Archive for category: by Robert C. Cumbow

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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 […]

Review: ‘French Connection II’

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

[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. […]

Review: ‘Bug’

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

[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 […]

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 […]

Mad Rooms: Shot Composition in Two Films of Bernard Girard

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

[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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Slap Shots (1977)

24 December, 2012 (07:26) | by Kathleen Murphy, by Ken Eisler, by Peter Hogue, by Richard T. Jameson, by Rick Hermann, by Robert C. Cumbow, lists | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 57, February 1978] I felt a little off-balance throughout film year 1977, and it took me most of that time to figure out why. Even eccentric filmwatchers fall into patterns of expectation, and my Platonic Ideal of eccentricity was taking a beating. Too many of the big, heavily financed productions […]

1976, Which Will Be Charitably Forgotten by the Year 2000

23 December, 2012 (11:25) | by Kathleen Murphy, by Ken Eisler, by Peter Hogue, by Richard T. Jameson, by Rick Hermann, by Robert C. Cumbow, lists | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 53, January 1977] 1976 is a year I’m very pleased to see the back of. Several especially nice things happened to me during the past twelvemonth, but an oversupply of cloaca also insisted on hitting the fan with dispiriting frequency, and a good deal of it was cinematic cloaca. Any […]

Review: The Man Who Would Be King

13 November, 2012 (19:28) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, John Huston | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 48, February 1976] John Huston said recently he has made only three good films in the past decade: Reflections in a Golden Eye, Fat City, and The Man Who Would Be King. Though I’m still holding out—more or less alone, I think—for The Kremlin Letter to be included among his […]

In Black & White: Nashville

2 September, 2012 (08:33) | Books, by Robert C. Cumbow | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 51, August 1976] NASHVILLE. Bantam Books (paperback), illustrated. No pagination. $2.25. On the spine it says “Robert Altman’s Nashville.” On the cover it says “Robert Altman’s Award-Winning Nashville, with an Introduction by Joan Tewkesbury.” On the title page, it says “Nashville, an Original Screenplay by Joan Tewkesbury.” This new and […]