Rashomon (1950)

“It’s human to lie. Most of the time we can’t even be honest with ourselves.”

Rashomon Poster

Synopsis:
A trio of drifters (Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki, and Kichijiro Ueda) discuss the murder of a samurai (Masayuki Mori) and the rape of his wife (Machiko Kyo) committed by a savage bandit (Toshiro Mifune).

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary seems less than enamored by this seminal Kurosawa movie, which was “the first Japanese film to receive widespread international distribution and success” (indeed, it won an honorary Oscar in 1952, and was presumably the impetus for creating a Best Foreign Film category). He argues that the “film doesn’t hold up as well as other Kurosawa works because its ‘there is no such thing as Absolute Truth’ theme isn’t particularly novel.” He further complains that the performances (with the exception of Mifune, who he believes “makes a strong impression”) are “either irritating or forgettable”; that the “playing of ‘Bolero’ at one point seems inappropriate”; and that the opening and concluding sequences (which “were inserted into [the] script so the picture would be long enough to interest a distributor”) are “disconcerting”.

I disagree with Peary on nearly all the above points. The film’s central premise — that truth is subjective enough that we all approach the telling of a tale with our unique biases and subconscious desires firmly in play — is universal, and so masterfully portrayed by Kurosawa that it serves as an enduring primer for how to relate such a story in cinematic terms. To that end, Peary does concede that “it shouldn’t be forgotten that Kurosawa broke the rules of cinema storytelling”; along with many other critics (see links below), he notes that “it is less important that any four people will tell four different versions of a story than that any filmmaker is capable of taking a story and visualizing it in an infinite number of equally persuasive, audience-manipulative ways”.

With regards to the film’s “bookends”, they come across as simply a convenient and effective narrative device; and the inclusion of “Bolero” (actually, a variation thereof) in the soundtrack doesn’t strike me as particularly jarring. Finally, in terms of the film’s central performances, I’m actually less a fan of Mifune’s primal bandit (as noted in Time Out London’s review, he “veers on the hammy side of earthy”) than I am of both Kyo as the samurai’s wife (watch how her expressions and overall demeanor shift from vignette to vignette), and Mori as the samurai himself (though he’s not given much to do, he effectively projects an unnerving, steely reserve). Even more memorable than the actors, however, are Kurosawa’s stunning, haunting visuals — as usual, every frame of his story is composed with craft and care.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Fine performances by the principal actors
    Rashomon Mifune
    Rashomon Kyo
  • Memorable imagery and cinematography
    Rashomon Court
    Rashomon Meadow Scene

Must See?
Yes, as an historically important foreign classic by a master director.

Categories

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

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Gilda (1946)

“You do hate me, don’t you, Johnny?”

Gilda Poster

Synopsis:
A petty gambler (Glenn Ford) managing a casino in Buenos Aires is dismayed to discover that his boss (George Macready) has married his hedonistic former flame, Gilda (Rita Hayworth).

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary’s not a big fan of this classic wartime flick, starring pin-up girl Rita Hayworth in what is undoubtedly her most iconic role. While he acknowledges that “gorgeous Rita sizzles, wearing an assortment of sexy outfits and singing ‘Put the Blame on Mame’,” he complains that the film as a whole is “overlong, silly, and confusing”. Watching it again recently, however, I found myself surprisingly absorbed in its tale of a vitriolic “love-hate” relationship between a couple so clearly meant for one another (if only they could get over whatever it is that keeps them clawing at one another’s throats). The aspects of the script focusing on Macready’s shady wartime dealings as the head of an international tungsten cartel (!) are a tad incomprehensible and meandering (Joseph Calleia’s detective lurks around the perimeter of the set without much to do), but are ultimately inconsequential, and fortunately don’t distract much at all from the central conflict: the tension-filled menage a trois between Macready, Ford, and Hayworth.

