-My lazy Sunday continued with Orson Welles directing and starring in his 1958 blackhearted noir, Touch of Evil. Quentin Tarantino is lucky Welles didn't take the Pulp Fiction title for this one; its internal logic comes even closer, in its way, than did that of Tarantino's film to cinematically capturing the essense of a yellowed, cigarette-reeking paperback with a garish, sexually charged cover (were those pulp paperbacks ever new?). Welles plays a corrupt police officer in a border town (Border town! Kill Bill, anyone?); Heston is from the other side of the border, but his American wife is caught in the middle. The plot would make no sense in the real world, but it's a virtual zigzagging, high strung blueprint of pulp tropes. Bad for you and highly enjoyable.
-When most people say, "It's the only George Roy Hill film I've seen," they're probably talking about The Sting. Not me: I re-watched 1964's The World of Henry Orient, about the misadventures of two almost-pubescent girls in the long-gone fairyland that apparently was New York circa 1964. They stalk Peter Sellers, who plays a sleazy concert pianist/gigolo. Angela Lansbury and Tom Bosley play a sophisticated, high-powered couple (!) with no time for their daughter.
Okay, it does get a little sappy, it's a comfort movie for me. There's a little history behind that: Years ago, my late grandmother (mother's mother) and I would tend the cash register at my aunt's thrift store a couple of afternoons a week. The shop was a few blocks down from 39th and Division Street in Portland, still a pretty lower-middle-class area then, before all of Southeast Portland was swarming with annoying hip kids. This was probably around 1989, 1990. Anyway, afternoons were always very slow, and we had a little TV in the back, so we would make Cup-A-Soup and watch the afternoon matinee on channel 12 (now UPN, still entirely independent back then). She and I both got a kick out of Henry Orient, and I still think of it as a "good movie" to this day. Even on an objective level, however, it holds up rather well.
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