Archive for March 29th, 2011

Director: Nicholas Ray

Producer: John Houseman

Screenwriter: A. I. Bezzerides

Cinematographer: George E. Diskant

Music: Bernard Herrmann

Studio: RKO Pictures 1952

Main Acting: Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino

Opening on the typically tough urban streets of most film noir, On Dangerous Ground adds a surprising twist less than halfway through its running time. Detective Jim Wilson (played by Robert Ryan) is a disillusioned and disgruntled cop that has a reputation for roughing up suspects. Without family, a wife, and any actual friends, he lives a lonely existence in a cramped apartment where scanning police photos for criminals counts as entertainment. The paradox of his life is that while being a policeman is his sole interest and obsession, he has increasingly become disenchanted with his work and everything it entails. He tells his partner, “What kind of job is this anyway? Garbage. That’s all we handle.” We see that Wilson is taking out his disappointments on all the hoodlums in which he comes in contact. He also shuns human interaction and rejects the invitation of his colleague to stop by for Sunday dinner with the family. The movie hints that at one time Jim Wilson was a steady visitor to his partner’s home. Now his isolation and withdrawal from humanity keeps him at arm’s length from everyone. He is existentially empty and going through the motions without much purpose. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France 1960 116m) DVD1/2

Aka. Purple Noon

A preface on Fra Angelico

p  Robert Hakim, Raymond Hakim  d  René Clément  w  René Clément, Paul Gégauff  novel  “The Talented Mr Ripley” by Patricia Highsmith  ph  Henri Decaë  ed  François Javet  m  Nino Rota  art  Paul Bertrand

Alain Delon (Tom Ripley), Marie Leforêt (Marge Duval), Maurice Ronet (Philippe Greenleaf), Erno Crisa (Riccordi), Frank Latimore (O’Brien), Bill Kearns (Freddy Miles), Elvire Popesco (Mrs Popova), Ave Ninchi (Signora Gianna), Romy Schneider,

By the 1960s René Clément was not a name bandied about in circles of the intelligentsia, far too old-fashioned for the national cinema beating to the rhythm of the nouvelle vague.  His last major film, Plein Soleil, based on Patricia Highsmith’s famous novel from 1955 thus became if not forgotten, then at least marginalised.  Cut forward the best part of forty years and another director, Anthony Minghella, decided to do a remake, and all of a sudden, as is the wont these days, any previous version of the story became hot property.  Those who believed Delon came to prominence in the films of Visconti and Antonioni were forced to take stock.  Could the remake top the original?

            The Talented Mr Ripley is a fine film in its own right, perhaps overlooked at the time because the tone was so different to the preceding Minghella epic The English Patient, but offering fine acting opportunities to Matt Damon (the first in a strain of coldly conditioned characters that would prove his metier in the upcoming years), Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman and, especially, Jude Law.  What made Law so perfect was that he could have been Ripley himself, as that’s essentially the plot’s premise.  For here was Tom Ripley; wastrel, moocher, leech, call him what you like, but employed by Philippe Greenleaf’s father to persuade him to come back from his playboy Mediterranean lifestyle to San Francisco.  Ripley has bigger ideas, though, using his knack for thinking on his feet and forgery, and the fact that he looks quite like Greenleaf, to kill him, steal his identity, his money and, perchance, his girl. (more…)

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