Ain't It Cool News (www.aintitcool.com)
Movie News

Mr. Beaks Gets Punch Drunk On The Films Of Walter Hill!

 

"I very purposely - more and more so every time I do a script - give characters no back story. The way you find out about these characters is by watching what they do, the way they react to stress, the way they react to situations and confrontations. In that way, character is revealed through drama rather than being explained through dialogue."

 

Leave it to a dedicated minimalist like Walter Hill to definitively summarize - and celebrate - his entire oeuvre in three sentences. What's there left to say? This adherence to hard-boiled simplicity applies to almost all of his films: we don't often know where his protagonists came from, and we really don't care; their taciturn demeanor tells us that the years up until reel one haven't exactly been a party, and, all things being equal, they'd like to do something about that. And so they do. Because they're capable. Maybe even more than capable. Could be they're the best there is.

They weren't always this proficient, of course, and it would be the approach in a modern-day film to depict in exacting detail how they came to master their trade. This is a sickness. There's a reason Dashiell Hammett never wrote CONTINENTAL OP: ORIGINS, and it generally has to do with him not being the biggest fucking moron on the face of the Earth. To paraphrase Patton Oswalt, I don't care how the Continental Op became an ethically-shaky private investigator; I just like that he's an ethically-shaky private investigator. Let's leave it at that.

After recently revisiting HARD TIMES and THE DRIVER at The New Beverly (the latter as part of Edgar Wright's "The Wright Stuff II"), it struck me that Hill has been emulating Hammett's economical, bare-bones storytelling from the beginning (before straight-up adapting him with LAST MAN STANDING). In HARD TIMES, his first movie as a writer-director, Hill immerses the viewer in a Depression-era milieu wherein men of a rough-and-tumble nature can make a decent living with their bare fists. In what amounts to a sentimental gesture for the director, Hill gives Charles Bronson's pugilist hero a name: Chaney. As for his "past", it's somewhere back down the rails whence he came. Whatever's worth knowing has been etched into the man's creased and dented visage (I don't know how many times Bronson got punched in the face, but it was more than enough to make him physically plausible as a first-class ass-kicker). All Hill explicitly tells/shows us about Cheney is that he a) needs money, b) is confident enough in his fighting ability to make that money (as well as get James Coburn's promoter out of debt to some of New Orleans less reputable characters), and c) likes women and cats. The rest is a mystery - and this makes Chaney all the more intriguing (and maybe even a little vulnerable, which is not something you could say about most of Bronson's characters in the '70s or '80s).

There's a lot of period charm to HARD TIMES thanks to the ageless city of New Orleans, but the film isn't overly enamored of its production design like George Roy Hill's THE STING. It's a simple movie in which we learn about the characters through their actions - Chaney confidently brandishes a pistol at one point, so... he's done that before, but how many times and for what reason we'll never know - and their adherence to a very basic moral code. There's angling and personal weakness (primarily on the part of inveterate gambler Coburn), but no outright cheating - which leads to a genuinely suspenseful final brawl between Chaney and a formidable ringer from Chicago named Street (played by veteran stuntman Nick Dimitri). We hope Chaney will triumph, but the film's lack of sentimentality keeps us on edge (as does Coburn's concerned expressions throughout the fight); Chaney may be a decent fellow, but there's no guarantee he's the better man.

Don't mistake this spareness for a lack of imagination: part of the joy of watching a Hill picture lies in being surprised by how his characters "react to stress". And while stress doesn't seem to register for Chaney (all warriors know fear; he just keeps his hidden), it's perpetually weighing heavily upon Ryan O'Neal's titular character in THE DRIVER. Suggested by any number of pulp novels and films noir, Hill's study of a wheelman fiercely dedicated to his craft is doubly unpredictable due to O'Neal's fatalistic demeanor and Bruce Dern's subtly (for him) off-kilter portrayal of "The Detective". It's a daringly stripped-down movie: all of the characters are known only by their function within the plot (Isabelle Adjani is "The Player, Ronnee Blakley "The Connection"), while there's nary a whiff of backstory. It's just one man who's superb at his job (O'Neal) seeking to outmaneuver a man maniacally consumed by his (Dern) - all of which is set against a series of breakneck car chases that turn downtown Los Angeles into a neon-lit speedway.

Hill would continue to write about men skirting the limits of their expertise, but the later works usually found the protagonists doing so against their will. Chaney and The Driver are good to go whenever, wherever; as the former casually says before throwing down with Street, "Let's do it." There's no refusing the "Call to Adventure"; these guys just get on with it, and we're invigorated by their no-nonsense professionalism - even though we fear each fight or job might be their last. There's also an absence of swagger, which sets them apart from the quippy, rifle-spinning showmanship of John Wayne. In these two films, Hill seems to be going for Randolph Scott in Budd Boetticher's terse '50s-'60s westerns - with, in the case of THE DRIVER, an obvious nod to Alain Delon in Jean-Pierre Melville's LE SAMOURAI. Serious, laconic men with a goddamn job to do. Michael Mann was undoubtedly paying attention.

Hill made a rare public appearance at Wright's screening of THE DRIVER last Monday, and professed mild shock at standing before a full house for a movie that tanked commercially thirty-two years ago. He joked that the film was deemed too European at the time (in part, he claimed, because Adjani's uncertain grasp of English forced him to pare down her dialogue), and observed that it met with a mixed critical reception in the U.S. (though author Christopher Isherwood and artist Don Bachardy wrote him a letter praising his achievement). Unfortunately, Hill didn't watch THE DRIVER with the audience, but when he returned for the post-film Q&A (with Bruce Dern, Ronnee Blakley and producer Frank Marshall in tow), he was rapturously received. A letter from Isherwood and Bachardy is one (very rare) thing; adulation from a throng of movie lovers is what it's all about.

What made it particularly sweet for a Hill fan like myself is that THE DRIVER remains, I think, Hill's purest piece of cinema. Re-read that quote above. All of his films (save for BREWSTER'S MILLIONS and ANOTHER 48 HRS. - both of which I can defend to a degree) aspire to the kind of refinement that only the greats pursue. No spare parts. Not a wasted gesture. Every setup gets paid off. Lubitsch, Renoir, Sturges, Hawks, Kurosawa, Mann, Boetticher... this is the class of director to which Hill belongs. Technically, he's unimpeachable: camera placement is always spot-on; editing so unfussy and precise; every role perfectly cast. Stylistically, he's versatile - compare the blue-collar aesthetic of HARD TIMES to the Wurlitzer Jukebox color palette of STREETS OF FIRE (pumped up by the grandly theatrical music of Jim Steinman) - but never ostentatious. Whereas most of the '70s film brats wanted you to know they were attempting a bravura tracking shot, Hill would just quietly stage a complicated single take for the purpose of drawing you into the gritty world of the film (check out the sensational squad house sequence at the beginning of 48 HRS.). 

