VOD Streaming Movie of the Day : Blake Edward’s Brilliant EXPERIMENT IN TERROR

Glenn Ford and Lee Remick in Experiment in Terror (1962)

Blake Edwards is a name that arguably, if known at all by a modern audience, is known for the PINK PANTHER movies. But true film fans know him as one of the greatest directors of that transitional period between the all powerful studio system and the rise of auteur directors and Independent Film-making.

Cutting his teeth in fast paced, often live television, (his most notable Television work being the excellent and both evocative and ahead of its time PETER GUNN) like his contemporary Don Siegel he brought a frenetic new pace and tempo to film making. Starting with the use of jazz to denote the soundtracks of his film, rather than the more orchestral, staid, European classical influences of earlier films, his films looked to modern composers, most notably Henry Mancini to tell uniquely American tales. Also his use of pacing and editing and shot selection were all revelatory.

And his use of characters of color stands out, one of the earliest directors to use background actors of color in non-stereotypical roles, to show an America peopled with more than just the traditional studio system view of an all white America. Seeing a mixed crowd, or a crowd with people o f color and whites just sharing the same space, as people, while taken for granted today, during the making of this film… it was groundbreaking. And many theaters in the south, the film could not be shown without cuts being done to it.

Anita Loo in Experiment in Terror (1962)

Directors like him, and Don Siegel, and Stanley Kramer and Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Richard Brooks, helped transition a very blinders on/white-washed 1950s America, into the more multicultural 1960s, and they did this through our entertainment, our films and our tv shows.

They, and the actors and editors and writers helped drag a more honest view of the American landscape into the light, a view full of different people and different backgrounds, and different challenges.. Both feeding and being fed by, the civil and human rights battles being fought at home and abroad, their veracity as filmmakers, helped open the door to this concept of film as something progressive and capable of change.

From these new daring Filmmakers like Blake Edwards, we begin to get film-making  that transcends complete artifice, and stereotyping.

We get the French New Wave Films, The Pan African Films, the Neo-Realist films of Italy, and at home we get the Independent Film Movement, to include the Black New Wave Films of the 70s ( dismissively titled Blaxpoitation by people who do not realize that Black Exploitation is the first 60 years of Hollywood Films. Where people of color had no positive representation in films, most films with no persons of color at all, and the few that did have people of color, offered them typically only one token person of Color in a film, in a menial/demeaning role. Actors like Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte and directors like Gordon Parks, and Ossie Davis, helping to pave a view of an America that actually reflected the multitude of people in it, formerly invisible).

It is a thread, the evolution of film, that allows us to evolve from DW Griffith’s 1915’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION (which shamefully was the predominant mindset of Hollywood Film-making, both behind and in-front the camera, for the greater part of the 20th century). An evolution filled with achievements small and large, and filmmakers lauded and forgotten. A lot of films and a lot of filmmakers, and a lot of steps forwards, and moments of stumbling backward, to in a little over a hundred years go from THE BIRTH OF A NATION, to Ryan Coogler’s justifiably lauded BLACK PANTHER in 2018.

Glenn Ford, Lee Remick, and Stefanie Powers in Experiment in Terror (1962)

 

The films of Blake Edward are part of that thread. Not in any overt political manifesto, but just in his love of showing an America peopled with… the people he would see in the streets and in the crowds, his love for a veracity that transcended stereotype.

 

EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, is a pure thriller of a film, with not a wasted pound. And it has people of color in it, not because they are people of color, but because they are people, it is San Francisco of the time, before gentrification, where people you would see, came in multiple creeds and colors. It is a fantastic film that has nothing to do with ethnicity, but everything to do with being true to telling a story in a place and a time.

It is one of Blake Edward’s best films. However, Blake Edwards very rarely made anything that was not a ‘best’ film.

It is a uniquely tense, and thrilling film, even by Blake Edwards standard. I mean the tension in it holds up today. Lee Remick is one of the most beautiful women from an age of beautiful women, and she is also like most of Edwards leading ladies… delivering a phenomenally written and ground breaking tour de force performance.

Also starring the great Glenn Ford, who like the movie does not waste a moment, everything propels the story and the moment. Glenn Ford was one of those actors who never delivered a bad performance, and elevates everything he is in.

A stunning cast. A stunning script. And sumptuous film-making makes for a film that can be watched for free courtesy of AMAZON PRIME this month, but deserves in the age of digital to be owned on DVD/Blu-Ray.

 

Get your copy here:

Experiment in Terror [Blu-ray]

https://amzn.to/2Gk6ZS8

I would also recommend picking up the gorgeous poster with the stunning Lee Remick as well as the CD and Album. Please use my links as they earn this blog a few, well needed, pennies. 🙂 .

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https://amzn.to/2DAaUXh

https://amzn.to/2MZGK3D

 

Thanks for looking. And if you enjoy this post please like, comment or order via the links. All three are greatly appreciated!

 

 

 

Marvel Studios BLACK PANTHER in 3D – The Verdict?

I just came from a sold out upscale theater showing of Ryan Coogler’s BLACK PANTHER for Marvel Studios.

I’m going to try to be brief. As someone who went into this having avoided all trailers, and spoilers, and special feature exposes (that in my experience is like pre-chewing your food before sitting down to eat, making it impossible for fan or reviewer to truly be surprised by a film) I was… blown away.

