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Archive for April 19th, 2011

Director and Producer: Howard Hawks

Screenwriters: William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and Jules Furthman

Cinematographer: Sidney Hickox

Music: Max Steiner

Studio: Warner Bros 1946

Main Acting: Humphrey Bogart

Phillip Marlowe is one of those iconic figures in film noir that is always associated with the genre. Humphrey Bogart is a popular actor forever recognized as a towering symbol in classic Hollywood. What would it mean if these two cultural titans could be fused together and released to a fascinated public? Well, in 1946 it happened, and we get the bonus of esteemed film director Howard Hawks pulling the strings. No less than three screenwriters worked on adapting Raymond Chandler’s novel of the same name. Everyone has heard of how convoluted and complex the proceedings became, with a slew of characters entering and departing the fray to dizzying effects. One popular story goes that no one had any idea who murders chauffeur Owen Taylor and even the famous author of the original work couldn’t come up with a satisfactory answer. The truth is that if one were looking for a neat and tidy tale of deception, crime, and double crosses, then this picture isn’t it. Move along to something more linear and narratively cohesive. The Big Sleep is all over the place, and is more worthy for the ride than the destination. The mystery is really just an excuse to marvel at the insane chemistry by Bogie and Lauren Bacall as they wise-crack and mouth double entendres all movie long. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(Italy 1961 121m) DVD1

Aka. La ragazza con la valigia

A travel iron in a leather case

p  Maurizio Lodi-Fé, Charles Delac  d  Valerio Zurlini  w  Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero de Bernardi, Enrico Medioli, Giuseppe Patrone Griffi, Valerio Zurlini  ph  Tino Santoni  ed  Mario Serandrei  art  Flavio Mogherini

Claudia Cardinale (Aida Zapponi), Jacques Perrin (Lorenzo Fainardi), Luciana Angiolillo (Lorenzo’s aunt), Gian Maria Volonte (Piero Benotti), Corrado Pani (Marcello Fainardi), Romolo Valli (Don Pietro Introna), Renato Baldini (Francia), Elsa Albani (Lucia),

An open-topped car pulls up on the roadside.  A young woman gets out.  She looks around pensively, finger in mouth.  She looks increasingly desperate.  Now here’s the question; imagine this was a Hollywood film, what is the girl looking for?  A missing pet, perhaps, like Holly Golightly?  A piece of jewellery?  Either way, she’s retracing her steps, right?  A world of no.  You see, this isn’t an American film, this is Italy, earthy Italy.  Our heroine isn’t looking for anything but a quiet spot, for in her own words she’s about to explode if she doesn’t find a place to squat down and have a piss.  She finds a spot, and on emerging with relief, as Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’ blasts out of the car radio, she has only one question for her male companion; “did you look?”  It’s a wonderful opening. 

            The girl in question, Aida, is the would-be cabaret singer who has been on a holiday with playboy Marcello.  The problem is that he’s grown bored with her, having sampled the goods, and proceeds to drive off and leave her after arranging to meet her in a bar.  Returning home, she follows him and Marcello sends his 16 year old younger brother Lorenzo downstairs to brush her off with some lie that this isn’t his house, which, as Marcello used a false name, proves somewhat easy.  When Lorenzo takes one look at her, he falls in love, and proceeds to help her out, paying for a hotel room, letting her have a bath at his aunt’s place when everyone’s out, and even lending her 5,000 lira.  Slowly Aida realises that Lorenzo is in love with her, and she can only feel friendship.  It doesn’t need Lorenzo’s priest and tutor to tell you, this isn’t going to end well. (more…)

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