Hill's not a "Look at me!" guy. He's a storyteller. Frankly, he may be our last living connection to the classical, unadorned style of cinema that fell out of fashion once directors realized they were "auteurs". Consider this run: HARD TIMES, THE DRIVER, THE WARRIORS, THE LONG RIDERS, SOUTHERN COMFORT, 48 HRS., STREETS OF FIRE, EXTREME PREJUDICE, JOHNNY HANDSOME, TRESPASS, GERONIMO (underrated), WILD BILL (seriously underrated) and UNDISPUTED (not to mention BROKEN TRAIL and the pilot for DEADWOOD). Capable. More than capable. Could be one of the best there ever was.

Keep boppin', Walter.

Faithfully submitted,

Mr. Beaks

 

 

P.S. Mark Protosevich sent along a link to this "Writer's Style" piece on Walter Hill's "lean" approach to screenwriting. This is a must-read for Hill fans.

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:33 a.m. CST

    FIRST

    by sjfatty

    Just wanted to say that

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:33 a.m. CST

    Too Bad about The Warriors...

    by Tim Salmons

    You can still find it on DVD fairly easily, but he won't make the original version available anymore. What a shame.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:44 a.m. CST

    You forgot Last Man Standing

    by Superturd

    Which I actually prefer to A Fistful of Dollars (Leone's practice run, in my opinion) and RED HEAT. A Walter Hill movie is a Walter Hill movie. 'Nuff said. And Geronimo's kind of a piece of shit...it's about white people not Geronimo.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:48 a.m. CST

    superturd

    by mrbeaks

    Let me have GERONIMO, I'll give you LAST MAN STANDING, and we can agree on the rest.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:49 a.m. CST

    Southern Comfort Is Amazing

    by maxbrown

    Keith Carradine and Fred Ward are just a couple of the slew of great actors in SOUTHERN COMFORT from Walter Hill. An amazingly tense and unsettling movie with a great antagonizing performance from the late great Brion James. The whole film is kind of a cross between THE WARRIORS and DELIVERANCE. Highly recommended.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 2:08 a.m. CST

    What if Walter Hill had actually directed an Alien film?

    by Jed

    I'd like to think Powers Booth would somehow be involved.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 2:17 a.m. CST

    Streets Of Fire

    by tristeele

    My favorite movie. Thanks for even a mention of it. 99% of the population has probably never seen it and the of the 1% that have - half of them probably hate it. Here is to the 1/2% who remember/like it. Oh well. It was a perfect movie when I was growing up and I just appreciate the mention - even in a list. Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Rick Rossovich (Slider!), William Dafoe, Amy Madigan, Bill Paxton, Ed Begley Jr, Robert Townsend and Mr. Michael Pare - who never got the chance he deserved. Great cast and even better music by Ry Cooder. I now return to your regularly scheduled tribute to the mother fuckin' legend Walter Hill.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 2:44 a.m. CST

    Re: Maxbrown

    by BillEmic

    Southern Comfort is one of Walter Hill's finest films. And it's what developed my throbbing man-crush for Powers Boothe.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 2:50 a.m. CST

    i fucking love Walter Hill

    by CuervoJones

    One of the most underrated american filmatists.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 3:11 a.m. CST

    Dan O'Bannion

    by TheComedian77

    What make you of Dan O'Bannions almost insane rants on the new Alien Blu-Ray? It may have been on previous DVDs but I never bothered with ALL the other editions. You know; the 'Walter Hill changed the names in the screenplay and not much else - then tried to take all the credit' spiel? The one that ended with 'Then I got all the credit - suck it Walter' (essentially).

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 3:49 a.m. CST

    Another shout for Southern Comfort

    by TheBoyFromUlster

    What a great flick, loved it as a young lad and still do to this day. Probably the best allegory to Vietnam film there is and a wonderful haunting score by Ry Cooder. My Dad used to always say to me about films ‘they don’t make them like they used to’. Well, with that film I will be telling my own children the same thing.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 4:08 a.m. CST

    I put Walter Hill in the same bracket as....

    by Righteous Brother

    John Carpenter, John Landis and Joe Dante they started out on extremely low budget films, then they had a great run of movies and somehow they all lost their mojo and just started turning out tripe as they got older.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 4:15 a.m. CST

    The warriors

    by goatboy500

    is one of my dad's favourite movies, the scene with the baseball furies still kicks my ass. I've always loved walter hill's flicks, my personal fave being the utter mayhem that is Extreme Prejudice, but looking at his ouvre, he's made a fuck ton of stone cold classics. Also, i think you may have forgotten the Long Riders, the 2nd best movie made about the james younger gang after 'the assasination of...'

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 4:28 a.m. CST

    Yes Walter Hill movies are brilliant...and

    by quantize

    ...and fucknut whoever shit on Ryan O'neil's acting ability need to watch it

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 6:05 a.m. CST

    Yep, Southern Comfort is his best...

    by DC Films

    One of my favorite movies. Like Leone & Morricone, Hill & Ry Cooder make amazing cinema together.<p><p>It F**king outrageous that there's no BLU RAY of this movie (As well as The Long Riders, Extreme Prejudice, and Trespass...<p><p>Come on, we need them in HD!

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 6:31 a.m. CST

    Brewster's Millions?!

    by Kjell_Nilssons_Hockey_Mask

    Damn, I didn't see that coming...! No idea that was by WH. Big fan of most of the above mentioned, but I have to confess if I saw Brewster's Millions on, I'd happily settle down in the 'Hey, I loved this as a kid!' style many films still give me, and just revel in knowing what's coming up and how much I loved Pryor and Candy way back when they were alive. Hey, I'd probably have a brew and some extra buttery toast cut into triangles to boot, to echo yet more those Saturday afternoon movie moments.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 7:08 a.m. CST

    Lubitsch, Renoir, Sturges, Hawks, Kurosawa, Mann, Boetticher...

    by Con Shonnery

    And Peckinpah. You can see his influence in Hill's work, especially Extreme Predjudice and The Long Riders. Good to see some long overdue appreciation for Walter Hill.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 7:11 a.m. CST

    Can You Dig It?!?!?!?

