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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Five-Star Flashback (s)

Five Star Films by two people involved in two Best Picture contenders.

The Last Picture Show (1971)
This is one of the most over-looked films in American History, that should have been on AFI's list of the top 100 American films of all-time, and probably deserved the Best Picture award that year. Written by Larry McMurtry (screenwriter of Brokeback) the film is a stark, realistic view of a declining Texas town in the late 50's trying to cope with it's reason to even exist, and characters trying to find their existence in various ways as well. The film was called the best debut since Citizen Kane, a welcome laurel as its director, Bogdonovich, is perhaps the foremost authority on Welles and based much of the film on Kane as well (though it was in reality Peter's second film, his first, the equally neglected yet brilliant Targets, was never seen). The feel of the film is timeless and unique, memorable, restless and in the end shattering.

In Cold Blood (1967)
Ok, so Truman Capote wasn't involved in Capote, except for living it. But Richard Brooks' adaptation was as influential and unique in film language at its time as was Capote's book which it was faithfully based on. The film was revolutionary in its level of violence, its stark and bleak portrayl of crime, without much commentary as to right or wrong, and its humanization of its characters played skillfully by Robert Blake and Scott Wilson. Equally important is cinematogpraher Conrad Hall's widescreen compositions, and Quincy Jones star making score. The film seems to play with fragments of being an exploitation B-movie, or a sympathetic problem film, yet seems to play these sensibilities into trying to figure out the minds of these killers.

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