Continue reading: The Dirty Dozen Review
Based on a poem, this spare film is consumed almost completely by a boxing match, filmed in real time. Between rounds, the scheming occurs -- our hero's manager wants him to take a dive, while the boxer's wife stands by her man. Whoops, the manager thinks his fighter's going to lose, so he doesn't bother to tell him that he's taken a payoff.
Continue reading: The Set-Up Review
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 setting is always good for a noir, and throwing Barbara Stanwyck in as the lead doesn't hurt. Here Stanwyck plays a woman who didn't quite make it in the big city, so she's moved back home to figure out what to do next.
Continue reading: Clash By Night Review
Religious intolerance wasn't a new idea in the movies of the 1940s, but for some reason Crossfire has been singled out as making something unique out of this tale. I'm baffled as to why: Today the movie seems pat, with a curious setup but a drawn-out hour of investigation that looks like a schoolyard game of C.S.I. by today's standards.
Continue reading: Crossfire Review
Sure, there's a star-studded cast. Let's see, we've got: Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Dana Andrews, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, and Charles Bronson. And it is an epic. We're talking a cast of thousands with battle scene recreations that make modern warfare flicks pale in comparison. But when all the dust settles, Battle of the Bulge is a really long, really talky movie. And that's fine for history buffs, WWII film fans, and their ilk, but for the casual Friday night viewer it's a cure for insomnia.
Continue reading: Battle Of The Bulge Review
It's even got William Holden's second best performance (he was better in Network). He plays Pike Bishop, the head of an outlaw gang of ace criminals. We are introduced to the gang when it is nearly 10 men strong, but after a gunfight with Thornton (Robert Ryan), Pike's old partner turned bounty hunter, there are only six. Relentlessly chased, they quickly take an offer to hold up a train and steal 16 crates of rifles from it. They return to the Mexico town, still being trailed by Thornton. The only Mexican in the gang, Angel (Jaime Sánchez), insists on taking one crate so that the general who hired him won't take over his village. When they return to the general, they give him the crates and he gives them the money, but not before taking Angel and torturing him for trying to arm his village. An argument between Pike and his closest comrade, Dutch (Ernest Borgnine), sparks a return to the general's compound and stand off between the five remaining outlaws and the general's army, which consists of roughly 200 men.
Continue reading: The Wild Bunch Review