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Showing posts from September, 2015

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #147: Notorious

Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1946) has many of the master director’s signature elements: spies, lies, a handsome leading man, a domineering mother, and of course a MacGuffin. As it is set after World War II the villains are logically former Nazis, but the plot is so tense in many scenes that it remains an effective thriller to this day. It also bears a huge influence on John Woo’s Mission Impossible 2, which retains plot elements and similar dialogue, but of course has more explosions than all of Hitchcock’s films put together.
Notorious is so well-made it can be studies in film classes, which is exactly what I did while taking a course on Hollywood Cinema 1930-1960 during the summer of 2009 at the University of British Columbia. As this is Hitchcock we are talking about here, there are subtler things to analyze than explosions in Notorious, no offense to the skills of Mr. John Woo. Famously there is a kissing scene between stars Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman that seemingly lasts two…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #150: The French Connection

For a realistic look at police work in the United States nowadays you should look no further than HBO’s The Wire. In the 1970’s TV was not what it is today and movies was where directors like William Friedkin got to show the state of the never-ending war on drugs. In The French Connection (1971) Friedkin illustrates what life is for two hard working narcotics detective trying to take down a major drug operation that reaches all the way to southern France. It offers a realistic look at a very difficult investigation, but it also has one hell of a car chase.

The car chase was major reason why I decide to add The French Connection to my ever-growing collection of movies when I spotted it at HMV about ten years ago. Plus, it was one of those two for $20 deals so why not get a classic? Having grown up in the 90s my idea of a cop movie was the Lethal Weapon series in which for every interrogation there are five shootouts and as many car chases. Consequently I found Friedkin’s movie to be a b…