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overly plotted but still fun
I bought a copy of this film from an on-line cult-movie dealer solely on the basis of its title: HEADS YOU DIE,TAILS I KILL YOU. This is one case where a spaghetti western lives up to its nifty title. Though a bit overly-plotted, this is a machinegun-paced, fun oater. More in common with the westerns of Howard Hawks and Burt Kennedy than the sweltering pasta dishes of Leone and Corbucci. Holds your interest throughout its running time. Great script.
Deadly Hero (1975)
Exciting psychological thriller
This is a visualy exciting, if somewhat sleazy thriller. After saving a woman from a would-be kidnapper/extortionist, NYC cop Don Murray breaks down and stalks the woman he saved after she goes to the D.A. to change her testimoney, charging him with the "unjustified murder" of the perp.
Though he becomes the "bad guy," the viewer can't help but feel sorry for Murray's character as his world falls apart all around him. All because of one error in judgement. This film is an effective - if unintentional - indictment on big-city policing. Not through the cops' position, but society's, as we demand so much from the police, yet become so righteous when they accomplish the job they are tasked with. One strike against the film is the oh-so-superior, smug stereotypes of the white working-class. A plus, James Earl Jones' funny performance as the suave, but sinister perp. Great NYC photography.
Savage Sisters (1974)
Fun, in front of and behind the TV screen.
I have been a fan of the Eddie Romero-John Ashely potboilers since they first aired on WNEW-TV and Wor-TV in NEW York during the late 70's. I was akid then, and far less descriminating. But now I can appreciate their films for the hip,knowing, winking humor, and technical expertise. One of the last in the cycle, SAVAGE SISTERS is an easy-going entry with all involved having a pretty good time playing dress-up. The always reliable Sid Haig is fun as a middle-eastern terrorist - in the south Pacific!!!
Great NYC Flick
Not only were the Seventies a great period for the American Cinema, but the decade was a great time for New York Location filming. I'm convinced that this was the main catalyst for the maturation of American filmmaking. Alan Pakula's KLUTE is no exception. Working with the cinematographer Gordon Willis (ASC), Pakula paints a modish but bleak picture of Gotham, a city still hung-over from the heady excesses of the "swingin' sixties," and the effects of the Great Society. A bygone New York, and, in some respects, a better one.
KLUTE stands along the all-but-forgotten PARALLAX VIEW as Pakula's masterworks.
Taxi Driver (1976)
YOU TALKIN' TO ME?
Decades of mimicking by countless himbo actors and De Nero wannabes have done little to erode the famous mirror scene's impact, and the fact that this has to be one of the saddest lines in modern cinema history. Sad because NOBODY'S talkin' to him. Travis is all alone in his room.
Not much more can be said about this American masterpiece that hasn't been said before. But there is one bone I'd like to pick. It's the Vietnam Vet issue. Most people seem to accept it at face value. But we are never really sure that Travis ever served in the military, let alone Vietnam. It's doubtful that a semi-literate simpleton would have passed the endless series of mental, psychological tests needed for entrance into military service. It's highly likely that Mr. Bickle's rejection from society began at his home-town's recruiting office, long before his fatefull move to New york.
Many Vietnam vets single this film out for (unintentionally?) creating the negative image of the crazed veteran, still accepted by the American public to this day. Still, this film is a shining example of what the American Cinema was capable of doing once upon a time...