Moviedrome Mondays: The Hired Hand (1971)

Since I can’t find a video of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing actor Peter Fonda’s 1971 directorial debut The Hired Hand, I have once again relied on a link to Cox’s intro transcript of it via moviedrome.tumblr.com (read here). The episode’s original airdate was July 3, 1988 (read here). Along with director Monte Hellman’s 1966 film The Shooting, The Hired Hand can best be described as an Acid Western (read here). Read the link, but the one thing I can tell you that everybody else familiar with the term has noted is that Acid Westerns are characterized by their dreamlike pacing. Sadly, Cox does not think that The Hired Hand is a classic. The film garnered mixed reviews at the time so it is probably not much of a surprise. Nevertheless, by 2001, it’s critical standing had improved with some critics giving off the vibe that it is a misunderstood masterpiece of the Western genre (read here). Here is Cox, in his own words, about his problems with the film – the camerawork is all bleary and there are long transitions and the people don’t say much. It’s not as good as The Last Movie, it doesn’t have Hopper’s madness or breadth of vision. Once again, read here. Okay, first of all, maybe The Hired Hand was not intended to have The Last Movie’s (directed by Dennis Hopper) madness or breadth of vision. Coincidentally, both films came out in 1971.  For the record, I personally believe that The Last Movie is a bigger achievement by comparison, but The Hired Hand is still brilliant in it’s own ways. I appreciate the film’s bleary cinematography (courtesy of the late great Vilmos Zsigmond); it is not only beautiful, but it is appropriate for the film’s dreamy quality. Same thing goes regarding the film’s long transitions and the limited qualities of it’s characters. To be fair though, Cox did single out actor Warren Oates for praise. According to Cox, If one asked actors Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton and Ed Harris to name the best American actor living or dead it is quite likely that they are not going to say Marlon Brando. They’ll tell you it’s Warren Oates. Read here once again. I too am a huge fan of Oates as an actor. Here are two links below – one for the film’s original theatrical trailer in 1971 and the other for the 2001 Restored Director’s Cut.

Here is the youtube link below for the film’s 1971 original theatrical trailer

 

Here is the youtube link below for the film’s 2001 Restored Director’s Cut trailer

 

 

Moviedrome Mondays: Barbarella (1968)

Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox personally feels that erotic French filmmaker Roger Vadim is not really a good director (read here) in his introduction to the 1968 science-fiction cult classic Barbarella. As one might have guessed, the film is based on Jean-Claude Forest’s comic book series of the same name (read here). The episode’s original airdate was June 26th, 1988 (read here). Anyone interested in reading the episode transcript, you can read it here. Despite having seen only three of Vadim’s films (this one, And God Created Woman and Pretty Maids All in a Row), I personally feel that Cox could potentially be wrong here because I love all three of the aforementioned titles. Nevertheless, Cox is correct when he calls Barbarella entertaining. I also agree with him that the production design and costumes serve as the standout aspects of the film (read here). I also enjoyed lead actress Jane Fonda’s portrayal of the title character. Interesting bit of trivia for my readers, Fonda was also married to director Vadim during this period (read here). For those interested in my favorite films of director Roger Vadim, read here. Also, you readers might be pleased to know, that I found a youtube link of Cox introducing this film on Moviedrome.

Here is the youtube link of Alex Cox’s introducing this film on Moviedrome

Also, here is a youtube link to the US trailer

 

Moviedrome Mondays: The Last Picture Show (1971)

Once again, I could not find a video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing director Peter Bogdanovich’s 1971 classic drama The Last Picture Show, so my readers will have to make due with a link to his transcript (read here). The original airdate of this episode was June 19th, 1988. I wholeheartedly agree with Cox’s intro here especially on what he said about it’s use of black-and-white (which Picture Show was shot in) and how it is still very rarely used. I also agree with Cox’s words of it being about the decline of a small Texas cow town, or, if you like, the decline of the American dream (whatever that is), symbolised by the closing of the last cinema in town. I could not have said it better myself. The acting – especially by Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman – is superb as is Bogdanovich’s direction, he and Larry McMurtry’s screenplay (adapted from the 1966 novel of the same name by the latter) and last, but not least, Robert Surtess black-and-white cinematography that gives it’s 1950’s setting a proper nostalgic tone. If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Peter Bogdanovich films, read here.

Update 06/29/2021: A youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to The Last Picture Show has been found and readers can click here to view it

Here is a youtube link to the film’s original trailer below:

Moviedrome Mondays: Fat City (1972)

Yet again, I could not find a link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing this 1972 classic boxing drama, so my readers will have to read his introduction here. The original airdate of this episode was June 12, 1988. The director of Fat City is John Huston, who has directed such classics as The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre to name just two examples. In case you readers are interested, here is a link to my list of my favorite films by him. Cox is right on just about everything here including the intimacy of it’s drama.

Anyway, here is a youtube link to the trailer below: