Saturday, September 26, 2009

September revival: second half

Hey all. Mike here with what to catch, revival-wise, for the second half of September. And based on increased schedule difficulty (Trust at Parkside Players- catch it!), this is the only revival I can catch. But I've been waiting for this one to come around for a while:

FAT CITY- Sun Sept 27 at 7:30 and 9:30, Tues Sept 29 and Wed Sept 30 at 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 and Thurs Oct 1 at 1:30- Film Forum- A new 35mm print. Not a hit back in 1972, and frankly, not really remembered today. But for those who have seen it, it's cited as one of the films that made 1970s the best decade for American film. I won't step into that particular argument here. But it's also one of those films that shows director John Huston was doing work that was just as vital near the end of his career as it was in the beginning.

Please, it's more than just Death of a Salesman or Requiem For A Dream, set in boxing. There's just enough levity to make it 70s palpable. Based on Leonard Gardner's successful book, Stacy Keach stars as a boxer, never the biggest name in his division, trying to restart his career in one of the most dusty, and drabbest (not a word but whatever) towns in all of California. He meets a younger version of himself, played by Jeff Bridges. Jeff's character may be up and coming, but is that only because he's so young? In a sport where one knockout can change anything, who's to say how long Bridges' character will have a bright future. And if Keach's character wins, whose to say that that would be enough to get him out of dive towns and into better fights?

Two aspects of Huston the man and director have served the legacy of this film well, for those who have seen it. One, Huston's past as a former boxer, led him to shoot the fight scenes as realistic as possible. Not with the power punches of a Rocky film or The Contender TV series, or with the bloody artistry of Raging Bull. But if you're familiar with the barroom fight in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, then you have the idea of the kind of fights depicted.

Two, Huston cast many of his films well, and this is no exception. He took chances casting Bridges and Keach, back when they were mostly unknown. Their breakout films, Last Picture Show for Bridges and Doc for Keach, had not been released when cast. It also helped Keach that Brando was unenthusiastic about taking the role. An Oscar nomination went to Susan Tyrell for playing Keach's 'squeeze', the barfly of all barfly. Before American Graffiti, Candy Clark made her screen debut as Bridges' screw-up girlfriend. With Nicholas Colastano (years before Raging Bull and Cheers as coach) as Bridges' trainer, and a number of welterweight, middleweight and lightweight boxers in small roles throughout.

Let me know because like I said, I'd really like to catch it. Later all.

P.S.: Do catch Trust. It's a good show. Go to, and follow along for Trust. Later all.

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