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Postby RedRiver » July 14th, 2014, 2:28 pm

To me, SEVEN DAYS IN MAY is every bit as good as MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. Better, actually. I like SEANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON. It's quietly disturbing and exceptionally well played. My favorite from your list is the brilliant DR. STRANGELOVE. The best of all the dark comedies.

I have suggested our local theatre group do THE BEST MAN in 2016, say around election time. Only make one of the candidates a woman! I'm not sure it's adaptable. I need to review the play. But it's worth looking into!

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Postby Rita Hayworth » July 14th, 2014, 2:40 pm

kingrat wrote:Top 10 for 1964:

1. ZORBA THE GREEK – Michael Cacoyannis seems to have put everything he knew about filmmaking into this one film. Anthony Quinn’s greatest role. Alan Bates does as well as possible with the role of the dull, repressed outsider who needs to be brought to life by the larger-than-life characters played by Quinn and Lila Kedrova, as well as the beautiful widow (Irene Papas). Some have objected that the life which is affirmed in this film has some pretty dark aspects, but isn’t that the point? To have gorgeously composed shots and motion in the same film is a difficult task which ZORBA, unlike MY FAIR LADY, manages to achieve.
2. ZULU – By all means, see this on the big screen if you get the chance. Can a director who made three films as good as TRY AND GET ME, HELL DRIVERS, and ZULU be totally neglected? If Cy Endfield’s day finally comes, better late than never, the TCM Film Festival will have played a large role in giving his work the attention it deserves. A film which honors equally the intelligence and bravery of both Zulu and British.
3. DR. STRANGELOVE – Peter Sellers at his best, and one of Kubrick’s best.
4. THE PUMPKIN EATER – Harold Pinter’s oblique and time-tricksy script, so fashionable at the time, is the weakness, but Anne Bancroft, director Jack Clayton, and the sublime bright-white cinematography of Oswald Morris make up for it.
5. THE SEVENTH DAWN – Who wants to see a film about post-WWII politics in Malaysia? Not the viewers of 1964, but with the perspective of Vietnam, a story about Communism and colonialism in Malaysia seems more than relevant, with a solid suspense element as well. Capucine’s best work, opposite William Holden and Susannah York. Lewis Gilbert directs capably.
6. SEVEN DAYS IN MAY – If this John Frankenheimer thriller isn’t so brilliant as THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, not many other films are, either. A smart and solid movie.
7. NOTHING BUT THE BEST – It’s been years since I’ve seen this one. Alan Bates is a none too scrupulous working-class youth who seeks riches and power. Denholm Elliott is the posh gent in his way.
8. THE BEST MAN – Gore Vidal’s play makes an effective film, with Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson as the dueling candidates, and Lee Tracy in a juicy role as a former president.
9. THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA – Of all the Tennessee Williams adaptations, this is the one I’d rather see. I particularly like Richard Burton in one of his best roles, Ava Gardner in probably her best late-career part, and Grayson Hall calling “Seducer!”
10. THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN – In a tough choice for #10, I decided some enjoyable musical numbers gave MOLLY the nod.

Best Actor: Anthony Quinn, Zorba the Greek
Best Actress: Anne Bancroft, The Pumpkin Eater
Best Supporting Actor: Lee Tracy, The Best Man
Best Supporting Actress: Grayson Hall, The Night of the Iguana


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Postby ChiO » July 14th, 2014, 3:09 pm

Yes, 1964 was another good year for non-English language films. My five favorites, all of which would have otherwise been in my Top Ten, are: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW (Pasolini), GERTRUD (Dreyer), THE RED DESERT (Antonioni), BEFORE THE REVOLUTION (Bertolucci) and THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (Demy). And a tip of the hat to the last great work of direction by Jacques Tourneur, "Night Call", a Twilight Zone episode. As for the English language movies:


1. DR. STRANGELOVE, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (Stanley Kubrick) - Sterling Hayden, George C. Scott, Slim Pickens and Keenan Wynn steal this from all three Peter Sellers characters (and he's really good). My favorite Comedy and my favorite War movie, and one of my Top Ten movies. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids. And, Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff. It has me laughing to the Apocalypse. Never has nuclear destruction been so hilarious. And it only gets funnier…and realer. God willing, we will prevail, in peace and freedom from fear, and in true health, through the purity and essence of our natural...fluids. God bless you all.

2. THE NAKED KISS (Samuel Fuller) - Who provides the best opening scenes in movies, Welles or Fuller? And this keeps going as Fuller tears the lid off of the hypocrisy stewing underneath respectable society.

