Dennis Schwartz'
Short Reviews 
'H'  30


HARD RIDE, THE (director/writer: Burt Topper; cinematographer: Robert Sparks; editor: Kenneth G. Crane; music: Harley Hatcher; cast: Robert Fuller (Phil Duncan), William Bonner (Grady), Larry Eisley (Rice), Phyllis Selznick (Rita), Alfonso Williams (Lenny), Tony Russell (Big Red), Marshall Reed (Father Tom), Biff Elliot (Mike), Sherry Bain (Sheryl); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Charles Hannawalt; American International Pictures; 1971)

This is one of those badly acted message films without a clear message. It's incredible to watch so much anguish over nothing. It is about an ex-marine sergeant (Robert Fuller) whose black buddy, Lenny, got killed in Vietnam and he escorts the body back home. It is requested by his buddy that he contact his white girlfriend Sheryl and a motorcycle gang leader, an Indian called Big Red, and have them ride their motorcycles at his funeral. The ex-sergeant is given his buddy's prized possession, a motorcycle called 'Baby.' The film has more to do with how Lenny's girlfriend handles her reactions to those she thinks are putting her down for being with a black man than it does with the Vietnam War. It features rival motorcycle gangs fighting over the bike and Lenny's girlfriend, with the poor sergeant trapped in a world he doesn't understand. There was also an unreal romance blooming between the always angry Sheryl and the always righteous ex-sergeant. An ugly and outdated film. GRADE: D

HATE FOR HATE (Odio per odio) (director/writer: Domenico Paolella; screenwriters: Bruno Corbucci/Fernando di Leo/Mario Amendola; cinematographer: Alejandro Ulloa; editor: Sergio Mantanani; cast: John Ireland (Cooper), Antonio Sabato (Miguel), Mirko Ellis (Moxon), Gloria Milland (Maria), Nadia Marconi (Cooper's daughter, Juana), Fernando Sancho (Coyote); Runtime: 79; MGM/West Films; 1967-Italy) ... Reviewed on 6/10/2001.

A revenge Spaghetti Western, directed by former film critic Domenico Paolella. He worked as a director in many different types of films, including drama. Ireland robs a bank that has the mysterious Sabato's money in it, and at gunpoint gives him back his money. Ireland's vicious partner during the bank robbery, Ellis, tries to jump him for the bank money and when that fails he double-crosses him and gets him arrested. He also kidnaps Ireland's wife and daughter, making them tell where he hid the bank money. Ireland escapes from prison and goes after Sabato, thinking he kidnapped his wife. But soon learns that it was his ex-partner Ellis. In the climax Ireland and Sabato team up to go after Ellis and his gang. The film was awkward at times. It's a so-so western, though it has plenty of pep to it. GRADE: C

HE WALKED BY NIGHT (director: Alfred Werker--uncredited Anthony Mann; screenwriters: John C. Higgins/Crane Wilbur/from an unpublished story by Crane Wilbur; cinematographer: John Alton; editor: Alfred de Gaetano; music: Leonid Raab; cast: Richard Basehart (Ray Morgan/Roy Martin), Scott Brady (Sgt. Marty Brennan), Roy Roberts (Capt. Breen), Whit Bissell (Reeves), Jack Webb (Lee), Reed Hadley (Narrator); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Kane; Eagle-Lion; 1948)

Anthony Mann took over direction of the film, but did not receive credit for it. A genius electrician, Basehart, turned burglar and cop killer, is hunted down by the L.A. police. The film is shot in semi-documentary style. It was the prototype for the successful "Dragnet" radio and T.V. programs. An absorbing story, even if it lacks character depth. GRADE: A

HEAT (director/writer: Paul Morrissey; screenwriter: from an idea by John Hallowell; cinematographer: Paul Morrissey; editors: Joel Johnson/Lana Jokel; music: John Cale; cast: Joe Dallesandro (Joey Davis), Sylvia Miles (Sally Todd), Andrea Feldman (Jessica Todd), Pat Ast (Lydia), Ray Vestal (Ray), P. J. Lester (Sidney), Harold Childe (Harold), John Hallowell (John), Eric Emerson (Eric), Gary Koznocha (Gary); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Andy Warhol; Paramount Home Video; 1972)

