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Pitfall

A grimy, superior film noir by Andre de Toth (1948). Dick Powell is a foursquare family man who enjoys a harmless dalliance with model Lizabeth Scott, unaware that he’s risking the wrath of a psychotically jealous private eye, Raymond Burr. An iconographical plus is Father Knows Best‘s Jane Wyatt as Powell’s patiently beleaguered wife.

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Next Stop, Greenwich Village

Paul Mazursky’s onanistic autobiographical film (1976) seems more like a slavish hommage to Federico Fellini than a genuine reminiscence, borrowing equally from the Great Italian’s condescending caricature and slimy sentimentalism. As Larry Lapinsky, a Brooklyn boy come to the Village to learn acting, Lenny Baker spends most of the film fighting off his mother’s slobbering […]

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Streamers

Sure it’s searing and intense, but so is a microwave oven. David Rabe’s play, about a barracks room of draftees waiting to be shipped to Vietnam, is a less than honorable piece of theater, relying on physical and psychological violence to keep the audience in a constant state of anxiety and submission; Robert Altman’s film […]

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Mother

The force of this famous 1926 Russian silent is more mechanical than emotional, centered in the flashy, rhythmic montage techniques of director V.I. Pudovkin rather than in the development of his deliberately stereotypical characters. During the 1905 revolution, a mother (Vera Baranovskaya) hoping to protect her communist son (Nikolai Batalov) reveals the cache of arms […]