3. THE KILLERS (Don Siegel) - I have come to prefer this to the Siodmak version. Lee Marvin is mesmerizing. And somehow Clu Gulager, John Cassavetes, Angie Dickinson, Ronald Reagan and Norman Fell manage to keep up.

4. THE PAWNBROKER (Sidney Lumet) - Plus Boris Kaufman cinematography, Quincy Jones music and Rod Steiger at his finest.

5. A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (Richard Lester) – Four young guys. Long hair. They play instruments and sing. They’re also funny. Kinetic energy in that ‘60s style. So, does it hold up as a movie? Absolutely! Lester may not have invented the techniques he used, but he put them together in an innovative fashion that is still stunning. Oh, and the songs are still really, really good.

6. SPIDER BABY (Jack Hill) - Unlike Coppola, Scorsese, Bogdanovich, Demme and many other graduates of the Corman Film School, Hill stayed true to his roots. Filmed in 1964, it was released in 1968 (okay, I'm cheating)…and failed. So it goes. A chauffeur takes care of an in-bred demented family that has inherited psychotic traits. Seduction, murder and cannibalism. One admiring writer called it “a television sitcom directed by Bunuel.” That’s the spirit! Tasteless? A gem!

7. SCORPIO RISING (Kenneth Anger) - Hypnotic. Frightening. Dazzling.

8. ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO (Larry Peerce) - A Social Issue movie that Stanley Kramer could only dream of making. Peerce's first movie as a director, and the second movie produced by Sam Weston (nee Weinstein), brother of Jack Weston. Sam Weston later changed his name again to Anthony Spinelli and became a prolific director of pornography. So it goes.

9. THE T.A.M.I. SHOW (Steve Binder) - Jan & Dean host a rock 'n' roll concert. Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, Gerry & the Pacemakers, The Rolling Stones and more appear. But it can all be summed up in two words: (1) James (2) Brown. Rock documentaries start here.

10. THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (Roger Corman) - Corman gets kind of arty, but that's okay. Was it cinematographer Nicholas Roeg?
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Postby kingrat » July 18th, 2014, 4:23 pm

The foreign contingent has the admirable SIMON OF THE DESERT and RED BEARD, but you can probably guess which movie a guy who writes under the name of kingrat is going to pick as the top film of the year. 1965 has the most famous and popular movie I’ve never seen—that would be THE SOUND OF MUSIC, and I do like Julie Andrews and Alps and Salzburg, even if this isn’t one of the best Rodgers and Hammerstein scores.

Oscar’s top three faves—THE SOUND OF MUSIC, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, and DARLING—all have their detractors as well as their admirers. In fact, there's currently a thread for Zhivago h8ers at TCM City. Some people have confessed to having difficulty finding ten top films this year, although I think some of the better movies just aren’t well enough known. The two best films are set in prison camps, and no one has a prayer of getting out of either one before the war’s over, which hurt the popularity of both. By the way, THE TRAIN was shown in France in 1964, but not in the United States until 1965, so that’s why it’s on this year’s list.

A movie I’d like to see from this year is SANDS OF THE KALAHARI, Cy Endfield’s follow-up to ZULU. Unfortunately, its financial failure wrecked his career.

The best individual scene from this year may be the opening of RETURN FROM THE ASHES. Ghislain Cloquet’s cinematography for MICKEY ONE is great, though otherwise MICKEY doesn’t take me by the heart when it takes me by the hand. I just noticed that the top seven picks below are all in black and white.

Top 10 for 1965:

