Blind Spot 26: The Palm Beach Story

February is the month of romance, so I thought it would be fun to pick a classic romantic comedy for my blind spot selection. There aren’t many romcoms I haven’t seen but one I hadn’t gotten around to is The Palm Beach Story by director Preston Sturges- the king of the 1940s romantic comedy! Fortunately, it proved to be not only romantic but also somewhat shocking (for the day) in its themes and story.

The first thing to keep in mind with The Palm Beach Story is to watch the opening credits! There is a montage throughout them that comes into play later in the movie. It’s a neat touch that starts things off feeling fresh and inventive.

Claudette Colbert is amazing as Gerry, a woman struggling with a marriage that can’t seem to get above water financially. Her husband Tom (Joel McCrea) has grand ideas but can never make a steady paycheck. Through various contrivances Gerry ends up on a train down to Palm Beach where she hopes to meet a rich man who can be her second husband.

To her great fortune she meets a man named John D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee) who becomes smitten and insists on showering her with all kinds of clothing and gifts.  Of course when Tom hears about this he is furious and goes to Palm Beach to try and stop it.

Things get further complicated when Hackensacker’s sister Princess Centimillia (Mary Astor) becomes interested in Tom (who Gerry says is her brother Captain McGlue!). With so many half truths it gets pretty nutty and even a little surprising.  It’s also very easy to see how this film influenced movies like White Christmas and Some Like It Hot in many ways.

As with all of Preston Sturges’ movies the true star is the terrific script. He was so great at crafting frank and honest dialogue spoken from compelling characters. The banter between McCrea and Colbert is snappy and very fast paced but thankfully the actors are up for the task. Colbert is as good here as she is in It Happened One Night, and she has good chemistry with McCrea. They even manage to keep her likable despite her taking advantage of Hackensacker and not being very honest. Not an easy task!

I was impressed with how modern the script was in both tone and candor. Sex, marriage, divorce, infidelity, loneliness and depression are all discussed in ways that must have made the censors blush back then. Sturges even asks the question ‘is marriage necessary or a good thing?’. Of course, the answer is yes but it’s still a bold question for 1942. Later on in Unfaithfully Yours he will explore these themes even more, but I appreciated there was nothing cloying about the relationships in this script.

The only real downside is not all the physical comedy worked for me. All the actors are up for it but I preferred the more dialogue-based humor. Also, I don’t know that I completely buy the ending, but I don’t know that we are supposed to. I think it is meant to be a little bit of a poke at traditional romances with perfect happily ever afters. He even adds an ‘or not’ at the end to reinforce his point.

I definitely recommend checking The Palm Beach Story out if you like classic romances with great dialogue. It’s a wonderful choice for Valentine’s Day and a whole lot of fun! Also, studios should take a look at this film and consider remaking it or paying homage to it. The story and script is definitely still relevant and it would be interesting to see the themes of marriage explored even more so with modern characters.

Overall Grade- A

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Blind Spot 24: We’re No Angels

It is very exciting we have reached my last Blind Spot pick for 2017. I hope you have enjoyed the 12 films I have reviewed this year and I look forward to picking 12 more for next year. If you have a blog I encourage you to participate in the series and finally check some of those films off your list you have been wanting to see.

Unfortunately it’s too bad I can’t end the year on a more positive note. My pick for this month is a supposed Christmas film called We’re No Angels. This is the original 1955 version not the 1989 remake. I know other people love this dark comedy but it was not for me. I honestly found it pretty hard to get through.

The story is about 3 convicts (Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov) who escape from prison just before Christmas.  They go to a shop and after spying on their daughter (Joan Bennett) they decide to steal from the family and then escape off of the island. Things get complicated when a snobby relative (Basil Rathbone) comes in and wants to take over the store.

I said in my 3 Billboards review that dark comedies are not my thing and it is true here. I know these men are supposed to be bad guys, convicts, but I found them uncomfortable, awkward, perverted and not the least bit funny. They literally are staring at the family and daughter through a window for a good chunk of the movie. They bicker and are cruel in ways that didn’t amuse me at all.

The only person who worked for me a little was Peter Ustinov who always gives a funny/strange performance. But even he couldn’t save this film because the writing wasn’t good and the characters are so unlikable.

