Sunset Boulevard

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

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When you take a look at Gloria Swanson’s credits, it’s not surprising she was able to so convincingly portray an ageing actress longing to relive her fondest memories. She made over sixty films between 1915 and 1931 – but only four between then and her starring role in 1950’s Sunset Boulevard. Continue reading “Sunset Boulevard”

Blade Runner

A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

There was only one condition for my viewing of Blade Runner, and that was that I watch it with my dad. For ten years or more, he’s hailed it as his favourite film. Now, after my first viewing in a decade, I am able to appreciate its undeniable beauty – even if the philosophical elements are still lost on me. Continue reading “Blade Runner”

Dog Day Afternoon

A man robs a bank to pay for his lover’s operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

You’re not supposed to identify with a bank robber. Even if he’s a struggling, doing-it-for-the-right-reasons, incompetent, piece of shit nice guy. He’s robbing a bank. He’s got hostages. But Lumet and screenwriter Frank Pierson need to create empathy for their lead, and they need to swim against the current that is heist movie tropes. In the ridiculous, moving, and wildly entertaining Dog Day Afternoon, they do just that. Continue reading “Dog Day Afternoon”

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

As the final part of Leone’s loosely-woven trilogy of Western films that defy the genre, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly entertained me far more than its origin, A Fistful of Dollars. I’m yet to strike For a Few Dollars More off my list, but it’s clear from the gradual incline in Top 250 positions that Leone learned a lot. Except when to use the Oxford comma. Continue reading “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

The Graduate

A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.

When I started University, I was promised that 97% of graduates entered straight into full-time employment, and that tuition fees wouldn’t go up (politics, amiright?!). If I had seen The Graduate during that turbulent time, with its enticing promise of inter-generational adultery, the sheer number of lies might have been too much for me. Continue reading “The Graduate”