Moviedrome Mondays: Alphaville (1965)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s intro to legendary French New Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 science-fiction mystery Alphaville. My readers can also read Cox’s transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 30, 1989 (read here). Taking into account Raoul Coutard’s black-and-white cinematography and the image of American actor Eddie Constantine as a trenchcoat-clad detective, Alphaville may also be Godard’s way of paying homage to 1940’s film-noir. As usual, Godard manages to say a lot on many things of the film -socio, political or otherwise. Equally impressive is Godard’s reliance on actual locations, as opposed to building futuristic sets. Since modernistic glass and concrete buildings were new at the time (read here), Godard decided to stick with this. Whether it was due to budgetary restraints or not, he managed to make this viewer feel that it was visually convincing dystopian future. If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Jean-Luc Godard films, read here.

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro of Alphaville

Here is a youtube video link to (what I believe) was the original theatrical trailer for the French market

Here is a youtube link to (what I believe) is a 2014 revival trailer for the American market

Moviedrome Mondays: Ace in the Hole (1951)

Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing legendary director-writer Billy Wilder’s 1951 Film-Noir drama Ace in the Hole, my readers will have to make due with a transcript once again (read here). The episode’s original airdate was July 23, 1989 (read here). When it comes to summing up Wilder career as a whole, I do not know If I can go as far as Cox does here in calling him the cinematic equivalent of Vladimir Nabokov. Cox says that he’s completely cynical, without sentimentality, without remorse, and he’s as great a craftsman with film as Nabokov was with words. – well, that depends on what Wilder film he is talking about. This aspect does apply (at least for me) to three of the four Wilder films he mentioned – Sunset Boulevard, this one and Some Like It Hot, but The Apartment contained some unnecessary sentiment. All that being said, Ace in the Hole is undoubtedly Wilder at his most cynical and I rank it somewhere in the top four of my favorite films from him. Also, when it comes to Cox’s closing paragraph on this film, I could not have said what he said any better (read here). If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Billy Wilder films, read here.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Also, here is a youtube video link to Director/Screenwriter Josh Olson’s Trailers from Hell commentary on the film

Moviedrome Mondays: The Grissom Gang (1971)

Unlike the last few entries, this Moviedrome Monday will not feature a youtube video link to presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to Robert Aldrich’s 1971 period gangster film The Grissom Gang. The reason for this is because I could not find a youtube video link to it, so my readers will have to rely on his transcript (read here). The episode’s original airdate was July 16, 1989 (read here). Although Cox calls the film efficient, he is not as crazy about it when compared to my reaction. Whereas Cox subtly criticizes it’s use of color, for me, Aldrich and screenwriter Leon Griffiths decision to depict the title characters more as caricatures was more than offset by the vibe that it (and in this case a rarity) came off as fascinating. Interesting pieces of trivia: this is the second Aldrich film to premiere on Moviedrome (the first was …All the Marbles – a.k.a. The California Dolls). This is also the second film adaptation of James Hadley Chase’s 1939 novel No Orchids for Miss Blandish – the previous version (a British production btw) came out in 1948 from director St. John Legh Clowes under that aforementioned name. In case you readers missed it, here is a link to my list of my favorite Robert Aldrich films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

 

Moviedrome Mondays: Night of the Comet (1984)

At the end of this blog entry, I will post a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing director Thom Eberhardt’s 1984 low-budget science-fiction horror comedy Night of the Comet. My readers can read Cox’s transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 9, 1989 (read here). While by no means a great or even very good film, Night of the Comet is throughly enjoyable. I do agree with Cox though that it’s attempts at humor backfires. Nevertheless, the film’s two appealing lead heroines (played here by Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney) serve as the glue that holds everything together. For those who have seen this film, try spotting early Cox regular Dick Rude as a mutant Stock Boy. Of similar interest, film director/writer (not to mention comic book writer) Joss Whedon cited this film as an influence (particularly concerning Maroney’s character) regarding the creation of the Buffy Summers character from his own Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both the 1992 film and the 1997-2003 television series). For more information on this, read this 2003 interview from IGN’s UK site (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Night of the Comet

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer