Overall I felt like August was a slow month, but I did manage to see quite a few films, most of them for the first time. If you missed the earlier parts of the month, please check out Part I and Part II. Here’s Part III:
The Country Girl (1954) rewatch (2x)
Written and directed by George Seaton
Based on the play by Clifford Odets
Produced by William Perlberg
Cinematography by John F. Warren
DVD – library (1:44)
It’s always a roll of the dice, revisiting a film you saw once when you were much, much younger. Do you resist seeing the movie again, fearing that you might tarnish or even destroy those positive memories of a film you cherished in those days when you had few responsibilities, practically no fears or worries, and were willing to try (or at least watch) just about anything? Or do you let those memories lie undisturbed, hidden under an impenetrable protective layer?
Night Moves (1975)
Directed by Arthur Penn
Produced by Robert M. Sherman
Written by Alan Sharp
Music by Michael Small
Cinematography by Bruce Surtees
Edited by Dede Allen, Stephan A. Rotter
Warner DVD – Interlibrary loan (1:39)
Recently released on Blu-ray from Warner Archive
In the first half of Night Moves, private detective Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman) is showing a woman named Paula (Jennifer Warren) a sequence of chess moves from a famous match originally played in the 1920s.
“It’s a beauty,” Paula says after Harry shows her the sequence again.
“Yeah,” Harry replies, “but he didn’t see it. He played something else and he lost. Must’ve regretted it every day of his life. I know I would have.”
In a way, I’ve just given away everything about Arthur Penn’s brilliant neo-noir Night Moves, and then again I’ve given away nothing. Night Moves is one of those movies that’s been largely overlooked for the past 40 years, at least by the majority of the moviegoing public (and sometimes even Gene Hackman fans). It’s a great film for many reasons (which I’ll elaborate on in a moment), but it demands from the viewer a patient and careful eye. It also requires at least two viewings (this was my third) to fully appreciate its wonders, and for a 40-year-old film, that’s asking a lot. Yet the rewards are tremendous.
The Offence (1972*)
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Produced by Denis O’Dell
Written by John Hopkins based on his play This Story of Yours
Cinematography by Gerry Fisher
Edited by John Victor-Smith
Music by Harrison Birtwistle
Kino Lorber Blu-ray (1:52)
I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see this film in theaters upon its initial release. Audiences would’ve known it starred Sean Connery – who at this point had made six James Bond films – and was directed by Sidney Lumet – who had directed 12 Angry Men, The Pawnbroker, Fail Safe and The Anderson Tapes (also starring Connery). But I don’t think anyone expected the absolute raw, unrelenting power of The Offence.
September is neither the most exciting nor the most densely packed month for film noir and neo noir releases, but I present to you several worth considering, especially if you own an all-region Blu-ray player. As always, unless otherwise noted, the following are Region A (U.S. and Canada) Blu-rays. Here we go:
Miracle Mile (1988*)
Written and directed by Steve De Jarnatt
Produced by John Daly, Derek Gibson
Cinematography by Theo van de Sande
Music by Tangerine Dream
Kino Lorber Blu-ray (1:27)
(mild spoilers initially – more later)
As I mentioned in my recap of the movies I watched earlier this month, I have absolutely no recollection of Miracle Mile coming out in theaters, on cable, or on VHS. If not for Brian and Elric at Pure Cinema Podcast, I probably would’ve never seen it, so many thanks to the guys for recommending a title that has immediately become one of my favorite movies from the 80s.