Everett Sloane

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Home From The Hill Review


Excellent
The trailer for Home from the Hill blares, "The story of the Hunnicutt Family and The Secret they hid too long! The town that talked too much and the love they tried to destroy!" In 1960, Home from the Hill, based on the bestselling book by William Humphrey, was the latest in the smoldering big-screen genre Hollywood was cooking up featuring big stars and Cinemascope vistas: Upscale Southern Decrepitude. Influenced by William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams, the genre showcased the likes of the blown-all-out-of-proportion The Long Hot Summer, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Douglas Sirk's simmering Written on the Wind. The films contained the same ingredients -- expansive manor homes, horny patriarchs, family secrets, and neurotic children ready to blow the lid off of everything. Home from the Hill has all that but it also has a bit more -- terrific acting by Robert Mitchum, George Hamilton, and George Peppard (forget Eleanor Parker, who plays her role like Blanche Dubois on the range), plus Vincente Minnelli as director.

Mitchum is a Texas landowner, Capt. Wade Hunnicutt, who owns the town, lives in a big house, and spends his time bedding down most of the women in the town (Wade comments at one point, "I'll tell you something -- I can't even remember which one she was"). Holding his face to the mirror is his wife Hannah (Parker), who for the past 17 years has locked her bedroom door to Wade, forcing Wade to take his biological urges elsewhere. Wade wants Hannah to forgive him and unlock the door. Hannah just gives him an icy stare. As their son Theron (Hamilton) remarks, "They live in the same house and kill each other a little at a time." Theron is their only son. He is 17 and now Wade wants to take him under his wing and show him how to be a man. Wade teaches Theron to hunt and has his hired hand Rafe (Peppard) show him the ropes as far as women are concerned. But then all hell breaks loose when Hannah reveals to Theron that Rafe is, in fact, Wade's illegitimate son. With the gloves off, Wade is forced into the realization that "We're rotten parents and we live in a rotten house." But by then it is too late for the Hunnicutts.

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Somebody Up There Likes Me Review


Good
Rocky Graziano was more of a brawler than a boxer, and this film (based on his autobiography) dutifully chronicles his development from street hood to army scofflaw to amateur boxer to mob target. Whew! Graziano is single-dimensionally played by an underwhelming Paul Newman in one of his first film roles, here lacking the nuance he'd give to tough guys in films like Hud and Cool Hand Luke, both of which run rings around this straightforward and simplistic biopic.

Somebody Up There Likes Me Review


Good
Rocky Graziano was more of a brawler than a boxer, and this film (based on his autobiography) dutifully chronicles his development from street hood to army scofflaw to amateur boxer to mob target. Whew! Graziano is single-dimensionally played by an underwhelming Paul Newman in one of his first film roles, here lacking the nuance he'd give to tough guys in films like Hud and Cool Hand Luke, both of which run rings around this straightforward and simplistic biopic.

The Men Review


Very Good
The death of Marlon Brando in July 2004 sent film fans scurrying to the video store to check out early Brando performances they may have missed. It's a worthwhile exercise. If you go all the way back to the beginning, you'll find The Men, Brando's 1950 screen debut, a dated oddity that's nevertheless a must-see for anyone curious about Brando's artistic trajectory.

Always the Method actor, Brando was rumored to have spent a month in a veteran's hospital to prepare for the role of Ken Wilcheck, a World War II vet paralyzed from the waist down by a gunshot wound. But before we get to meet Ken, we have to sit through an amazing lecture by the stern yet concerned Dr. Brock (Everett Sloan), who addresses a roomful of mothers and wives of paraplegic vets about the grim realities of paraplegia. After listening to long explanations about bowel and bladder control (it can be achieved) and the possibility of a paraplegic starting a family (not bloody likely), the women, who regard the doctor as a god, tentatively ask questions to which the doctor basically responds, "You're screwed. Accept it and move on." Then he lights a cigarette.

Continue reading: The Men Review

Lust For Life Review


Good
Workmanlike and dutifully impressed with everything about Vincent Van Gogh, Vincente Minelli's Lust for Life is really more a Lust for Kirk Douglas, with Kirk trying his best to embody the tortured painter. Much is made of the whole ear-lopping incident along with Van Gogh's friendship with Gauguin, but Lust comes off too much like a linear history and less a movie full of character and mystique. It's all very pretty for a 1950s production, but little of it bears the energy it promises in its title.

The Lady From Shanghai Review


Good
Orson Welles directs a fairly stereotypical 1940s tale of noir, with himself in the lead role as a penniless Irish sailor who gets caught up in a love affair with a rich man's wife (Rita Hayworth, Welles' real-life wife at the time) and a plot to fake the murder of the man's law firm partner. Convoluted and roughly edited, Welles' signature photography is stamped all over the film, but his usual savvy sense of plot and character development is lacking. The film unfortunately never wholly comes together, most notably during one of the most tepid, poorly-constructed courtroom sequences on film. The ending, however, a shootout in a hall of mirrors, is unforgettable and has since been widely copied.

Citizen Kane Review


Essential
I first watched Citizen Kane in 1997. For me 1997 was the year I actually buckled down and decided that I wanted to be a critic, and that I had better take this job seriously. With that in my mind, I switched my focus from new releases to retrospectives, designing myself to be able to do what I had at first loathed in critics: make obscure references to movies I had never heard of.

As a point of fact, when I actually got into the business I heard of those movies. And I heard more about those movies. And more. And, when the AFI named Citizen Kane as the best film of all time, I decided that it might just be a good idea to see it.

Continue reading: Citizen Kane Review

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The Men Movie Review

The Men Movie Review

The death of Marlon Brando in July 2004 sent film fans scurrying to the video...

Citizen Kane Movie Review

Citizen Kane Movie Review

I first watched Citizen Kane in 1997. For me 1997 was the year I...

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