Basil Rathbone’s character is supposed to be a character of ridicule but I frankly thought the 3 anti-heroes were much worse. They are manipulative, cold and worst of all boring. This movie is dull and sorely lacking in charisma or fun. It certainly has no Christmas charm or cheer.

I can see how those that like dark comedies will enjoy it but it was not for me. I really didn’t enjoy it and will never watch it again. The costumes were nice so I guess there is that but I can’t think of anything else to praise.

If this is a Christmas film you love please tell me why you like it. I just didn’t get it.

Blind Spot 21: Manhattan

I went into this month’s Blind spot pick, Manhattan, with kind of low expectations. Despite it being a well regarded film amongst critics and film snobs nobody I know seems to like it much. So perhaps it was these low expectations that left me feeling surprised at how much I liked it. Manhattan is a funny look at how we ruin things by idolizing them. Whether it be relationships, sex, art, literature or even New York City itself, when we place things on a pedestal we take the joy out of what we are admiring.

I can see why many don’t like Manhattan. It has Woody Allen’s classic mannerisms which can be annoying to some. It also has him in a relationship with a 17 year old which can be awkward especially with Woody Allen’s own background.

My favorite part of Manhattan is the script. It shows how ridiculous we are when we love something (or are infatuated). This scene I particularly loved when the group of pedantics are criticizing everything they think is ‘overrated’.

There were a lot of scenes like that which made me laugh and could have been easily criticizing modern internet culture today  just as much as New Yorkers in 1979. These people are trying so hard to appear smart that  it is funny.

Manhattan is also a beautiful movie with amazing black and white photography. I think it is even more stunning than Annie Hall. I don’t know if I can think of a Woody Allen film that looks as good. Maybe Midnight in Paris but this might be even better.

We also see this idolization with Meryl Streep’s character who was Woody Allen’s ex but left him to be with a woman. She looks stunning in this film but she is writing a whole memoir on her relationship with Allen. This is definitely Allen puffing his own ego up but it is also about how we place past relationships on a pedestal and puff them up to protect us from new pain.

My only big problem with Manhattan is I never felt invested in the romance with Mariel Hemingway. She is so sincere and he is more than a little creepy. I think that is intentional but it also wasn’t as funny as scenes with Diane Keaton and others.

In the end Manhattan is about looking at things in our lives the way they really are and taking off the rose colored glasses. But not only that- it shows how silly we all are with those glasses on.

If you would like to purchase Manhattan click here

Overall Grade- A-

PS I didn’t even think of the fact I watched Manhattan on 9/11. How perfect 

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: The Beguiled (1971)

Just like last week Nathaniel at the Film Experience hasn’t picked a movie for the Hit Me with Your Best Shot series and so I put it out to my twitter to decide. This weeks winner was Jacob Scott who suggested I watch the original The Beguiled from 1971. The remake is coming out any day now and won Sophia Coppola best director at the Cannes Film Festival. I really like doing this each week because it allows me to either reexamine a film from a cinematography perspective or look at something new I never would have seen otherwise.

So what about the original? It’s a weird little movie that I’m glad I saw but didn’t strike me as a classic romantic thriller. For a lot of the film it felt like I was watching a TV movie (the 70s version of a lifetime thriller) but then it would occasionally do cinematic things.

The Beguiled stars Clint Eastwood as John McBurney a Yankee soldier who is taken in by a ladies school run by Martha Farnsworth played by Geraldine Page. At times it feels more like a cult than a school. Nobody is allowed to leave and the girls don’t seem to be getting much of an education.

As John begins to recover he gets to know each of the girls including Martha, who has a very twisted backstory of her own. They don’t really cite scripture but it’s more the civility and social rules of the South are their gospel. They even read through the books of manners like it is the Bible.

Each of the girls approaches John from a different way. One is the innocent virgin, another is the temptress, another is a bargainer, etc. He even gets to know Hallie, the slave, who he bonds with as a prisoner but also is at odds with because he seems to have no power over her sexually. There are a lot of tense scenes in the film and they do a good job making it feel like a pot of water about to boil over. There is obviously sensuality but it is mostly about temptation than actual participation. Envy of course also plays a big role in the story.