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Can you count suckas?

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Direction does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    "Lubitsch, Renoir, Sturges, Hawks, Kurosawa, Mann, Boetticher..." <p> con shonnery, not quite sure why Beaks is comparing Walter Hill to the directors above - you said it, Sam Peckinpah is the obvious point of comparison for him. Going into the Eighties John McTiernan too.<p> Walter Hill was just a fantastic director of action scenes. Every gunshot like a FUCKING CANNON going off. <p> Beaks why did you also write 'consider this run' and then go on and omit many of Hill's movies from the run? A 'run' is an unbroken chronology, you can't pick and choose.<p> And yes, LAST MAN STANDING and ANOTHER 48 HRS may not be classic films but they do have some brilliant shoot outs in them. Top notch.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 7:47 a.m. CST

    con shonnery, Peckinpah's good addition...

    by DC Films

    The older i get, the more i appreciate Peckinpah. He made films for grown-ups - almost a lost art now.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 7:54 a.m. CST

    CROSSROADS needs to be mentioned

    by MacReady452

    Joe Seneca is awesome in this road movie. The grind and hustle. Old timer schools young buck. The Color of Money coming out the same year makes pairing these two a great night of movie watching and in the end you would be torn to pick what was the better film. Who knew Ralph Macchio had it in him.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Walter Hill is solid gold

    by Spandau Belly

    He tells simple stories about men and he tells them well.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Re: Walter Hill

    by ArmageddonProductions

    Hill has only broken my heart one time, and that's when he released that fucking awful "Director's Cut" of THE WARRIORS on DVD. I maybe wouldn't have minded so much if there'd been the restored theatrical version on the disc or in a set with the disc or even available on its own. No. We didn't get that. We got a long-winded introduction from Hill that you can't skip through, followed by a pre-opening title crawl also unnecessarily narrated by Hill (man, you could've at least gotten Michael Beck to take a few hours off from KFC to do it! Better yet, why not Roger "Cyrus" Hill?!? I would have even settled for David Patrick Kelly or the dude who played "Cochise"!) and "comic book transitions" between scenes that looked like they were done one night in Photoshop on a buddy's Pentium 4. Other than THAT horrifying misstep, the man has done no wrong. Hell, I even loved the stuff nobody else did, like JOHNNY HANDSOME and LAST MAN STANDING.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Directors

    by Con Shonnery

    Another couple of directors I would compare him to are Don Siegal and Robert Aldritch - no nonsense directors. The final shootout in Extreme Prejudice also has a strong Peckinpah influence, especially the Wild Bunch.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Ok - there's Warriors and Southern Comfort...

    by venvariants

    Do any of the rest really matter?

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 8:45 a.m. CST

    TRESPASS

    by LeCercleRouge

    Love Walter Hill's films. I gotta say my favorites are "The Warriors", "Southern Comfort", and "Trespass". For those who haven't seen it in awhile or have never seen it, give it another shot, it's pretty badass. Did you know it was written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale?

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 8:55 a.m. CST

    I've been sharing my Walter Hill collection...

    by vic twenty

    with some younger guys at work and they can't believe how raw these films are. Nobody makes tough guy films or writes tough guy dialogue like Walter Hill. When I saw Hard Times on cable 100 years ago (I missed very beginning) I remember thinking "Is this a Walter Hill movie?". You can always tell. And the Driver was a completely pleasant surprise. Everyone I have lent that DVD to has purchased it after watching. But Southern Comfort was the cream of the crop. After my big brother and I caught it on cable 50 times it just wasn't available on video anywhere. One little Mom-and-Pop video store had a VHS copy for rent that they burned from an HBO broadcast. We copied it and watched it for years until it was finally released a few years back on DVD. I love darn near all of them. And you should too.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 9:05 a.m. CST

    great analysis Beaks

    by gun_will_travel

    Walter Hill is the antithesis of today's dumbed-down unnecessary expositions. The world does not need an MTV-style focus interview to explain everything!<p> God bless Walter Hill and his filmmaking style.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 9:32 a.m. CST

    gun_will_travel, well said.

    by DC Films

    2nd line

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST

    was hoping you were refering to ...

    by eustisclay

    ...a box set. Been waiting for Extreme Prejudice on dvd/blu for a long time, why that's not available I have no idea. Finally they released Johnny Handsome on blu, and con shonnery, I', with you on seigel. Wish they's put out a widescreen Charlie Varrick. You watch films Seigel and Aldrich and Hill did and compare them to the macho crime films(like Takers) of today. They were just effortless, as beaks says, lean. They told their stories without a lot of fat. You know guys like Tarantino are big fans, but they can't make a film without fat. Love QT but he is just the opposite of these guys. They got out of the way of their stories while Tarantino and his lessers have a "look at me, I'm directing" style.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 9:42 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Mac, great call on CROSSROADS - I had no idea that was actually a Walter Hill film. Haven't seen it since it was first released but remember thinking it was a decent movie (and another rare starring role for Daniel-san!)<p> leclercrouge, yes TRESPASS is also a great guilty pleasure film. I must have watched that one 4 or 5 times when it came out on VHS. Wish the DIE HARD sequels had been more like this, rather than the bigger, bangier and sillier approach they took.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 9:43 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Not sure that i've even seen EXTREME PREJUDICE, who's in it? (and it's not available on dvd?)

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Extreme Prejudice

    by Con Shonnery

    Nick Nolte, Powers Boothe, Clancy Brown, Micheal Ironside, Rip Torn, William Forsythe providing the Bad Assery and Maria Conchita Alonso thrown in for good measure. Nolte is a Texas Ranger and Boothe is an old friend of his who is now a drug baron and both have the hots for Alonso. Then Ironside and his band of officially "dead" special ops guys arrive and the bullets start flying. I got it on Region 2 DVD a coupld of years back.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Red Heat

    by Nick Sadler

    Classic!! where's the mention!?

