Today’s Year is 1972.
Today’s Top Tier selection is Ulzana’s Raid (dir: Robert Aldrich)
Imagine the Martin Pawley-Ethan Edwards dynamic from The Searchers, played out against a similar backdrop of grisly Indian violence visited upon white settlers, complete with a single, nameable villain leading the savages in their bloodlust. Ulzana’s Raid, coming as it does 17 years after Ford’s film, is fueled by a semi-transparent Vietnam allegory. The youngster (a babyfaced Bruce Davison) is a naïve West Point grad, but he’s well-spoken and never held up as an object of ridicule; the movie sets up an antagonistic relationship between him and the veteran Army tracker played by Burt Lancaster, but no such conflict ever seems to materialize. In fact, all dramatic high points seem to be greatly diminished by the time they arrive – movements between them seem furtive, punctuated by alarming images of violence that seem out of proportion to their surroundings.
Like Ulzana’s Raid? theFilmsaurus recommends:
- Fort Apache (John Ford, 1948)
- Zulu (Cy Endfield, 1964)
- Major Dundee (Sam Peckinpah, 1965)
- Last of the Comanches (Andre de Toth, 1953)
- Cheyenne Autumn (John Ford, 1964)
Today’s Netflix Instant pick is Pulp (dir: Mike Hodges)
Being the adventures of a foppish pulp writer (Michael Caine), who finds himself in over his head after agreeing to ghost-write for an aging Hollywood actor on the sunny island of Malta, Mike Hodges made Pulp directly after what remains his best-known film, Get Carter; audiences may not have been in the mood for its mannered, irreverent treatment of the same criminal enterprises that were being exalted in other, more popular movies. Cult appreciation for it has become more substantial in recent years – Hodges’s measured style and 90-degree angled shots make for fascinating dissonance with a film whose comic attitude seems elusive and amorphous.
Like Pulp? theFilmsaurus recommends:
- Get Carter (Mike Hodges, 1971)
- The Italian Job (Peter Collinson, 1969)
- Sleuth (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1972)
- The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski, 2010)
- The Tenant (Roman Polanski, 1976)
Far from the original “angry young man” film, Marco Bellocchio’s dysfunctional coming-of-age drama, only partly concerning a young man delicately nudged toward homicidal solutions to his troubles, remains one of the most oddly thrilling, at once dreamlike and driven by an irresistible, forward momentum – stifling, but somehow buoyant, constantly unraveling, or evaporating. You might remember a lot of shouting, but you should also remember the wraithlike glide of Alberto Marrama’s camera, and Ennio Morricone’s moody score.
Like Fists in the Pocket? theFilmsaurus recommends:
- The Pornographers (Shohei Imamura, 1966)
- The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959)
- L’Enfance nue (Maurice Pialat, 1968)
- Made in Britain (Alan Clarke, 1982)
- Il Posto (Ermanno Olmi, 1961)
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