Chain Letters

As usual with Mark Rappaport, some interesting mise en scene but dialogue and narrative are excruciating. Clearly, Rappaport is no writer.

White Nights

Visconti’s exquisite version of Dostoevsky’s White Nights. Jean Marais is great as the enigmatic tenant.


Jacques Tourneur’s excellent noir in the snow, taken from David Goodis novel.

The Moon in the Gutter

Jean-Jaques Beineix does David Goodis as a surrealist fairy-tale. Not very subtle and mostly tedious, the scenes between Depardieu and Abril are some compensation.

The Burglar

David Goodis scripted this excellent film noir from his own novel. Dan Duryea makes the perfect Goodisian protagonist. Paul Wendkos overdoes it at times with the music, camera and other Wellesian touches.

Auto Focus

Can’t figure out Paul Schrader’s film on the rise and fall of Bob Crane.

Les possédés

Andrzej Wajda’s adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Devils.


Some very striking moments and scenes in Mark Rappaport’s film; but in truth I was bored and was glad when it was over.

Machine Gun McCain

John Cassavetes is terrific as the eponymous villain who sets out to rob a Las Vegas casino in this brutal Italian-made crime film, which also stars Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands.

Columbo: Étude in Black

In this episode of Columbo John Cassavetes is great as the insane maestro who murders his lover to prevent her from exposing their affair and ruining his marriage and, more importantly, his career. Very dark portrayal.

Alice doesn’t live here anymore

Clearly influenced by John Cassavetes, Martin Scorsese’s film has some good moments – like the above scene with Harvey Keitel – but it can’t escape Hollywood conventions and feels deficient when you compare it to Cassavetes’ much more complex and profound Woman Under the Influence, made around the same time.

Cornered (1945)

Very well written noir – even if the plot is convoluted and hard to keep up with (deliberately?) – about a Canadian pilot who after the World War II winds up in Argentina in pursuit of the Nazi collaborator who organised the execution of his French wife, who was in the resistance. Dick Powell plays the deranged, alcoholic, obsessive husband hell bent on revenge.