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Inspired by Hill's elegant, often brutal simplicity

    by impossibledreamers

    Like many of the characters in Hill's scripts, his work says less, does more. That barebones method along with Robert B. Parker's influence on my dialog is what I strive for in my own scripts. Only put in what's absolutely needed. No big paragraph describing a character based on a history we'll never see, just basic outline and let the plot and their reactions to the rest. No piles of flashbacks or characters speiling out their histories in silk screen reflection. He puts strong characters in hard situations. We don't need fill-in-the-blank sympathy on the back end. I keep copies of the 48 Hours and Streets of Fire screenplays for reference, and keep soundtracks to several of his films on CD to refresh my memory of them. His body of work helped refine and update the Western film as well as make modern set versions of classic Old West tales. Very much an underrated body of work.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Extreme Prejudice

    by Con Shonnery

    My first attempt at a reply vanished so here we go again. Nick Nolte, Powers Boothe, Micheal Ironside, Clancy Brown, William Forsythe, Rip Torn and Maria Conchita Alonso. Unusually for Hill, it has a score by Jerry Goldsmith which is very similar to his score for Total Recall. Nolte is a US Marshall dealing with drug smuggling on the US/Mexican border by his old friend Boothe. Then a bunch of special forces types come along and the fun really begins and ends with homage to the Wild Bunch. I got it on Region 2 DVD a few years back.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 10:41 a.m. CST

    cobra-kai, be careful of that transfer on Exteme Prejudice

    by vic twenty

    I think it was Pan & Scan. Hill usually shoots 1.85:1 so it isn't a calamity, but the region 1 DVD is a P&S POS. Great, fun movie that deserves a better transfer.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Johnny Handsome

    by scrote

    wuz awesome...

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Trepass is also underrated

    by zinc_chameleon

    What a surprise..a film that dared to show what East St. Louis really is like, and then made the drug gangs sympathetic! No one is entirely what they seem, yet each character grows through action. Walter Hill, Slayer of the Evil Doctor Exposition. Christopher Nolan could learn a thing or two from you.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Hard Times

    by AugustusMacReady

    never gets old and is my personal favorite Hill as well as Bronson movie. Southern Comfort and The Warriors are damn good also. I would still like to see his original version of Supernova to see if there was ever anything there.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Hearing Walter Hill talk at New Bev was a highglight!

    by Randy_of_AFTimes

    Reason I live in LA for Jan 2011-Edgar Wright, Walter Hill, Bruce Dern and THE DRIVER at the New Beverly! Getting the normally reticent Walter Hill to talk about his work is worth a thanks to him, New Bev and Edgar Wright for getting him there! Looking over his record recently, I'm surprised at how many of his films I've gotten to see in the theaters. Almost wish I had all the tickets stubs just to show him that at least one person had come to see his work when first released. Like Mr. Beaks, I saw the surprise Mr. Hill had for the packed house for the screening. I think it helped warm him up for the audience. The longer he was there the more open he was about his films. And apparently its what helped get him to come to THE WARRIORS screening tonight (already sold out-DAMN!) How about a Walter Hill set of double features at New Bev? -THE WARRIORS/STREETS OF FIRE -SOUTHERN COMFORT/EXTREME PREJUDICE I can dream...

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Glad to see Trespass remembered

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    Following the classic "men get in WAAY over their heads..now...what..do..they..do" formula, as only Hill can do. Love that it starred William Sadler, one of my favorite character actors.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Strother Martin

    by DirtyDingusMegee

    Someone's gotta mention how great Strother was in Hard Times. He was too cool.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Crossroads could use a remake

    by Cobb05

    Crossroads is a very underrated movie, but I think it needed to be a bigger movie and the casting wasn't perfect. I don't think Ralph Machio was right for the role. It needed someone a little tougher. Like a young Mickey Rourke. A guy who was could pull off trying to be a cool bluesman on the outside, but have the old black man slap him down to Earth. Even Jamie Gertz, who I like, but didn't really buy her as a runaway trying to pull tricks and all. She wasn't dirty enough. John Seneca steals the movie. He was great. And whoever the black guy playing the devil was, was good. I'm not someone who calls for every movie to be remade, but I think you can improve on Crossroads. I also think Johnny Handsome is a movie that could use a remake too. I always felt the movie was missing a few scenes. It feels like an incomplete movie. But I think with a great cast and a good director, Crossroads could be a more epic movie.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Hill is a genius

    by homer40

    The Long Riders-well, there isn't a better looking film ever. Just a great movie. Perfect in every respect. David Carradine's best performance,and the shootouts. Yes, Hill takes his cues from Peckinpah, but makes the action his own. He uses slow motion, but doesn't really edit in the quick stuff like Sam. I saw The Warriors the night it opened, in a full theater, with cops inside because it had allegedly been causing gang violence, and it was just amazing. Pretty tame now, but no less amazing. When Hill is on, the screen just comes alive in ways few other directors can muster. "Warriors-Come Out And Play", I still say that. Southern Comfort, a Vietnam allegory-soldiers without bullets-is another visual marvel and a grimly serious piece of work. Streets of Fire-what can you say? Just totally weird and goofy and fun. And who doesn't love Dianne Lane? Dafoe great also. Extreme Prejudice, the most Peckinpah like film, really just a total love letter to The Wild Bunch, but it works-you know? And yea, that tracking shot in the police station in 48 Hours is one of the best ever, because unless you are looking for it, you don't notice it is all one shot. It doesn't draw attention to itself, it just supports the scene. Who can forget James Remar's performance in that film. 48 Hours, when it came out, well it just blew everything else away. I think it was the first really violent action comedy, and it holds up great. I still watch it. Wild Bill is criminally underrated. It may be Jeff Bridges best performance. Pauline Kael was a champion of Hill's work, because, like DePalma, he has that "film sense". I wish he worked more. Also, didn't he direct that episode of Tales From the Crypt with William Sadler as the executioner who gets put out of business when they outlaw the death penalty? He decided to take matters into his own hands, and in a great twist at the end (spoiler) gets arrested for murder just as the death penalty is brought back. That was a great episode: The Man Who Was Death.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Oversight!

    by mrbeaks

    Obviously, I love THE LONG RIDERS. And Strother Martin is wonderful in HARD TIMES. "Some are born to fail. Others have failure thrust upon them."

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:09 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    con shonnery and vic twenty, cheers for that. I realize I haven't seen EXTREME PREJUDICE (I'd definitely remember it with that cool sounding cast), I will have to rectify that asap!<p> And Beaks if you're doing this directors 'retrospective' thang again anytime soon, can I nominate crazy dutchman Paul Verhoeven?

