6/23 HD Cinema Premiere Movies

Sean Mota

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Sep 8, 2003
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HD Cinema Classics (107):
The Big Heat *** (1953, Crime)

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Summary:
There's a satisfying sense of closure to the definitive noir kick achieved in The Big Heat: its director, Fritz Lang, had forged early links from German expressionism to the emergence of film noir, so it's entirely logical that the expatriate director would help codify the genre with this brutal 1953 film. Visually, his scenes exemplify the bold contrasts, deep shadows, and heightened compositions that define the look of noir, and he matches that success with the darkly pessimistic themes of this revenge melodrama.
The story coheres around the suicide of a crooked cop, and the subsequent struggle of an honest detective, Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford), to navigate between a corrupt city government and a ruthless mobster to uncover the truth. Initially, the violence here seems almost timid by comparison to the more explicit carnage now commonplace in films, yet the story accelerates as its plot arcs toward Bannion's showdown with kingpin Lagana (Alexander Scourby) and his psychotic henchman, the sadistic Vince Stone, given an indelible nastiness by Lee Marvin. When Bannion's wife is killed by a car bomb intended for the detective, both the hero and the story go ballistic: suspended from the force, he embarks on a crusade of revenge that suggests a template for Charles Bronson's Death Wish films, each step pushing Lagana and Stone toward a showdown. Bodies drop, dominoes tumbled by the escalating war between the obsessed Bannion and his increasingly vicious adversaries.

Lang's disciplined visual design and the performances (especially those of Ford, Marvin, Jeanette Nolan as the dead cop's scheming widow, and Gloria Grahame as Marvin's girlfriend) enable the film to transcend formula, as do several memorable action scenes--when an enraged Marvin hurls scalding coffee at the feisty Debby (Grahame), we're both shattered by the violence of his attack, and aware that he's shifted the balance of power. --Sam Sutherland

Cinema (103):
Mickey One *** (1965, Crime)


Summary:
This stylish gangster film stars Warren Beatty as a mediocre stand-up comic in Detroit who flees to Chicago and changes his identity in order to escape mobsters that he believes are after him for repayment of gambling debts. Despite his paranoia, he is unable to stay away from the spotlight and returns to the stage for an existential showdown with his unseen pursuers.

HD Cinema Gunslingers(109):
Gun Fury **+ (1953, Westerns)


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Summary:
A Civil War vet takes off in hot pursuit after an outlaw gang who ambushed a stagecoach and kidnapped his bride-to-be. Typical Walsh Western originally shown in 3-D.

Cinema (103):
The Chase **+ (1966, Drama)​


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Summary:

Robert Redford plays Bubba Reeves, an escaped convict who is returning to the small Texas town he calls home to visit his wife. Bubba's wife, the sheriff, and the rest of the town are none too pleased when they catch wind of Bubba's return. His wife is cheating on him with Roger, the son of the influential town oil mogul. The sheriff (Marlon Brando) might be in the oil mogul's pocket. Roger fears Bubba's wrath, as do the rest of the people in town, who all have there own reasons to fear the return of bad Bubba Reeves, ranging from the paranoid to the extremely justified. Whatever the reasons, everyone wants Bubba taken care of once and for all. The sheriff must apprehend Bubba and bring him in alive, all the time battling the will of the people who want Bubba Reeves dead.
 
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