I disagree as well with Peary’s assessment of Macready as “good and sinister” but “not strong enough for such a pivotal role” — it’s exactly his creepy but understated presence that gives his relationship with Ford’s Johnny such an unusual edge (why exactly did he “pick up” Johnny to begin with, off the streets of Bueno Aires?). I agree with Peary, however, that Ford “gives an uninteresting performance as an unlikable heel-hero” — actually, his performance here is not so much “uninteresting” as it is unconvincing (though the fault is less with Ford than with the studio heads for miscasting him in the first place). He simply doesn’t have the requisite allure or good looks to be credible as a man that a goddess — er, woman — like Gilda would get herself so hung up over. On that note, the script teasingly neglects to fill us in on the little detail of what exactly tore Gilda and Johnny apart to begin with. Quibbles aside, however, there’s enough to the film — including director Charles Vidor’s more-than-serviceable direction, Rudolph Mate’s noir-inflected cinematography, Rita’s inimitable presence, and lots of zingy dialogue — to make it a must-see classic at least once for all film fanatics.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Rita Hayworth as Gilda
    Gilda Hayworth
  • Gilda’s justifiably famous and sexy dance routines
    Gilda Mame
  • Rudolph Mate’s cinematography
    Gilda Cinematography
  • Plenty of racy, memorable dialogue — most by Gilda:

    “Me? Sure, I’m decent…”

    “I can never get a zipper to close. Maybe that stands for something, what do you think?”

    “There’s something about Latin men: for one thing, they can dance… For another — “

Must See?
Yes, as an iconic classic.

Categories

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

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Born to Kill (1947)

“You’re strength… excitement… and depravity.”

Born to Kill Poster

Synopsis:
A recent divorcee (Claire Trevor) falls for a hunky psychopath (Lawrence Tierney), and finds herself covering up for his murderous tendencies.

Genres:

Review:
Dubbed by New York Times reviewer Bosley Crowther as “not only morally disgusting but … an offense to a normal intellect”, and labeled by DVD Savant “one of the nastier films noir [sic],” this lurid flick by director Robert Wise tells the tale of an irredeemably psychopathic killer (Tierney as “Sam Wild”) who finds his would-be soul-mate in Claire Trevor’s cool and calculating neo-socialite, Helen Brant. As in the best noir, these two characters are utterly deserving of each other, but find themselves foiled (inevitably) by their own ambitions. In a unique twist, however, Tierney is the homme fatale in the equation — the irresistible male who causes havoc on the otherwise ordered lives of those around him.

While in some ways gruff-guy Tierney (best known for playing the title role in 1945’s Dillinger) is perfectly cast, he’s ultimately not a nuanced enough actor to bring Wild’s inner life to the surface; we never get a sense of him as anything other than a menacing hulk — and, given his lack of charisma, it’s difficult to see why so many women would fall head over heels for him. (He’s handsome and strong — definitely “not a turnip”, as one character puts it — but not THAT handsome!)

Trevor, however, does wonders with her challenging role, managing to make Helen sympathetic even as she stupidly gives up a life of luxury and contentment (with dull but moneyed Phillip Terry) for the questionable [sexual] thrills afforded her by Tierney. While there’s much critical discussion of Trevor’s dramatic eyebrow-raising throughout the film, I find her performance refreshingly sincere. The cast of supporting performers are mostly fine as well, with reliable B-actor Elisha Cook, Jr. playing nicely against type (sort of) as a care-taking “George” to Tierney’s “Lennie” (he has a bit more spunk here than in his usual roles), and the inimitable Esther Howard — whose grotesquely fascinating face is as creaky and crooked as a jalopy — equally effective as the catalyst who brings Walter Slezak’s sleazy PI to San Francisco.

Less impressive is Audrey Long as Trevor’s conveniently naive and gold-hearted foster sister, who is simply too beautiful to be credible as a wealthy heiress so easily won over by an uncultured lout like Tierney. Other elements of the plot strain credulity as well, simply through lack of sufficient explanation — i.e., what is Tierney’s relationship, past and present, with Cook, Jr.? How did Trevor get to be Long’s “foster sister”, and why is Long so loyal to her? Ultimately, however, one watches a picture like this simply to see how the corrupt protagonists will meet their ends — and the ride until then (implausibilities aside) is mostly satisfying, thanks to Trevor’s memorable performance, some crackling dialogue, and Robert De Grasse’s noir-ish cinematography.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Claire Trevor as Helen Brent
    Born to Kill Claire Trevor
  • Fine supporting performances by Elisha Cook, Jr., Esther Holland, and others
    Born to Kill Cook Jr.
    Born to Kill Howard
  • Robert De Grasse’s cinematography
    Born to Kill Cinematography
  • Some zingy dialogue: “”He’s the quiet sort, but you get the feeling that if you got out of line, he’d kick your teeth down your throat.”