In picking a best shot I wanted to go with something that showed both John and the women but it’s a film that has very few group scenes. It is mostly 2-shots and close ups. Often you will have a shot from behind a woman, panning from the woman to John or a fade out where you see a woman and then it fades into John.

So for the best shot I decided to go with a pivotal scene where we see Martha’s back and John and Edwina across the table.

Overall Grade- B

Blind Spot 18: Paths of Glory

It’s interesting that this month’s blind spot pick, Paths of Glory, just happens to be the second movie I’ve watched this month featuring World War 1 and a No Man’s Land scene. Of course the other film, Wonder Woman, is completely different but it is still a random coincidence as there are not that many World War 1 films made.

Paths of Glory is directed by the great Stanley Kubrick and is a very interesting war movie. In some ways it feels like Hacksaw Ridge combined with Catch 22. I hated the book Catch 22 because it was so cynical. I get the point of the book is to be cynical, but I needed something to latch on to and bond with. It was a very unpleasant experience that was supposed to be funny.

Anyway, I feel Paths of Glory takes this cynical attitude and also  give us intriguing characters that we like spending time with. It’s not a satire like Doctor Strangelove but it does have a cynical sad tone to the events of war.

Starring Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory, is set in World War 1 and tells the story of a division of French soldiers who are commanded to go on a suicide mission to attack the German stronghold called the ‘Anthill’.

Colonel Dax (Douglas) tries to convince the superiors to hold off the attack because of the heavy casualties and lack of benefit but they insist upon it. The attack goes forward and a group of soldiers refuses to leave the trench. The men are then ordered to fire upon their fellow soldiers, which they refuse without a written order.

The leader, General Mireau, is enraged at the men and blames them for the attack not working. At first he wants to court martial 100 men but 3 are eventually chosen to face trial and execution.

It is this section that Paths of Glory moves from being a war film to a courtroom drama and it is also where you get some of that Catch 22 type of cynicism. It makes sense, after all, when what they are doing to these 3 men is extremely cynical. Taking 3 men’s lives because they wouldn’t turn on their own men shows how twisted war can get.

Paths of Glory is a great film. Somehow Stanley Kubrick manages to mix these two sides together so well. The war scenes are as captivating and disturbing as anything we get in modern war films. And the scenes with the 3 soldiers are sad with a hint of social commentary. It all works.

The cinematography by Georg Krause is a master class using shadows and light in a way only possible with black and white. This is not a film that takes war lightly- the way say Michael Bay might today.  Paths 0f Glory manages to get emotion in every shot even amidst the chaos of Ant-Hill.

The acting is also really strong throughout led by Kirk Douglas. He’s fantastic as Dax who is a hardened soldier with an unsentimental love for his men. He’s basically a good person and a good military man at the same time- a tough balance to pull off.

All the other performances are unknowns to me but they did a great job. I particularly liked a scene where a minister comes to take the men’s last confession. The dialogue and acting was superbly executed.

I only really have one nitpick with Paths of Glory. It’s just that it is hard to get fully immersed in a story about the French army when everyone speaks English without French accents (at least most of them). I wish they had spoken in French with subtitles or at least had an accent.

Other than that, Paths of Glory is a classic for a reason. It gives the viewer a lot to think about without beating you over the head with its cynicism. It’s very well made and acted and over all a great film that I highly recommend.

Overall Grade- A

Blind Spot 17: Duck Soup

Ah how great it is to see terrific comedy! It’s the best to sit back, relax and heartily laugh at a good movie. Unfortunately it’s an experience that doesn’t happen too often these days. Now most comedies are so raunchy that I either chose to not watch them or they aren’t my style of humor. So, you can imagine my enjoyment when I put on this month’s blind spot pick, Duck Soup, and laughed good and hard! Duck Soup is a classic comedy and with good cause. Especially if you like physical comedy it doesn’t get better than this.

Duck Soup stars the Marx Brothers- Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo and evidently this is their crowning achievement. I read dictator Benito Mussolini took the movie as a personal insult and banned it from Italy! You know you are doing something right if a dictator bans your movie!

The plot for Duck Soup is pretty basic. Groucho plays a man who is put in charge of a small country named Freedonia. They are a nation of great pomp and circumstance and much is made about their need for decorum. Meanwhile Chico and Harpo are sent as spies to look into the situation and see what Freedonia is up to. Zeppo plays Groucho’s secretary and kind of the straight man role in the story. Quickly all kinds of mayhem erupts involving war, love and politics.