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Bronson was 53 or 54 when he made Hard Times.

    by SnootyBoots

    He was a character actor in his late 40's when he became a movie star. And he had to go to Europe to do it. Hill didn't originally write Chaney as an older guy, but when Bronson became involved he added some lines here and there having other fighters call Chaney "Pops" and "Old timer" to reflect Bronson's age. It's an interesting mix, Bronson being a huge star then who'd been around and Hill a young screenwriter making his directorial debut. It certainly worked for the movie.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Thanks for this

    by Sir Nigel Lengthington-Smythe

    Nice article, it's always surprised me that a director like Walter Hill has never really got the plaudits he deseved. I'm a huge fan of John Carpenter, and was talking to a friend the other day about both Carpenter and Hill, drawing the comparison of them both starting up around the same time on lower budget films, but still making them look great, and really delivering the goods, in a spare and economical fashion. They got the most out of everything they did, with a really minimalistic style that i loved. Also, it seems like they were both really popular for a while but in the late 80s, early 90s they somehow fell out of favour, or went out of fashion with the Hollowood fuckheads. I did point out to my friend, though, that Hill has been much more consistent than Carpenter, as much as i love JC. Childs, great point about Kathryn Bigelow, i think her movies do owe a lot to Hill's macho sensibilities. Handguns (or rather hand-CANNONS in this case) have never sounded louder or more intimidating than in Walter Hill and, later, in Bigelow's movies, and they both use that stripped-down to the bare bones approach in characterization that really shows up today's film-makers for the boring fucks they are. I'm really pleased to see so many TBers who are as interested in this amazing director's films as i am, because i don't think many of my friends ever appreciated him as much as me. I know some of them just didn't get him at all. For me, he is one of the very finest film makers of all time, and it really is a shame that he seems to be an outsider now, and hasn't had an actual film (ignoring his tv stuff) for almost a decade, and has only had 2 movies since the brilliant Last Man Standing, 15 long fucking years ago. This man needs to be given free rein to make the films he wants to make. I don't think he's the kid of guy who's going to waste a massive budget, so the investment would be worth it. I think it's time he got more recognition. Today's generation of "action directors", arseholes like McG and Joe Carnahan (loved Narc, hated everything else) should sit the fuck down, watch Southern Comfort, 48Hrs, Extreme Prejudice and so on, and see how an adult makes a thriller. These films stand the test of time better than any CGI overloaded piece of shit from the last few years. As someone points out above, Hill's sparse style and lack of background for his characters is what makes his films. These days there's just a total fucking torrent of pointless exposition in films that kills any sense of mystery, and i think it's absolutely shameful that an expert like Hill is no longer being used as he should be. Some people may think it's sacrilege, but i've never been a Warriors fan, but The Streetfighter, The Long Riders, 48Hrs, Southern Comfort, Streets of Fire (fucking love this film), Crossroads, Extreme Prejudice (my favourite, total Peckinpah madness, too fucking tough for words), Red Heat, Johnny Handsome and Trespass are all amazing films that i would watch at the drop of a hat. Oh yeah, and Last Man Standing, too. Even Another 48Hrs has plenty of great moments. Anyway, rant over, but i must say, i can't wait to see St Vincent, and i hope it lives up to past glories. Even if it doesn't, i will be so happy to have a new films from this amazing director. Thanks again for this article, it really, genuinely, made my day.

  • Met him at same event where I met Michael Mann (post-"Heat", pre-"The Insider"), Oliver Stone, Barbet Schroeder, and a ton of actors and actresses. Got a nice downblouse view of a young Jennifer Love Hewitt at same event.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:44 p.m. CST

    No mention of Hill's Supernova????

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Oh I mean Thomas Lee's. Too bad the Hill cut never made it to DVD. Some of the deleted scenes he did looked interesting.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:53 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    sir nigel lengthington-smythe, nice post sir.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 1:53 p.m. CST

    It is fantastic to see Extreme Predjudice getting some props.

    by BanditDarville

    Clancy Brown, Powers Boothe and Tiny Lister, Jr. in the same film? Maria Conchita Alonzo and the dude that played Lamar in Revenge of the Nerds are the only things keeping the screen from burning up from testicle power overload.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Streets of Fire is one of my favorite films

    by Powers Boothe

    Has Tarantino ever mentioned Hill? I'd love to know which Hill films are his favourite.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Extreme Prejudice!

    by Randy_of_AFTimes

    I always felt that is was two scripts that got put together... and worked! I tell friends that its... "Two childhood friends grow up to be a Texas Ranger and a Druglord, fighting over the same woman- MEANWHILE! A group of Special Forces black ops soldiers come into town to get information on the Druglord for mysterious purposes. CULMINATING in a gun battle that channels Sam Peckinpah!" It has some of my favorite lines: The "hick" MSgt. played by Clancy Brown: "Very unusual... ordering the termination of an American civilian peace officer clearly loyal to the country and in the process of bringing a known criminal to justice." "Kill him! Kill him like an animal! (Both in the trailer!) Glad I got Mr. Hill to sign my VHS before he left!

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 2:34 p.m. CST

    And don't forget Hickey and Boggs!

    by Guy Grand

    Even though Hill didn't direct it (Robert Culp did), this is one lean, mean motherf***in' script. So much of the plot whips by without pause for explanation, it's almost like Walter didn't really give a crap about the mechanics of the plot device he was writing, and just oozed out pure LA nihilistic dialogue. I picture him sitting in some decrepit apartment in east Hollywood overlooking the 101, an open bottle of Johnnie Walker, raging at his typewriter when he put this script together. I slapped this DVD (burn) on the other night, and aside from the ending, it still holds up pretty good. "The Mackintosh Man," not so much, but I think that was more a flaw of the original novel than Walter's take on it.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Hickey and Boggs

    by Con Shonnery

    Yeah! Just remembered that. I saw it way back in the 70s and it still sticks in my mind. Nice to see Hill's work as a writer getting noticed too - after all he did write The Getaway for Sam Peckinpah.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 2:52 p.m. CST

    He also wrote "The Getaway" in 1970.

