Monday, June 05, 2006


Today, Wolcott refers us to a terrific blog called Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. With a name as cool as that you know you've got a good writer on your hands and host Dennis Cozzalio does not disappoint. The occassion of Wolcott's referral is an appreciation of the Walter Matthau thriller, Charley Varrick. I think about 27 people besides me are familiar with this movie - early 70s, attempted robbery of a mob bank and the ensuing cat and mouse game between the cops, the gangsters and Charley Varrick: "Last of the Independents"...

Directed by Don Seigel, the cold heart of film noir slices through the American Southwest heat of the setting. Great stuff. And next to impossible to find a decent print to look at. Turner Classics has a nice widescreen they run once in a blue moon. The DVD is formatted 4x3 which bites. I have a VHS copy I picked up for $1.99 in a Walmart bin couple years back - it's 4x3, recorded at SLP, but the negative is flawless making the tape pretty fair to look at.

Matthau started to deconstruct his Neil Simon comic image with a series of taut thrillers in the early 70s: Charley Varrick, Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3, and The Laughing Policeman in which he spars with Bruce Dern over a mass killing on a city bus.

So check out Dennis Cozzalio's write-up. And check out his whole blog. I've added it to the blogroll already...


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