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by Michael Barrett

21 Aug 2017


Image: The Movie Database

Given that many people know American novels, to the extent that they know them, from the film versions (if any) more than from reading them, most people know Ernest Hemingway’s 1937 novel To Have and Have Not from Howard Hawks’ 1944 film, which introduced Lauren Bacall to a dazzled world and an equally bewitched Humphrey Bogart. At 19, she slinked across the screen, all hair and elbows, and delivered come-hither lines like “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”

Less well known, unfortunately, is the 1950 remake, which happens to be a much more faithful adaption and therefore more pleasing to Hemingway and his readers. It’s ironic, then, that it uses a different title, The Breaking Point, probably in an effort to avoid unfair comparisons to the previous hit. Criterion has now issued that remake on Blu-ray for the delectation of fans of Hemingway, of excellent noir films, and of intense star John Garfield who, as always, is basically playing John Garfield.

by Bill Gibron

21 Aug 2017


Photo: Mark Boster (Los Angeles Times / TNS)

Editor’s Note: Originally published 7 September 2009.

Jerry Lewis remains an elusive cinematic figure. For most, he’s a joke, the punchline to a slam on the foolish French, or the kooky caricature of a nerd screeching “HEY LAAAAADY!” at the top of their nasal voice. Others have a more proper perspective, recognizing both his work with former partner Dean Martin (they remain the biggest phenomenon and unquantifiable gold standard in the now dead art of night club entertainment) and his tireless efforts on behalf of muscular dystrophy (summed up by this weekend’s telethon). But when it comes to film, especially those he’s personally written and directed, he stays a fool, a jester as jerk de-evovling the artform into nothing more than senseless silly slapstick. It doesn’t matter that Lewis authored one of the standard textbooks on the craft (The Total Film-Maker, 1971), or conceived technical innovations that revolutionized the production process.

by Michael Barrett

17 Aug 2017


(IMDB)

This cheap, creepy, simple TV movie was never forgotten by those who caught it because it effectively pares its fears into one compact little bone in the throat. The movie’s live wire, or raw nerve, or whatever you call the thing that makes it rise above its limits, is the feminist element of the disbelieved “hysterical woman”, someone poised between restless wifery and women’s lib.

by John Burns

16 Aug 2017


Zhuang Zhiqi and Dongjun Han (IMDB)

Cinema is not interested in perfect love stories. Cinema is interested in the wreckage, in the torment, in the heartbreak. Whether it’s delivered via illness, accident, infidelity or mere circumstance, cinema thrives in the tragic wreckage of a failed relationship.

From Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter (David Lean, 1945), through Ryan O’Neal and Ali Macgraw in Love Story (Arthur Hiller, 1970), right up to Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016), time and time again audiences have been rapt by stories of imperfect romances, of loves and, ultimately, losses.

by Michael Barrett

15 Aug 2017


Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes (IMDB)

Looking over our PopMatters articles of films directed by Joseph Losey, we seek to correct our unfortunate oversight of The Prowler, even if only in a hasty and perfunctory manner for the record. Restored by the Film Noir Foundation and UCLA Film & TV Archive to almost shockingly crisp state, this Los Angeles noir proved a major rediscovery when issued on DVD in 2011.

Van Heflin gives a great performance as a moral vacuum in a police uniform, griping about his “lousy breaks”. With sinister efficiency he spies upon, stalks, and manipulates lonely trophy wife (Evelyn Keyes) until he gets everything he wants. But what of the hell he carries inside? He carries the seeds of his own desperate, grasping, clammy doom as forthrightly as any of the narrators of Jim Thompson’s contemporaneous pulp novels, some of which also feature corrupt lawmen. The less you know before going into this gripping story, the better.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

How It Slips Away: 'The Breaking Point' Crosses Hemingway With Noir

// Short Ends and Leader

"Whether we've seen or read the story before, we ache for these sympathetic, floundering people presented to us gravely and without cynicism, even when cynical themselves.

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