"Now Listen to Me..."
Just some thoughts on current happenings:
There are two recommended video releases this month. Both are Blu-rays scheduled for release on July 8.
Point Blank is a trance-induced expression of a cold, violent, Terminator-like man on a mission.
Its hypnotic hold over us comes in part from the fact that we're not really sure if the protagonist, the aptly named Walker, most persuasively played by Lee Marvin, is really doing what we see or just dreaming in his dying moments. Walker's hardened resolve to take back what he feels is rightfully his, is matched by his harsh, impersonal L.A. surroundings, vividly and accurately portrayed as a sea of suburbs with no real heart or centre, just a vast number of business enterprises whose only concern like Walker's, is to secure the almighty dollar. Oddly enough, throughout his entire violently penalising odyssey, Walker himself (referenced by several of the characters as already dead) will not directly dispatch anyone though the body count around him steadily increases, further suggesting his walk of vengeance may just be an illusion. Supporting a variant on this interpretation would be Walker’s inability to resolve any major conflict himself satisfactorily. This would include, most tellingly, his journey’s conclusion, when he cannot take what he previously tried so hard to get, which again, supports the idea that Walker is either an apparition or a product of his imagination. Johnny Mandel's atonal score, with its strange ghostly sounds and Philip Lathrop's often hallucinogenic photography further reinforces that idea. Either way, real or imagined, John Boorman's expressionistic tale is just like its title: precise, captivating and unforgettable. This post-noir classic has more style than New York Fashion Week and is available on a stunning region-free Blu-ray from Warner Bros Home Video.
Then there's Max Ophuls' brilliant noir Caught.
This compelling character exploration delves deeply into a slowly deteriorating marriage between its heroine, the lonely car-hop Leonora Eames sensitively portrayed by Barbara Bel Geddes, and her newly-wedded husband Smith Ohlrig, a megalomaniac millionaire perfectly tailored for Robert Ryan. Its style combines the best of a Douglas Sirk melodrama with an Orson Welles flair for dark and disturbing narrative surprises. This is a moderately satisfying transfer of this 1949 film and well worth having on Blu-ray from Olive Films (Region A locked).
Pictures and info on both of the above Blu-rays plus other new releases can be found on The Cinema Cafe's Pinterest Board. To purchase either title from Amazon U.S., simply click on the above corresponding image.
For July, the recommended CD Soundtrack is Alfred Newman's dynamically driven score to the film Airport.
This CD has long been out of print, but is now currently available on the Japanese MCA label from Screen Archives Entertainment. It can be ordered by clicking on the image. Screen Archives ships worldwide.
There are two recommendations for those enjoying Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this July:
The first is the Barbara Stanwyck noir Jeopardy (and no, Alex Trebek is not in it).
Stanwyck is sensational and so are co-stars Barry Sullivan as her husband in peril and Ralph Meeker as a killer on the run. A fascinating premise begins an unpredictably suspenseful narrative that only gets more potent as the story reaches its conclusion, which comes as a bombshell considering Jeopardy was made during the Production Code. I've mentioned this John Sturges directed psychological thriller (with spoilers) in an article entitled: Exploring the Artefacts #3: Code Breakers. Jeopardy's masterful presentation of suspense and intensified emotion can be experienced on TCM (updated) Wednesday, May 8 at 6:15am PST.
Confirmation can be checked by clicking on the image, the time zone for which can be adjusted in the upper right-hand corner of TCM's schedule.
Then there's Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece: the exquisite romantic-comedy Smiles of a Summer Night, one of the finest motion pictures ever made (listed in my Top Ten: World Cinema Treasures). This is scheduled to show on TCM Monday, July 28 at 5:00pm PST. TCM's programming for the month can be viewed by clicking on the image.