To take my mind off the sciatic nerve pain I was suffering last week, I immersed myself on the dark world of film noir. The following quartet of films represent some of the genre’s best, filled with murder, femme fatales, psychopaths, and sleazy living. Good times!!
I’ll begin chronologically with BOOMERANG (20th Century-Fox 1947), director Elia Kazan’s true-life tale of a drifter (an excellent Arthur Kennedy ) falsely accused of murdering a priest in cold blood, and the doubting DA (Dana Andrews ) who fights an uphill battle against political corruption to exonerate him. Filmed on location in Stamford, CT and using many local residents as extras and bit parts, the literate script by Richard Murphy (CRY OF THE CITY, PANIC IN THE STREETS, COMPULSION) takes a realistic look behind the scenes at an American mid-sized city, shedding light into it’s darker corners.
So, guess what I did this morning? That’s right — I put on a blindfold, a stumbled over to my ever-growing Blu-ray, DVD, and even VHS collection and I randomly selected 12 films!
Why did I do this?
I did it so you, the beloved readers of Through the Shattered Lens, could once again have a chance to tell me what to do. At the end of this post, you’ll find a poll. Hopefully, between now and next Monday (that’s March 24th), a few of you will take the time to vote for which of these 12 films I should watch and review. I will then watch the winner on Tuesday and post my review on Wednesday night. In short, I’m putting the power to dominate in your hands. Just remember: with great power comes great … well, you know how it goes.
Here are the 12 films that I randomly selected this morning:
The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008) — This German film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. It tells the true life story of the left-wing German terrorist group, The RAF.
The Cat’s Meow(2001) — From director Peter Bogdonavich, this film speculates about the events that led to the shooting of silent film director Thomas H. Ince. Starring Kirsten Dunst as Marion Davies, Edward Herrmann as William Randolph Hearst, and Eddie Izzard as Charlie Chaplin.
Heavenly Creatures (1994) — The close relationship between two teenage girls (Melanie Lynesky and Kate Winslet) leads to both a vibrant fantasy world and real-life murder. Directed by Peter Jackson.
In A Lonely Place(1950) — In this film noir from director Nicholas Ray, Humphrey Bogart plays a screenwriter who may (or may not) be a murderer.
Liquid Sky(1983) — In this low-budget, independent science fiction film, an alien lands in New York and soon several members of the city’s underground art scene are vaporized. Not surprisingly, it all has to do with heroin.
Made in Britain (1983) — A very young Tim Roth makes his debut in this British film. Roth plays Trevor, a Neo-Nazi who — despite being intelligent and charismatic — also seems to be intent on destroying himself and everything that he sees.
Much Ado About Nothing(2013) — In between The Avengers and Agents of SHIELD, Joss Whedon found the time to direct this adaptation of Shakespeare’s play.
Peyton Place(1957) — In this Oscar-nominated film, the sordid secrets of an outwardly idyllic New England town are exposed.
Pretty Poison (1968) — Having just been released from a mental institution, Dennis (Anthony Perkins) finds himself involved with teenager Sue Anne (Tuesday Weld), who — despite her wholesome appearance — is actually psychotic.
Troll 2(1990) — A family moves to Nilbog, a small town that is populated by vegetarian goblins. This movie is widely considered to be one of the worst ever made.
Walkabout (1971) — In this visually stunning Nicolas Roeg film, a teenage girl and her younger brother find themselves stranded and left for dead in the Australian outback. They try to survive with the help of an Aborigine.
Zabriskie Point(1970) — In this 1970 film, the great Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni takes a look at the 60s counter-culture. Airplanes are stolen, buildings explode, and orgies magically materialize in the middle of the desert.