EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|MADE IN USA (director/writer: Jean-Luc Godard; screenwriter: from the novel The Juggler by Donald E. Westlake; cinematographer: Raoul Coutard; editors: Agnès Guillemot/Françoise Collin; cast: Anna Karina (Paula Nelson), Laszlo Szabo (Richard Widmark), Jean-Pierre Leaud (Donald Siegel), Marianne Faithfull (as herself), Yves Afonso (David Goodis), Ernest Menzer (Edgar Typhus), (Doris Mizoguchi); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Georges de Beauregard; Criterion Collection, The; 1966-France-in French with English subtitles)|
|"This is Godard redefining image in his
uniquely cheeky spontaneous pop art style."
French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard
Outsiders") pays homage in a
tongue-and-cheek way to
Howard Hawk's The Big Sleep (1946) with Bogie, as he honors the
Hollywood film noir classic by breaking all the rules of the way
Hollywood films. Godard drops Hollywood celebrated names like
Richard Widmark, Donald Siegal, Robert Aldrich, and Otto Preminger.
Inspired by the novel The Juggler by Donald E. Westlake, Godard loosely
follows that story.
narrative that follows the mystery of the murder of a
young woman's lover and films its violence as cartoonish Disney-like
acts. It offers odd anti-capitalist philosophizing (such as
"advertising is a form of fascism"); political comments (it makes
references to the Ben Barka and Kennedy assassinations); out of the
blue Marianne Faithfull croons in a cafe "As Tears Go By"; and pop art
freely appear throughout, that are unrelated to the story.
This is Godard redefining image in his uniquely cheeky spontaneous pop art style. Don't expect it to be understood in a conventional sense. It's a good example of the director at the height of his power, who takes postmodernism in ways that will be defined as “Godardian.”
Leftist writer and a private investigator
(ala Bogart), Paula Nelson (Anna
Karina, soon-to-be ex-wife of Godard), leaves Paris for Atlantic City, France,
to investigate the death of her
former colleague and lover, Richard P., to an assassination involving
political intrigue (this murky explanation never gets any clearer).
Paula checks into a cheap hotel and wonders where to start her
investigation. When the irritating dwarfish informer Edgar Typhus (Ernest Menzer)
comes to her hotel room, she kills him and states "Now, fiction
overtakes reality." Soon the corpses mount up and Paula delivers the
movie's most memorables line—"We were in a political movie. . . . Walt
Godard's plot manages to be even more impenetrable than Hawk's. It's a film with
brilliant colors and framed as if Karina was a model in a fashion show,
showing off a different beautiful dress in every frame.
Godard shot this film in the morning while
also shooting the film "Two or Three Things I Know About Her" after
lunch. Like most films of Godard's at the time it's playful, political,
provocative. He's a filmmaker for those who value freewheeling personal
films and can share
of cinematic technique as being somehow a positive for movie lovers.
The film is dedicated to Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller.
REVIEWED ON 7/6/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