Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Then something woke you, didn't it? Was it a dream? What was it?"

Sometimes, things or events just seem to coalesce on a particular theme. Jung referred to this as synchronicity. My example, film blogger Livius commented yesterday on a post of mine regarding some little noticed crime gems I have high regard for.
I personally feel the 70s, which is well represented in your choices, was the best time for crime pictures.
I wholeheartedly agreed with him. Then today, A.O. Scott's review of this classic 1975 Sidney Lumet film was posted on the N.Y. Times web site:

Cover via Amazon

Cover of
If you had to consider one film that epitomized that decade, there would be few better than Dog Day Afternoon. Reviewer Scott describes it well, here. I would only be guessing as to why that particular decade was so good at producing memorable films of this genre. Perhaps, it was the aftereffects of Viet Nam on a generation, Watergate, the introduction of gas lines at the filling stations, recession, and the urban decline of cities across the nation that spurred the juices towards the distinct content produced. Other filmmakers have done well of noting this in their later films. The initial one that comes to my mind, though, is Quentin Tarantino's first film, Reservoir Dogs. If any 90's film had that 70's crime vibe, this was it. From the music used, to the characterizations, to the various references of that decade, it's all there:

Reservoir DogsImage via Wikipedia

Strange... Living through that decade as I did (I graduated high school in '72), I was probably one of the most happiest people when the 80's arrived (mostly, I wanted to be so through with that period). But now later in life, I choose and label as some of my favorite films many from that particular group of ten years--and that more than a few are crime related says what about me? Hmm... I'm going to have to think some more about that one.

Thank you, Livius. I might have to seek professional psychological advice regarding all of this ;-).

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  1. Go here for a list of 1970's Top Ten Crime Movies:

    My personal favorite, the best of even of what THEY consider the best is Chinatown.

  2. Mentioning the great (and another personal favorite) Chinatown will always get you on my good side, Gay, everytime. BTW, that's a great site. I'm going to have to bookmark that one. Thanks.

  3. I mentioned DDA in my review of Pelham 1 2 3 last week! http://tinyurl.com/mv3od5

    Must be something in the water...

  4. I think the 70s produced so many great crime film because for a brief time the studios gave the more independent minded directors their head and the result, helped along by the social changes taking place, was a grittier style of moviemaking.
    It wasn't to last long sadly; the era of the blockbuster and the philosophy of catering to the lowest common denominator in the youth maarket were just around the corner.
    Even so, it still leaves us with a strong legacy that can be easily revisited.

  5. Veery interesting..........do you wantabe a baddy? I remember the impact Dog Day and Reservoir Dogs made on me. Pacino of course, the great actor, but I need a good guy somewhere in my movies. At least a bad good guy, thats right......... Dirty Harry. Where's the love. Gotta have somebody to root for or I get depressed. LOL.

  6. PCN: you're right... more synchronicity ;-)

    Livius: you make excellent points, as always. I think the corporate mentality, though effective as a business model for short term goals like profit and investor satisfaction, now drives the major studios. And we get what you clearly described. Funny, your comment has me recalling Scorsese/Nicholas Pileggi work, Casino, as a parallel.

    Herb n Laura: ah... Dirty Harry. Another great Siegel/Eastwood movie, and another of my favs. Didn't mean to imply that there is no room for heroes in my 70's post. I agree that having someone to root for is a vital thing (who wants to be depressed). But then again, that period was known for its antiheroes. I have room in my heart for both, I guess.

    Thank you, all, for your comments.

  7. It would be a dream come true to see great crime films being made again. What would the list of best crime movies for the 2000s look like so far?

  8. That's an intriguing thought, Corey. I wonder how much of that turbulent decade has transmigrated in to this one? Hmm... Perhaps there are some gems released (or to be) among the smaller, independent studios not dominated by the non-imaginative bean counters. Maybe when we look back in the 10's or 20's, they'll be there and receive notice. There's no doubt the written crime fic of this period is worthy of acclaim. I gotta think about this some more... Thanks for your comment, Corey.