You don’t see a movie like Duck Soup for the plot. It’s about the hilarious gags. What’s impressive here is they manage to be funny with both physical comedy and political commentary. I love how expressive each of the brothers are and how you can read so much through their eyes and facial expressions.

This scene with a lemonade vendor is hilarious:

I particularly like Harpo and how innocent and sweet he is. Don’t you just want to hug him? What he is able to do with a simple hat to get laughs is remarkable.

But Duck Soup can also be very funny in the political commentary especially if you think about its release date in the 1933 when trouble was brewing in Europe. The insanity of such political negotiations and the egos involved is skewered so well in scenes like this one-

It’s so funny when he goes in seconds from welcoming the idea of diplomacy to ‘who does he think he is? That he come here and make a sap out of me in front of my people’. I have a feeling it might not be that far off of actual diplomacy (I try to not think about that too hard these days! Politicians and the egos involved is a scary thought).

Duck Soup is only an 69 minutes so it’s not much of an investment of time but boy is it rewarding. I laughed from start to finish and it wasn’t the kind of mean spirited raunchy comedy you get today. It can be a little bawdy but all in good fun. I have seen one other Marx Brothers movie Monkey Business and I think Duck Soup is much funnier than that.

I know some children might be intimidated by black and white but comedies can often be good ways to introduce them. Duck Soup would be great for that. I think they will love it especially Chico and Harpo as the 2 spies. Hilarious.

I just loved this movie!  The only flaw I suppose is maybe 2 of the musical numbers go on a little long. Other than that one of the great comedies without question.

Overall Grade- A+


Blind Spot 15: 8 1/2

I am going to start off this blind spot review with a bit of a controversial statement:

You can be a film fan and dislike classic films

Just because something is on the Criterion collection and heralded as a masterpiece doesn’t mean you have to like it.  Some film snobs may disrespect such a view but honestly to heck with them. No film should be so sacred it is immune from criticism.

Such an introduction may give you a hint of what I thought about Federico Fellini’s masterpiece 8 1/2. I respect it but I didn’t really care for it. Shocking, I know but let me try and explain.

Let’s start out with the positives. It cannot be denied how great this movie looks. The cinematography is inventive and beautiful and I enjoyed watching it on that level. Often the shots feel like they were taken by a little person with the camera looking up at the character.

There are also many dream sequences that are effectively surreal and feel like dreams.

The critic Alan Stone said about 8 1/2 ” I celebrate it. A filmmaker who prefers ideas to images will never advance above the second rank because he is fighting the nature of his art. The printed word is ideal for ideas; film is made for images, and images are best when they are free to evoke many associations and are not linked to narrowly defined purposes”  It’s an interesting philosophy about film, which I often use to defend Terrence Malick and his image-over-plot films.

So with all that said why did 8 1/2 not really work for me? I think the main problem is Fellini isn’t making an image over story film. I think he not only wants to tell a story, he wants you to sympathize with the narcissistic womanizer he has created as his anti-hero.

8 1/2  is about a man named Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) who is a famous Italian director. He is being pressured by the studio to make a sci-fi film but he is artistically stymied and frustrated. As he suffers from “filmmaking block” we get an endless parade of women in his life. There’s his wife Luisa, mistress Carla, an ideal woman, a prostitute from his childhood, nuns, friends, an actress named Claudia, the list goes on.

The film just assumes a man like Guido could get so many women in his life but it never gives any reason why. Is he just good in the sack? Is he a charmer? He certainly doesn’t seem to be. He treats them horribly and even in his fantasies wants to do nothing but whip them. What on earth?

I have a feeling Alejandro Inarritu loves this movie because Birdman has so much of 8 1/2 in it. I didn’t like Birdman, and I didn’t really like this. I found both pretty misogynistic and self-indulgent and not in ways that interested me despite how pretty they looked.

The overall message of the film is I guess about the creative thinker and how sometimes inspiration just doesn’t come. Such a narrative can be quite compelling like when Karen Eiffel deals with writers block in Stranger than Fiction. But at least there I felt something for her but in 8 1/2 I really didn’t care for Guido.

