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Posts Tagged ‘Unforgiven’

French Connection II – Starring Gene Hackman

Posted by the editors on Saturday, 10 December 2011

French Connection II(1975)(DVD)   Directed by John Frankenheimer (Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), Grand Prix (1966)), starring Gene Hackman (Mississippi Burning (1987), Unforgiven (1992), The Firm (1993)) with Fernando Rey (Tristana (1970), Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)).  While this crime drama may not be up to the level of its predecessor, the enormously successful The French Connection (1971), French Connection II still qualifies as a tense and very good film, largely thanks to dominating presence and inspired acting of Gene Hackman, who portrays the narrow-minded and obsessively determined New York narcotics detective in both films.  Though The French Connection was ostensibly based on fact, and shot in a cold, hostile and decrepit New York City, which in fact was one of the striking screen presences in the film, French Connection II is admittedly purely fictional, and is shot in the French Mediterranean city of Marseilles, home of the dreaded international heroin smuggling organisation, the French Connection.  Marseilles offers an exotic backdrop, a mix of bikini-clad beach-goers and narrow, garbage-strewn ethnic quarters, for Detective Popeye Doyle’s (Hackman) dogged pursuit of French Connection king-pin Alain Charnier, called Frog One, portrayed by Fernando Rey in both films.  With excellent acting by Hackman and some wrenching and wonderfully tense scenes, French Connection II, though perhaps not quite achieving the iconic cinema status of the first film, is nevertheless a great crime drama and, frankly, in itself, a must-see film. (PR) (Pay special attention to the excellent scene between Hackman and Cathleen Nesbitt, as “The Old Lady”.)

See our previous posts on the film The French Connection starring Gene Hackman and on the film Scarecrow, starring Hackman and a very young Al Pacino.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to

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White Hunter Black Heart – directed by and starring Clint Eastwood

Posted by the editors on Friday, 25 November 2011

White Hunter Black Heart (1990)(DVD)  Directed by and starring Clint Eastwood (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Dirty Harry (1971), Pale Rider (1985), Unforgiven (1992), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), Mystic River (2003), Gran Torino (2008), Invictus (2009), and many other magnificent films, as actor, director and/or producer), with Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror (2007) and many others), George Dzundza (The Deer Hunter (1978), Streamers (1983), Grey’s Anatomy (2006)), Marisa Berenson (Death in Venice (1971), Cabaret (1972), Barry Lyndon (1975),  I Am Love (2010)) and others.  In this drama, based on the eponymous novel by Peter Viertel which in turn is based on Viertel’s personal experience as final screenwriter for the legendary film The African Queen (1951), starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood plays a Hollywood film director, John Wilson, clearly based on the notoriously difficult and self-centered John Huston, director of The African Queen and many other iconic cinema masterpieces.  In fact, if the small steamboat used in the whitewater scene in White Hunter Black Heart seems familiar, it’s no coincidence:  it is the same boat that Bogart’s character captained in The African Queen!  White Hunter Black Heart, a critical success and a box-office disaster, is a complex film, dealing with antisemitism, racism, and, of course, John Huston’s complicated and disagreeable character.  Eastwood’s directing is quite good, as is his acting, of course.  However, despite having played self-centered characters previously, in many of his westerns, here, it is somehow difficult to accept Eastwood’s posturing; perhaps it’s just the accent, and the character John Wilson’s affectations.  Nevertheless, for Eastwood fans, and fans of the legendary films of John Huston (especially The African Queen), White Hunter Black Heart is a film to be seen. (PR)

See on post on the Clint Eastwood-directed film Invictus.  See our posts on director John Huston’s film, The Misfits, and his final film, The Dead.

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Here is a link to Roger Ebert’s review of White Hunter, Black Heart, in the Chicago Sun Times.

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Scarecrow, starring Al Pacino and Gene Hackman

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Scarecrow (1973)(DVD)  Directed by Jerry Schatzberg (The Panic in Needle Park (1971)), starring Al Pacino (The Panic in Needle Park (1971), The Godfather trilogy (starting in 1972), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Scarface (1983), Angels in America (2003) and many others)Gene Hackman  (Bonnie & Clyde (1967), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Under Fire (1983), Unforgiven (1992), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), and many other films) and others.  This road movie, of two alienated down-and-out buddies, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1973, pairs a full-on Method-Acting Pacino in youthful vigor with the virtually opposing style of a formalist Gene Hackman, shortly after his Oscar, in 1971, as Best Actor in The French Connection.  Reminiscent of the pairing of Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy (1969), characters respectively naive and experience-hardened, and in style formalist and Method, the result is an impressive, moving film, and Scarecrow is a must-see for any number of reasons, full of harshness and sensitivity, and sadness at lost hopes. (PR)

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Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood, theatrical release poster

Invictus (2009)(DVD)  Directed by Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven (1992), Mystic River (2003) Million Dollar Baby (2004), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)), starring Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon and others.  Invictus, a biographical/sports drama set in post-apartheid South Africa prior to, and during, the 1995 Rugby World Cup, though perhaps moving, and rightly so, and with Eastwood’s characteristic fine attention to detail, not to mention rather good performances, of course, by Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, nevertheless leaves one a little disappointed.  Perhaps it’s only due to the heavy-handed use of “inspirational” music. (PR)

See our post on the film The Informant! starring Matt Damon.

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