Fame is so hot for these Warhol freaks that they freak out. Sylvia wiggles her ass and goes after the much younger Joe. Joe is an out-of-work ex-child actor. Campy fun for the forlorn. After all: life like art, can't be all that serious! GRADE: B+

HEAT (director/writer/producer: Michael Mann; cinematographer: Dante Spinotti; editors: Pasquale Buba/William Goldenberg/ Dov Hoenig/Tom Rolf; music: Elliot Goldenthal; cast: Robert De Niro (Neil McCauley), Al Pacino (Lt. Vincent Hanna), Val Kilmer (Chris Shiherlis), Jon Voight (Nate), Tom Sizemore (Michael Cheritto), Diane Venora (Justine Hanna), Amy Brenneman (Eady), Wes Studi (Detective Casals), Ted Levine(Bosko), Danny Trejo (Trejo), Kevin Gage (Waingro); Runtime: 188; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Art Linson; Warner Brothers Pictures; 1995)

Pacino is the cop investigating a bloody robbery. De Niro is the crime boss. The angle here is that they both think alike and are interchangeable personalities. There's a crisis in Pacino's life, as he battles marriage problems, cop problems, and internal problems. An ambitious movie that takes chances. Mann ably shoots the mandatory action scenes. GRADE: B +

HEAVEN WITH A GUN (director: Lee Katzin; screenwriter: Richards Carr; cinematographer: Fred J. Koenekamp; editor: Dann Cahn; music: Johnny Mandel; cast: Glenn Ford (Jim Killian/Pastor Jim), Barbara Hershey (Leloopa), Carolyn Jones (Madge McCloud), David Carradine (Coke Beck), John Anderson (Asa Beck); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Frank & Maurice King; MGM;1969)

Routine oater. Ford is the good guy, a gunman turned preacher, who runs into a range war between sheepherders and the cattle baron. Some worthwhile moments, such as the question it poses: Can a man be a gunfighter and a preacher?  Well, Glenn, I don't think so! ... .  GRADE: C

HELL DRIVERS (director/writer: Cy Endfield; screenwriter: John Kruse; cinematographer: Geoffrey Unsworth; editor: John Guthridge; music: Dr. Hubert Clifford; cast: Stanley Baker (Tom Yately), Herbert Lom (Gino), Peggy Cummins (Lucy), Patrick McGoohan (Red), Jill Ireland (Jill), Sean Connery (Tom), William Hartnell (Cartley), Sidney James (Dusty), Gordon Jackson (Scottie), Wilfred Lawson (Ed); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Benjamin S. Fisz; J. Arthur Rank Production; 1957-UK)

An ex-con gets a job for a shady trucking company. He must take heavy loads of gravel over dangerous roads at very fast speeds. This is a B- movie all the way. The story is nonsensical, but it is diverting. Sean Connery has a bit part. GRADE: B

HELL UP IN HARLEM (director/writer/producer: Larry Cohen; cinematographer: Fenton Hamilton; editors: Franco Guerri/Peter Honess; music: Fonce Mizell/Freddie Perren; cast: Fred Williamson (Tommy Gibbs), Julius W. Harris (Papa Gibbs), Gloria Hendry (Helen Bradley), Margaret Avery (Sister Jennifer ), D'Urville Martin (Reverend Rufus), Gerald Gordon (DiAngelo); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; AIP; 1973)

Fred gets pissed at corrupt NYC cops and those Mafia honkies exploiting the black neighborhood. So he shoots 'em, hangs 'em, beats 'em to death. I lost count of how many he killed. Oh, by the way, Fred is the Black Caesar, doing what organized crime does. Hey, he even gives money to the black church just as readily as the Mafia does to their white churches. GRADE: C

HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (director: Alexander Hall; screenwriters: Sidney Buchman/Seton Miller/from the play by Harry Segall/Mr. Segall; cinematographer: Josph Walker; editor: Viola Lawrence; music: Frederick Hollander; cast: Robert Montgomery (Joe Pendleton), Evelyn Keyes (Bette Logan), Claude Rains (Mr. Jordan), James Gleason (Max Corkle), Rita Johnson (Julia Farnsworth), Edward Everett Horton (Messenger 7013), John Emery (Tony Abbott); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Everett J. Riskin; Columbia Pictures; 1941)

A fantasy picture that is quite enjoyable if you can suspend your disbelief for as long as the picture takes. Montgomery is the boxer who goes down in a plane crash and dies when he is, supposedly, fated to live for another 50 years. Mr. Jordan (Rains) is in charge of the affairs of the dead and he takes a special interest in this tale, helping out whenever he can in his own invisible way. Rains seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself in this little romp into the after-world, and his stellar performance bears this out. GRADE: B-

HIGH ANXIETY (director/writer/producer: Mel Brooks; screenwriters: Ron Clark/Rudy de Luca/Barry Levinson; cinematographer: Paul Lohmann; editor: John C. Howard; music: John Morris; cast: Mel Brooks (Richard H. Thorndyke), Madeline Kahn (Victoria Brisbane), Cloris Leachman (Nurse Charlotte Diesel), Harvey Korman (Dr. Charles Montague), Dick Van Patten (Dr. Philip Wentworth), Ron Carey (Brophy), Barry Levinson (Bellboy), Rudy de Luca (Killer), Howard Morris (Professor Lilloman); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: PG; 20th Century Fox; 1977)

Mel steals shamelessly from Hitchcock's major films. This story is about a shrink who works in an institute for the very very nervous. Some sketches are indeed very very funny. Some sketches just stink stink. GRADE: B-

HIGH NOON (director: Fred Zinnemann; screenwriters: Carl Foreman/based on the story "The Tin Star" by John W. Cunningham; cinematographer: Floyd D.Crosby; editors: Elmo Williams/Harry Gerstad; music: Dimitri Tiomkin; cast: Gary Cooper (Marshal Will Kane), Thomas Mitchell (Mayor Jonas Henderson), Lloyd Bridges (Deputy Sheriff Harvey Pell), Katy Jurado (Helen Ramirez), Grace Kelly (Amy (Fowler) Kane), Otto Kruger (Judge Percy Mettrick), Lon Chaney (Martin Howe), Henry Morgan (Sam Fuller), Ian MacDonald (Frank Miller), Lee Van Cleef (Jack Colby), Robert J. Wilke (Pierce), Sheb Wooley (Ben Miller); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Stanley Kramer; United Artists; 1952)

Coop is about to marry and hang up his guns as a law man when he learns that the dangerous gunmen he sent to prison are free, and are coming to get him. Coop is deserted by his Quaker bride (Grace) and all the town's people. This is a Western of mythic proportions, even though its theme has been duplicated so many times before so that it now seems to look trite. A great film. GRADE: A

HIS KIND OF WOMAN (director: John Farrow; screenwriters: Frank Fenton/Jack Leonard/from unpublished story by Gerald Drayson "Star Sapphie"; cinematographer:Harry Wild; editors: Eda Warren/Frederic Knudtson; music Leigh Harline; cast: Robert Mitchum (Dan Milner), Jane Russell (Lenore Brent), Vincent Price (Mark Cardigan), Tim Holt (Bill Lusk), Charles Mcgraw (Thompson), Raymond Burr (Nick Ferraro), Jim Backus (Myron Winton), Majorie Reynolds (Helen Cardigan); Runtime: 118; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Sparks; RKO; 1951)

Mitchum's gambling debts force him into helping exiled criminal Burr return to America. This film is noted for its hilarious dialogue and quality ad libs, such as the scene where Mitchum is ironing his dollar bills. This outstanding film can be viewed as both a comedy and as a noir classic. GRADE: B+

