Starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, with director Arthur Penn, the film chronicles the crime life of a group of notorious gangsters during the 1930s. Clyde Barrow (Beatty), a small time thief meets the beautiful young girl Bonnie Parker (Dunaway) and together they begin robbing banks. Soon they enlist the help of a dim-witted mechanic C.W., and then Clyde’s brother joins the fray bringing along his wife. They have a string of successes and they become infamous nationwide. Soon they begin to bicker among themselves and the police start to buckle down. In a shootout Buck is shot dead and Bonnie, Clyde, and C.W. just barely escape. However, their actions eventually do catch up with them and thus ends the story of these two figures depicted as anti-heroes. This film is significant because it was influenced by the French New Wave but it in turn ushered in a new era of American film . It has a unique combination of comedy, romance, violence, and of course banjo music.
As the last collaboration between Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock, they came together to make the ultimate thriller in North by Northwest. Grant plays a common business man named Roger Thorndike who is framed as a killer in a very public place. All of the sudden he has become a fugitive on the run for a crime he never even committed. Along the way he meets a government agent (Eve Marie Sainte) while dodging the authorities. Trying to clear his name, Grant finds himself fleeing the actual killers. His adventures include a run-in with a crop dusting plane and eventually find him hanging for dear life. However, he comes out on top in the end and he slowly falls in love too (of course). From the beginning when you see the opening credits and hear the score, you gear up for adventure and that is exactly what you get. It follows the wonderful tradition of Hitchcock films and it does not fail to entertain. Besides great locations, a memorable score, and interesting camera work, the story is wonderful.
Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring an all-star cast including Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCapprio, Jack Nicholson, and many others, this is a crime thriller with an interesting concept. The plot has to do with two young men who were in the Massachusetts Police Academy. One is tailored by the Irish mobster Frank Costello to become a mole within the police. The other is called upon to infiltrate the mob before he graduates. Thus begins their dangerous assignments as each tires to find the rat in the other organization while also working to stay out of reproach. Costigan is able to get close to the vile Costello while Sullivan is part of the Special Investigation Unit and also begins a relationship with a psychologist. They must secretly keep contact with the other side but it becomes increasingly treacherous with one encounter leading to a chase and another in the death of a police captain. The heat is on as both men try and reveal the other mole. During a cocaine pick up Costello is traced to the spot and a chaotic shootout ensues. Everything seems calm again and yet Constello’s mole is still around and bent on erasing Costigan from record. They agree to meet on a roof top and from that point on the film moves so rapidly it is almost impossible to take in what happens. Everything seems confused and corrupted but ultimately it does not pay to be a rat. This film has a lot of coarse language and violence but in Scorsese’s hands it is still an intriguing film to watch.
Starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this film follows the life of a former cat burglar who is accused of thievery in France. An outbreak of thefts seem to point to John Robie and he seeks refuge with some old friends. He plans to clear his name by catching the real thief. He learns that a vacationing mother and daughter have the most expensive jewels and he strikes up a relationship. The daughter realizes what he is and goes on to tempt him to steal her valuables. When they actually go missing she suspects him. Trying to figure out what is going on Robie struggles with a possible burglar who falls to his death and he attends a ball with Francie who has pronounced her love for him. After a clever switch Robie waits for the real perpetrator only to be surprised. As a thriller and romance this is a fun film. The cinematography is excellent and Kelly’s wardrobe done by Edith Head is memorable. Cary Grant and Grace Kelly are certainly a memorable screen couple.
Pairing Cary Grant with Ingrid Bergman along with Hitchcock directing, Notorious tells a story of spies in South America after World War II. Bergman is the daughter of a former Nazi so she is enlisted by a T.R. Devlin (Grant) to spy on other Nazis in South America. Pretty soon Bergman has been accepted and is married to one of the men (Claude Rains). Bitter and cold, Devlin shows no pity for her plight. However, during a party an important discovery is made that puts her in danger. To make matters worse, she is now sick and the others are suspicious. Showing his true loyalty, Devlin comes to her aid before she is harmed and brings her to safety.
To some extent we feel for Claude Rains who will be terminated if it ever comes out he married a spy and that pity is a credit to his portrayal. This film also seems to speak well of Grant as an actor since he plays so against type here. Hitchcock memorable used the key in the film to move the plot forward effectively. Aside from that a couple of sequences stand out to me. The first occurs when Grant enters a room and then we have the POV of Bergman’s heroine. She is lying in bed and drunk so as he gets closer he appears up side down in the frame. Then, there is the famous kissing sequence that all happens simultaneously while Grant is on the phone. The final one I recall is the tracking shot at the party that closes in on the key hidden in Bergman’s hand. Hitchcock practically shoves it in our faces so we know its importance. I think these moments reflect the great direction and showmanship of Hitch.
Partially for this reason Notorious is undoubtedly one of Hitchcock’s best films with a truly stellar cast of characters. If Casablanca was the beginning of the story then this seems to be the perfect sequel. You have a WWII related plot, Bergman, Rains and Cary Grant to stand in for Bogart after all. But that is a topic for another post in the future!