October 26, 2011


Sweet Smell of Success: This is still one of my very favorite movies. Ferocious and scathing and sad. Tony Curtis is unbelievably charismatic in his sordid, humiliated role; Burt Lancaster is terrifying. Glorious stuff. This time around, I especially noticed how often little sister Susie slipped in some candy-coated cruelty–she may lisp a bit, but she’s clearly related to her brother, acidic and even calculating.

Friday Foster: Pam Grier thwarts a race-war plot. That’s really all you need to know. There are fashion shows, there is music, there are afros, there is liquor, there are car chases, it is very glamorous and there’s lots of shooting! Parts of this are set in DC but it doesn’t have any real local color, unfortunately.

The Tomb of Ligeia: Look, this movie has some schlock elements and you’ve just got to roll with that if you want to have fun here. The screeching demon cat never really works at all, and there’s some awesomely bad dialogue (“Let’s go for a walk.” “A walk?” “Or a stroll! What does it matter?”), and a tiny hint of evil-sapphistry teasing (which is a bonus, really). But you also get really gorgeous sets, one and a half compelling performances (Vincent Price is terrific, and the romantic lead is serviceable when she’s playing his contemporary love interest but much better when she’s playing the dead/undead Ligeia), and an ultimately painful story about the undertow of grief and the triumph of past over present.

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