Le Mani Sulla Citta'

Title hands over the city

Probably Number One on my developing list of top city planning movies of all time.  From DVD Beaver:

Rod Steiger is ferocious as a scheming land developer in Francesco Rosi's Hands over the City, a blistering work of social realism and the winner of the 1963 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion. This expose of the politically driven real-estate speculation that has devastated Naples's civilian landscape moves breathlessly from a cataclysmic building collapse to the backroom negotiations of civic leaders vying for power in a city council election, laying bare the inner workings of corruption with passion and outrage.

Steiger Film_355w_HandsCity_bw

Oil and Gas Daze

Today at the Roundouse we'll honor the extraction industries for bringing us our two favorite energy sources.* If you had any doubt about our complete reliance on oil and gas and the industry's devotion to keeping it that way, Marita Noon will give you the what-for.  (Las Cruces Sun Times)

And the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association will brag that the industry is "our past, our present and our future."   That is just plain creepy to me.  So's their goal of brainwashing kids educating the public about the industry's "innumerable benefits." 

Reminds me of lecturing an 18th century Irishman on the benefits of the potato.

Continue reading "Oil and Gas Daze" »

The Big Sheep Sleep

I've been doing a lot of sleeping lately.  I know it is hard to believe it takes this long to get over jet lag but that's my excuse.   That or I have some kind of sleeping disorder.  LWH - Lazy When Hot causes you to turn down the thermostat and nap to classic 1940's movies.  It took four tries to stay awake through The Big Sleep. 

Blogging about our favorite Bernalillo County government is less fun than it used to be since I apparently now agree with the Albuquerque Journal.  The day County employees burned copies on Civic Plaza is the day I finally decided to pony-up for a subscription. 

Continue reading "The Big Sheep Sleep" »

Lonely and Brave

Spring garage cleaning is lonely and brave work and, coincidentally, it turned up no less than three copies of my favorite movie, Lonely Are the Brave

A 2002 New Mexico Magazine story gave a few facts about the film.  Like how Kirk Douglas arrived in Albuquerque from LA on April 30, 1961 to begin filming and how cast and crew stayed at the Western Skies Hotel.  Boy, now there's a part of uptown that went downhill.  The hotel was near Tijeras Canyon at the edge of the Sandias, a once resort-like location where the rich and famous visited - now a string of metal buildings, RV sales, mobile home parks and the ass-biting ugly streetscape of East Central.  Abbey would probably not be amused. Or surprised. 

Spring winds disrupted filming.  A 20 mule train was hired to haul heavy film equipment into place for filming the rugged chase scene up the west face of the Sandias.  A generator was hauled to the crest for power. 

AbbeyAbbey had a bit part as a deputy that some say was cut from the film.  (Jack Loeffler, Adventures With Ed, p. 75.)    But I see him in a mountainside scene throwing a glass coke bottle.  I read confirmation of this somewhere but can't find it now.  Perhaps different versions exist or the reference is to a more substantial part being cut.

The New Yorker's criticism of the movie: (Loeffler):

Lonely Are the Brave  pretends to be a Western and has actually been hailed in some quarters as a "good" Western ... but its screenplay, by Dalton Trumbo, struck me as a shoddy and remarkably simple-minded song of hatred for twentieth-century American society.  What power the picture has springs from the irony of its starring All-American Kirk Douglas as a natural man going down in defeat under the continual brutal assaults of the industrial-capitalistic-governmental juggernaut.  The vulgarity of Mr. Trumbo's perceptions is that he has his hero, a cowboy on horseback, run down by an enormous trailer-truck filled with toilets.  There may be a lot wrong with this country, but Mr. Trumbo is plainly not the man to point it out.     

To which Abbey replied:

The New Yorker review of our movie calls it "shoddy and simple-minded, a song of hatred for 20th century society."  Exactly!  Exactly what I meant the book to be.  I am quite pleased with the reviewer's observation.  He stated the issues clearly.  The only reviewer that did so, so far as I know.


The Hired Hand

I've been watching the movie The Hired Hand and special features bonus disc (instead of packing, of course.)   Big thanks to the commenter who pointed out this movie in response to my post about a certain spooky camping trip

Cabezon2This Peter Fonda movie was filmed in New Mexico in 1970 soon after Easy Rider.  He used locations north of Espanola and at Cabezon where the dramatic big headed peak looms over a storybook bad-ass western town.

My commenter's story, that I vaguely recall from the time but can't seem to confirm, is about how a movie worker was killed at Cabezon in an accident during the filming - he walked into the blades of a helicopter he was helping to unload.  Additional creepy photos of the place at this NM Film Office link.  

Used Clothes New Holmes

Robert-downey-jr-sherlock-holmes Saw the Sherlock Holmes movie.  Robert Downey Jr. has some kind of amazing magic camera presence and Jude Law is OK too.  But there is a sense of playing grown-up.  The whole thing looked fun but superficial and immature.  It is hyper-flashy with a lot of special effects for a movie set in the 19th century.  How Downey wore his neck tie was more interesting than the dialog.  But that's just me. 

Downey is relegated to conventional comic book brawny, not brainy, behavior to save the world.  His intense physique and interesting personal quirks aren't allowed to interest us.  It is as if the camera or the director, Guy Ritchie, is jealous of Downey and doesn't want to linger on him too long. Too bad. 

Continue reading "Used Clothes New Holmes" »

Il Divo

Just watched the film about a notorious Italian politician - Giulio Andreotti.  It may be appropriate to call him Italy's Richard Daley but we've already established that I see Daley's ghost in all public corruption.  And in the grocery store. 

Andreotti was interviewed last spring about the portrayal in the London Times Online here. The film is reviewed there too.  From the first link:

Divo Despite its popularity Andreotti dismisses the film, saying he believes he will in the end be judged “on his record”. So the mysteries remain. I asked him if was true that when he turned 90 he had said he would “take his secrets to the grave”.

“True. In my life I have made many, shall we say, delicate choices. Some people played a double game, claiming to be on one side while being on another. Some things you don't see at the time because you are blinded by the light. You think you understood everything, then you see you didn't. But the past is the past. It is better to look to the future.”