Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another Film Noir Double Feature w/ Harvey Kitel & Jack Palance

Here are two more reviews of film noir movies that we have recently watched. This time we have two films that are from opposite ends of the crime spectrum. One is a solid recommendation but with a word of warning and the other a take it or leave it.

The Man In The Attic 

This 1953 film is in black & white both literally & figuratively as it is firmly in the traditional mold where we know who the good & bad guys are and there is no doubt that the righteous will prevail. After a few close calls.

Jack Palance plays Slade a pathologist who rents a room from the Harley's. They are a family living in White Chapel during the reign of terror Jack the Ripper was carving into Britain at the time. We quickly see he is an strange man who keeps odd hours. After the ripper is seen with a small black bag Slade burns his. The Harley's also have a beautiful young niece that the stranger is magnetically drawn to. The lead detective on the case is also attracted to her so you can pretty much sketch out the plot from here.

This is not a great movie by any means or even a very good one. But it was well made and held my attention the whole time. There are a couple of well done musical numbers worked into the story as well as a nice little scene where one of the ripper's victims is getting undressed. It livens up what otherwise might have been a very dull film.

If you want to find out for yourself here's a link to see the whole movie.

The Bad Lieutenant

This on the other hand is a bad ass movie that's in color but it's all black. Harvey Kitel just goes right over the edge as Lt. It starts off innocently enough we get some sports talk over the credits as a father takes his two young sons to parochial school one morning during the Mets / Dodgers World Series. The image begins to unravel within five minutes as we see him snorting coke as soon as the kids leave the car. While he's still across from the school.

From here on in we are “treated” to a look at a this cops one way trip to hell. He is not on the edge but way over it and his world is collapsing all around him. Every manner of corruption and defilement is exposed and dweled upon. There's the foul things that he forces a couple of innocent teenage girls to endure. And the unspeakable crimes committed against a nun. It gets so bad that Jesus comes down off the cross in the end.

This is a well done cesspool of a film that has the power to hold you from beginning to end and if you go for this kind of extreme entertainment well this ones for you. It's not as overtly violent as “I Spit On Your Grave” or “The Last House On The Left” but in those movies there is a good fighting the evil. In the Bad Lieutenant there is no good just a black hole at the center sucking everything up.

It is the work of east coast auteur Able Ferrara who works a lot of the same territory as Martin Scorsese east coast Catholic guilt and all. He got started about ten years after Martin so you 'll know he must have spent a lot of time growing up watching Mean Streets & Taxi Driver. Another of my favorites by him is The King of New York with Christopher Walken in the lead. Good stuff for sure. I've included a clip from that as well.

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