Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

The Red Pony (1949) Prime

Dir: Lewis Milestone | Cast: Robert Mitchum, Myrna Loy, Shepperd Strudwick, Louis Calhern | US Drama 89′

Ten years after his classic version of Of Mice and Men for Hal Roach, Lewis Milestone this time went to Republic (the title design is the same as on their John Ford westerns) to again film John Steinbeck (this time adapted by Steinbeck himself), who professed himself satisfied with the results.

In addition to Steinbeck & Milestone this stagy but affecting little fable recalling The Yearling and The Boy with Green Hair marshals various disparate talents including composer Aaron Copland (who had also scored Of Mice and Men) and veteran cameraman Tony Gaudio doing a lovely job behind the camera on his final film; while Bob Mitchum is in his only Technicolor film of the 1940s and Myrna Loy of course looks ravishing in her first since the two-colour days and coming as close as she ever came to her long-cherished desire to play a frontierswoman.

The brash little blond kid with blue eyes is a seven year-old Beau Bridges, Louis Calhern as Loy’s garrulous pappy looks and sounds almost exactly as he did the following year as Buffalo Bill in Annie Get Your Gun; while Margaret Hamilton as the local schoolmarm appropriately looks as if she just stepped out of a painting by Grant Wood. @Richard Chatten

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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) **

Dir.: Jo Berlinger; Cast: Lily Collins, Zac Efron, Kaya Scodelario, Angela Sarafyan, John Malkovich; USA 2018, 110 min.

Director Joe Berlinger is sort of a Ted Bundy specialist, his semi-documentary multi-part Netflix series Conversation with a Killer – The Ted Bundy Tapes was pretty much a disaster but not such an overwhelming failure as Extremely Wicked. Based on the memoirs of Elizabeth Kendall The Phantom Prince – My Life with Ted Bundy, Berlinger attempts to view Bundy through the eyes of his victim – we wish.

The re-construction narrative starts in 1969 when Kendall (Collins) and Bundy Efron) meet in a student bar in Seattle. Kendall is a single mum and Bundy wins her heart early on, caring for daughter Molly.  But her excitement is short-lived when she sees a photofit of Bundy in the local paper. Her friend Joanna (Sarafyan) tries to convince her the guy is clearly not a keeper, to put it mildly, but love is blind. Brady was accidentally pulled up for a traffic violation in 1975, having committed more murders in Utah after he left Seattle in 1974. In 1976 he was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to fifteen years. He escaped twice from the police, before he was tried for his last two murders in Florida. Crucially, the trial was the first to be shown on TV and lasted from June 25th to July 31st 1979. Judge Edward Cowart (Malkovich) spars with Bundy, and with Kendall more or less written out of the picture, Berlinger turns his focus to Bundy’s self defence (having been sacked by his lawyers) and his relationship with Carol Anne Boone (Scodelario) who he marries, after proposing to her in court. We later we watch the couple having sex and conceiving a baby daughter. Meanwhile the prison guard gleefully counts his money.

Far from shedding any light on the Kendall/Bundy relationship, Berlinger’s thrust is to offer an entertaining court room farce, where Bundy and Cowart enjoy an intellectual set-to. Efron, like Mark Harmon before him in The Deliberate Stranger, is out to show Bundy’s charming facade – but nothing more. By the time he wheels on Bundy’s mother Louise to defend her son, Berlinger has long opted out of any serious consideration. AS

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