Carroll Baker

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Carroll Baker Friday 15th April 2011 at the 30th anniversary of Bomb magazine New York City, USA

Carroll Baker
Carroll Baker

Carroll Baker and Ang Lee - Carroll Baker and Ang Lee New York City, USA - The National Arts Club's Medal of Honor for Film Dinner held at the National Arts Club Wednesday 18th November 2009

Carroll Baker and Ang Lee
Carroll Baker

Eironweed Review


Excellent
Ironweed, based on the novel by William Kennedy (who is also credited with the script) tales the tale of Francis Phelan. Francis (Jack Nicholson) has a lot of problems. He's haunted by vivid hallucinations, constantly relives mistakes of the past, and is unable to find steady work. That sounds familiar, but Francis isn't a former Bush administration official, he's a former major league baseball player living in 1938 and a lot of his problems are brought on by his drinking (if his drinking is due to these problems is a subject up for debate). That's right, Francis is the stereotypical Depression-area drunk.

Since it stars a stereotypical Depression-era drunk you'd be tempted to think that the movie is a stereotypical treatment of the subject. Perhaps most directors would have played it that way, but Hector Babenco keeps things quite unusual. Instead of the familiar story most have come to expect from movies about prodigious amounts of alcohol ingestion: the fall, the bottom, then either redemption or death. There's none of the expected in Ironweed, no fall because we never see Francis when things were good, no bottom because he's already there, and redemption? Well that's a topic left to the viewer's imagination.

Continue reading: Eironweed Review

Ironweed Review


Excellent
Ironweed, based on the novel by William Kennedy (who is also credited with the script) tales the tale of Francis Phelan. Francis (Jack Nicholson) has a lot of problems. He's haunted by vivid hallucinations, constantly relives mistakes of the past, and is unable to find steady work. That sounds familiar, but Francis isn't a former Bush administration official, he's a former major league baseball player living in 1938 and a lot of his problems are brought on by his drinking (if his drinking is due to these problems is a subject up for debate). That's right, Francis is the stereotypical Depression-area drunk.

Since it stars a stereotypical Depression-era drunk you'd be tempted to think that the movie is a stereotypical treatment of the subject. Perhaps most directors would have played it that way, but Hector Babenco keeps things quite unusual. Instead of the familiar story most have come to expect from movies about prodigious amounts of alcohol ingestion: the fall, the bottom, then either redemption or death. There's none of the expected in Ironweed, no fall because we never see Francis when things were good, no bottom because he's already there, and redemption? Well that's a topic left to the viewer's imagination.

Continue reading: Ironweed Review

Baby Doll Review


Very Good
The first shot of Baby Doll slaps you in the face with the promise of something unique and the assurance that you're about to watch a real Tennessee Williams production. That shot is of Carroll Baker, lolling on a child's bed with her thumb in her mouth. When we see Karl Malden leering at her through a peephole, we assume he's the local pervert. He turns out to be her husband. And that's the source of all the film's sexual tension.

Baby Doll (as she's known) turns out to be a virgin, and Malden's Archie is due to change that on her 20th birthday, which is set to occur in two days. But things take a strange turn when one of Archie's competitors, Silva (Eli Wallach) -- both men are cotton gin owner/operators -- accuses Archie of burning down his gin. As payback, Silva figures he'll take the only thing of value that Archie has: His wife... if you could call her that.

Continue reading: Baby Doll Review

The Big Country Review


Very Good
The Big Country is a Big Movie, long, majestic, and filled with Shakespearean overtones. This William Wyler western has never found classic status, but it's a worthwhile and very well-made production. Charlton Heston steals the show as the ranch foreman to a wealthy landowner feuding with his neighbors; Gregory Peck makes a minimal impression as a sea captain who arrives on the scene to marry the ranch owner's daughter -- only to get caught up in the squabble. Burl Ives (yes, Burl Ives) won an Oscar for playing the neighbor, Rufus. This one's been lost to time for the most part, but Wyler fans will eat it up.

Giant Review


Very Good
A more apt title you won't find for a movie, as Giant's sprawling epic covers some 30 years in the life of a Texas cattle baron (Hudson), his wife (Taylor), and the upstart kid who becomes rich by discovering oil on his small plot of land (Dean). Compelling in a Gone With the Wind style, yet far too long at almost 4 hours, Giant could have stood for some quite obvious cutting. How many Christmas carols, square dances, and Texas cowboy shanties can one man take?

Regardless, James Dean (in one of only three roles on film) makes quite an impression, and Taylor reminds us why we ever liked her to begin with. The cinematography is equally Giant as well -- showing off the dusty nothing of central Texas, long low plains with brush and low hills in the distant background. George Stevens (Shane) has always had a knack for landscapes, and he's at the top of his game here. On the new DVD (two restored discs, one of which is double-sided), Stevens' son asks us to reconsider the film and enjoy it one again, 45 years after the making. In a commentary track with critic Stephen Farmber and writer Ivan Moffat, he reflects on his departed father and the trio reflect on Giant's legacy. That second disc has all the usual retrospectives and testimonials we've come to expect.

Continue reading: Giant Review

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Giant Movie Review

Giant Movie Review

A more apt title you won't find for a movie, as Giant's sprawling epic covers...

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