An insufferable movie snob wanders off the beaten track, comes back and talks about what he has seen.
My Week of Movie Watching
March 1, 2015
Don’t Make Waves – Light 1967 comedy from Alexander Mackedrick stars Tony Curtis as a slick east Coast sales guy who inadvertently has his car and all his possessions destroyed by Claudia Cardinale. He moves in with her in her Malibu beach house, and becomes obsessed with a beautiful surfer girl (Sharon Tate). Curtis then contrives to sabotage her relationship with a good-natured bodybuilder (David Draper) so that he can swoop in. This one is charming, in a fluffy sort of way. There aren’t many big laughs in it, but Curtis is good as an opportunistic cad. One internet commentator suggested that if Sidney Falco from Sweet Smell of Success packed up and went west, he would be Curtis’ Carlos in this movie. I think that’s an apt observation. Tate is extraordinarily beautiful here, and has a trampoline scene that will definitely stick with you, as will the finale featuring Curtis’ mountainside home, and a huge mudslide. Not a great comedy, but a lukewarm recommendation.
Carny – Robbie Robertson and Gary Busey play a couple of carnival performers, and Jodie Foster plays an unhappy teenaged waif who joins up with them. This movie was virtually unknown to me, and I enjoyed it. As the carnival moves around, the movie illustrates the solitary lifestyle of its citizens. Even as townspeople take in the carnival, they don’t like or trust the carnies. The result is that the people form a large, bizarre family. Adding to this is the fact that this way of life is nearing the end of the line, and the strippers, and bearded ladies will be without livelihoods soon. An interesting look into a closed lifestyle, and I enjoyed this one quite a bit.
Amarcord – Federico Fellini’s 1974 remembrance of his childhood. The Fellini stand-in here is a young man named Titta (Bruno Zanin), who lives with his family, including his snooty Fascist uncle, his long-suffering mother, and his father (Who never stops shouting). What I love about Amarcord is its willingness to take memory, and bend it to align with the perceptions of the rememberer. Thus, the village tart (Magali Noel) is dressed in a brilliant red dress which makes her almost neon as she walks through the town. Or how a massive ocean liner seems to materialize by magic out of the fog. Recommended.
Regeneration – This silent from 1915 was one of the earliest full length efforts of the legendary Raoul Walsh (High Sierra, The Roaring Twenties). A young street tough (Rockcliffe Fellows; a great name for a street tough) falls for a sweet social worker (Anna Q Nilsson), who helps him turn his life around. Unfortunately, his former gang-mates are still lurking around to make trouble. This is not bad, but isn’t particularly memorable, either. Recommended only as a curio.