a good girl drawn in to a murky life by a bad man, while Carter as bored rich girl Margaret Dobson is the polar opposite, she likes fast cars and dangerous men, allowing the actress to deftly sidle in with impact in the smaller role.

Photography isn’t out of the ordinary, and the music is standard boom and bluster for a crime picture. But this is about Cagney’s performance and the grim thematics contained within, and much like Ralph Cotter, it doesn’t pull its punches. Finally sealing the deal with an ending that firmly pulls the movie into the film noir universe. 8/10

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Last Cup of Coffee for the Road

4/10
Author: radiobirdma from Guernsey
12 April 2016

“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce” — the famous Marx quote also counts for Jimmy Cagney’s last gangster movie, a lackluster rehash of his 30s screen persona and classic Cagney stuff, the legendary grapefruit scene from The Public Enemy now transformed into a leaden homage with Barbara Payton tossing a cup of coffee at Cagney, who has — I hate to say it — lost his magic, the dancer elegance, the energetic body language, the aggressive upstart aura. While White Heat from the previous year captures Cagney as a completely berserk character, a distorted middle-age mirror image still breathing the intensity of youth, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye merely reflects the portrait of the artist as his depleted doppelganger.

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Director Gordon Douglas can’t hold a candle to Raoul Walsh, the production value looks more like Poverty Row than Warner Bros., the script is clumsy, and Cagney walks through this 35 mm swan song like he’s anticipating those legendary words uttered by Elvis five years later in the opening of Milkcow Blues: “Hold it, fellas. That don’t move me. Let’s get real, real gone.”

At last, Cody Jarrett’s twin brother has finally been found

7/10
Author: nomoons11 from United States
16 November 2012
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Man if this character Cagney plays doesn’t appear to have the same look, feel and over the topness of his character in White Heat, I don’t know what other film does.

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This was a pretty good but it’s not in the same breath as White Heat. Cagney plays a guy who busts outta prison and gets together with a few corrupt officials and regulars to commit robberies for fast dough. In this we meet his helper in his escape, Barbara Payton and the driver. They get involved with corrupt cops and lawyers whoever else to get ahead. The character Cagney plays so closely resembles Cody Jarrett that just by me mentioning it you’ll immediately know what your in for. Cagney goes through this film doing whatever he wants to whoever without batting an eyelash. The best part is how all the people around him react.

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One comment on the time this film was made, late 40’s early 50’s, there probably wasn’t an “institute for cosmic consciousness” in the south. How do we know this was in the south? Well, I know of know other place in the US that had chain gangs(like the one Cagney escapes from). In this film you see a corrupt ex-mob guy who’s running this “new-age” place and I can tell ya folks, ain’t know way that place would have existed in the south in that day and time. They would have run them outta the place. Another little fun nugget? Take a look at the end scene where Cagney falls after being shot. If you look close on the left hand side of the screen, you’ll see a crew members foot come into the frame for just a second. LoL now that’s quality editing.

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Looking for over-the-topness in your films? This one should suit you just fine. It was pretty obvious Cagney jumped on this one cause of how well White Heat previously. It works but don’t expect White Heat.

Cagney does Cagney

6/10
Author: madmonkmcghee from Netherlands
7 November 2012

So you liked White Heat, with psychotic mamma’s boy Cody Jarret going way over the top? Well, here’s one just like it, only without any pretense at psychological probing of Cagney’s character.

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Ralph Cotter is just plain evil, that’s all there is to him. Unfortunately any comparison with White Heat shows up the deficiencies of this movie. There’s simply no real reason to be all that interested in any of the characters. They rob and steal, scheme and cheat, but there’s no real drive to their actions. You keep wondering why you should spend any time with these nasty people; even Cagney lacks that vicious charm he usually gives to these gangster roles.If you can watch Cagney do anything you may like this movie, for me it held too little appeal.

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An overlooked but excellent gangster film noir !

10/10
Author: gullwing592003 from United States
13 May 2010

James Cagney is in top form in this rare & obscure gem, obviously made to cash in on the success of White Heat. If you enjoyed White Heat you will relish Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. Cagney does not disappoint & shows that he is still at his best as a gangster. No matter how evil & despicable Cagney was you could never really hate him. That was how charismatic & electrifying James Cagney was & only he could have played Cody Jarrett & Ralph Cotter. Cagney is more in control & more clever & manipulating as Ralph Cotter. Everyone gets sucked in & gets caught in his web from Crooked Cops played by Ward Bond & Barton Maclane, a crooked lawyer (Luther Adler), the moll (Barbara Payton), the wealthy businessman & his spoiled daughter.