    by SouthSide_2010

    Walter Hill wrote a movie starring Steve McQueen, directed by Sam Peckinpah, and scored by Quincy Jones. The man is film legend and I have enjoyed watching his films over and over again. "The Warriors", "Southern Comfort", "Hard Times", and "48 Hours" especially. I long for one more Walter Hll movie that completely obliterates all action/adventure films that are being put out currently. Walter Hill is my film idol.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 3:02 p.m. CST

    The Driver

    by alan_poon

    Saw it in a double bill with Hooper I think. Fell in love with it instantly and it also has arguably the best car chase in motion picture history.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 3:12 p.m. CST

    THIS IS WHAT A TALKBACK WAS MEANT TO BE

    by vic twenty

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 6:48 p.m. CST

    by thefreeagents

    Glad to see the love for Extreme Prejudice on here. Love that movie.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 6:51 p.m. CST

    Friedkin, Frankenheimer and Mann

    by ChaunceyGardiner

    Friedkin especially is another really great sounding board for that school of no-nonsense 70s/80s genre directors that made clean, stripped down plot-driven movies that made the material, the story really matter. They take a situation and milk it for everything it is worth. That "men in a room" sense of economy. I'm thinking "To Live and Die in L.A." and "Sorcerer' especially. And Mann's "Thief" is also another brilliant deconstruction of a situation. It takes what's there and makes it work - the way flour, chicken, and a palm full of spice fried up in grease can be the culinary experience that it is. Frankenheimer's "Ronin" was such a breath of fresh air when I first saw it, how it harkened back to an era where the gunshots and punches were felt like ripples in the audience. Not mindless "Commando" style action, but something simple and hard, a rock and a hard place. I'm also reminded how "First Blood" was a Reagan era action movie that was simple but had a great weight about it due to spare and simple sense of style that elevated to almost dreamlike proportions. That sense of claustrophobia that causes a man to act in a sleek and self-serving manner (and one in which, hopefully, not too many innocent people are hurt in the process, as they often are in the great colour action films of the first few decades of the MPAA. (The "clean gun approach" that I felt "the American" was striving for but never made work as perfectly as these other films.) As far as Hill's films themselves, "Southern Comfort" has a starkness of horror that elevates it far above being any cheap reproduction of "Deliverance," great film that it is. The scene with the tree fall, the characters reeling, men who for a second of reprieve felt like kings from their lives of normalcy but who are suddenly plunged in a situation largely of their own making. The violence isn't sexy. It makes heroes and cowards of men. And the wall between them is a vast cavern. Men are suddenly seen in the same arena as a gutted pig, a slaughtered and slaughterable animal. Walter Hill's films are great because they are truly shocking - they beautifully paint the world in which they exist and the part that its characters play. You always get a sense of the littleness of them, and the enormity of their situation. Its grand stuff. Like he was trying to boil something down to its essentials. (Like the fact of race between Nolte and Murphy in "48 hrs," how two men have to learn to trust one another - and have a good time doing it.) Motivation - it think that's what Hill boiled things down to. You saw the gears clicking, the result you couldn't take your eyes off of it.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 7:08 p.m. CST

    Undisputed

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    That's all that needs to be said.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 8:48 p.m. CST

    Holy shit.. Dennis and Randy Quaid are BROTHERS?!

    by MST3KPIMP

    This is insane.. I'm 37 and thought I knew alot when it came to famous siblings but I never heard or read that these two were related. I saw a portion if Long Riders on TV this week and was stunned by all the brothers.. besides the Quaids you got Christopher Guest and his brother Nicholas. Then you got not 1, not 2 but 3 Carradines incd. the dude from Revenge of the Nerds, Stacey and James Keach. This must be some kind of record.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 9:06 p.m. CST

    It's an easy mistake considering how fugly

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Randy is. But, he does clean up nice when he wants to. What was really surprising about The Long Riders is that Dennis was the dufus in that movie. Randy was the smart one, and was very unlike Cousin Eddie.

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 10:50 p.m. CST

    Um.. no SORCERER love?!?

    by Monroville

    I frankly love this movie a lot more than WAGES OF FEAR, which is good, but that ending ruins it for me. I can take depressing endings if they work with the context of the rest of the movie (PARALLAX VIEW, EASY RIDER, VANISHING POINT, ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE among a few), but with WAGES OF FEAR it felt as if the main character.. well, you just have to see it for yourself. <p> SORCERER on the other hand has great acting from the late Roy Scheider and some great music (though some of you younguns may consider it dated) and I think it dealt with what script issues WOF had. It is just a shame it hasn't been given a proper 1.85:1 release on DVD or Blu-ray. <p> If any of you see this on HDnet (or another HD channel), think you could record it? <p> One last note: check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ_KXK3eNdI

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Oops! Bill friedken directed that last one!

    by Monroville

    Sorry.. must have been a brain fart. Regardless, SORCERER is a great movie and should be out on blu-ray!

  • Jan. 28, 2011, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Some choice Hill moments:

    by IamZardoz

    When David Carridine pulls out his knife in The Long Riders; Powers Booth being cool in Southern Comfort; Lance Hendricksen being a psycho badass in Johnny Handsome; and best of all, that fine looking dancer in Streets of Fire.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 1:47 a.m. CST

    Two things: Release a longer cut of The Driver

    by gmanca

    and thank God he switched from Bernstein to Ry Cooder; such an amazing soundtrack highlighted by the last track, Sanctuary. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5RXC-aBRgQ Also, I liked Extreme Prejudice but it had no idea what type of movie it wanted to be. I liked the two different storylines intertwining but there should have been more emphasis on one of them. It's the antithesis of how No Country for Old Men used Tommy Lee Jones as sparingly to much effect.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 1:49 a.m. CST

    Ok, so like five things

    by gmanca

    Dude had vision to know that Alien Resurrection was going to ruin the franchise. Also, Streets of Fire should have been a bloodied gun-blazing affair instead of pop noir.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 7:04 a.m. CST

    Hickey and Boggs

    by tintab

    It's one of the greatest nihilistic '70s cop films not released on anything! The best Cosby performance in a film and so unlike anything he ever did again. It used to be a regular on late-night TV in the '70s but now I haven't seen it in almost 30 years. Apparently it played a few years ago in LA as part of an appreciation of Culp's career. Anyone see it?

