Archive | October, 2012

Don Siegel Centennial

26 Oct

Don Siegel would have turned 100 today, October 26, 2012. He’s a film director who has 49 directing credits on IMDB, 36 of them feature-length films, and is probably best known for INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) and DIRTY HARRY (1971), his two most talked-about films and, arguably, his two best. He happens to be one of the very first directors I began following as a budding film buff in high school, when I saw COOGAN’S BLUFF as a sophomore and, a year-and-a-half later in my senior year, TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA. Then I saw THE BEGUILED and DIRTY HARRY in my freshman year of college and recognized how well Siegel and the star of all four of these films, Clint Eastwood, worked together. This was even before my grounding in the auteur theory, which happened a little later and led me to seek out Siegel’s earlier films on TV and in revival theaters. These included THE BIG STEAL, THE DUEL AT SILVER CREEK, RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11, THE LINEUP, FLAMING STAR, HELL IS FOR HEROES, THE KILLERS, and MADIGAN, which I had missed in theaters in 1968. At some point during all of this, I learned that Siegel had directed INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, which I’d seen at a film screening (on 16mm) at a youth program in church when I was about 12 or 13 and had liked very much.

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The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara

7 Oct

I’d never heard of the Japanese director Koreyoshi Kurahara until I saw the film I AM WAITING (1957), included in Criterion’s Eclipse Series 17 box set, “Nikkatsu Noir,” a collection of five black-and-white crime films released by Japan’s maverick Nikkatsu studio. The film is a low-key crime drama that recalls some of the quintessential examples of late 1940s Hollywood film noir in the way a working man’s involvement with a woman with shady connections gets him embroiled in a confrontation with underworld characters and a murder investigation. (I’m thinking of films like CRISS CROSS, 1949, and DEAD RECKONING, 1947.) 

Yujiro Ishihara, Mie Kitahara in I AM WAITING

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