Robert Bassler

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Suddenly Review


Very Good
An interesting, almost experimental little film for 1954. Clocking in at 75 brisk minutes, it's also quite prescient: A man (Frank Sinatra) holes up in a suburban home, taking the family living there hostage for an hour or so. Why? He's going to assassinate the president, whose train will be pulling up at 5 o'clock, right across the street. Sinatra shelved the film after his friend JFK was assassinated many years later. It's now resurfaced to be experienced anew. It's not great filmmaking, but the way a major assassination like this is almost shruggingly planned and executed is quite interesting. The same film made today would involve three car chases, helicopters, and the house blowing up. Suddenly portrays a killing as something that you almost don't bother thinking about before it's done. Fascinating.

Thieves' Highway Review


Excellent
If one were to imagine a list of promising setups for films, the one that backgrounds Jules Dassin's 1949 film Thieves' Highway - a pair of men racing to get a load of apples to market - would be near the bottom... and yet Dassin pulls it off, with a vengeance.

Army vet Nick Garcos (Richard Conte) has just come back to his hometown of Fresno, bringing with him presents that he acquired working as a mechanic on a ship in the Far East. Everyone's happy to see him and receive his shower of gifts and cash from his beaming-with-pride parents to his extremely blonde girlfriend Polly (Barbara Lawrence), who's upset initially to only receive a doll and then beams with joy when Nick points out the ring the doll is holding. Then Nick mentions the Mandarin slippers that he brought for his dad and everyone goes quiet. Turns out there's a reason that his dad hasn't stood up since Nick got home, he delivered a truckload of produce to a produce dealer in San Francisco, Mike Figlia, who refused to pay, got Papa Garcos roaring drunk, and sent him on the road, where he crashed and had to have his legs amputated. Nick vows to get even if he has to "gouge the money out of Mike Figlia's corpse."

Continue reading: Thieves' Highway Review

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Thieves' Highway Movie Review

Thieves' Highway Movie Review

If one were to imagine a list of promising setups for films, the one that...

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