 

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMTg1MTY2MjYzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTc4NTMwNDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_.jpg

In terms of look, performance, direction, pathos, and humor, and rock solid action, it is without argument one of the best of the EIGHTEEN Marvel Studio Films released to date. I saw it in 3D and it is worth seeing in 3D. You don’t get the things flying into the audience effect, but the sense of looking down, and into chasms and waterfalls, plays up to 3Ds strengths. So I recommend seeing it at least once in 3D. I say once because like the original AVENGERS film, this is a film that deserves to be seen more than once.

I plan to see it in 2D when I go back next time.

This BLACK PANTHER film, released during Black History month, in my humble opinion is in a three way tie for the #1 Marvel Movie of all time; tied with the original AVENGERS by Josh Whedon and CAPTAIN AMERICA WINTER SOLDIER by the Russo Brothers. Those three movies share one shining exquisite truth; they are not just great comic-book movies, they are great films… FULL STOP.

Okay that should be all you need, go see the film now.

Okay still here, the following contains minor spoilers.

Black Panther Movie Poster

BLACK PANTHER is a great film from first frame to last. It is masterfully done; weaving effortlessly between drama, pomp, circumstance, humor, horror, tragedy, and heroism and hope. Chadwick Boseman is astonishing as the titular character, playing him with understated grace and elegance, that carries effortlessly the weight of the film. He is the rock upon which our tale is moored.

Writer/Director Ryan Coogler in three films has catapulted himself as one of the defining directors of our age, and BLACK PANTHER is that talent writ large. This is the tale of the death of kings, of fathers and sons, and things lost in the fire, this is about nothing less than the fate of the world, and about nothing more than the grief of boys for their fathers, a beautifully developed thread in all of Coogler’s films, but never done so well as here.

Coogler takes the admonishment of Hamlet ‘The common theme of life, is death of fathers’ and uses it like a lover and a lance, to both caress and break your heart. And he takes King Henry’s complaint in THE LION OF WINTER ‘I could have conquered Europe all of it, but I had women in my life.’ and here makes of it the saving grace of the protagonist, the film, and the world.

It is the women in this film who save the world, who save the men from their self extinguishing thirst for conquest and vengeance. And taking that line from LION OF WINTER, to also mean parental and familial influence, the difference between T’Challa and Killmonger then ultimately is in their relations to their fathers, even to the structure of their afterlives, one is defined by the inspiration of his father, and one by the lack of his father, and both of them have become completely extraordinary men in staggeringly different ways because of these relations.

It makes for a film of unexpected emotional intensity and depth. Coogler as a filmmaker has my number, as tears unbidden came to my eyes in places in this film. But I would argue he has everyone’s number, if you have the heart to feel, be you Irish or Korean or Ethiopian or American, Coogler will find those places that bind us all,… and squeeze. And then he’ll hit you with the action, then the humor, and sometime when you are laughing, he will squeeze again, and the tears will rise and you will know this is a filmmaker.

And it is wonderful when a director finds his muse, and an actor finds the director that gets him, brings out his best. Coogler and Michael B. Jordan are that combination.

They join legendary director/star pairings such as:

  • Ford and Wayne
  • Hawks and Wayne
  • Kurosawa and Mifune
  • Hitchcock  and Grant
  • Lee and Washington
  • Scorsese and Dinero
  • Scott and Washington
  • Woo and Yun-Fat
  • Ayer and Smith
  • Fuqua and Washington (It is not lost on me that Denzel Washington’s name appears with three different directors. It just shows the kind of fantastic actor he is, the longevity of his career, and that he can embody for many directors, the perfect actor).

Black Panther Movie Poster

Those pairings when they happen are the source of cinematic gold. And it happens in BLACK PANTHER with Coogler and Jordan, two of the respective best of their generation.

Simply a masterful film, with a stunning cast, and great performances. And Kudos to Kevin Feige who with 18 films under his belt, is not just producing films that transcend the source material, he has proved himself the most successful and influential film producer, in the history of the medium.Supplanting such names as Zanuck or Lewton.

It is a success richly earned.

That said, a lot of fans and reviewers care about the numbers, how much a movie makes. I do not. I could not care less if BLACK PANTHER made $1 or 1 Billion Dollars. In this day where studios own the films and the theaters; that is money that is being taken out of local economies. It is good the movie is successful in that we get more such movies from that director, that producer, those actors, but as far as making Disney richer, that does not concern me.

Now should we go back to the days of local and community owned theaters, then that matters, that we should support, because those dollars are staying in the community.

So I’m happy for the movie not because it does this much business, or that much business, I’m happy for the movie, because such visions raise us all, and the success allows such visionaries to keep telling stories.

Grade: An unqualified A+.

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Black Panther (#18 of 23)

If you like this movie I recommend the following:

The following movies are too good, to trust in the ‘cloud’ or ‘streaming’ to always have them available, or always have them available in unchanged, unedited, or unaltered versions. The below movies deserve to be owned in physical form, in the age of digital.

Chadwick Boseman in Message from the King (2016)

Chadwick Boseman’s excellent A MESSAGE FROM THE KING
LION IN WINTER
http://amzn.to/2CtUltq
HAMLET
http://amzn.to/2C6aEk6
AVENGERS
http://amzn.to/2C5Lx0W
CAPTAIN AMERICA : WINTER SOLDIER
http://amzn.to/2C3M97v
CAPTAIN AMERICA : CIVIL WAR
http://amzn.to/2szGli8