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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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Irma La Douce

Billy Wilder’s soggy and uninspired 1963 adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, minus the songs. Shirley MacLaine stars as a Paris prostitute with a heart of gold who falls for a former policeman (Jack Lemmon) who winds up as her pimp and, in disguise, her only customer. A good example of how a movie can […]