Archive for category: by Robert C. Cumbow

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Summer of ’90: ‘Wild at Heart’

14 August, 2015 (16:30) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews | By: Robert C. Cumbow

The power of David Lynch’s Wild at Heart is the endurance of an Elvis Presley song (or two), the staying power of a children’s movie, and the sight and sound of a match being struck: romantically mellow, wackily comic, and deadly, darkly serious. Lynch gets more and scarier mileage out of fire in Wild at […]

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Summer of ’90: The Exorcist III

10 August, 2015 (12:55) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert C. Cumbow

“Georgetown 1990”: A college rowing team trains on the Potomac. Suited-up runners pass by. A tired movie way of introducing life at a big-city university. It’s been done a hundred times to code Harvard. But stay with it. Just a few minutes in, our skepticism about the racing shell turns sour in our mouths as […]

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A Passion from Hammer: ‘Dracula Has Risen From his Grave’

3 August, 2015 (03:40) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 37, November 1974] The tiny German village lies quiet in the early morning sunlight as a young boy enters the church, genuflects, crosses himself, and walks to the bell rope. With appropriate reverence, yet with the casualness of one who has performed this ritual many times before, he gives the […]

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Review: The Towering Inferno

29 July, 2015 (08:17) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews | By: Robert C. Cumbow

The Towering Inferno is a good movie about a fire. That is its strength. Its weakness is that, despite a promising array of characters and several passable actors, it is a very bad movie about people. Time was when virtually all disaster movies were essentially character studies, and examined (with varying degrees of success) how […]

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Review: ‘Gold’

21 June, 2015 (10:16) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 39, February 1975] Gold is a big potboiler of a movie, filled with action, violence, gore, and adultery. It’s a genre piece, fraught with convention and predictability. It has no characters, only cartoon people whose actions are as unsurprising as their motivations are unlikely. And I enjoyed the hell out […]

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Orson Welles Has a Daughter Named Rebecca

25 May, 2015 (05:40) | Alfred Hitchcock, by Robert C. Cumbow, Essays, Orson Welles | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 38, January 1975] What do Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) and Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941) have in common? Quite a lot, it seems to me. And yet, in all my reading on film, I have run across only one brief speculation on the subject: Andrew Sarris’s, in the context of his rebuttals […]

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Love Among the Ruins: 1975 in Review

29 March, 2015 (12:55) | by Kathleen Murphy, by Peter Hogue, by Richard T. Jameson, by Richard Thompson, by Rick Hermann, by Robert C. Cumbow | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 47, January 1976] “We might pass this way again”—the line from the song recurs throughout Stations, Roger Hagan’s exquisite documentary that stood out at this year’s Motion Picture Seminar of the Northwest and later graced a Seattle Film Society showing of Antonioni’s Cronaca di un amore. I seem to be […]

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Morricone Encomium

2 March, 2015 (06:00) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Essays, Film music, Westerns | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 40, April 1975] Foreword I don’t read a note of music, so the language of this article is necessarily interpretive rather than technical. Also, the here-today-gone-tomorrow Duck, You Sucker has thus far eluded my company, so I have recourse only to the first four westerns that Morricone scored for Leone. […]

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In Black & White: gawlDurgnat

23 February, 2015 (09:16) | Alfred Hitchcock, Books, by Robert C. Cumbow | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 44, September 1975] THE STRANGE CASE OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK, or The Plain Man’s Hitchcock. By Raymond Durgnat. MIT Press. 429 pages. $15.00. For me, Raymond Durgnat has become, over a period of years, The Man You Love to Disagree With. Not that he doesn’t often strike exactly home, or express […]

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Out of the Past: Get to Know Your Rabbit

9 February, 2015 (05:28) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 41, May 1975] Get to Know Your Rabbit represents a transition in the work of Brian De Palma, from the unrestrained precocity of his grainy independents Greetings (1969) and Hi, Mom! (1970) to the more controlled and purposeful talent critics have seen in his recent films Sisters (1973) and Phantom […]

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Caliban in Bodega Bay

19 January, 2015 (05:37) | Alfred Hitchcock, by Robert C. Cumbow, Essays, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 41, May 1975] The birds have really made a mess of Bodega Bay. Smoke from a gasoline fire hangs heavy over the city; bodies lie in the streets: abandoned automobiles, smashed windows, and ripped woodwork are grim evidence that the human beings have not won this battle. With Mitch Brenner’s […]

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Review: Sssssss

14 October, 2014 (08:20) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] Like Bug, its current traveling companion, Sssssss (which made the rounds as a top feature in 1973) is a preposterous horror film that never quite gets itself organized enough to make you want to suspend that old disbelief. But it is definitely the better half of the […]

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Review: ‘French Connection II’

30 September, 2014 (09:28) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews | By: Editor

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] The main strength of William Friedkin’s The French Connection lay in the driving pace of its montage, which assembled the film’s fragmentary narrative into a single, compelling forward movement toward the climax and the inevitable results of Detective “Popeye” Doyle’s recklessness, revealed in the cryptic final title. […]

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Review: ‘Bug’

28 September, 2014 (13:16) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Editor

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] Because it tries to become a new film every 15 or 20 minutes, Bug seems about three times as long as its hour-and-a-half. The effect is, I am sure, the unintended result of both cast’s and crew’s having no idea at all what they wanted to do […]

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Review: ‘Posse’

15 September, 2014 (10:11) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 44, September 1975] All right. Posse is an unusual Western. But not that unusual. And it doesn’t end like nothing I’ve ever seen. In fact, it ends very much like a number of other films I’ve seen (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was only the first of several to […]

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