Must See?
Yes, simply for Trevor’s performance. Listed as a Sleeper in the back of Peary’s book.

Categories

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Scandal Sheet (1952)

“Too bad the guy used an axe on her head; spoiled some pretty pictures for me.”

Scandal Sheet Poster

Synopsis:
When the editor of a sensationalist newspaper (Broderick Crawford) accidentally kills his estranged wife (Rosemary DeCamp), his lead reporter (John Derek) is assigned to the case of the “Lonely Hearts Murderer” — not knowing that his boss is the man he’s looking for.

Genres:

Review:
Phil Karlson’s adaptation of Samuel Fuller’s 1944 novel The Dark Page is an enjoyable if “solid [and] unpretentious” thriller. Because we know the identity of the “Lonely Hearts Murderer” from the moment we see Crawford accidentally killing his long-lost wife in a hotel room scuffle, the film’s suspense lies exclusively in how and when his secret will be found out. A fiendishly ambitious editor devoted to milking every scandal for what it’s worth to his increasingly low-brow but profitable rag, Crawford’s Mark Chapman is forced to shove his tawdry actions (and more distant, seamy past) under the rug — and Crawford does a fine job portraying the kind of audacious (or foolhardy) man who, in his own words, “gambles” with his own life rather than running, at least “until there’s nothing else left to do”.

Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, John Derek is too much of a pretty boy for his role and is never entirely convincing as the eager-beaver rookie journalist who places Crawford on such a pedestal (though his opening scene with Harry Morgan as his sidekick photographer is a zinger). Meanwhile, Derek’s rocky interactions with Donna Reed (trying hard in a weakly written role as his moralistic female colleague) seem to be included in the screenplay merely to provide a requisite love interest subplot. In addition, while its central premise is inherently exciting, the script is predicated on a series of implausible coincidences, and many scenes simply don’t ring true (c.f. a disturbingly paternalistic sequence near the end of the film involving a bar full of stereotypical “winos”). However, the movie possesses enough noir-ish atmosphere (courtesy of Burnett Guffey‘s stark cinematography), enjoyably hardboiled dialogue, and genuine suspense that film fanatics will surely be curious to check it out at least once.

P.S. Fuller was apparently so unimpressed by Scandal Sheet that he vowed to helm all his own flicks in the future — and did.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Broderick Crawford as Mark Chapman
    Scandal Sheet Cinematography
  • Burnett Guffey’s cinematography
    Scandal Sheet Cinematography
    Scandal Sheet Cinematography2

Must See?
No, but it’s worth viewing.

Links:

Green for Danger (1946)

“Joseph Higgins was quite dead.”

Green for Danger

Synopsis:
When a postman (Moore Marriott) dies mysteriously on the operating table of a rural hospital during WWII — and a nurse (Judy Campbell) with incriminating evidence is killed shortly thereafter — an inspector (Alastair Sim) is sent to investigate which of a close-knit team of doctors (Leo Genn and Trevor Howard) and nurses (Rosamund John, Sally Gray, and Megs Jenkins) is the murderer.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that this “famous whodunit” by the creative team of Sidney Gilliat and Frank Laudner — who worked together on more than 40 films between 1930 and 1966, including The Green Man (1956) and Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes — “is much overrated”. He states that while “the mystery is satisfactory… the proceedings are surprisingly somber” — yet as Tom Huddleston writes in his review for Not Coming to a Theater Near You, the film can actually be viewed as a sort of “Ealing noir,” one which effectively incorporates atmospheric cinematography (by Wilkie Cooper) and noir-ish tropes (i.e., a contentious love triangle) into its Agatha Christie-style ensemble murder plot. As DVD Savant notes, the film “has a dark undertone, an uneasy quality that works against the surface order of the standard wartime English movie” — and it’s exactly this “dark undertone” that makes the film so memorable.

