Bigotry & Bloodshed: SAPPHIRE (1959)

A beautiful young woman named Sapphire (Yvonne Buckingham) has been murdered. Her bloodied corpse was found in London’s Hampstead Heath park. A seasoned detective (Nigel Patrick) and his young partner (Michael Craig) are called on to investigate the case but as they try to piece together the puzzle of this post-war whodunit the mystery only deepens. Behind her tweed skirts and pale complexion, Sapphire was … Continue reading Bigotry & Bloodshed: SAPPHIRE (1959)

GORDON PARKS: FILMMAKER, PHOTOGRAPHER & RENAISSANCE MAN

“Something mighty there is inside a man that takes him from being the youngest of 15 children raised in Kansas poverty, something that lets him clear the cruel hurdles implanted by a racist society, something that permits not merely survival but mastery of all that he embraced. A poet, and a pianist, a classical music composer, and one very at home with the blues, which … Continue reading GORDON PARKS: FILMMAKER, PHOTOGRAPHER & RENAISSANCE MAN

EQUAL SHARES FOR ALL: THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (1960)

The League of Gentlemen (1960) contains one of my favorite moments from postwar British cinema; a group of ex-soldiers carrying submachine guns plow through London’s narrow streets with their faces concealed behind gas masks. Instead of dodging an attack they are preparing to rob a bank and their military uniforms have been replaced by civilian clothing. These masked figures are the stuff of nightmares and … Continue reading EQUAL SHARES FOR ALL: THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (1960)

LOSEY LET LOOSE: THE CRIMINAL (1960)

While looking through the collection of Joseph Losey films currently available to stream on FilmStruck I was inspired to revisit The Criminal a.k.a. Concrete Jungle (1960), a low-budget British crime thriller about an underworld kingpin named Johnny Bannion (Stanley Baker) who organizes a high-stakes robbery that goes terribly wrong. When he finds himself behind bars a second time, Bannion has to rely on his brawn, … Continue reading LOSEY LET LOOSE: THE CRIMINAL (1960)

STRANGER THAN FICTION: THE BARON OF ARIZONA (1949)

“In the movie business, a good ending must sometimes hold sway over the truth.” – Samuel Fuller, A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking Before Samuel Fuller wrote and directed his own films he was a gutsy go-getting newspaperman. Fuller first worked at the New York Journal as a copyboy and eventually graduated to the role of crime reporter for the New York Evening Graphic, a … Continue reading STRANGER THAN FICTION: THE BARON OF ARIZONA (1949)

VINCENT PRICE & GENE TIERNEY: A DOOMED ROMANCE

This post was part of my month-long celebration of Vincent Price–TCM’s October Star of the Month in 2013. Throughout the course of Vincent Price’s long career, he worked with some of my favorite actresses such as Barbara Steele, Diana Rigg, Jennifer Jones and Linda Hayden. But if I had to single out Price’s most important costar I would point to the incomparable Gene Tierney. Tierney appeared … Continue reading VINCENT PRICE & GENE TIERNEY: A DOOMED ROMANCE

Plucking the Petals of Masahiro Shinoda’s Pale Flower (1964)

“Tokyo… After three long years. It makes my head spin. Just look at it. Why so many people crammed into tiny cage-like boxes? People… Such strange animals. What keeps them all going? They look like they’re half dead. Making a frantic pretense of being alive. What was so wrong about killing one of these stupid animals? I served three years… This is my territory… With … Continue reading Plucking the Petals of Masahiro Shinoda’s Pale Flower (1964)

CRIME & PUNISHMENT: LE CERCLE ROUGE (1970)

August 10, 2017: FilmStruck is currently streaming 11 films featuring Alain Delon as part of their “Icons: Alain Delon” theme and for the next 4 weeks I’ll be spotlighting a few of my favorite titles in this collection. To learn more about the French actor please see a previous post I wrote in 2010 to celebrate Delon’s 75th birthday titled, “The Ice-Cold Angel turns 75.” You might also … Continue reading CRIME & PUNISHMENT: LE CERCLE ROUGE (1970)

HONOR AMONG THIEVES: FAREWELL, FRIEND (1968)

In the tradition of classic French heist films such as Touchez pas au grisbi (1954), Rififi (1955) and Bob le flambeur (1956), Farewell, Friend (aka Honor Among Thieves, 1968) takes viewers on a treacherous adventure where femme fatales lurk around every shadowy corner and crime rarely pays. But that doesn’t stop some fortune hunters from risking everything to make a quick buck or in this case, repay a debt to a dead man. In Farewell, … Continue reading HONOR AMONG THIEVES: FAREWELL, FRIEND (1968)

Triad Theater: THE MISSION (1999)

Shakespearean in its scope and operatic in its execution, THE MISSION (‘99) remains one of the most taut, compelling and superbly composed films made in Hong Kong during the 1990s. This sinewy thriller helped cement Johnnie To’s reputation as one of today’s most accomplished action directors and you can currently catch it streaming on FilmStruck as part of a double feature with To’s VENGEANCE (2009). … Continue reading Triad Theater: THE MISSION (1999)