Monday, May 9, 2011

Ten Statements About....THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (1955)

"The only thing that would make this day better
is if a desperate criminal hijacked my Jag and
tried to drive me to Mexico."
"You and this fancy car are my passport outta this country. I expect to get a few more years to live."

1) This is the type of film that would never work in the modern world of the cell phone and an emphasis on scientific detection. I shudder to think the flip flops the script would have to go through if Dorothy Malone's Connie actually had an iPhone.

2) I really don't think broad character actors like Iris Adrian or Bruno VeSoto would have a career in modern film--but in 1955 Hollywood, where their specific schticks could thrive in small parts, they simply belong.

3) It's obvious that this film wants its feet firmly planted in the world of noir; Ireland's Frank Webster's dialogue with Malone is pure Black Mask cheese. The strength of these early parts is in their banter, and the chemistry between them is strong. However...

4) The second the emphasis shifts from the whole 'wronged man on the lam' angle to this thing about the race, the film's charm starts to leech away. And by the time we get to the third act, where Malone and Ireland are lovey-dovey, all interest is lost.
"Welcome to the Cliche Cafe...whatcha want?"

5) Boy, does 'Snub' Pollard work that damn small part he has....

6) You know what else we don't get? Those weird, inconsequential scenes like the ones with the comedy relief motorcycle cops. I just can't imagine filmmakers wasting two, three minutes of two cops jawing about being lazy nowadays.

7) Biggest shock? Hearing Chet Baker doing the jazz stuff that comes on whenever Mr. Ireland turns on the radio.

8) More actors should have names like Larry Thor, even cookie cutter character actors who play doctors with two lines of dialogue.

"Okay, Snub...just stop hamming things up and let us
get on with our movie, 'kay?"
9) I sorta miss the obvious goofs like the boom mic shadows we see thoughout. It gives the film a more endearing 'let's make a movie' feeling as opposed to that sort of even uniform look most films have thanks to CGI blotting out goofs.

10) I gotta be honest--I couldn't tell the stock footage of the race from the ones shot specially for the film. But then, using black and white footage on a low budget sometimes obscures as much as it reveals.

Overall...if you like this kind of noir stuff, the first half or so is pretty good, especially the back and forth banter between Ireland and Malone. The last half hour, though, slowly falls to pieces.

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