Hell Is For Heroes (1962 USA)

Steve McQueen was striving to make it big in Hollywood and used the force of his ego to position himself as the star here. This didn’t endear him to the picture’s original director Robert Pirosh, who also wrote the screenplay. McQueen’s insistence on rewriting scenes and placing himself in the center of the action spoiled Piroff’s vision of a fighting unit that worked together with no single individual standing out. McQueen got Pirosh fired, and Don Siegel was hired with McQueen’s approval to take over. Siegel knew how to stroke McQueen’s fragile psyche, and in some cases, simply agreed to some of McQueen’s suggestions then did his own thing. If you keep a close eye on Private Reese (McQueen), this sense of embittered self confidence pervades his character throughout the story. He’s right even when he’s wrong. [Read more…]

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The Exterminating Angel (1962 Mexico)

The-Exterminating-Angel-5835_3This film is surrealist masterpiece for all seasons. This is early Bunuel at his absurdist best with a satirical attack on the Church, the upper class and everything else in between. It echoes Jean-Paul Sartre’s  existential play, “No Exit.” Other people certainly can be hell. [Read more…]

DR NO (Britain 1962)

qiiZK2WbtupSSq9TaM57ZtnYH4nIn the beginning was the word and the word was Bond. Here is the genesis of cinematic style over substance. “Dr. No” is incredibly dated but it has a unique, naive quality. There’s no tongue-in-cheek self-awareness here, this is the first glimpse that audiences had of all the different themes that would develop in the series. [Read more…]

THE TRIAL (France 1962)

l_57427_0bda35dcA harmless, inconsequential clerk wakes up one morning to find himself accused of something (he never discovers what). Secret policemen enter his bedroom and subject him to a frightening interrogation in which every answer provokes a new line of questioning. [Read more…]

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