HITCH-HIKER, THE (director/writer: Ida Lupino; screenwriters: from the unpublished story by Daniel Mainwaring/Collier Young/Robert L. Joseph; cinematographer: John Alton; editor: Douglas Stewart; music: Leith Stevens; cast: Edmund O'Brien (Ray Collins), Frank Lovejoy (Gilbert Bowen), William Talman (Emmett Myers), Natividad Vacio (Jose), José Torvay (Capt. Alvarado); Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Collier Young; RKO; 1953)

How many women direct noir films? Well, Ida did. And this one was a honey. It is based on a true story, bewailing the dangers of picking up hitchers and the paranoia of cold war fears of aliens. It uses the desert locales to create an eerie, barren feeling in the pit of your stomach. A psychotic killer hitches a ride and murders his twocaptives, who went on a fishing holiday in Mexico. Tension fills the police chase, as the victims try to make the best of their bad situation. It is resolved with aplomb; a first-rate production. GRADE: A-

HITLER'S MADMAN (director: Douglas Sirk; cast: John Carradine, Patricia Morrison, Alan Curtis, Ralph Morgan, Howard Freeman, Edgar Kennedy; 1942)

The true story of Nazi commander Heydrich who was killed by the Czechs; and, as a result of this assassination, the Czechs were faced with harsh reprisals. A powerhouse of a small film. GRADE: B

HOLLYWOOD OR BUST (director: Frank Tashlin; screenwriter: Erna Lazarus; cinematographer: Daniel L. Fapp; editor: Howard A. Smith; music: Sammy Fain/Paul Webster; cast: Dean Martin (Steve Wiley), Jerry Lewis (Malcolm Smith), Anita Ekberg (Herself), Pat Crowley (Terry), "Slapsie Maxie" Rosenbloom (Bookie Benny), Ben Welden (Boss); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hal B. Wallis; Paramount; 1956)

The final appearance of Dean and Jerry as a team (aw, shucks!). They win a car and are forced by circumstances to become partners. Jerry and his Great Dane take Dean with them to Hollywood to meet Anita, while Dean wants to get away from his gambling debts to mobsters. Better than most Martin & Lewis films (if you get the drift). GRADE: C

HOMICIDE (director/writer: David Mamet; screenwriters: Philip Dalkin/Kim Gyngell/from the novel Suspects by William Caunitz; cinematographer: Roger Deakins; editor: Barbara Tulliver; music: Alaric Jans; cast: Joe Mantegna (Bobby Gold), William H. Macy (Tim Sullivan), Natalija Nogulich (Chava), Ving Rhames (Randolph), Rebecca Pidgeon (Senna), Vincent Guastaferro (Olcott), Lionel Mark Smith (Frank), Jack Wallace (Curren) J. J. Johnston (Deputy Mayor Walker), Paul Butler (Grounder), Colin Stinton (Walter B. Wells), Adolph Mall (Benjamin); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Michael Hausman/Edward R. Pressman; Columbia TriStar; 1991)

Honest cop (Mantegna) is pulled off a major case to be on a routine case of a pawnbroker's murder. With undercurrents developing of anti-Semitism in this crime, Mantegna must delve into his own Jewishness. It could have used more convincing direction for us to believe all the twists and turns in the plot, but this film goes into territory that is provocative and emerges with a compelling story. GRADE: B

HONEYMOON IN VEGAS (director/writer: Andrew Bergman; screenwriter: ; cinematographer: William A. Fraker; editor: Barry Malkin; music: David Newman; cast: Nicolas Cage (Detective Jack Singer), Sarah Jessica Parker (Betsy Nolan/Donna), James Caan (Tommy Korman), Pat Morita (Mahi Mahi), Anne Bancroft (Bea Singer), Peter Boyle (Chief Orman), Seymour Cassel (Tony Cataracts); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Mike Lobell; Columbia Pictures; 1992)

Cage and Sarah are going to be hitched in Vegas, but Cage loses big time to Caan in cards. Caan will accept instead of cash--a weekend in the sack with Cage's would-be bride. It reminds one of those Cary Grant screwball comedy vehicles. And, how can you beat that scene with all those Elvis imitators parachuting into Las Vegas ? GRADE: B-

