The Man With the Golden Arm
(1955), Otto Preminger. Apr 28, 2pm. View count: One.Where the Sidewalk Ends
(1950), Otto Preminger. May 1, 3pm. View count: One.Anatomy of a Murder
(1959), Otto Preminger. May 1, 8pm. View count: One.The Man With the Golden Arm
is an entertainingly abstracted movie, which seems like an interesting direction to go in given that the book it's adapted from is said to be rather complex and dense. I think it suits the subject matter rather well; the four or five sets, each seemingly visible from all the others, bolster the boxed-in atmosphere. Sinatra does pretty well as a dude from circumstances who is rather excited to have in mind a thing he wants to do for a living, only to have everyone around him practically shove heroin needles at him. (Note: everyone calls him 'Dealer' not because he deals drugs (he would then be called a 'peddler'), but because he deals cards in illegal poker games. It took me a while to figure that one out.) All the rest of the cast does decently as well; I particularly enjoyed the sidekick, who is apparently played by a comedian of the time; he's a guy who's ignored and pushed around by most, and that enables him to mouth off to a small but measurable extent, to keep a small but measurable amount of dignity. Kim Novak is described by someone on IMDB as "plant-like", which I now have to agree with. She's that Ideally Supportive Woman that is often to be found in movies, which makes her fairly dull.
The wrap-up at the end I found something of a cop-out; I've seen earlier movies that managed to lay a pall of pessimism or precariousness over a relatively up ending, but this one did not do this. It was just a happy, convenient ending. Preminger seems to do this a lot. Oh, and finally, there is a smooth-coated terrier of some kind which drinks beer out of an ashtray to please a woman. This will be revisited later.Where the Sidewalk Ends
is about a violent detective who just can't stop beating up bad guys
. Occasionally he beats up non-bad guys as well. He also has a highly supportive lady that he likes, although that lady does not have a beer-drinking small dog. A lot of the movie is spent on detectives figuring things out, and trying to find one another in various bars and houses. The ending here is almost entirely a happy cop-out as well; I was rooting for something much more along the lines of "and he took the secret to the grave," but you know me and secrets and graves.Anatomy of a Murder
is apparently an adaptation of a True Story, which was accordingly Ripped From Today's Headlines (where "today" is defined as "sometime in the fifties"). It's in large part a courtroom drama, which is mostly entertaining enough. The real kicker, however, is the sheer number of times that Jimmy Stewart says "panties." It's punishment, but it's the kind of punishment that makes one still kind of want a little mp3 of each instance. I mean, what if I needed it?
Apparently the discussion(s) of rape that happens in the movie was fairly off-putting to at least some people, including Jimmy Stewart's father, who reportedly "was so offended by the film, which he deemed 'a dirty picture,' that he took out an ad in his local newspaper telling people not to see it." It does all seem fairly inappropriate for the fifties, albeit the late fifties, and, as I say, probably Jimmy Stewart's father was just reacting to the horror one cannot escape when Jimmy Stewart says "panties."
The rape victim is the one with the terrier that drinks beer from an ashtray (she, like the woman in Man With the Golden Arm, is utterly charmed by this for some reason), and the dog is even used to point out a stuffy man who does not like dogs. Oh ho ho, only bad men do not like dogs!
I would not exactly recommend this one; it has sort of a sunny tone which does not much befit the subject matter. However, the courtroom scenes are well-handled and don't drag, and you could do worse if you're looking for a movie with law in it for some reason. And Jimmy Stewart saying "panties."