Moviedrome Mondays: To Sleep with Anger (1990) and Contempt (1963)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry consists of an American film by an African-American director and a foreign film courtesy of a French filmmaker.

To Sleep with Anger (1990)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to underrated African-American director Charles Burnett’s 1990 comedy-drama To Sleep with Anger. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 14, 1994 (read here). While I have a considerable number of favorite Cox’s intros, this one for To Sleep with Anger tops them all as my number one favorite. Love his insights as always. As for myself, To Sleep with Anger is gracefully acted, directed, photographed and written. Not unlike the rest of Charles Burnett’s work, what makes To Sleep with Anger so unique (as other devotees of this film have implied) lies less in their plots and more in how they are presented. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Charles Burnett films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to To Sleep with Anger

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

Here is a youtube video link to cinematographer/director/writer Ernest Dickerson’s Trailers from Hell commentary for the film

Contempt (1963)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to master French New Wave veteran filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 foreign classic Contempt. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 15, 1994 (read here). Not much to add here except to say that Cox offers another eloquent introduction. Cox’s analysis on GATT (General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade) was particularly insightful. As for Contempt itself, it undoubtedly ranks as one of my many favorite Jean-Luc Godard films. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Jean-Luc Godard films (read here).

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

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

Here is a youtube video link to British film critic Mark Kermode’s commentary on Contempt as his BFI Player choice of the week

11 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: To Sleep with Anger (1990) and Contempt (1963)

  1. I haven’t seen To Sleep With Anger so I can’t say anything about that. Le Mepris is a good film though. The only Godard films I’ve seen are this and Breathless. This is obviously one of his better films. It’s well directed and very beautifully photographed. The script is good, as is the acting particularly by Jack Palance and the gorgeous Brigitte Bardot. Having a half hour sequence set in one apartment is daring and it was done well in the film, although Rope (just seen on Moviedrome) went one better. The music from the film is beautiful but it gets repeated endlessly throughout the film. So much so that it’s totally stuck in your brain when the film is over.
    You could say it’s repeated a ridiculous amount. Overall Le Mepris is a good film. Alex’s intro is great too.

    As a lover of Italy this film appeals to me. The scenes filmed on the beautiful island of Capri are gorgeous and visually stunning. Incredible locations in those scenes with the picturesque island and the gorgeous blue sea water. I’ve been on Capri twice and I love it. I was there two weeks ago infact. I had this year’s Avanti! vacation and it was delightful. I was in Sorrento. On the boat trip around Capri I saw the villa from Le Mepris. It’s called Casa Malaparte. I also really like the scenes filmed at Cinecitta Studios in Rome.

    Also John, have you watched any more of the polizziotteschis I recommended. If so, any thoughts?

  2. To Sleep with Anger is an excellent film. I saw it for the first time not too long ago. It’s one of those movies that I heard about back in the day, but never got around to seeing and then forgot about it. Well, it’s a very underappreciated film. I watched it and I wasn’t quite sure exactly what I had seen. But I liked it. So I watched it again and understood it a bit better…I think. It’s very existential. Charles Burnett is definitely ahead of his time. I liked The Glass Shield too, a lot.
    I haven’t seen Contempt. I love Breathless, though.
    –Pam

  3. I think you will love To Sleep with Anger, but check out for yourself 🙂 As for Contempt, I love every single minute of the film – I love every single film that Jean-Luc Godard has made and Contempt ranks fairly high in my ranking 🙂 The acting is fantastic by everybody involved as you so eloquently state and yes, Brigitte Bardot is truly gorgeous 🙂 What did you think of Fritz Lang playing himself here? 🙂 Ironic that he is in a film shot in cinemascope when you take into account that comment he made about it along the lines of “cinemascope is not for men, but for snakes and funerals” 🙂 As for the music, it is beautiful and the strangest thing about it is I should be put-off by it’s repetition, but weirdly enough, it casts a spell on this viewer, but I can’t put my finger on it as to why 🙂 Contempt is a great film and I love Cox’s intro too 🙂

    I am aware that you are a lover of Italy 🙂 I too am fascinated by the place despite never visiting there -though I would love to one day 🙂 I have watched travel documentaries and films shot in Capri and I could not have summed up the words better than you have here with “gorgeous” and “visually stunning” 🙂 It truly is a beautiful island and I bet the ocean is gorgeous as well 🙂 I am so glad that you love Capri and that is awesome that you got to visit the place twice 🙂 It must be a joy to roam around and look at everything there 🙂 And thanks for briefly bringing up Avanti! 🙂 As you know already, it is my number one favorite Billy Wilder film and Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills are perfectly casted 🙂 I bet everything about your vacation in Italy was delightful 🙂 And wow, you got to see the villa from Le Mepris (i.e. Contempt) and the sequences shot at the iconic Cinecitta Studios in Rome 🙂 I had no idea the villa was called Case Malaparte – that is intriguing 🙂

    I got around to watching For a Tough Cop and it is another polizziotteschi classic 🙂 Tomas Milian and Henry Silva electrify as always and Umberto Lenzi directs with his usual true grit 🙂

  4. Glad that you loved To Sleep with Anger Pam 🙂 Did you first watch it on Blu-Ray/DVD via the Criterion Collection? I ask because it is available on the Criterion Collection 🙂 Not only is this film truly under appreciated, but so is it’s director/writer Charles Burnett. HIs style reminds me of that of independent filmmaker John Cassavetes 🙂 I also saw The Glass Shield and that is a great one too 🙂 As for Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt, If you loved Breathless, you will truly love Contempt 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  5. High praise for Cox’s intro for To Sleep With Anger, I really must make time to see this film again. Interesting trivia regarding the BBC’s Moviedrome guides too, as the Tumblr site you link too points out, To Sleep With Anger is printed in “The Guide 2” so it must have been scheduled to be shown and then pulled for some reason.

  6. Yeah I wonder as to why it was not shown as part of it’s 1993 season? 🙂 Either way, To Sleep with Anger is a film that should leave you intrigued not so much by it’s narrative as much as how it’s story is told 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  7. Fritz Lang was very good in Le Mepris too and that quote of his is funny.

    I’m pleased you liked Tough Cop. It is a great film. I agree with everything you said about it. It’s getting a UK release later this year and I will be getting it.

  8. I would also add that Savage Three with Joe Dallesandro just got a release by Arrow Video in a box set of poliziotteschi films with four other films which is brilliant. This release also has an interview with Joe which is really cool. The box set is called Years of Lead.

  9. I will be on the lookout for that Years of Lead box set, that is of course If it gets a US Blu-Ray/DVD release here and If it does, I will not only watch all of the films, but I will also check out that Joe Dallesandro interview because as you have said frequently, he is just so fascinating to listen to 🙂 One thing I hope one of these films includes in their special features one day is that Eurocrime documentary that we love so much 🙂

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