HONEYMOON KILLERS, THE (director/writer: Leonard Kastle; cinematographer: Oliver Wood; editors: Richard Brophy/Stanley Warnow; music: Gustav Mahler; cast: Shirley Stoler (Martha Beck), Tony Lo Bianco (Raymond Fernandez), Mary Jane Higby (Janet Fay), Doris Roberts (Bunny), Kip McArdle (Delphine Downing), Marilyn Chris (Myrtle Young), Dortha Duckworth (Mother), Barbara Cason (Evelyn Long), Ann Harris (Doris); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Warren Steibel; Criterion Collection; 1970)

A true story of a gigolo and his obese partner, working the lonely heart circuit as a swindler and murderer. Filmed as it should be in black-and-white. A no-holds barred kind of film. The true story ended with the couple in the electric chair. An interesting film, to say the least. GRADE: A

HONEY POT, THE (director/writer/producer: Joseph Mankiewicz; screenwriters: from the play Volpone by Ben Jonson & Frederick Knott /from the book by Thomas Sterling; cinematographer: Gianni Di Venanzo; editor: David Bretherton; music: John Addison; cast: Rex Harrison (Cecil Fox), Susan Hayward (Mrs. Lone-Star Crockett Sheridan), Cliff Robertson (William McFly), Edie Adams (Merle McGill), Capucine (Princess Dominique), Maggie Smith (Sarah Watkins), Adolfo Celi (Rizzi); Runtime: 131; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Charles K. Feldman; Charles K. Feldman; 1967-UK/USA)

A modern millionaire (Harrison) poses as a dying man to three former mistresses to see how they react. This is really a stage production that doesn't work that well as a movie. GRADE: C-

HONKYTONK MAN (director/producer: Clint Eastwood; screenwriter: from the book by Clancy Carlile/Clancy Carlile; cinematographer: Bruce Surtees; editors: Joel Cox/Michael Kelly/Ferris Webster; music: Steve Dorff; cast: Clint Eastwood (Red Stovall), Kyle Eastwood (Whit), John McIntire (Grandpa), Alexa Kenin (Marlene), Verna Bloom (Emmy), Matt Clark (Virgil), Barry Corbin (Arnspriger), Jerry Hardin (Snuffy), Macon McCalma (Dr. Hines), Joe Regalbuto (Henry Axle); Runtime: 122; MPAA Rating: PG; Warner Brothers; 1982)

An untalented country singer takes his show on the road during the Depression. He is dying of consumption. His Mecca is Nashville and when he reaches there, he finds many country legends who make cameo appearances. Clint caught the spirit of a country singer few care to see. Great filmmaking. GRADE: B

HORSE THIEF (director: Tian Zhuangzhuang; screenwriter: Zhang Rui; cinematographer: Zhao Fei/Yong Hou; editor: Jingzhong Li; music: Tian Zhuangzhuang; cast: Tian Zhuangzhuang; cast: Tseshang Rigzin (Norbu), Dan Jiji (Dolma, wife), Jamco Jayang (Tashi, son), Daiba (Granny), Drashi (Grandfather), Gaoba (Nowre); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Tian-Ming Wu; International Film Circuit; 1986-China-n Mandarin with English subtitles)

A film about Tibet must also include the influences of Buddhist life. This is a strange film, indeed, because it is purely a Tibetan experience of how the natives practice their religion and try to exist in the rough terrain. This film is heads and shoulders above the other more serious Tibetan films. GRADE: A

HORSEMAN ON THE ROOF, THE (director/writer: Jean-Paul Rappeneau; screenwriters: Nina Cornpaneez/ Jean-Claude Carriere/from the book by Jean Giono; cinematographer: Thierry Arbogast; editor: Noëlle Boisson; music: Jean-Claude Petit; cast: Juliette Binoche (Pauline de Théris), Olivier Martinez (Angelo), Francois Cluzet (Doctor), Pierre Arditi (Monsieur Peyrolle), Carlo Cecchi (Giuseppe); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: R; producer: René Cleitman; Miramax Zoe; 1995-France-in French with English subtitles)