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I like the scene where Cagney sets a trap for Inspector Webber (Ward Bond) by recording a conversation about plans for a bogus heist on record to blackmail & use against him to get what he wants. Cherokee Mandan says “Let’s try it on for size”, he gets Ralph a gun permit & later Cagney even gets the inspector to give him a policeman’s uniform to undermine & cash in on a criminal racket.”Any business that pays 50 grand is a good business to be in”. Cagney seemed unstoppable & was in control of every situation, pushing the envelope & it’s easy to see why Holiday Carlton (Barbara Payton) had to kill Cagney in the end for killing her brother during the prison break.

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I almost wished he hadn’t of gotten killed by her because it seemed like the rich father & his daughter had some kind of good influence on him, Ezra Dobson later approves of their marriage & decides not to have it annulled & offers Cagney a proposition of managing his daughter’s money(Helena Carter)who’s richer than her father. When she asks Ralph why he carries a gun she asks to see it & intentionally tosses it in the water. “You don’t need it any more”, he was heading in a new direction & starting a new life of respectability & leaving his criminal life behind. Or would Ralph have just gotten greedy to their millions of $$ & bumped them off as well or would he have reformed ? We’ll never know. Watch this movie, I highly recommend it !!

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Cinematography Gayne Rescher
Directed by Nicholas Meyer

It is the 23rd century. Admiral James T. Kirk is an instructor at Starfleet Academy and feeling old; the prospect of attending his ship, the USS Enterprise–now a training ship–on a two-week cadet cruise does not make him feel any younger. But the training cruise becomes a deadly serious mission when his nemesis Khan Noonien Singh–infamous conqueror from late 20th century Earth–appears after years of exile. Khan later revealed that the planet Ceti Alpha VI exploded, and shifted the orbit of the fifth planet as a Mars-like haven. He begins capturing Project Genesis, a top secret device holding the power of creation itself, and schemes the utter destruction of Kirk.

TM & Copyright © 2002 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

The Best.

2 July 2002 | by SilentJerry (Here.) – See all my reviews

Well, the best of the Star Trek films. True, a lot of people have recently declared Star Trek Frist Contact the best. There are others who love whales and political correctness declare Star Trek The Voyage Home the best of the Trek films. Out of all the Star Trek films; only two deal with the human element of Star Trek as well as the original TV series did and that’s Star Trek 2 and 3. This is the one Star Trek film that I would recommend to people who don’t like or watch Star Trek. It’s probably one of the best Science Fiction movies of all time.

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People will complain that it’s too violent and dark. But that’s a part of life. Anytime you deal with the darkest human emotions of hate and revenge; you will have starships being fired at and people dying. To say that in the future humans will be 100% peaceful is silly and naive. Themes of life and death are explored very well in this movie without getting preachy about it. Shatner and Nimoy are allowed to expand their characters and bring more life to them. Shatner turns in his best Trek performance since “The City on the Edge of Forever”.

The special effects are good, but don’t overshadow the story like they did in the first movie. Instead they service the story, as special effects should. The score is great; probably the best of all the Star Trek movies.

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The uniforms have been toned down and no longer look like pajama’s from the first movie. I suppose if you really want to sum up this movie, it should be that this movie brings out the best from the TOS and makes a wonderful movie experience. Also it shows the potential that is in Star Trek that none of the other movies have been able to reach.

In the genre, there is simply nothing better, and there never will be.

10/10
Author: budmassey (cyberbarrister@gmail.com) from Indianapolis, IN
28 March 2004
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wrath is based on one of the best episodes of The Original Series of Star Trek. The episode, Space Seed, introduced Kahn Noonian Singh, a genetically engineered super-warrior from the 20th century who survived in cryogenic freeze until the crew of the Enterprise found his derelict space ship and revived him. Alas, his instinct to conquer survived as well, and only after an epic struggle is Kirk able to deposit Kahn and his band of supermen in permanent exile on a garden planet.

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Fifteen years later, a cataclysm has left that planet barren, and Kahn bitter about his plight, when along comes the Enterprise, not knowing they have returned to Kahn’s home planet. Kahn escapes and the game is on.

This is undoubtedly the best of the Star Trek movies, and in fact, the best of everything that was best about Star Trek TOS. There is heroism, epic conflict, a fully satisfying story, and deliciously over the top acting by Shatner, Nimoy and, the main course, Ricardo Montalban, reprising his original role, with all the menace and drama of, say, Sir Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar winning turn as Hannibal Lechter.

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The writing is great, and why not, it was by Harve Bennett, by way of Melville, and Roddenberry’s unforgettable characters, as indelibly etched on our psyches as any fairy tale of our youth, were never brighter, more heroic, more magnificent. In the genre, there is simply nothing better, and there never will be. It took decades to hone and refine these characters, for us to come to love them, and for them to reach the point in their palpably real lives to reflect with self-doubt and angst on lives that we accept as being as real as our own. This isn’t a movie, it’s a documentary, and a time capsule, and a worthy monument to the best cast in the best Sci-Fi Western ever made.

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Revenge is a dish that is best served cold!

Author: obiwancohen
18 May 2000

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a classic action film. It has heroic characters, a nasty villain and a sweeping adventure that is both engaging and entertaining. This is top-notch filmmaking, which just happens to be told via Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi world of Star Trek.

Acting: Shatner and the Enterprise crew are all in top form. It just so happens that this is the best material they have ever been given to perform and they execute it with class and style (a quality later incarnations of Star Trek lack). Also, Ricardo Montablan is the ultimate Star Trek villain as Khan Noonian Singh.

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The special FX are also well-done. In this age of CGI it is refreshing to see the ingenuity and creativity of old-style model effects being used so effectively. And just to make this statement even more clear: ST II has THE BEST space battle sequences in film history. That’s right, the best. It’s not about the scope of a battle that makes it fun to watch, it’s all about the pacing! This film exhibits the best cat and mouse battle in my mind and its well worth your time.

Go see this movie.

One of the better “Trek”s….

10/10
Author: Mister-6 from United States
25 November 1999

I’ve always held a special place in my heart and mind for this second installment in the “Star Trek” movie series. Mostly, because this is a movie that appeals to both places.

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Not only is this movie loaded with the original characters from the series, it also touches on such subjects as revenge, family, duty, age and, of course, sacrifice. That was the best thing about the series – that it touched on topics that were (pardon the expression) universal, no matter the species.

Everyone is uniformly fine right down the line, especially Montalban’s Khan (returned from the “Space Seed” episode of the original series); all hatred, vengeance and single-minded of desire to see his enemy laid out before him. Namely, Kirk.

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Alley is rather fetching as Saavik and it’s a shame she wasn’t carried over to the next film. I can’t help but, seeing her on TV anymore, to expect her to raise an eyebrow in contemplation. Buttrick makes a complex character out of David, the son Kirk never knew he had. Hurt feelings and resentment meld somewhat explosively with a new-found father/son relationship.

And what can one say about Spock, Bones, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and Scotty? They are characters all of us grew up with and, pivotal to the plot at hand or not, it’s always good to see them.

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For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, I won’t discuss it in great detail. The story is simple enough (scientists find way to rejuvenate life on dead planets; Khan finds escape from prison planet, vows revenge on Kirk), but there is one plot point that will, if you are unfamiliar with it, blow you away. Suffice it to say, never has friendship been elocuted so well in this or any movie before or since.

Ten stars and a special Kobuyashi Maru simulation for “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan”. Watch it: it’ll make you feel young again.

STAR TREK, Done Right!

Author: Ben Burgraff (cariart) from Las Vegas, Nevada
25 November 2003
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN was another miracle moment in a franchise that has had more than it’s share of such moments.

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Paramount never intended to make a sequel to STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (a philosophy it would continue to embrace, after each film!), and, when, after intense lobbying by Gene Roddenberry, a few ‘Trekkers’ in the studio hierarchy, and a lot of fans, the studio finally caved in, they reduced the budget, dramatically, almost daring the production team to create a film of quality.

In an inspired move, Harve Bennett, a television veteran, was brought in to executive produce, and his sensibilities, honed on the budgetary restraints of the small screen, helped to get the most out of the available funds.

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A director of the stature of Robert Wise was out of the question, but Bennett and Roddenberry were impressed by young Nicholas Meyer, and his one directorial effort, the cult SF favorite, TIME AFTER TIME, and the 37-year old leaped at the opportunity to tackle another SF film. Contrary to popular belief, Meyer was NOT familiar with the series, but he quickly immersed himself with the series’ episodes, then looked at Harve Bennett’s script outline, and the two of them then hammered out a shooting script. Gone would be the sterile, monochromatic future envisioned in the first film, replaced with warm colors, frequent references to classic literature, and the sense of camaraderie that had made the original series so popular.

