Directed by Robert Wise
Starring Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Shelley Winters, Ed Begley, Gloria Grahame
Greed, lust, corruption, murder — film noir can pack about every sin, vice and crime you can think of into about 90 minutes of goodness. That’s why I love em so much. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) goes a step further and stirs in a big fat helping of hatred. You could easily say it’s a movie about racism, but it goes deeper than that. Robert Ryan’s character just plain hates — everybody. He’s a guy with absolutely zero to recommend him. Where did such a kind-hearted (by all accounts) man go to dredge up all this nasty stuff?
A couple of despicable crooks (ex-con Ryan, ex-cop Ed Begley) bring a black man (Harry Belafonte) in on their bank job. Everything goes to hell, as it always does in these kinds of things, and we get to watch. It’s a gritty, tough and terrific picture — and it packs quite a wallop. Robert Wise did this before directing West Side Story (1961). And while in some ways the two movies couldn’t be more different, they both give us a look at what kind of damage hate can do. It was Wise’s last film in black and white.
The score by John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet is terrific, and the album of the MJQ performing it (Music From Odds Against Tomorrow) is unbelievably cool. The actual film score was also released.
Olive Films is bringing this out on both DVD and Blu-Ray in May. I’m on a bit of a crime picture/noir binge right now, spurred by the incredible Shield For Murder (1954), so I’m really stoked to learn this is on the way. Highly, highly recommended.
This is a movie blog, so we’ll pay tribute to those who fought on the beaches of Normandy via color stills from The Longest Day (1962, which is in glorious black and white CinemaScope), itself a tribute to the many sacrifices that helped push World War II toward its end.
Here’s the crew hard at work recreating the events of June 6, 1944.
Richard Burton (as Officer David Campbell) and Richard Beymer (as Private Dutch Schultz). Burton took time off from Cleopatra (1963) to shoot his scenes. Cleopatra was bleeding 20th Century-Fox dry at the time, which had a huge (negative) impact on Darryl Zanuck’s budget for The Longest Day.
Robert Mitchum as Brigadier General Norman Cota.
Richard Todd as Major John Howard. Todd’s voice is one of God’s great gifts to mankind — I would listen to him (or Richard Burton, for that matter) read the phone book.
John Wayne as Lt. Colonel Benjamin Vandervoort.
From the Army’s website: “The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.”
To quote John Wayne in an entirely different movie (John Ford’s She Wore A Yellow Ribbon): “Lest we forget.”
Directed by Nicholas Ray
Starring Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond, Charles Kemper, Frank Ferguson, Olive Carey
Seems like every day, another great movie’s being announced for DVD or Blu-ray. We’re on a real hot streak here, folks.
On Dangerous Ground (1952) is a great Nicholas Ray movie that hasn’t gotten its due. I know that’s kinda like saying that water is wet. Warner Archive has announced it for an upcoming Blu-Ray release.
In a way, it’s two movies in one. The first half concerns Robert Ryan’s burned-out New York detective at the end of his rope, then it shifts gears as he’s sent to the country to investigate a murder. There, he falls in love with the killer’s blind sister (Ida Lupino). In less capable hands, such a story could’ve been laughable, but Ray and his cast pull it off with ease. Everybody in it’s terrific.
I saw a 35mm print of this a couple years ago, and George E. Diskant’s cinematography really knocked me out. This one’s essential, folks.