A dull 19th century adventure story, distinguished by good looking stars and the scenery of the Provence region of France. Martinez is a colonel in the Italian Revolutionary Army. He is being tracked by Austrians as he flees to France. He runs smack into the cholera epidemic. He meets Binoche, who is bravely interested in going across the country to track down her missing husband. The gallant colonel delays his return to Italy to help her. GRADE: C

HOTEL DE LOVE (director/writer: Craig Rosenberg; cinematographer: Stephen Windon; editor: Bill Murphy; music: Brett Rosenberg; cast: Aden Young (Rick Dunne), Saffron Burrows (Melissa), Simon Bossell (Stephen Dunne), Pippa Grandison (Alison), Ray Barrett (Jack), Julia Blake (Edith), Alan Hopgood (Ronnie), Peter O'Brien (Norman); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Michael Lake/David Parker; Artisan Entertainment; 1996-Australia)

Fraternal twins of different natures, seek the same girl in the English hotel they own. They have tackily designed their hotel as an homage to love. The film offers a mixed bag of advice for the lovelorn and sentimentality for the romantically inclined. It makes a mockery of intellectual romances by saying it is a substitute for real romance. GRADE: C-

HOUSE ON TELEGRAPH HILL, THE (director: Robert Wise; screewriters: from the novel The Frightened Child by Dana Lyon/Elick Moll/Feank Partos; cinematographer: Lucien Ballard; editor: Nick DeMaggio; music: Sol Kaplan; cast: Richard Basehart (Alan Spender), Valentina Cortesa (Victoria Kowelska), William Lundigan (Major Marc Bennett), Fay Baker (Margaret); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Bassler; 20th Century-Fox; 1951)

A complex tale, shot noir style, of a woman in a concentration camp who assumes her dead friend's identity so that she can come to America. This film is done in the same style as Gaslight and The Spiral Staircase. GRADE: B

HOW TO LIVE IN THE GERMAN FEDERAL REPUBLIC (director/writer/editor/producer: Harun Farocki; cinematographer: Ingrid Kratisch; editor: Irina Hoppe; Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; Facets Video; 1990-West Germany-in German with English subtitles)

Documentary about training programs in modern Germany. The training programs include the following: children crossing the street, family disputes, demonstrations on dolls for would-be mothers taking care of their babies, testing consumer products, phobias, children being I.Q. tested by using blocks to fit in a hole, a stripper, and an army training drill. It was boring, but might appeal to those who can gather something politically groundbreaking out of this mess. GRADE: D

HUGO POOl (director/writer: Robert Downey; screenwriter: Laura Downey; cinematographer: Joseph Montgomery; editor: Joe D'Augustine; music: Danilo Perez; cast: Patrick Dempsey (Floyd Gaylen), Robert Downey Jr. (Franz Mazur), Richard Lewis (Chic Chicalini), Malcolm McDowell (Henry), Alyssa Milano (Hugo), Cathy Moriarty (Minerva), Sean Penn (Hitchhiker), Patrick Dempsey (Floyd Gaylen); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Barbara Ligeti; Northern Arts Entertainment; 1997)

A screwball comedy, scripted from what seems like outdated "hippie" stuff, from Robert Downey (Putney Swope/Greaser's Palace). Diminutive temptress Hugo Dugay (Alyssa Milano) makes a living cleaning Los Angeles swimming pools. One day she finds herself overwhelmed by the prospect of having to clean 44 pools in a single day. She thereby enlists her dysfunctional, divorced parents to help, her ex-junkie father Henry Dugay (Malcolm) and her compulsive gambling mother Minerva (Cathy). The humor seems forced as her father goes to the Colorado River with drifter Sean Penn (he has purple shoes) to get water for a gangster, Chicalini (Lewis), even though there is a severe drought and he will be subject to a fine. Her mother helps her clean the pools to pay off her bookie debt. The tattooed Hugo, who gets tattooed because she is afraid to have sex and doesn't take drugs and therefore needs to do something, falls in love with Floyd Gaylen (Dempsey). He's in a wheelchair because of Lou Gehrig's disease. This film is a bomb. It has a place reserved in Hollywood for one of the worst films ever. GRADE: D