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Both men had been impressed by Ricardo Montalban’s charismatic Khan, in the episode, ‘Space Seed’, and agreed in bringing back the superhuman, yet sympathetic villain for the film. Leonard Nimoy provided the film’s theme; with rumors of a possible new TV series still circulating, the actor, not wishing to be subjected to the weekly grind, suggested ‘killing off’ Spock, in some heroic fashion. Bennett loved the idea, although he wisely left a ‘hook’ in the script, in case Nimoy changed his mind, and he and Meyer could now address both the passage of time, and death, issues that were relevant, as the original cast were beginning to show their years!

William Shatner, after the stinging reviews of his stilted performance in ST:TMP, needed a strong script to provide ‘damage control’, and he got it.

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In perhaps his finest performance, he dominates the screen, whether ruminating on his own mortality with McCoy, explaining how he ‘beat’ the Kobiyashi Maru scenario by cheating (“I HATE to lose”), discovering that after years as an interstellar lothario, he is a father (and by the one woman he truly ‘loved’), playing ‘cat and mouse’ with Khan, or facing the death of his best friend, Spock. Both decisive and likable, Shatner’s Kirk is the glue that holds ST:TWOK together, and he is brilliant.

Leonard Nimoy, getting every actor’s dream, a chance to ‘die’ onscreen, gives Spock a poignancy that is, ultimately, heartbreaking; DeForest Kelley, excellent as Dr. McCoy, not only offers righteous indignation over the implications of the Genesis Project, but projects such an obvious affection for both Kirk and his ‘sparring partner’, Spock, that, far more than in the first film, you can see the nearly symbiotic link between the three leads. The rest of the original cast, despite small roles, still have far more to do than in the first film, and are obviously enjoying themselves (except, understandably, Walter Koenig’s ‘Chekov’, when the parasite is put into his ear!).

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Of the other leads, Ricardo Montalban lustily chews up the scenery as an ‘Ahab’-influenced older Khan; a pre-‘Cheers’ Kirstie Alley gives Vulcan Lieutenant Saavik far more sex appeal than did her successor in the role, Robin Curtis; Paul Winfield makes the most of his brief role as Chekov’s new boss, the doomed Captain Terrell; and Bibi Besch provides a combination of intellect, toughness, and affection playing Kirk’s lost love, Carol Marcus. The only disappointment is Merritt Butrick, as Kirk’s newly-revealed son, David; in a poorly-written role, he has little to do but gripe about Kirk, before and after he discovers their relationship.

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The film score was composed by 29-year old James Horner, who was told not to incorporate any of Jerry Goldsmith’s themes from ST:TMP; he later admitted that he sneaked a bit of it in, anyway, along with Alexander Courage’s original TV themes. While lacking Goldsmith’s grandeur, the music is evocative and sweeping, and Horner would return to score STAR TREK: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK.

Despite budget restraints, ST:TWOK had terrific FX (particularly during the Mutaran Nebula sequence), and was able to reuse the space dock and voyage sequences from ST:TMP quite effectively. The space battle scene between the Enterprise and Reliant is one of the best sequences in the entire ‘Star Trek’ film series.

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ST:TWOK was a HUGE success, both with critics and fans, vindicating Gene Roddenberry’s faith in the franchise, and the decision to use Meyer as the director. And in a twist worthy of Scheherazade in ‘The Arabian Nights’, Spock’s death created such an uproar that Paramount HAD to keep the series alive, just to resolve the issue.

From a one-shot film deal, a THIRD film would be produced!

Light Years Ahead of Star Trek The Motion Picture

9/10
Author: marxi from Louisville, Kentucky
20 June 2003

When Star Trek The Motion Picture was released, the masses flocked to it. Unfortunately, the first film outing for the crew of the USS Enterprise was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

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Never underestimate Trekkies! This Second Star Trek movie was even more greatly anticipated than the first. Reluctantly, I went to see it. I was pleasantly surprised. Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan, in my estimation, is everything the first one should have been, and then some!

Captain Kirk, now an admiral, is experiencing some sort of mid life crisis. And of course, he ends up back in the command chair when a routine inspection and review of the rookie crew on the Enterprise runs in to unexpected trouble. The crew of the USS Enterprise is in fine form in this outing, and much of the camaraderie of the original TV series is recaptured. And when and old adversary of Captain Kirk shows up with revenge in his heart, this movie gets rolling. It has twists, turns and surprises aplenty. The ending is truly a surprise.

