Wednesday, July 20, 2011

June Movies

My June movies were "Wild Bill" and "East Side, West Side".

"Wild Bill" (1995, directed by Walter Hill) was not an intentional viewing, but Bogie was watching it and I'd never seen it, so it counts! It was an interesting take on the Hickock story. Nothing spectacular, but very well done and keeps your interest for the entire duration. I kept expecting Jeff Bridges to morph into his Rooster Cogburn character, so that was a little distracting but it was my own fault. It was also hard to take David Arquette seriously in his role. Don't get me wrong, he did a very good job, but the last thing I saw him in was an episode of Friends  (The One with all the Jam) so I kept having to remind myself that he wasn't Malcolm in this film! Overall, it was a well done film and maybe if I watch it again I can get rid of my actor biases and enjoy the film for what it is. Watch for Christina Applegate and Diane Lane!

"East Side, West Side" (1949, directed by Mervyn LeRoy) was extremely well done! I can't say I loved the film because the whole story and plot are kind of sad and I like happy endings, but it's a solid film with excellent acting. It tackles some common marriage issues head on, with the actors all delivering emotional, believable performances that keep you rooted in the plot and invested in the characters. Barbara Stanwyck and James Mason are a married couple working through the complications of an affair (his), with Ava Gardner as the former mistress and Van Heflin as the shoulder-to-cry-on-who-wants-to-be-more for Stanwyck. It would have been more emotionally grueling (not to mention realistic) if they had made Mason's character more likeable, they made him easy to dislike so that there was a clear bad guy. Stanwyck was excellent in the role of a head-over-heels-in-love wife who lives on pins and needles for fear her husband will cheat again. There's a very heartwrenching scene between her and her close friend where she pours her heart out in what I imagine is every cheated-on spouse's fear. There is also an excellent scene between Mason and Gardner (his mistress), where he tries to tell her it's over, she tries to prove that it's not, and he is clearly in denial while she is in full control because she's the only one speaking the truth.
Keep an eye out for Cyd Charisse in a non-dancing role (I didn't recognize her!), there's a nice scene where she gets to tell Mason exactly what she thinks of him "If I were your wife, I'd cut your heart out!"
 A well done film, I'll probably watch it again to make sure my initial reaction stays the same and that I still like it.

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