HUMAN DESIRE (director: Fritz Lang; screenwriters: Alfred Hayes/from the book La Bete Humaine by Emile Zola; cinematographer: Burnett Guffey; editor: William Lyon; music: Daniele Amfitheatrof; cast: Glenn Ford (Jeff Warren), Gloria Grahame (Vicki Buckley), Broderick Crawford (Carl Buckley), Edgar Buchanan (Alec Simmons), Grandon Rhodes (John Owens); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lewis Rachmil; Columbia; 1954)

A lot of the sex was taken out of this steamy story; but, the characters' desperate lives and futile pleasures, and intense jealousy leading to the murder of the railway official wife's lover is accomplished in a noir-style of bleakness and hopelessness. A most interesting film. GRADE: B

HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, THE (director: John McTiernan; screenwriters: from the book The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy/Larry Ferguson/Donald E. Stewart; cinematographer: Jan de Bont; editors: Dennis Virkler/John Wright ; music: Basil Poledouris; cast: Sean Connery (Capt. Marko Ramius), Alex Baldwin (Jack Ryan), Scott Glenn (Capt. Bart Mancuso), Sam Neill (Capt. Vasily Borodin), James Earl Jones (Admiral James Greer), Joss Ackland (Andrei Lysenko), Richard Jordan (Jeffrey Pelt), Peter Firth (Ivan Putin), Tim Curry (Dr. Petrov); Runtime: 135; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Mace Neufeld; Paramount; 1990)

Connery offers a masterful performance as a Russian sub commander in 1984. He might be defecting to the USA on the maiden voyage of  the "Red October," Russia's newest and most technologically advanced sub. It features deadly first strike ability and the ability to remain undetected by sonar. The accuracy of life on the sub and the credibility of the story as depicted, give this film a hard truth of how things get done by those into the nuts-and-bolts of life on a submarine. The only drawback to the film, is that the characters in the story remain insipid. They are drawn from stock characters we must have seen thousands of time before onscreen. GRADE: B

HYPOCRITES, THE (director/writer: Lois Weber; cinematographer: Dal Clawson; cast: Courtenay Foote (Gabriel), Myrtle Stedman (Magdalene), Margaret Edwards (The Naked Truth), Jane Darwell (Madam); Runtime: 60; Kino International; 1915-silent) ... Reviewed on 8/29/2001.

Lois Weber, one of the few pioneer women directors, was the highest paid director at the time of this silent film. She was a devout Christian who made controversial films, tackling the tough social issues of the time. Here she makes a semi-allegorical film about hypocrisy, using the Statue of Truth to stand for the naked truth. The naked woman was what caused the uproar, banning the film in Boston. The story is about a pious priest who is motivated by a love of art, who erects a nude statue in the town square. The locals frown on the statue and stone the priest to death. So much for the truth being naked! Grade: C

HYPOTHESIS OF THE STOLEN PAINTING, THE (HYPOTHESE DU TABLEAU VOLE, L') (director/writer: Raúl Ruiz; screenwriter: from an idea of Pierre Klossowski; cinematographer: Sacha Vierney; editor: Patrice Royer; music: Jorge Arriagada; cast: Jean Rougeul (The Collector); Runtime: 66; MPAA Rating: NR; Coralie Films International; 1978-France-in French with English subtitles)

An intellectual thriller that made an international reputation for its young director. A very fascinating depiction of an art riddle by a collector and the one interviewing him, as they attempt to connect six 19th-century paintings with a common theme running through them. The collector believes these are keys to a larger secret, one related to an historical scandal. This theory presupposes the existence of a seventh painting, the crucial missing link in the chain. The collector believes this painting has been stolen, but the interviewer claims it never existed. Ruiz re-creates each painting with live actors and real locations then views the scenes presenting a visual equivalent to the spoken analysis. GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"