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Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan is a wonderful complement to the original TV series and stands on its own as a very good space adventure film. I’d rate it a 89.5/100. If you want to see what all the full about Star Trek is, Star Trek II is a great place to start.

Captain Kirk Vs. Captain Ahab

6/10
Author: The_Other_Snowman from United States
4 August 2008
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

“Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan” is everyone’s favourite Trek film, even if they’re not big fans of the show. Nicholas Meyer, the writer/director, is competent in an efficient, workmanlike way, and the movie zips along at a fine pace but with barely an original bone in its body.

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Khan, from the original series episode “Space Seed”, hijacks a starship with a plan to kill Captain Kirk. Kirk’s having a midlife crisis, and has just met the son he never knew he had, who happens to be a scientist who’s created a MacGuffin with limitless destructive potential. Kirk is full of angst, and talks a lot with Spock and McCoy, so some of the feel of the classic series is preserved. Everyone quotes liberally from Shakespeare and “Moby Dick”, with a little Dickens thrown in, to the point that they might have written the entire script by perusing Cliff’s Notes and skimming Horatio Hornblower novels.

The redesigned Starfleet uniforms signal a change in the way our heroes will be portrayed in future films. They are no longer exploring representatives of an idealistic utopia, but servants of a futuristic military.

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The space battles that make up the bulk of the film’s action are dazzling, in a modest way, but the main characters spend most of their time on the bridges of their respective ships, pressing buttons and talking. You can plainly see that the budget was not very impressive.

This movie might be noteworthy in that it’s the only Star Trek film to have no aliens in it, besides Spock. It’s got action and excitement, and those timeless themes of loyalty and honor or something equally wishy-washy, but there’s nothing in here to really make you think, which is what the TV show always tried to do, even when it was being silly.

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EDIT: I recently watched “The Wrath of Khan” again, and found that I was wrong on a couple points. First, the pacing is leaden. Only James Horner’s music creates any sense of excitement while the story slogs along. Second, there is hardly any chemistry among the three leads. In fact, Kirk and Spock only share two or three important scenes, and are separated for the rest of the film. Spock’s famous final sacrifice is rendered nearly meaningless. Most of the actors appear lifeless; Shatner’s performance in particular is shockingly wooden, and he mumbles his dialog. Was anyone really asking for a subdued, realistic performance from William Shatner?

“Khan!”

Author: DarthBill from United States
15 April 2004
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Middle aged Admiral James T. Kirk is suffering a mid life crisis while overseeing the trainee crew of the Enterprise who are under the watchful eye of everyone’s favorite Vulcan, Spock. Then Khan (Ricardo Montalban), the villain of the episode “Space Seed”, escapes the planet turned wasteland where Kirk left him and his people, hijacks the USS Reliant and goes after Kirk with a death wish. But where does Project Genesis, created by an old flame of Kirk, Dr. Carol

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Marcus (Bib Besch) and her son David (the late Merritt Butrick), have to do with all this?

A lot flashier and more adventurous than the first film, it none the less touches upon ethical topics such as taking control of the power of creation, good intentions turned into horrible weapons, the usefulness of our elders, and the self destructiveness of obsession followed by sacrifice. Ricardo Montalban is a memorable villain, full ham, fire, gusto and cold malice. Besch and Butrick are fine. Kirstie Alley makes her memorable debut as the lovely Vulcan babe Saavik and it’s a part she plays well (too bad they couldn’t hang on to her). The original cast of course, play their parts the way their fans expect them to play them and they play their parts fine. The late Paul Winfield is also good in his role as the ill fated Captain Terrell.

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Special effects are pretty good, with two well executed space shoot outs, the second and more memorable one taking place in the Mutaran Nebula. The death and funeral of Spock is very touching, and the film is also highlighted by some very beautiful music by James Horner. Shatner brings out a lot of sympathy from his Kirk in this entry.

Moby Dick in Space

Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom
12 March 2008
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

“The Wrath of Khan” isn’t a science fiction film as much as it’s an old-fashioned adventure story dressed up in vintage science fiction tropes. The plot: the crew of the Starship Enterprise, led by the now iconic Captain James T. Kirk, find themselves embroiled in a deadly cat and mouse game with Khan Noonian Singh, a genetically engineered superhuman. The story is pure pulp, but don’t be put off. Director Nicholas Meyer’s work here is fabulous, and his screenplay beautiful.