1. KING RAT – A great script which improves on James Clavell’s novel, a superb cast, solid direction by Bryan Forbes. The social order gets turned upside down in a Japanese prison camp where the streetwise Corporal King (George Segal) becomes King Rat.
2. THE HILL – A British prison in North Africa for British military prisoners. Sean Connery (who proved that he could do some serious acting) plays the prisoner who provides a challenge for the sadistic Ian Hendry. Great supporting cast includes Harry Andrews and Ossie Davis. Sidney Lumet’s direction varies greatly in quality from film to film, but this is top drawer. Oswald Morris as cinematographer is, as usual, an enormous plus.
3. THE TRAIN – Frankenheimer in top form again. How can Burt Lancaster prevent a trainload of stolen art from going to Nazi Germany and still preserve the paintings? By the way, this is generally considered the last major action film in black and white.
4. MIRAGE – Edward Dmytryk’s stylish thriller introduced quick, partial flashbacks, a technique now used by everyone. Gregory Peck, Diane Baker, Walter Matthau and Jack Weston head the cast. There aren’t many 1960s examples of true film noir, but this is one.
5. THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD – John le Carre’s huge bestseller, which found ambiguities in the Cold War, was turned into an equally good film. Richard Burton at his best, with Claire Bloom and Oskar Werner in support. One of Martin Ritt’s best films.
6. A PATCH OF BLUE – Unfortunately, Elizabeth Hartman did not go on to have a big career, but her performance as a blind girl is very believable. Sidney Poitier is, as usual, excellent. Guy Green keeps the film focused on these specific characters, and that’s why it holds up so well.
7. DARLING – The first film which has 2014 attitudes about homosexuality, simply taking it for granted. Can’t be bettered as a study of what adultery does to an adulterer (Dirk Bogarde, who is great). Giving up wife and family for Julie Christie is completely believable.
8. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO – One of the great romantic films. Did I mention that I love Julie Christie? She and Omar Sharif are a gorgeous couple. Lots of good supporting actors, many fine touches by David Lean.
9. OTHELLO – Only a filmed play, but it’s good to have a record of Olivier’s Othello—a remarkable piece of acting, if not quite the Othello of my imagination. Frank Finlay’s Iago and Maggie Smith’s Desdemona are close to definitive.
10. THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX – I thought this spot would go to THE COLLECTOR or REPULSION, but I can’t honestly say that I want to see either of those films again, well-directed though they are. Hardy Kruger steals THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX as the man no one trusts, but they all must rely on him to repair their plane.

Honorable mention: The Collector, Repulsion, Return from the Ashes, The Loved One

Best Actor: James Fox (King Rat) with honorable mention to George Segal (King Rat), Dirk Bogarde (Darling), Richard Burton (The Spy Who Came In From the Cold), and Terence Stamp (The Collector)
Best Actress: Elizabeth Hartman (A Patch of Blue) or Maggie Smith (Othello)
Best Supporting Actor: Harry Andrews (The Hill), Ossie Davis (The Hill), or Frank Finlay (Othello)
Best Supporting Actress: Martita Hunt (Bunny Lake Is Missing), Maggie Smith (Young Cassidy), or Flora Robson (Young Cassidy)

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Postby RedRiver » July 18th, 2014, 9:54 pm

You have an espionage theme going, King Rat! In 1965, that was easy to get sucked into. John LeCarre, Frankenheimer, MIRAGE. Your quandary for Best Actress is understandable. Elizabeth Hartman is real and touching in PATCH OF BLUE. Maggie Smith is splendid in everything. OTHELLO must have played in my town a couple of years later. I saw it at a theater that opened in 1967! Even then, I was too young for Shakespeare. I've since become an admirer of that wicked play.

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Postby Vienna » July 19th, 2014, 1:57 am

CineMaven, just got round to reading your wonderful post of 8 July.
Surely one of the best I have ever read on any site.
Congratulations and thank you.

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Postby movieman1957 » July 19th, 2014, 9:24 am

Finally, a list where I have seen them all.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Postby ChiO » July 20th, 2014, 8:46 am

Another stellar year for non-English language films. SIMON OF THE DESERT, THE SHOP ON MAIN STREET,THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, JULIET OF THE SPIRITS, RED BEARD, VAGHE STELLE DELL'ORSA (aka SANDRA) and three by Godard - ALPHAVILLE, MASCULINE FEMININE & PIERROT LE FOU - would be contenders in any year. I was actually surprised at how many English language films I liked from 1965.


1. CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (Orson Welles) - Shakespeare + Welles = Brilliance. Dramatic, violent and comic as Welles creates a new work adapted from The Bard.

2. BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING (Otto Preminger) - It always engages me. Seemingly one of Preminger's more maligned movies, I find it one of his best.

3. BRAINSTORM (William Conrad) - Genius is madness.

4. FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (Russ Meyer) - Cinematography and Tura Satana. Don't race with women in the desert. They might kill you.

5. DOCTOR ZHIVAG0 (David Lean) - Yes, it’s more bloated than a Russian novel. Omar Sharif: Handsome, but a stiff, passionless performance. Julie Christie: Beautiful, but a stiff, passionless performance. Geraldine Chaplin and Rita Tushingham: Even worse. Sir Ralph Richardson & Sir Alec Guinness: Wasted performances. Theme song: Unctous. So why include this here? Cinematography and set design: Beautiful, and that scene of the snow covered interior at the rural home is still one of the most stunning I’ve ever seen. Tom Courtenay: Fire and ice – his performance still moves me. Rod Steiger: I love the big lug in everything, always have and always will, and this performance is one of my many favorites. The last line: Ah... then it's a gift. It has me blubbering every time. But what (along with Steiger) was seared deepest into my brain at the first viewing in March 1966 and continues today: Klaus Kinski – the most dangerous man ever to act (or not act) in movies. The face is everything. A genius and a fool…always at the same time. One scene. That’s all it takes. I am the only free man on this train! And the rest of you are CATTLE! I’m not certain that he was acting.

