Archive for category: by Robert C. Cumbow

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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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Mad Rooms: Shot Composition in Two Films of Bernard Girard

21 July, 2014 (07:12) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Essays | By: Editor

[Originally published in Movietone News 46, December 1975] MAD ROOMS Shot Composition in Two Films of Bernard Girard -Main Title- For nearly three decades, Bernard Girard has been one of the invisible men of the American cinema. Briefly lionized for his independent feature A Public Affair (1962) and hesitantly applauded for Dead Heat on a […]

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Review: Dog Day Afternoon

16 June, 2014 (08:52) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 47, January 1976] The montage with which Sidney Lumet begins Dog Day Afternoon is at pains to get across to us just what things were like in Brooklyn at 2:57 p.m., August 22, 1972, right before a minor bank robbery became a major Event. The montage—shot and assembled as if […]

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Summer of ’89: ‘Vampire’s Kiss’

8 June, 2014 (08:47) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews | By: Robert C. Cumbow

Beginning with Nosferatu, the vampire has been depicted on film largely as a symbol of pestilence visited upon cities. Just as disease wreaks greatest havoc on places of densest population, the classic vampire sought out the most crowded hunting grounds—the better to find an abundance of prey and the security of anonymity. The traditional movie […]

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Review: Phase IV

22 July, 2013 (06:51) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 37, November 1974] Saul Bass’s first feature film seems consciously to take as its premise the conviction of the mythical Dr. Nils Hellstrom that insects, given the opportunity, will inherit the earth. Phase IV offers a more startling hypothesis than The Hellstrom Chronicle, however, suggesting a set of circumstances in […]

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SIFF 2013: ‘Byzantium’

25 May, 2013 (06:57) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Festivals, Film Reviews | By: Robert C. Cumbow

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed in Neil Jordan’s second coming to the vampire myth, Byzantium. Even seen solely as a vampire film Byzantium far surpasses Jordan’s 1994 Interview with the Vampire—and pretty much everything else in the genre. But while Jordan’s and scenarist Moira Buffini’s expansion of Buffini’s stage play A Vampire Story can be […]

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Dossier ’79

26 December, 2012 (07:27) | by Peter Hogue, by Pierre Greenfield, by Richard T. Jameson, by Robert C. Cumbow, lists | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 64-65, March 1980] It is appropriate that they just took “There she is, Miss America” away from Bert Parks. I too have been deprived of the opportunity to sing my same old song again. One could say rhetorically that after 1978 the movies had nowhere to go but up; but […]

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Days of Purgatory (1978)

25 December, 2012 (07:27) | by Peter Hogue, by Pierre Greenfield, by Richard T. Jameson, by Rick Hermann, by Robert C. Cumbow, Links | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 60-61, February 1979] You know and I know, and each knows that the other knows, that 1978 was the worst year for movies since sound came in, so let’s not belabor the subject. Living through it was labor enough. Apart from the superfluousness of such a gesture, one reason I […]

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