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Meyer, a great writer with a fondness for literary classics, bathes his film with references to everything from “Moby Dick” to “The Sea Hawk”. As a result, the film has a very nautical feel. Spaceships trade massive broadsides, our cast’s uniforms, dialogue and behaviour are now informed by that of the 19th century British Navy, and the film’s climactic battle feels like a cross between a U-boat suspense film and Herman Melville’s famous whale hunt.

Meyer has long had a special fondness for 19th century novelists. His first big splash came in 1974 with “The Seven Percent Solution”, a Sherlock Holmes novel that hit the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list, stayed on the charts for 40 weeks and resurrected the Holmes pastiche craze the way “Wrath of Khan” jolted new life into Star Trek.

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He followed that up with two sequel novels, “The West End Horror” and “The Canary Trainer”. The former had Holmes and Watson brushing shoulders with Bernard Shaw, Gilbert and Sullivan, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and other Victorian theatre dudes. The latter gave a Holmesian spin to Gaston Leroux’s “Phantom of the Opera”.

So Meyer delights in weaving nods to great literature into modern narratives. His first directorial success was the time-travel escapade “Time After Time”, a fun romp which featured H.G. Wells pursuing Jack the Ripper across modern San Francisco. He takes a similar approach with “Khan”, retooling Melville’s “Moby Dick” and placing Ahab’s lines on the lips of Khan, the film’s larger than life villain. A worn copy of the book even appears on Khan’s shelf, alongside King Lear and the Bible. In the movie, a character called Spock also gives Kirk a copy of Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” for a birthday present.

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Several years later, when Meyer returned to direct “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (the last featuring the original crew and arguably the second-best film in the franchise) he gave it an Agatha Christie-style “cosy” murder mystery, Shakespeare-quoting Klingons (and a Shakespeare influenced title), named a Klingon prison asteroid after the penal colony that held Captain Nemo in Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, and had Spock both quote Sherlock Holmes and refer to the coolly logical Great Detective as “one of my ancestors.” Meyers sure does love classical literature.

But woven into “Khan’s” cat-and-mouse plot are also meditations that humanise the larger-than-life James T. Kirk. Here, at last, our long-time galactic hero faces the fact that he’s not the young space cowboy he used to be.

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Early in the film we’re introduced to the Kobayashi Maru, a “no win scenario” in which every star ship captain must face death. Kirk, we learn, is the only person to have ever beat this “no win scenario”. How? He reprogrammed various computer simulators, thereby changing the rules of the game. As a result, the film has a beautiful tension. On one hand we have the Captain Kirk who repeatedly wins all scenarios, who knows only success, who can’t deal with defeat, who always finds a way to break the rules and change the terms of engagement. And on the other hand, we have Kirk’s confrontation with his own mortality, his need for glasses, his unscheduled reunion with an ex-lover and his estranged son. This tension, between life and death, immortality and mortality, success and failure, is epitomised by the “Genesis” device, a super weapon in the film which has to power to both create and destroy.

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Shortly after Khan’s first attack on the Enterprise, which leaves a new crew-member dead, Kirk swallows the bitter pill that his own failures almost brought about their destruction. He goes on to find a brilliant way out of this particular “no win scenario”, of course, but the consequences of his escape nevertheless force him to confront the holes in his armour. Our ageing admiral and crew may descend to self-parodying plastic action figures in some later entries, but in this movie they’re allowed to be vulnerably human, as themes of pursuit, age, death, and regeneration appear through the phaser fire.

On the other side of the fence, we have Khan. Here’s one mightily ticked-off arch villain, quoting 19th century literature and Klingon proverbs while slitting throats and placing space bugs in people’s brains.

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Give him an eye-patch and it’d be “Arrrr! Avast ye!” all the way. Miraculously, though, Meyer keeps it all under control. Even that moody old bird Pauline Kael devoted extra column inches to praising the way these two classically trained actors chewed scenery and bounced off one another in “Khan”.

If nothing else, “Khan” reminds us that sometimes, somehow, a Hollywood picture comes along and proves the creaky old notion that talent counts more than production dollars. There’s got to be some moral in the fact that the Star Trek movie with the smallest budget (by far) and fewest resources is still the dominant favourite and the only one that doesn’t feel, one way or another, like a factory-line franchise product designed solely to provide money for the stockholders.

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8.9/10 – “Khan” has everything you could ask for in a good adventure film: sympathetic, well-drawn heroes, a terrific villain, exciting outer-space showdowns, wow factor, smart direction, a fine tuned script and a touch of reflective depth (the Enterprise crew finally faces up to age and mortality, and questions about the wisdom and consequences of playing God are hinted at). Oh, and the music is awesome as well.

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