Peary argues that Alastair Sim’s “supposedly witty” detective is “a poorly conceived character”, seemingly “in the wrong film” — a point I’ll agree with to a certain extent. As enjoyable as this quirky actor always is to watch, his Inspector Cockrill adds incongruous levity to the proceedings; when he first enters the screen with a slapsticky stumble and roll, we feel as though we’ve suddenly switched to watching a Jacques Tati film. Peary also somewhat cynically states that the “picture’s major advantage is that you forget who the murderer is from one viewing to the next”. Interestingly, I was convinced I remembered the killer’s identity from when I first saw this film ~15 years ago, but was absolutely wrong — so his point is well-taken! However, the mystery itself is more enjoyable than Peary’s snarky statement would have you believe: it’s full of conflicted love interests and guilty secrets, with each of the would-be murderers (particularly Jenkins) turning in a solid, believable performance. Definitely worth a look.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Fine performances by the ensemble cast
    Green for Danger Screenplay
  • An effectively tense screenplay
    Green for Danger Sim
  • Wilkie Cooper’s atmospheric cinematography
    Green for Danger Cinematography

Must See?
Yes, as a smart little thriller.

Categories

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Killing, The (1956)

“You like money — you’ve got a great big dollar sign there where most women have a heart.”

Killing Poster

Synopsis:
A mousy racetrack clerk (Elisha Cook, Jr.) is henpecked by his wife (Marie Windsor) into revealing details of an elaborate heist being planned by an ex-con (Sterling Hayden).

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this “first-rate, exciting, fatalistic caper film” — Stanley Kubrick’s “first major work” — features “interesting characters, smart dialogue, terrific suspense”, and one of the most startling endings in cinematic history (though Peary argues it “has since become cliche”). Kubrick makes excellent use of his small budget, compensating by shooting “his indoor shoebox sets imaginatively, actually emphasizing their tightness”, thus adding a sense of claustrophobia “to the tension of both characters and viewers”. In addition, as Peary notes, the “picture has [a] striking rhythm due to sharp editing within sequences and because of the non-chronological structure” of the film, in which “each time the race is about to begin [Kubrick] moves back in time and repeats the passed time from a different character’s perspective”. Lucien Ballard’s stark noir cinematography adds to the film’s overall atmosphere of strained anticipation.

As The Killing begins, a solemn voiceover (Art Gilmore) informs us:

At exactly 3:45 on that Saturday afternoon in the last week of September, Marvin Unger was, perhaps, the only one among the hundred thousand people at the track who felt no thrill at the running of the fifth race.

This voiceover — a dated relic which mostly feels unnecessary (Tarantino, who drew inspiration from this film, would likely ditch it entirely) — continues periodically throughout the movie, filling us in on the specifics of each character’s actions, and how they all relate to the grand heist. Indeed, while Sterling Hayden (nominated by Peary as one of the best actors of the year in his Alternate Oscars book) is ostensibly the film’s protagonist, screentime is actually distributed amongst the motley crew of heist participants, and our allegiance and attention shift as needed to the other players in the film.

For a while, for instance, Elisha Cook, Jr.’s troubled relationship with his “manipulative, unfaithful, double-crossing wife” (played to B-level perfection by Marie Windsor) dominates the story, as his foolhardy desire to save his sham of a marriage propels the entire operation towards its inevitable doom. During these scenes, we note that Windsor is given some of the best hardboiled dialogue in the film (courtesy of Jim Thompson):

It isn’t fair. I never had anybody but you. Not a real husband. Not even a man. Just a bad joke without a punch line.

Soon we’re caught up in the mechanics of the heist itself, watching as each player fulfills his well-timed part, and “the pieces of a great puzzle fall into place”. Tension builds incrementally, as we wonder when the inevitable slip-up will occur; the interactions between a hick hired gun (Timothy Carey, reminiscent of John Turturro) and the black racetrack employee (James Edwards) he sweet-talks into letting him into a parking lot ahead of time are particularly riveting and disturbing. By the end of the film, the story has cycled back to Hayden, and we watch with bated breath to see what fate holds for him and his “nice girlfriend” (an underused Colleen Gray). All I’ll say is: watch the woman with the dog.

Note: Peary accurately points out that the film “recalls Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob Le Flambeur” — another must-see classic.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Lucien Ballard’s cinematography
    Killing Cinematography
  • Fine supporting performances
    Killing Carey
  • The knuckle-gripping ending
    Killing Ending

Must See?
Yes, as Kubrick’s breakthrough film, and as an all-around good show. Nominated as one of the best pictures of the year in Peary’s Alternate Oscars book.

