Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ten Statements About....T-BIRD GANG (1959)

"Hey, we drive around in a T-bird...and we're a gang...I guess
that makes us...."
"Look, you're in a position to do a great deal. The only way we can prove anything on this bunch is from the inside. And that's just where you put yourself."

1) Another reason why I love black and white? It can take what would've been an ordinary composition, like an overhead shot of two guys in a white thunderbird, and make it into something cool and striking.

2) I understand that John Brinkley's Frank is made up that way to make him look younger and give him a little punk-y appearance...but damn, he looks disturbingly like some goth kid who's doing this to make enough money to buy amps for his Cure cover band.

3) You know, I'm positive it's an accident of the lighting...but it's hilarious how, in most cases, main villain Alex--played as if he's some sinister comic book mastermind (he even insists on playing classical music for his crew!) by Ed Nelson--is shot so that he seems to have a perpetual Hitler mustache.

Look into the eyes of madness...or at the very least very bad
4) I really, really have to wonder about Pat George's Marla. Okay, she's Alex's moll but she behaves in such a bizarre fashion that you have to wonder what her story is. Of course, it could just be she's an awful actress trying her damndest to make her part stand out....

5) I've said this before about these older genre films--but John Brinkley and Tony Miller's script packs craploads of stuff into this caper's 65 minute running time. Modern day caper films would've taken an hour to cover the first twenty minutes of this story.

6) Hey, look! Vic Tayback is skinny and playing a regulation cop!

7) I know that since Tony Miller co-wrote the script, he gets to play the 'crazy' right-hand man of Alex...but Raymond just looks and acts like a goof. It doesn't help that Miller looks uncannily like a sinister, down on his luck Eric Stoltz; I'm sorry, it's hard to get all freaked out when the guy from Some Kind of Wonderful is waving a switchblade around....

"Do I have to pose like this much longer?  I've got to
learn 'Friday I'm In Love' for Thursday's gig at the Dew
Drop Inn..."
8) Wow...for a film about a gang of car-crazy robber, there's very little in the way of car-craziness, and the actual robberies are sort of brief--especially that climatic record warehouse heist.

9) Yep...there's nothing more satisfying for a confrontation between hero and villain than having one keeping hold of the other's pants leg, allowing himself to be dragged along slowly across a barroom floor.

10) So many films could benefit from their orchestral score being replaced by repetitive jazz bongo riffs.

Overall...yeah, it's a goofy, corny piece of work, but there's something charming-in-a-dorky-way about this movie. It's screwed up in so many places, but it does manage to tell its tale, tell it more or less well and being good for a couple of (more often than not unintentional) laughs.

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