6.WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR? (Joseph Cates) - Ten years after REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, Sal Mineo has graduated from disturbed teenager to very disturbed young man - a sexual obsessive, obscene caller and stalker of Juliet Prowse. This is preparing the audience for TAXI DRIVER.

7. MICKEY ONE (Arthur Penn) - Comic noir.

8. ANGEL'S FLIGHT (Raymond Nassour & Kenneth W. Richardson) - Bunker Hill. Sleazy. Film noir.

9. THE LOVED ONE (Tony Richardson) - Richardson directing an Evelyn Waugh novel adapted by Terry Southern and Christopher Isherwood. It could be outrageous. And make it Rod Steiger's second appearance in my 1965 Top Ten - from Komarovsky to Mr. Joyboy. What an actor!

10. THE MONEY TRAP (Burt Kennedy) - Bad cops. Glenn Ford. Rita Hayworth. The sixth film noir on this list. I thought it was over by 1959.

Best Movie Title of 1965 (or any year): BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL (Doris Wishman) - What if your aunt directed nudie movies? This is so, so - well - lacking anything close to traditional production values that it is downright avant-garde. Magnifique! Thank goodness for Something Weird Video and its efforts to save the outre.
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Postby RedRiver » July 20th, 2014, 3:21 pm


But they have a lot of fun getting there!

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Postby kingrat » July 23rd, 2014, 1:04 pm

With 1966 this survey of classic era Hollywood comes to a close. I have thoroughly enjoyed putting together these lists for 1940-1966 and have learned a lot along the way, acquiring some recommendations for further investigations as well.

Actors, writers, and directors chafed at the power of the studios and wished they could be independent. What if the constraints on sex, language, and violence were removed, too? Be careful what you wish for because you might get it.

1966 was not a great year, and I had some difficulty filling out the top ten. THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, PERSONA, and CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS (all 1966 per imdb) would have claimed positions if foreign films had been eligible.

Top 10 for 1966:

1. SECONDS – Brilliant direction even by John Frankenheimer’s standards. Rock Hudson has his most challenging role. Excellent supporting cast, James Wong Howe as cinematographer.
2. WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? – One of the best translations of play to film ever, thanks to Haskell Wexler and Mike Nichols. Although the women won the Oscars, Richard Burton and George Segal are the ones who impress me the most.
3. BLOW-UP – Some of BLOW-UP has dated very badly—the scene at the Yardbirds’ performance, for instance. Antonioni’s eye saves much of it, and the sequence where David Hemmings develops the film and discovers the dead body holds up very well. In a better year, though, BLOW-UP would be fighting for one of the last spots in the top ten. I no longer share my youthful enthusiasm for it, but that youthful enthusiasm pushed me to see many other films.
4. ALFIE – In some ways, ALFIE holds up better than BLOW-UP because it’s less dependent on the “Swinging London” scene. No wonder this made Michael Caine a star.
5. GAMBIT – Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine make a charming pair in this clever confection.
6. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM – Even Richard Lester’s distracting direction and the chauvinist piggy set-up can’t dim the comedy of Zero Mostel, Michael Hordern, and Jack Gilford.
7. THE PROFESSIONALS – None of the earlier Richard Brooks films I’ve seen have this much visual flair. A solid western with a strong cast. Sign of the changing times: Burt Lancaster has fourth billing, below even Robert Ryan.
8. A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS – It’s a great pleasure to hear every syllable of Paul Scofield’s performance, which is only one of the strengths of the film.
9. GEORGY GIRL – Lynn Redgrave’s charming performance makes this one work, along with the cheerful title song.
10. THE WRONG BOX – If you can accept the archness of the style, an amusing comedy.

Best Actor: Richard Burton (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), Michael Caine (Alfie), or Paul Scofield (A Man for All Seasons)
Best Actress: Lynn Redgrave, Georgy Girl
Best Supporting Actor: George Segal, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Supporting Actress: Vivien Merchant (Alfie) or Frances Reid (Seconds)

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Postby RedRiver » July 23rd, 2014, 9:43 pm

With 1966 this survey of classic era Hollywood comes to a close

Yes it does. A lot changed the following year. Inevitably, and rightly, it's changing still.