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 7:41 a.m. CST

    The tragedy of Extreme Prejudice

    by Sir Nigel Lengthington-Smythe

    I was talking to a friend about Extreme Prejudice a while back, and he told me how sad he thought it was, that Cash Bailey thinks that, even though he's a murdering drug lord, he can still be friends with Jack Benteen, Texas Ranger. He mentioned the scene where Cash brings his helicopter (and Tom "Tiny" Lister) down to a meeting with Jack, and he tries so hard to impress him. I'd never thought of it that way, he still wants to be friends and thinks they can just pick up where they left off years before. Of course, Cash is a total nutter who is pretty quick to try to kill Jack when he finally realises they can't be friends any more. Another thing i loved was in Red Heat, when Lupo, Cash's henchman from Extreme Prejudice, turns up near the end wearing Cash's white suit and does a drug deal with the slimy Viktor Rosta. Lupo's such a great, sleazy, but minor, character, i thought it was cool that Hill would want to use him again, to show that Cash may be gone, but his operation is still running fine, and has perhaps even expanded as far as Chicago. Great talkback. Is there any chace that they could add a "Like" button here? So many great points being made, and none of the usual trolling i associate this some of these TBs.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 8:13 a.m. CST

    geoffrey_fourmyle

    by phifty2

    The Color of Money I like it better than The Hustler. Plus it's got that awesome Clapton song.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 8:17 a.m. CST

    And you know...

    by phifty2

    ...whenever the ALIEN movies say produced by David Giler and Walter Hill or Gale Ann Hurd(sp) or whoever I never really make the connection that it's THAT Walter Hill. And Another 48 Hours may be a barely disguised remake of the first one but it's still a grat movie.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Southern Comfort from IMDB

    by phifty2

    "A squad of National Guards on an isolated weekend exercise in the Louisiana swamp must fight for their lives when they anger local Cajuns by stealing their canoes..." hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Streets of Fire is Amazing

    by ToughGuyRizzo

    Love this movie. I saw Willam Dafoe a few months ago in NYC, and yelled out: fuck yeah man, Streets of Fire! He was seriously laughing. Also, SOF was Dafoe's 1st flick. He was on Conan years ago talking about it. He didn't know how to ride a motorcycle, but lied and said he did to get the role. Days before shooting, the crew wanted to see him ride to bike for production notes/stills. He crashed it out in a field when they did it!

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Other forgotten "hard-boiled" films

    by tintab

    Haven't seen any of these in decades but I remember enjoying all of them. These are the types of films that deserve to have a book written about them like "Easy Riders & Raging Bulls". The Killer Elite (1975 peckinpah) - caan & duvall! Freebie and the Bean (1974) - caan again, good old-fashioned vulgar action comedy The Laughing Policeman (1973) The Seven-Ups (1973) The Valachi Papers (1972) - bronson The Executioner (1970) - peppard in spy mode The Stone Killer (1973) - bronson & winner again Scorpio (1973) - lancaster & delon The Super Cops (1974) - any time I would see Ron Leibman show up on TV, I would think of this film and how much I loved it I guess the theme here is in the period after Easy Rider and before Jaws, there were quite a number of these tough "real men" movies being made. Miss these types of movies.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Souther Comfort

    by maxjohnson1971

    What a fucking insult to everyone in South Louisiana. As someone who grew up down here and spent a LOT of time in the swamp, I have to tell you that real Cajuns are not like that. (BTW, I noticed on IMDB, they are referred to as "Cajun Indians." What the fuck is that?) First, if some Cajuns wanted to track and kill them guys, it would have been a ten minute movie because the Cajuns would have had it done that fast. Hell skinned and fried as well. Second, Cajuns don't have canoes, they have pirogues. You might be able to steal a Cajuns pirougue, but don't even THINK about stealing his crawfish traps. (There ARE instances of crawfishermen shooting people for taking traps. I don't really blame them.) Anyway, along with Deliverence, Southern Comfort didn't really help the image of Southerners. But then again, I don't guess EVERYONE in the northeast is an asshole. Are they?

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Tintab

    by maxjohnson1971

    Ditto on "The Seven-Ups." One of the greatest forgotten car chases ever as well.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:32 a.m. CST

    phifty2

    by maxjohnson1971

    Where you from?

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:42 a.m. CST

    maxjohnson1971

    by phifty2

    New Jersey. Why? I've never seen Southern Comfort but I posted that because it seems like such a ridiculous synopsis for a film. It could be good or bad(the film) but that just struck me as funny.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST

    maxjohnson1971

    by tintab

    You are absolutely correct! I'd forgotten there is one badass car chase in that film!

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Phifty2

    by maxjohnson1971

    Just thought that maybe you found it ridiculous because you were from here. Read what I wrote above regarding Southern Comfort. And I guess that last question in my post was answered by you! You ain't ALL assholes! Lol

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Tintab...

    by eustisclay

    ...a few years ago, Hickey and Boggs was on TCM, but it was before I got the channel. I was thinking about The Super Cops the other day. I loved that movie(POW!). That's a film that felt like it had a lot cut from it. I've read the book 2 or 3 times, great book. I just picked up the Valachi Papers from the library, looking forward to that. I have about half of the ones that you mention. Just some really cool cops flicks of the early to mid 70's. Also have The New Centurians(would love to get The Choirboys) and of course, the Dirty Harry bluray collection. Couple of others I liked: Cops and robbers(more comedy, but still good) and Newman's Law, and The Midnight Man(mystery with Burt Lancaster as a college secutiry guard). I guess with all the cop shows on tv, we just don't get flicks like this anymore and the ones that are made for the movies all focus on superhuman action.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Tintab

    by maxjohnson1971

    Yep. That black Pontiac doing the chasing was a74 Grand Ville. I had TWO of those things when I was a kid. Had the needle buried at 140 on them bitches a few times. It was doing all of 150 or 160 for sure. Took a while to get there, but do not get in the way when it is cruising. Roy Schneider was an absolute bad ass in The Seven Ups. Great 70's cop movie.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 9:59 a.m. CST

    No, there's assholes everywhere.

    by phifty2

    Don't think most people watch films like that and think "Well, that's how it must be like down there." Some do but they're not worth conversing with. Take me for example, if I thought everyone thought people from Jersey were tool bag douche assholes based on what they see on The Jersey Shore(a show I've never seen but have heard enough about) I would be pretty stupid. I'm sure some do and I've encountered people like that but most people from New Jersey are just normal and fucking despise that show.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 10:03 a.m. CST

    best car chase sequences

    by tintab

    off the top of my head in no particular order: bullitt the french connection the seven-ups the last boy scout to live and die in l.a. ronin let's hear your suggestions!

