(Not So) Random Film of the Week: The Big Sleep

the big sleep MPI’ve probably seen Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep about a dozen or so times over the years and I still can’t properly describe the plot of the film even after finally reading the Raymond Chandler novel it’s based on. That said, it’s always been a fun classic film to watch a few times because Humphrey Bogart plays his part so effortlessly and the other actors follow suit with some solid performances.

Yes, I know the film is all about private eye Philip Marlowe’s (Humphrey Bogart) somewhat interesting and somewhat laid back investigation process in a particularly confounding murder/extortion/sex/drugs case where a number of bodies drop before all is said and done.  That said, the plot spills all over the place like a tipsy barmaid wearing roller skates trying to carry a tray of drinks onboard a capsizing ship.  In the end, none of the plot bumps really hurt the movie because you’ll likely end up loving the end result for Howard Hawks’ directing and the cast doing their best with that loopy William Faulkner/Jules Furthman/Leigh Brackett script (which got a few other hands involved as well).

TBS_03

The film is also a great look at the real-life blossoming Bogart and Bacall relationship with the snappy chemistry between the pair (working together for the second time) getting the sparks going full on despite the Hays Code restrictions. In other words, a little innuendo goes a long way, folks. That said, rather than do a rote retelling of the plot (which would take a longer post, trust me), this bit of pillow fluff will take a detour into Philip Marlowe’s amusingly laid back approach to dealing with most of the film’s other actors.

(Thanks, TheTrailerBlaze!)

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Call of the Westeros Meets Classic Response Time

So, this season of Game of Thrones ended with a bang. Well, a few bangs if you count the graceful exit one key character made via a nearby window. The internet being what it is, one still frame ended up as a hilarious image gamers who know Ubisoft’s hugely popular Assassin’s Creed series got a laugh over:

ACWesteros

It took me all of thirty seconds for my brain to cook up goofball responses to that scene using classic film posters, but a little longer to swipe images I’ll link to to be fair to the folks who posted them first. Traffic is cool on one’s blog when it’s least expected, I always say. Okay, here we go (click on the posters to go to their respective sites):

Hit the Hay

I’ve never seen this flick before, but I’m now Judy Canova curious. I know I’ve seen HER before in something, but I’ve not a clue as to what.

It Ain't Hay

Ooh, a new site to check out! Nice place you’ve got there, Steve! Haven’t seen this one in decades, but it’s probably as funny as I recall.

crash-dive

A not too shabby WWII war drama/romance flick with a fine cast doing their thing for the cause. Oscar-winning special effects here, but don’t go into this looking for CG perfection.


 


 

Finally, yeah… I may as well get Fox some love as well for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie. As with any game-based film, my eyebrow is up a lot on whether it can capture the game’s more interactive elements clearly. But I absolutely LOVE being proven wrong by movies based on videogame source material. Which means I’m still skeptical even with the casting choices made. We’ll get into that later. Just go enjoy the rest of this weekend for now.

Random Film of the Week: Detour

(thanks, TheVideoCellar!) 

detour_xlg“Whichever way you turn, fate sticks out a foot to trip you.”

I’ve seen Detour so many times since I first discovered it back in 1992 that I sometimes have dreams about it that stick to the plot but play from different viewpoints. If you thank that’s loopy, guess what? I’ve actually dreamed numerous times about writing a review of this and posting it here to the point that I even wrote a post last year saying I thought I did. Yeah, I got it bad for this one. Sure, it’s got its technical issues and every print I’ve seen from film to tape to DVD over about thirty years looks as if it’s been dragged under a bus going cross country on four flat tires. But the combined efforts of writer/screenwriter Martin Goldsmith, director Edgar G. Ulmer, actors Tom Neal, (the aptly named) Ann Savage, Edmund MacDonald, Claudia Drake along with composer Leo Erdody, editor George McGuire and cinematographer Ben Kline all add up to what I think is one of the greatest American film noir movies ever made (warts and all).

Granted, if you’re picky or looking for perfection and haven’t see this before, as an exercise in Moviemaking 101 this may not wow you much thanks to its numerous technical flaws and what could be called a one-note performance by the lead actor. On the other hand, the film’s simple story and how it’s told hits that sweet spot in the brain as it delivers its karmic blows to its principals and leaves the residue of cheap diner food, cheaper booze, cigarettes and bile swirling around in your skull. “Poverty Row” budget and short shooting schedule aside, the film’s impact is immediate and lasting thanks to the short run time and every shot meaning something (yes, even the bad ones). I bet you’ll get it bad when you see this for the first time, too… Continue reading

It’s Tuesday, Right? Time To Take A Little DETOUR…

(thanks, TheVideoCellar!) 

Yeah, you had a bad day at work, right? You look like you could use a break from that grumbling and mumbling about chasing your boss around the office with a blunt object as well as a little lesson in karma. Here’s probably the best cure for your troubles in one of the most amazing film noir gems you’ll ever hit your eyeballs with. I think I did a Random Film of the Week on Detour previously, but I’m too tired to check.

EDIT! Nope, I did NOT do one – this will be rectified soon!)

Anyway, pull up a seat, Pete and feast your eyeballs on this dusty jewel that still packs quite a punch. Watch out for Ann Savage as Vera here – she’ll cut you if you don’t watch your back… or worse… maybe.

Random Film of the Week: Dead of Night (1945)

(thanks, scaringeachother!) 

Even though it’s almost 60 years old, for my money, Dead of Night is still an effectively scary horror anthology as well as one of those classic movies worth tracking down. It’s also a decent comedy when it needs to be and even a bit of drama and mystery gets tossed into the mix. Four different directors (Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer) worked on the five stories that make up the film (Dearden directed the framing sections that make up the beginning and ending as well as one of the stories), but it’s a seamless production where no style overtakes another. Of course, being an Ealing Studios release means there’s a huge amount of that British film quality that studio managed to make standard issue and a sort of Good Housekeeping Seal for film buffs who want no junk tossed at them from the balcony. Of course, most film buffs sit IN that balcony, but Ealing’s films were always fit for both stuffy critics above the common folk and those cheap-seaters below tossing popcorn and balled up paper napkins upward…

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