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? – One of the best translations of play to film ever

As evidenced by your ranking it ahead of A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS! I agree with your choice. Although the women won the Oscars, Richard Burton and George Segal are the ones who impress me the most. I'm kind of the opposite. I like hyper-neurotic Sandy Dennis! Best thing she's done, by far.

I've been told THE WRONG BOX is painfully funny. Never seen it.

So long, Classic Era! Thanks for the immeasurable hours of entertainment.

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Postby Lucky Vassall » July 24th, 2014, 4:18 pm

Sorry to see this wonderful listing of the great films come to an end, but I can certainly see why.

At least it all now exists in this thread, and we can go back to explore some of the ones we might have missed. Thank you, most sincerely for making this possible.

Agree that "Woolf" was the best transfer. As to "A Man for All Seasons," I saw the Broadway original, and while Scofield's performance was outstanding, I have to report that the film showed no relation whatsoever to the play. Making Scofield's Thomas Moore the most important actor instead of George Rose's "Common Man" (think the Stage Manager in "Our Town") and playing the ending straight made for a very different but moving conclusion.
AVATAR: Billy DeWolfe as Mrs. Murgatroid, “Blue Skies” (1946)

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“You’re lucky. Now they have immigration laws."

Mae West, The Heat’s On” (1943)


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Postby ChiO » July 24th, 2014, 7:38 pm

With 1966, I find it hard to find ten English language films of those I've seen to rave about (other than the first two on my list). Five non-English language films that would otherwise be among my ten favorites would be, in order of preference: AU HASARD BALTHASAR (Robert Bresson), ANDREI RUBLEV (Tarkovsky), THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (Gillo Pontecorvo), PERSONA (Ingmar Bergman) and CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS (Jiri Menzel).


1. BLOW-UP (Michelangelo Antonioni) - Antonioni accomplishes a rare feat: making an entertaining mystery that was both commercially popular and an art film.
2. WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (Mike Nichols) - Not bad for a first film from a guy who started out in improvisational comedy in Chicago. Maybe this wasn't that far removed. Haskell Wexler's cinematography was marvelous. And was Burton ever better?
3. SECONDS (John Frankenheimer) - Drama, Horror, Science Fiction, and film noir all in one package.
4. THE PROFESSIONALS (Richard Brooks) - Even though it has a cast for the ages, the star and auteur is Conrad Hall and his cinematography. He does it again, and even better, for Brooks the next year with IN COLD BLOOD.
5. MORGAN! (Karel Reisz) - I haven't seen this in probably over forty years, but I loved it then. Memory can be a tricky thing.
6. HARPER (Jack Smight) - Yes, Virginia, there was film noir in the late-'60s. Conrad Hall's second movie on this list.
7. THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (Sergio Leone) - Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef. Ennio Morricone. And Sergio Leone. That's not marinara on the Spaghetti.
8. THE WILD ANGELS (Roger Corman) - There's nowhere to go. So why did you leave us, Loser?
9. WHAT'S UP, TIGER LILY? (Woody Allen & Senkichi Taniguchi) - The start of a directing career that is still going (that's a reference to Woody). I think this counts as an English language film.
10. THE NAKED PREY (Cornel Wilde) - A bit of a cheat - it was screened at a film festival in 1965, but its general release was in 1966. Thrilling movie.
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Postby RedRiver » July 24th, 2014, 9:51 pm

I don't get an improv feel from anything by Albee. Like David Mamet and Neil Simon, the words and the rhythm are SO precisely structured; the timing hair-trigger perfect. Some filmmakers do remind me of spontaneous theatre: Mike Leigh, Jim Jarmusch, Cassavetes, of course. I'm willing to bet those directors keep their actors on a long, flexible leash!

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Postby ChiO » July 25th, 2014, 9:18 am


Watching WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, I get a sense that it is real - not "realistic", which conveys to me that the actors are trying to portray "real", but that it truly is real. And "real" gives me a sense of improvisation - not that there isn't a script to be followed, but, again, that those characters would say those words immediately, without premeditation, kinda like most of life. And, on top of that, despite the psychic pain, turmoil and sadism (or maybe because of that), I find it perversely comic at times. Ergo (in my insular world), I don't find Nichol's direction here (obviously aided by four stellar performances, Albee's words and Wexler's cinematography) to be conceptually that far removed from his earlier improvisational comedy performances.

Or maybe not.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

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