F for Fake was, depending on how you look at it, Orson Welles last feature film as a director, and -- as Peter Bogdanovich describes it in an insightful introduction -- it's not quite a documentary but rather a "documentary essay" about trickery and fraud in its various incarnations.
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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.
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Set on the banks of Niagara Falls, honeymooners Polly and Ray (Jean Peters and Max Showalter) encounter the brazen Rose (Monroe) and her creepy husband George (the inimitable Joseph Cotten) in the bungalow next door. It soon becomes clear that their marriage is far from ideal, and within 20 minutes of its beginning, Rose has all but arranged for her husband's murder, in cahoots with her hunky boyfriend. Of course, George survives and gets his revenge, and then tries to make his escape with Polly in tow, who somehow seems to get in the middle of every turn of the plot.
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On the run, Charlie decides to hide out in sleepy Santa Rosa, a town that's not much different today than it was in Hitch's 1940s. His visit goes smoothly until a nosy cop and Charlie's inquisitive niece who is named after him (Theresa Wright) get all uppity and go snooping through Charlie's things. Before long, the jig is up.
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Let's pause for a moment and reflect on Charlton Heston's wonderful '70s science fiction career. He had a penchant for wincing his way through angry line deliveries like, "Gehhhht yer STINKING PAWS off me, you DAMN DIRTY APE!" using every wrinkle in his brow, his shark-like teeth gleaming in the sun. Sweat would glisten on his prominent brow and chiseled cheeks. When he dies, we shall say there was an actor.
Continue reading: Soylent Green Review
The story, involving a rich family in a small town during the late 1800s/early 1900s, doesn't go very far. It's a romance of sorts between an Amberson elder (Dolores Costello) and her beau (Joseph Cotten), and an Amberson junior (Tim Holt) and his beau (Anne Baxter) -- who turns out to be the daughter of Cotten's character (an automobile pioneer). Backstabbing and lunacy abound, never really amounting to much, until we finally realize what we've been watching is little more than a primitive form of soap opera, with overwrought betrayals that are ultimately vapid and meaningless.
Continue reading: The Magnificent Ambersons Review
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