Categories

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Drunken Angel (1948)

“You worry about all of your patients more than yourself.”

Drunken Angel Poster

Synopsis:
An alcoholic doctor (Takashi Shimura) in post-WWII Japan tries to convince a TB-ridden gangster (Toshiro Mifune) to mend his ways and get well.

Genres:

Review:
While famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa is best known for his highly influential historical films — including The Seven Samurai (1954), The Hidden Fortress (1958), Yojimbo (1961), and Ran (1985), to name just a few — he helmed a number of powerful “real time” films early in his lengthy career, many of which remain worthy viewing as well. Drunken Angel — the earliest Kurosawa film listed in Peary’s book — is notable as the movie in which Kurosawa self-reportedly “found himself” as a director. It’s also notable as the first film in which he cast Toshiro Mifune, who would become inextricably linked with Kurosawa’s oeuvre until their final collaboration together in 1965’s Red Beard; Mifune’s volatile performance here makes his star power eminently clear.

Drunken Angel is an atmospheric, neo-realist rendering of life in post-WWII Japan, with Shimura’s desperate attempt to save the life of his TB-riddled patient symbolizing the nation’s struggle to right itself after years of debilitating warfare. Shimura, while noble in his desires, is ultimately a flawed protagonist — he drinks too much, and is too willing to take unnecessary risks in order to rescue Mifune from himself; meanwhile, Mifune — despite his Yakuza associations — is surprisingly sympathetic, and comes across as imminently redeemable. Their relationship together is both curious and weirdly logical, and we watch with fascination to see how things will turn out for this unconventional “odd couple”. Meanwhile, Kurosawa fills the screen with sensuous yet repellent imagery, continuously evoking fetid water as a palpable metaphor for post-war decay and destruction; it’s impossible to turn away, no matter how disturbing the sight.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Toshiro Mifune as Matsunaga
    Drunken Angel Mifune
  • Takashi Shimura as Dr. Sanada
    Drunken Angel Shimura
  • Takeo Ito’s noirish cinematography
    Drunken Angel Cinematography

Must See?
Yes, as one of Kurosawa’s earliest triumphs. Listed as a film with Historical Importance in the back of Peary’s book.

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Stage Fright (1950)

“I’m afraid the murderer might come here, Madam…”

Stage Fright Poster

Synopsis:
A drama student (Jane Wyman) goes undercover as a maid for a well-known actress (Marlene Dietrich) who tricked her young lover (Richard Todd) — Wyman’s secret crush — into taking the rap for the murder of her husband.

Genres:

Review:
While Time Out’s reviewer notes that this “fairly routine [Hitchcock] thriller” is perhaps best known “for its cheating flashback” device — which casts it as “one of his most reviled among Hitchcock enthusiasts and historians”, according to FilmCritic.com’s Christopher Null — it’s equally notable for starring Marlene Dietrich as a femme fatale in her only Hitchcockian film role, and Alastair Sim in a wonderfully droll supporting performance as Jane Wyman’s father. Wyman, never the most charismatic or beautiful of actresses, nonetheless acquits herself nicely in dual roles here as a student actress with the real-life role of a lifetime; while we feel sorry for her initially (she’s clearly enamored with the Wrong Guy), she’s quickly and conveniently given another love interest (Michael Wilding’s investigative detective), and it’s easy to root for her throughout her dramatic travails. Although Stage Fright is enjoyable while it lasts, and certainly must-see viewing at least once for all Hitchcock fans, it’s not really all that noteworthy; what lingers longest in one’s memory of the film is Sims’ performance, proving that he was one of cinema’s true iconic delights.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Jane Wyman as Eve/Doris
    Stage Fright Wyman
  • Alastair Sim as Wyman’s father
    Stage Fright Sim

Must See?
No, though it’s a must for any Hitchcock fan, and recommended for one-time viewing.

Links:

Saboteur (1942)

“A man like you can’t last in a country like this.”

Saboteur Poster

Synopsis:
When an airplane factory worker (Robert Cummings) is wrongly accused of starting a fire that killed his best friend, he goes on the lam to search for the real saboteur (Norman Lloyd), enlisting the reluctant help of a feisty billboard model (Priscilla Lane).

