Category Archives: film criticism

Lives of the Gangsters

A while back I wrote about the “outlaw romanzas” that were common in the 1940s following the success of the 1939 film “Jesse James.” Now I would like to discuss what was, in a sense, their follow-up, the series of … Continue reading

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When You Re-make a Classic

CAUTION: Contains “spoilers” I wonder whether Taylor Hackford knew what to expect when he agreed to direct a re-make of Jacques Tourneur’s 1947 film noir “Out of the Past.” I don’t believe that audiences and critics swooned over the Tourneur … Continue reading

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Dazzlers

There is a moment in “42nd Street” when any first-time viewer’s eyes will open wide with disbelief. We watch Ruby Keeler singing and dancing to the title song and suddenly the theater stage on which she performing is transformed into … Continue reading

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“There’s only one Johnny!”

CAUTION: Contains “spoilers.” I think a lot of people do “Key Largo” a disservice by trying to shoehorn it into either the Gangster Movie or the Film Noir mold. Yes, it has gangsters in it, and it is thematically, if … Continue reading

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Close, but…

Jesus Franco’s “Count Dracula” (“El Conde Dracula”) was promoted as an authentic filming of Bram Stoker’s novel–and to an extent it is, taking budgetary restraints into account. The first portion of the film, which details Jonathan Harker’s experiences as a … Continue reading

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Traditional Westerns vs. Revisionist Westerns

The traditional western tended to view things in black vs. white terms and was mostly affirmative. Traditional westerns honored “the verities” (themselves the product of pulp romancers)–face-to-face Main Street showdowns vs. back alley ambushes \ the inevitable triumph of┬áthe Right … Continue reading

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Conte’s Triple-Play

It will indeed be unfortunate if Richard Conte is remembered only for his turn as Don Barzini, the tight-lipped, camera-shy guest at Connie Corleone’s wedding in “The Godfather.” There are much better performances to recommend him to us. In 1955 … Continue reading

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