The Law and Jake Wade is not just a gorgeous film to look at but an exciting tale, and a solid entry in the American Western genre.
Blake Edwards was mad at Hollywood. He’d gone through some things, man, and now he had a whole lot of beef with the entire cynical, money-grubbing, back-stabbing lot. In 1981, after making a comeback with mega-hits The Pink Panther and 10, he started on a nasty little poison pen letter to Tinseltown called S.O.B., short for “standard operational bullshit,” otherwise known as the way Hollywood always works.
Joan Crawford is Lane Bellamy, a hoochie dancer with a heart of gold, who runs the gamut from fallen woman to girl trying to make good to rich society dame, with all the requisite melodrama that entails.
If you had to pick one best thing about the camp classic Torch Song (1953) — as if it’s even possible to do so, but let’s pretend — it’s that Joan Crawford’s Broadway diva Jenny Stewart is a stone cold monster.
Demon Seed, previously available only on DVD, is now also available in Blu-ray from Warner Archive. It’s a heady mix of frightening and campy, the kind of film that would do equally well in a double feature with Alien or with Terrorvision (go go Gerrit Graham film marathon!)
Finian’s Rainbow wasn’t a box office smash, but it’s a fun film, family friendly, the songs are unabashed standards, and it’s part of Hollywood history.
The Yakuza is a strange little mash-up of neo-noir and yakuza-eiga. It didn’t do well at the box office, but has become a cult classic in the years since.
Love in the Afternoon is a lesser Billy Wilder film, certainly, but its high points make up for its lulls. Chevalier is fantastic as Claude Chavasse, and in his scenes with Cooper or Hepburn, he elevates their performances noticeably. McGiver is astonishingly good as M. X, and Lisa Bourdin as his wife isn’t given much to do but just exudes charisma. The film is gorgeous to look at and a whole lot of light, fun entertainment.
Even if Holliday wasn’t sure about Martin’s work ethic, it’s undeniable that they made an adorable couple on screen. Martin is pitch perfect as the playboy on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the kind of guy who knows every famous person on stage and screen and yet manages to be the kind of wide-eyed naïf who believes in fairy tales and guardian angels. And Judy Holliday is, well Judy Holliday. She’s amazing.
This print may be gorgeous, but Battleground is grimy. This is a film that is down in the dirt and the snow, eye-level with the foxholes (and, presumably, latrines) as they’re being dug. Everyone is caked in dirt and lord knows what else — in Kinnie’s (James Whitmore’s) case, it’s post-chewed tobacco and saliva. They’re underfed, under-informed, used and abused and forced to wear boots that don’t fit while marching about a thousand miles a day. This may sound strange to say to the uninitiated, but it’s the filth that makes Battleground so great.