Genres:

Review:
Alfred Hitchcock made so many tautly directed thrillers about “falsely accused men” that it can be difficult to determine which ones should be considered required viewing. As an inveterate Hitchcock fan, I tend to go out on a limb in support of most of them — including this most enjoyable “man on the lam” flick, starring B-actor Robert Cummings in perhaps his most significant film role. Co-scripted by Joan Harrison (who wrote the screenplay for several of Hitchcock’s other same-era films, including 1940’s Foreign Correspondent), Saboteur was Hitch’s second film within six years specifically about sabotage, and may suffer somewhat in one’s memory from its rather generic title. It’s also often unfairly dismissed as merely an inferior thematic forerunner to Hitchcock’s later, more esteemed classic North by Northwest (1959).

Yet Saboteur remains a highly enjoyable flick in its own right: it’s jam-packed with exciting sequences, creative settings, and memorable character actors (most notably Otto Kruger as one of the first enemies Cummings encounters after his escape from the police, and Norman Lloyd as the real saboteur). As Cummings desperately wends his way across the country to clear his name, he encounters a requisite feisty love interest (nicely played by Priscilla Lane); meanwhile, he must escape from the clutches of an underground network of fascists who seem to lurk around every corner. From the opening act of sabotage — a dramatically filmed factory fire that astonishes me anew each time I see it — Hitchcock keeps his sets fresh and exciting; see stills below for glimpses of Cummings (with Lane) at a deceptively dangerous upper-crust party, escaping gunfire at Radio City Music Hall, and fighting for his life atop the Statue of Liberty. Other memorable scenes include Cummings’ poolside encounter with Kruger and his grandson, as well as Cummings and Lane’s brief interlude with a troupe of circus “freaks”.

Note: Listen for some zingy dialogue by Dorothy Parker, who contributed to several key scenes.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Robert Cummings as Barry Kane
    Saboteur Cummings
  • Priscilla Lane as Pat
    Saboteur Lane
  • Otto Kruger as Charles Tobin
    Saboteur Kruger
  • Norman Lloyd as Frank Fry
    Saboteur Lloyd
  • The opening factory fire
    Saboteur Opening Flames
  • The incredibly tense “party sequence”
    Saboteur Party
  • The creatively conceived Radio City Music Hall shoot-out
    Saboteur Radio City Music Hall
  • The closing “Statue of Liberty” sequence
    Saboteur Statue of Liberty

Must See?
Yes, as an underrated thriller by Hitchcock.

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Serial (1980)

“You-ness. Me-ness. Us-ness. We-ness.”

Serial Poster

Synopsis:
A Marin County husband (Martin Mull) and wife (Tuesday Weld) struggle to keep their marriage and family together in the midst of New Age temptations.

Genres:

Review:
I’ll admit to a fondness for this silly but frequently giggle-inducing satire about California’s post-hippie culture in the late 1970s (based on a novel by newspaper columnist Cyra McFadden), which mercilessly skewers some of the era’s more far-out fads and phenomenons — from teenagers joining Moonie cults, to psychobabbling pseudo-therapists, to “free love” in its many forms — all within the very particular socio-cultural milieu of upper-middle-class, primarily white Marin County. While the motley ensemble of characters (including Christopher Lee as a closeted gay weekend motorcyclist!) never emerge as more than simply iconic representations, they’re not really meant to: Martin Mull’s put-upon lawyer-husband-father is simply a representation of a “sane” reaction to the crazed-out world he finds himself and his family immersed in.

Not all the vignettes are equally humorous, but many are inspired — particularly those involving Sally Kellerman as a happily spaced-out mom whose son (Anthony Battaglia) is in continual psychotherapy with a coke-sniffing shyster therapist (Peter Bonerz); who asks her African-American maid (Ann Weldon) to shuck her uniform in order to look like an acquaintance rather than an employee; and who thinks nothing about engaging in casual serial marriage as a hobby. I wouldn’t call Serial a must-see comedy for all film fanatics, but it remains a personal wacky favorite.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Numerous humorous vignettes
    Serial Wedding
    Serial Maid
    Serial Therapist

Must See?
No, but it’s definitely recommended — and a personal “must see”.

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