Critique of Macho: The Big Country on Blu-ray

William Wyler's big-budget, large-format, star-studded epic, The Big Country, just may be the first anti-western. It condemns, rather than celebrates, the macho behavior of the mythical cowboy. The hero only fires a gun once, and he's not aiming at anyone. Gregory Peck plays that hero, a sea captain named James McKay, who's traded in his … Continue reading Critique of Macho: The Big Country on Blu-ray

Louis Malle Noir: My Blu-ray review of Elevator to the Gallows

You don't expect film noir from Louis Malle. But his first narrative feature, Elevator to the Gallows, is as dark, suspenseful, and entertaining as the best crime dramas that ever came out of Hollywood. Criterion released this excellent thriller in February. Made in France in 1957 (it was released in '58), the complex yet tightly-told … Continue reading Louis Malle Noir: My Blu-ray review of Elevator to the Gallows

Machismo faces the Holocaust: My Blu-ray review of Seven Beauties

Lina Wertmüller's 1975 masterpiece, Seven Beauties, is a Holocaust film (with no recognizably Jewish characters), an examination of Italian machismo, and a witheringly sad and disturbing drama. And at times, it becomes a very funny slapstick comedy. Giancarlo Giannini stars as Pasqualino, a charming but somewhat dense egomaniac. He lives in Naples with his mother … Continue reading Machismo faces the Holocaust: My Blu-ray review of Seven Beauties