Plus, the creative output he gives in the dream sequences, while beautifully shot, were never really that inspirational or stunning that on their own merits I wanted him to create the art. So I wasn’t really rooting for the man or his art.

Terrence Malick in Knight of Cups has a frustrated artist depressed by the depravity of Los Angeles and Hollywood but I felt for him because the art he imagined in the surrealist sequences was gorgeous. Plus, the female characters who come into that film felt like real, genuine women, not stereotypes.

Frankly, I finished 8 1/2 and said to myself “did I miss something?”. Despite looking nice it didn’t seem that special or interesting or compelling, and yet I’ve heard all these praises. Maybe it is a film that will grown on me over time? I’m not sure but it didn’t do much for me on this watch.

When it comes down to it I didn’t enjoy the experience of following Guido on his fantasies and narcissistic delusions and I found no compelling reason why any of these women were attracted to him or involved with him. It just didn’t quite work for me. Oh well.

Still, it does look great so I will give it that.

Overall Grade- C+

3 Magnificent 7s

mag7-2On Monday I had the chance to go to a screening of the Magnificent Seven. This is a remake of a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Seven Samurai. I had been planning to see the previous films before this new film but the opportunity presented itself so I took the unorthodox approach of seeing the newest film first. Now I have seen all 3 films and can let you know what I thought of all things Magnificent Seven. Maybe I could call it the Magnificent 21 and make it a triple feature?

Let’s start with Seven Samurai:

seventh-samSeven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa is a truly epic film. At 3 1/2 hours it is intimidating and long but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In Japanese with subtitles it is not for the faint at heart filmgoer who isn’t willing to work for their movie.

It tells the story we will see in all of these films. It’s a village that is being manipulated by bandits who are stealing their harvest The villagers decide to hire samurai to protect the village led by Kambei, a ronin who is bitter at his own servitude in his life. Then there are 6 others- Sichiroji, Katusushiro, Heihachi, Kyuzo, Gorobei, and Kikuchiyo.  All 7 have their own story arcs and personalities.

Where the other 2 films treat the bonding with the village as more after-thoughts that is the main story behind Seven Samurai. The villagers don’t trust the Samurai as there is a stiff class divide between the farmers and the samurai. Katsushiro faces particular struggles as he becomes involved with Shino, a farmers daughter.

You have to think of Seven Samurai more like you are binge watching a show on Netflix. It is episodic but in a good way. Nobody could endure any of the pieces for 3 hours whether battles, class struggle, romance or preparation for the bandits; however, together it all works as an amazing film. The acting is first rate and the cinematography is stunning from Kurosawa. There’s about 30 minutes that are completely in the rain, which is amazing to look at.  I found myself getting very involved with the people especially in the last hour and half.

Seven Samurai is definitely the best out of the 3 films because of its scope and characters but it is probably the least rewatchable and digestible, so it depends on what you are in the mood for.

Overall Grade A+

Next up Magnificent 7 (1960)

the-original-magnificent-sevenThe samurai has been turned into the cowboy, which makes sense given their similar place in American folklore. In this version a Mexican village is raided by bandits who threaten to return and take their harvest. The villagers meet Chris Adams played by Yul Brynner who they hire to protect their town from the bandits. He gets 6 of his buddies to help because he feels sorry for the people.

Horst Bucholz, Brad Dexter, Charlese Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Steve McQueen make up the rest of the Magnificent 7 and they begin to help the town be ready for the bandits to return. Each of the 7 have different insecurities and weaknesses but they do their best to train the people. In one nice moment the men realize they are eating all the food in the village so they decide to share it with the town. There is a real sense of bonding with the Mexican people and getting to know them.

Horst Bucholz’s Chico has a larger role than I was expecting- falling in love with local Petra and acting as a spy in the bandits camp. Chico find out they are nearly as desperate for food as the villagers. The two groups fight it out and it works because you have gotten to know the men like Chico and Steve McQueen’s Vin Tanner.

All of the performers are top notch in this film, which is part of the reason it works. There is nobody like Yul Brynner as far as I’m concerned and he is great here like always. You completely buy him being the leader for both the people and the 6 other men.

Some of the Mexicans can be caricatures that made me a little uncomfortable but over all an entertaining film with engaging action and performances.

