Posts Tagged ‘united artists’

Sweet Smell of Success

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Sweet Smell of Success


Tagline – This is the story of J.J. – But not the way he wants it told!

Starring – Burt Lancaster (J.J. Hunsecker), Tony Curtis (Sidney Falco), Susan Harrison (Susan Hunsecker), Martin Milner (Steve Dallas).

Released – June, 1957

Directed By – Alexander Mackendrick

Produced By – Norma Productions, Curtleigh Productions, Hill-Hecht-Lancaster Productions

Distributed By – United Artists

Description – J.J. Hunsecker is Broadway’s most powerful columnist. How powerful? Sixty-million readers powerful. He can make or break you with just a paragraph or two.

However, J.J. does have a problem. His younger sister Susan is seeing up-and-coming jazz musician Steve Dallas and J.J. doesn’t like it. Unable to talk Susan out of this relationship, J.J. now seeks to destroy Dallas personally and professionally.

Press agent Sidney Falco has been trying, without any luck, to brake up the romance on J.J.’s orders. His failures have caused J.J. to hold back on any positive publicity in his column for Sidney’s clients. As a result, Sidney has been losing both money and clients.

Falco is given one last chance by Hunsecker and is ordered to plant a false rumor that Dallas is a drug user and a member of the Communist Party. The pressure caused by this plan causes Susan to break up her relationship with Dallas so that he can continue to pursue his career without her brothers sabotage.

A confrontation ensues between Hunsecker and Dallas after the breakup and even though Susan and Dallas are no longer a couple, J.J. still decides to destroy the young musician’s career. Why? Because he can.

The effects of J.J.’s cruel retribution against Dallas cause Susan to attempt suicide in her apartment. She is stopped by the arrival of Falco shortly before J.J. also arrives believing the two in a totally different scenario.

NOTABLE: Robert Vaughn was originally cast to play the part of Steve Dallas, but was drafted into the Army before any footage could be filmed.

The narcotics detective in Sweet Smell of Success, Lt Harry Kello, is based on NYPD detective Eddie Egan, immortalized by Gene Hackman as ‘Popeye’ Doyle in the 1971 film The French Connection.

Famed New York columist Walter Winchell was the model for the character J.J. Hunsecker.

Originally intended to be produced with a modest budget of $600,000 the films costs skyrocketed to $2,600,000.

Sweet Smell of Success is listed on Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time, and included among Steven Schneider’s “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.”

The Ride Back

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The Ride Back

Tagline – It Rides a Trail NO Western Ever Rode Before!

Starring – Anthony Quinn (Bob Kallen), William Conrad (Sheriff Chris Hamish), Lita Milan (Elena).

Released – April, 1957

Directed By – Allan H. Miner, Oscar Rudolph

Produced By – The Associates & Aldrich Company

Distributed By – United Artists

Description – Sheriff Chris Hamish crosses the border into Mexico searching for Bob Kallen to bring him back to the States to face trial.

The two men couldn’t be any more different. Hamish is emotionally worn down by, not only his job, but his wife as well. Kallen is independent, confident, and not at all bad at heart. He has just done something wrong and that is all that Hamish cares about. Hamish needs to bring Kallen in. It is the only way he can self-redeem himself as a man.

Finding Kallen has been one thing, bringing him back quite another. It’s a long, dangerous journey complicated by an orphaned Mexican girl, and stalking Apache’s.

The lawman and outlaw will now have to trust and depend on each other in order to survive.

NOTABLE: The Ride Back is based on an original story written for the radio version of “Gunsmoke” in 1952, which also starred William Conrad.

12 Angry Men

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

12 Angry Men (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Life is in their hands… Death is on their minds!

Starring – Henry Fonda (Juror 8), Lee J. Cobb (Juror 3), E. G. Marshall (Juror 4), Martin Balsam (Juror 1), Jack Warden (Juror 7), John Fielder (Juror 2), Jack Klugman (Juror 5),Edward Binns (Juror 6), Joseph Sweeney (Juror 9), Ed Begley (Juror 10),George Voskovek (Juror 11), Robert Webber (Juror 12).

Released – April, 1957

Directed By – Sidney Lumet

Produced By – Orion-Nova Productions

Distributed By – United Artists

Description – In a New York City courthouse, an eighteen-year-old boy has just been tried for the stabbing murder of his father. Closing arguments have been presented, and the judge has instructed the jury to decide, beyond any reasonable doubt, the boy’s guilt or innocence.

Should the verdict be guilty, a mandatory death sentence is required.

This is an impatient jury. One which seems to have already made up its mind that the defendant is guilty as charged. That is, except for one. Juror 8. It is his belief that most of the evidence is circumstantial, that the two key witnesses are unreliable, and he refuses to vote “guilty” without first discussing the charges and evidence in detail.

This discussion will not be orderly and calm, but rather argumentative and bigoted against “slum children.”

This is no open-and-shut case, and the actions of the jury will reveal more than just the accused’s guilt or innocence. Each juror’s prejudices and pre-conceived notions, about the accused and each other, will come to the surface. Each must be realized and dealt with before justice can be served.

After all, a young man’s life is at stake.

