Harry Kleiner

Harry Kleiner

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Fallen Angel Review


Very Good
Don't you just love a good film noir? Turn down the lights, pop the popcorn, and sit back. Those suits. Those hats. Those dames. Those schemes. Those big black cars. Those fatal gunshots that leave no bullet holes and cause no bleeding. What's not to love?

Otto Preminger's Fallen Angel is a textbook example of well-crafted noir. It has the just right mix of atmosphere, characters, and flim-flammery. The mysterious Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews) arrives in a small coastal California town and stops in at a diner called, naturally, Pop's Eats, to do some advance promotion for an itinerant phony psychic who will be putting on a show the next night. Within moments, he's deeply in love with the waitress, the classicly noir Stella (Linda Darnell), a real looker with great gams and a tough attitude. Those lips, those eyes, those barbed remarks... Eric's in love.

Continue reading: Fallen Angel Review

Bullitt Review


OK
For all of the talk about its legendary car chase through the streets of San Francisco -- and it is justified -- Bullitt idles far tool long in the slow lane when it should be blowing by the minivans and the carpoolers. Even the presence of Steve McQueen, with his laid-back, self-assured cool, can't save it.

McQueen plays Frank Bullitt, a celebrated lieutenant with the San Francisco Police Department, assigned to protect a celebrity witness in a Senate subcommittee meeting on organized crime. When the witness is killed in his hotel room, Bullitt has little time to discover the truth before the city's powerful DA (Robert Vaughn) unleashes his wrath.

Continue reading: Bullitt Review

House Of Bamboo Review


OK
The limits of the lengths to which dazzling camerawork and curled-lip noir bluster can make up for thoroughly ham-fisted dialogue are tested in Sam Fuller's 1955 gangster picture, House of Bamboo. It's the familiar tradeoff with Fuller's scripts (though here he was working off one mostly written by Harry Kleiner): They're hard-boiled as all hell, but given just the slightest mistake in mood or pacing, the whole can seem so ridiculous as to be laughable. This film never quite gets to the laughable point, but by the end it's not far off.

As the first American feature to be shot in Japan after WWII (its home-grown film industry had been trucking right along since not long after the peace treaty was signed), House of Bamboo makes the most out of its setting, and its spell-binding Cinemascope compositions make up most of the reasons to see it. The film opens on a supply train puffing across a snowy landscape that's hijacked by a gang of thieves who are more than happy to garrote the Japanese and U.S. guards on board before making off with the loot, .50-caliber machine guns. It's a sharply executed piece of work and ends with a hammer blow: achingly beautiful Mount Fuji, as shot between the boots of a dead soldier.

Continue reading: House Of Bamboo Review

The Street With No Name Review


Good
Standard-issue noir. The Street with No Name takes great pains to narrate how its hero goes undercover to infiltrate a crime ring in "Center City," purported in the oppressive voice-over to be a real location where real crimes have occurred. Part straight-up gangster picture, part elementary school film strip ("The FBI solves crimes using a number of methods..."), The Street with No Name is an archetype of its genre, though unfortunately not a terribly memorable one.
Harry Kleiner

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Harry Kleiner Movies

Fallen Angel Movie Review

Fallen Angel Movie Review

Don't you just love a good film noir? Turn down the lights, pop the popcorn,...

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House of Bamboo Movie Review

House of Bamboo Movie Review

The limits of the lengths to which dazzling camerawork and curled-lip noir bluster can make...

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