Overall Grade- B

seventh-samurai2In our latest version we have director Antoine Fuqua taking a crack at the Magnificent 7 story. This version follows the 1960 film pretty closely but it amps up the violence at every turn. This new take won’t be for everyone but I found there was entertainment to be had.

Instead of a group of bandits this time we get an evil capitalist named Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). Unlike the 1960 version where the bandit’s men were starving, Bogue just wants power and more land. It’s the classic big bad greedy man. He was a real snooze fest in the movie to be honest.

But to open the film Bogue burns the church to the ground and murders Haley Bennett’s husband for standing up to him. She finds Denzel Washington’s Sam Chisolm and hires him to fight against Bogue and his army. Chisolm then gathers together his crew of 6 and they begin to train the town to defend themselves.

I really liked this cast. Denzel Washington is a movie star and he shines with swagger and charisma. Chris Pratt is great. Ethan Hawke is grizzled and weary. Vincent D’Onofrio is fantastic. I loved how diverse the cast was with Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Martin Sensmeir all playing unique roles with a lot of heart to them.

The thing that separates this film from the other two is the violence. I can’t believe it is a PG-13. There are probably 200+ men that are killed in various ways throughout the movie. We see stabbings, shootings, arrow kills, explosions, the list goes on and on. The last act of the movie is as kinetic and crazy a fight scene as anything I’ve ever seen.

I guess you either think stuff like that is fun or you don’t. I kind of did believe it or not. Plus, the stars sell it 100%. The stuff with Bogue is pretty lame and it does drag in the middle and the characters are more rote than in the other 2 versions. They are pretty much excuses for the violent action so it depends on whether you like that kind of thing or not.

Also nice to hear a lovely last score from the late James Horner.

Overall Grade- B-

Also, A Bug’s Life is definitely based on this mythology, which evidently everyone already knows but me! Learn something new every day!

Have you seen any of these films and what do you think?

Here is my youtube video

Blind Spot 9: 400 Blows

400-blows2This month for my blind spot series I finally watched the seminal french new wave film The 400 Blows. Directed by the great Francouis Truffaut I had long heard about this movie but had never seen it. Now that I have I can see why it is such a classic.

The 400 Blows is about a little boy named Antoine who is growing up in the 1950s Paris. His parents don’t care for him and at best placate and put up with him. His teacher at school is constantly scolding him and he is out of place in the world.

In many ways Antoine reminds me of Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye, which was published in 1951. The 400 Blows came out in 1959. However, I prefer Antoine to Holden because his observations are mostly made through quiet staring at those around him where Holden’s dialogue becomes obnoxious.

400-blows3Some people will hate the 400 Blows because not a ton happens in the story. It’s really about this character and how the world seems to not be made for him. No matter what he does the world seems to scold him.

The cinematography by Henri Decaë is gorgeous and 400 Blows is great to watch just on a technical level. Each shot gives you a piercing look at Antoine’s loneliness. Most of the shots are made beneath Antoine and look up to him again showcasing his isolation both mentally and physically. There are many other unique shots and perspectives Truffaut uses to create tone and tell the story.

We also see Antoine escaping (literally one time from a fire) to the movies, which for movie lovers has significance. It’s really the only positive thing in his life for most of the film.

400-blows5There is definitely a feeling that Antoine never has been allowed to be a child. His parents are harsh including his Mother expecting him to hide her secrets from everyone. His teacher openly hates him and even with his friend they are basically adults not children.

Evidently Truffaut was commenting on the state of the juvenile treatment centers of the era, which is interesting because they are a footnote to the movie. But in a way it makes sense because the whole movie leads up to his placement there and how Antoine never really was given a fair shake. The movie does not manipulate the viewer with sentimentality or emotional sequences. It merely shows Antoine’s life and how the world has failed him.

400-blows-5In some ways I feel a little outside my skill-set to review a film like 400 Blows. The film-making techniques used are clearly masterful in ways only a cinematographer or technician could articulate, but I certainly can tell it is a beautiful and striking film. I recommend reading Roger Ebert’s ‘Great Movies’ review where he talks about Truffaut’s back story, the freeze frames and other camera work used in the film. http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-400-blows-1959

If you like Catcher in the Rye and those types of stories or love to watch beautiful camera-work I think you’ve got to see The 400 Blows. It’s a classic for a reason!

Overall Grade- A+