NOTABLE: In 2007, 12 Angry Men was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

12 Angry Men was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Director (Sidney Lumet), Best Picture, and Best Writing of Adapted Screenplay.

Included among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, edited by Steven Schneider.

12 Angry Men provided the directorial debut of Sidney Lumet.

The ethnic background of the teen-aged suspect was deliberately left unstated. For the purposes of the film, the important facts were that he was NOT Caucasian and that prejudice (or lack of it) would be a major part of the deliberations process.

Men In War

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Men in War [Blu-ray]

Tagline – They Fought For Their Honor!

Starring – Robert Ryan (Lieutenant Benson), Aldo Ray (Sgt. Joseph R. “Montana” Willomet), Robert Keith (The Colonel), Phillip Pine (Sgt. Riordan), Nehemiah Persoff (Sgt. First Class Nate Lewis), Vic Morrow (Corp. James Zwickley).

Released – March, 1957

Directed By – Anthony Mann

Produced By – Security Pictures

Distributed By – United Artists

Description – Korea, September 1950, a platoon from the 24th Infantry Division finds itself isolated and cut off in enemy territory. Radio contact is lost and the men find themselves being killed, almost one-by-one, by enemy snipers.

Lieutenant Benson commands the platoon and is following very vague instructions to get to Hill 465 where he hopes the rest of the Division are located. The men are on foot when a lone jeep approaches being driven by Sgt. Joe ‘Montana’ Willomet. His passenger is a shell-shocked Colonel.

Sgt. Willomet and the Colonel are fleeing the battle of Nakdong River where the Colonel’s men were virtually wiped out. Sgt. Willomet thinks of the Colonel as he would his own father and has no intentions of turning over his jeep to Lt. Benson.

However, Lt. Benson and his men force Sgt. Willomet to turn over the jeep and continue on with them to Hill 465. Battle-hardened Sgt. Willomet proves invaluable to Lt. Benson as he saves them from a captured Korean soldier with a hidden weapon.

The rest of the trip proves to be a long, treacherous journey. When the men finally arrive at Hill 465 they find that it has been captured by Korean soldiers and must try to get it back. The hill will run red with blood before this day is over.

NOTABLE: The Pentagon refused to cooperate with the production of Men in War due to its depiction of a US Army unit without discipline.

Director Anthony Mann made his mark with 1940’s Film’s Noir and early 1950’s Westerns. He used elements of both types of film in the making of Men In War.

 

Body and Soul

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Body and Soul [Blu-ray]

Tagline – The story of a guy that women go for!

Starring – John Garfield (Charlie Davis), Lilli Palmer (Peg Born), Hazel Brooks (Alice), Anne Revere (Anna Davis), William Conrad (Quinn).

Released – November, 1947

Directed By – Robert Rossen

Produced By – Enterprise Productions

Distributed By – United Artists

Description – For middleweight boxing champion Charlie Davis, fighting his way out of the slums was the easy part.

Charlie starts boxing as a kid and he’s pretty good at it. Nothing is easy in Charlie’s neighborhood and making matters worse is tragedy. Charlie’s father is hard-working and dirt poor. He runs a family candy store and becomes the victim of a gangland bombing when a local mobster bombs a speakeasy located next to the store.

Against his mother’s wishes, Charlie decides to become a paid prize fighter. With his best friend “Shorty,” acting as his manager, and small-time fight trainer Quinn in his corner, Charlie works his way up to a title shot.

Charlie’s quick rise has been noticed by a crooked promoter named Roberts who buys his rights and assumes control of his career. It just so happens that Roberts also owns the contract of the current champion and he has his own plans for Charlie.

This new arrangement, and it’s associations with the mob, have an immediate impact on Charlie’s personal life. Charlie has just gotten engaged to girlfriend Peg Born, but his new future prospects, and the promises of Roberts, cause him to cancel the wedding. Peg leaves him, and his mother, now penniless, disowns him. Charlie’s decent is off to a quick start.

But, Charlie is blind to the pain he has caused and has only one thing is sight… to become champion. He believes that as champ he will be able to fix anything that has gone wrong.

Roberts sets Charlie up with a swanky apartment and plenty in cash advances. Charlie falls deeper and deeper into what will be an eventual setup while Roberts gains greater control over him.

Charlie does win the title causing severe injury to the then champ. Best friend Shorty, who has been with Charlie since the beginning, has finally had enough of the whole mob connected and controlled business and ends up both fired… and dead.

The stage is set. Now, Charlie is the champ and there is another up-and-coming fighter looking for his title. Roberts is holding the reins and orders Charlie to throw the fight for a cool $60,000.

NOTABLE: Body and Soul won the Oscar for Best Film Editing, and received nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role (John Garfield), and Best Writing, Original Screenplay.

The innovative camera work in the boxing ring was shot by cinematographer James Wong Howe, who was hand-picked by Garfield for the film. Howe held the camera while on roller skates being pushed around the ring by an assistant.

Many in the cast and crew found themselves victim’s of the House on Un-American Activities Committee. They included writer Abraham Polonsky, actors John Garfield, Ann Revere, Lloyd Gough, Canada Lee, Art Smith, Shimen Ruskin, producer Bob Roberts, and cinematographor Howe.

httpv://youtu.be/_iM8IcR5yR0