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 10:12 a.m. CST

    eustisclay

    by tintab

    I have to agree with you, all the films made of the Wambaugh books are good including "The Onion Field". Wow someone else remembers "Super Cops" with the comic book interjections! Never saw "Newman's Law" or "The Midnight Man", after checking IMDB I got to see them both now! Thanks!

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 10:18 a.m. CST

    maxjohnson1971

    by tintab

    Very nice and very cool, was either of them a ragtop?

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Tintab

    by maxjohnson1971

    No. Shit, that would be a swwwwwweeeeeeeeettt ride though. I've seen a few around, but I got a 69 Firebird to finish up first. Perhaps I'll get the ragtop Grand Ville afterwards. And on your chase selection, those were the ones that I was thinking as well. Of course, we can't leave out The Blues Brothers and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. That scene where that fuckin' helicopter is about ten feet off the ground and cuts that 90-degree turn chasing Larry and Mary. Jesus, I wonder how nobody got killed doing that shit. I watched that scene like fifty times with my jaw on the floor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToKx8KUUF5E And notice who plays the sheriff. Spooky huh?

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 11:05 a.m. CST

    phifty2

    by maxjohnson1971

    Agreed.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 1:09 p.m. CST

    cobb05, Ralph Macchio was perfect in his role in Crossroads!

    by The Krypton Kid

    He was playing the part of an upscale Long Island kid who studies at Julliard but has a passion for blues. He's not supposed to be a naturally hard-edged kid as you suggested. If he was, there would be no character growth as he travels the road with Willie Brown (the great Joe Seneca). And if Macchio played the role too tough, it wouldn't be so accurate for Willie to refer to him as "chicken ass."

  • Crossroads is a truly great film about an odyssey into blues culture and taking on hardships. Macchio and Seneca are both fantastic (their chemistry is superb), and Jamie Gertz is insanely hot!

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 1:19 p.m. CST

    maxjohnson1971

    by tintab

    Absolutely, can't believe I forgot "Dirt Mary, Crazy Larry" The copter chase is nuts. That film is always tied in my mind to "Vanishing Point" in terms of endings. Yes it is some weird foreshadowing. Vic Morrow was one of those faces you constantly saw in the '70s but didn't really know his name. Of course McQueen's "The Getaway" was another I forgot. The practical stunts back in the day were CRAZY!. I was just looking at the wiki page for "Seven-Ups". The team that put that together was the same as "French Connection" so no wonder the chase is so intense. The story on the page about the door getting ripped off the car just demonstrates how "out there" the filmmakers would go to get a stunt on film. Sounds like you still had a nice selection of vehicles in your time. Hats off to you!

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 1:19 p.m. CST

    The Driver screening at New Bev was rad except for...

    by Jeremy

    ... the asshole next to me who had to constantly check his e-mail on his iPhone during the q and a. There's Walter Hill, Bruce Dern, and Frank Marshall sharing a stage with Edgar Wright and you're that bored that you need to check your e-mail? New Bev should ban you for life! Haramph!

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 1:22 p.m. CST

    childs

    by tintab

    I know what you mean. I guess I mostly respond to whether or not there is a real sense of danger and I thought there was in this sequence. I have to say I never noticed the cars signalling to each other. Will watch more closely next time I see the film. Thanks!

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 1:38 p.m. CST

    jerebo74

    by tintab

    If you can remember, would mind running down some highlights of what was discussed?

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 1:44 p.m. CST

    the krypton kid

    by tintab

    Totally agree with you. I'm a musician and it seems that few other filmmakers would have thought to do a story using the musical mythology of the blues as the backdrop to a coming of age tale. I love the shredding contest at the end too!

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Tintab

    by Jeremy

    Hill was very humble and soft-spoken, while Bruce Dern really hammed it up. Dern said that he'd travel anywhere to work with Hill and how good he is with actors. They told stories re: the bar Torchy's where they shot a lot of the scenes. I think Hill uses some kind of Torchy's reference in all of his films (a la Landis and See You Next Wednesday) and they mentioned that a dead homeless guy was found outside the bar one day -- remember this was way before downtown L.A. got gentrified.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 2:23 p.m. CST

    jerebo74

    by tintab

    Thanks. Much appreciated. Always wanted to attend one of these types of appreciations with filmmakers I've spent years watching.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 2:28 p.m. CST

    childs

    by phifty2

    To Live & Die in L.A. You work for me now. Fucking great film.

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 2:57 p.m. CST

    childs

    by tintab

    Thanks for the reply, I didn't think what you wrote ruined the sequence for me at all. I've always been interested in how things are done in films. There are also some things I can't help but catch that take me out of a film. For example, I love Cameron's "Aliens" but there is a quick cut near the end when Ripley is dropping flares in the generator station that I always try NOT to see. Despite the place being turned into a hive with this hard resin by the aliens, when Ripley drops a flare, her footstep clearly causes some of the set design to "bounce" demonstrating it's clearly made of rubber!

  • Jan. 29, 2011, 6:18 p.m. CST

    tintab

    by maxjohnson1971

    Yeah, I had some sweet rides. Not exactly as "sweet" as I'd have liked, but some cool ones. I wish there were more practical stuff in movies these days too. I can't imagine that at this stage it is much more expensive than decent CGI right? What's the last movie that even had some kick-ass stunt work even? I'd have to give it to "Casino Royale" for that crazy opening segment.

  • Jan. 30, 2011, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Ashamed

    by proevad

    I've only seen 3 of this man's films.

  • Jan. 30, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Extreme Prejudice FTW!

    by django_il_bastardo

    Back in the day my friends and I actually used to get together to watch that movie. Why this movie isn't given the props it deserves is beyond me.

  • Jan. 30, 2011, 1:55 p.m. CST

    django the bastard

    by Con Shonnery

    Extreme Prejudice is the perfect movie for that sort of thing. A few friends, some beer and pizza and a great man's movie. I watched it again last night and it's one of the great tough guy action movies.

  • Jan. 30, 2011, 8:15 p.m. CST

    Diane Lane - Streets of Fire

    by TrueLies

    One of the most beautiful women ever in film, looking especially beautiful in the final song from the movie: http://tinyurl.com/6d25k9p