Franny and Zooey

(by J.D. Salinger) (1961) This perfect little novella (actually, a short story published in The New Yorker in 1955 and followed by another a couple of years later, then combined as a diptych) is a personal favourite. One would not wish to go on a houseboat holiday with any member of the Glass family (maybe Les) but their mood storms are always worth getting caught in. Frances Glass, the baby of the family, has discovered a little book called The Way of a Pilgrim (in real life purchased from Brentano’s by Salinger’s bride-to-be and reputed Gestapo staffer, Claire) which she…

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Five Easy Pieces

November 3, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. Bob Rafelson) (1970) The great American film about class, a road movie with style and not much plot; towering performance by Jack Nicholson, and others. Jack is from a high-born musical family but he is on the run from them, marking time as a blue-collar guy, spending his beer money on sweet but simple girlfriend (a sublime Karen Black).  Then his Dad gets badly ill, he has to head north, and all his class consciousness comes embarrassingly to the fore.  Along the way, they pick up two hitch-hikers who act their way into film legend.  And remember: “No substitutions”.

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Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux sans Visage)

November 3, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, CRIME, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. by Georges Franju) (1960) Necrotic facial tissue was never so fascinating.  Brilliant (well, in theory) plastic and reconstructive surgeon wants to fix his daughter’s face, ruined in an accident – but he needs replacement skin. That does not bode well for the the pretty young students of Paris…. TVC knows of no scene more chilling than when the callow student is treated to a handkerchief soaked in chloroform…  

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Escape From New York

November 3, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. John Carpenter) (1981) L considers this the best ‘B’ movie ever; P prefers The Boys From Brazil, but it is certainly in the top rank. An auteur effort from Carpenter (also contributing to script and the futuristic Wurlitzer soundtrack) with legendary, over-the-top sneering performance by Kurt Russell as the perverse Snake Plissken (‘Call me Snake’ – ‘OK, Snake’ – ‘The name’s Plissken’) and a great cast including Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Lee Van Cleef, Harry Dean Stanton and Donald Pleasance as the extremely odious POTUS. The ‘sequel,’ Escape from LA, is pretty much Escape from New York with a change…

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Elmer Gantry

(dir. Richard Brooks) (1960) Dr Gantry sets aside his unwanted toasters and vacuum cleaners and returns to where he belongs, in the evangelical business.  A sprawling, gargantuan rendering of Sinclair Lewis’ novel, with giant performances, particularly Lancaster as Elmer, Jean Simmons as Sister Falconer, Shirley Jones as Ms Baines and Arthur Kennedy as the journalist following the big tent.  “It wasn’t really acting” quoth Burt Lancaster of his performance, “It was me”.

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