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Hands Over The City Review


Very Good
Anyone who's seen In the Heat of the Night knows all about Rod Steiger's way with inflections. Playing a small-town sheriff and foil to Sidney Poitier's polished, Philadelphia outsider, Steiger wrings meaning from his lines - hesitation, resentment, guarded admiration - that appear much more in the actor's instincts than in the script. He was a patient, controlled actor, and he took his time with his speech when needed, letting the viewer watch his thinking as he distilled the desired connotations from even the simplest of declarative sentences. In Heat of the Night, he could issue an unqualified warning to his big-city colleague by simply speaking his name. "Virgil..."

That's not to say that Steiger couldn't impart meaning in other ways, and it's a testimony to his abilities that, overdubbed in Italian in Francesco Rosi's 1963 political melodrama Hands over the City, he suffers no noticeable decline in emotive power. (Steiger appeared in films shot in French, German, and Magyar as well.) Playing a ruthless Neapolitan land developer named Edoardo Notolla, Steiger loses the inflection but gains an impressive physicality: He matches the most authentically Italian cast members for gestural speech and his attack-dog demeanor tells you that you oppose him at your own physical and political risk.

Continue reading: Hands Over The City Review

Hands Over The City Review


Very Good
Anyone who's seen In the Heat of the Night knows all about Rod Steiger's way with inflections. Playing a small-town sheriff and foil to Sidney Poitier's polished, Philadelphia outsider, Steiger wrings meaning from his lines - hesitation, resentment, guarded admiration - that appear much more in the actor's instincts than in the script. He was a patient, controlled actor, and he took his time with his speech when needed, letting the viewer watch his thinking as he distilled the desired connotations from even the simplest of declarative sentences. In Heat of the Night, he could issue an unqualified warning to his big-city colleague by simply speaking his name. "Virgil..."

That's not to say that Steiger couldn't impart meaning in other ways, and it's a testimony to his abilities that, overdubbed in Italian in Francesco Rosi's 1963 political melodrama Hands over the City, he suffers no noticeable decline in emotive power. (Steiger appeared in films shot in French, German, and Magyar as well.) Playing a ruthless Neapolitan land developer named Edoardo Notolla, Steiger loses the inflection but gains an impressive physicality: He matches the most authentically Italian cast members for gestural speech and his attack-dog demeanor tells you that you oppose him at your own physical and political risk.

Continue reading: Hands Over The City Review

8 1/2 Review


Extraordinary
If any film embodies what most film school wannabes aspire to make it's Fellini's 8 1/2. That's not to say the film is without merit -- though some complain it is self-indulgent and ultimately without meaning -- it is in fact a seminal work of cinema. In other words, those film school geeks know a good thing when they see it.

Federico Fellini (who, more or less, had directed eight features and one short before this point, hence 8 1/2) found himself at something of a crossroads at this point in his career. He had come off of La Dolce Vita, widely considered his greatest work, in 1960. Fellini, searching for something that would be a worthy follow-up, he finally settled on 8 1/2, an idea which had been languishing with him for years. The story is priceless -- and has been widely copied ever since. Marcello Mastroianni plays a famous Italian movie director named Guido Anselmi, who... get this... is coming off a big hit and is searching for his next project. He finally finds one, but due to the outrageous antics of his old cast and crew, problems with his personal life (wife and mistress, natch), and an increasingly perplexing series of dreams and waking fantasies, getting the movie underway proves challenging indeed. As the project nonetheless gets underway with no script and Guido's cluelessness about what to do next, somehow the movie gets made. The irony, of course, is that there wasn't much of a script for 8 1/2 either (the actors were given their lines for the day each morning, often verbally) -- it's art imitates life imitates art imitates life. A film within a film within a film. Genius!

Continue reading: 8 1/2 Review

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