I submit that, if we are going to be moved to thought and action by The Deer Hunter, it ought to be by the implications of its true subject: the limitations for our society of the traditions of male mystique, the hobbling by sentimentality of a community that, after all the horror, still wants the beeriness of “God Bless America” instead of a moral rigor and growth that might help this country.
The Tramp. The Little Fellow. Naturally the obituaries were full of those terms, full of references to the bowler-hatted, cane-swinging, corner-skidding outsider who had become one of the perdurable icons in the collective mind of the world. All true; still it’s not quite enough. Yes, the Tramp is now a deathless image. Yes, he made us laugh and cry and presumably always will.
Beautiful pictures are not film style. Kubrick’s latter-day work is solipsist and smug, isolated and sterile. For me Barry Lyndon is an anti-film, a gorgeous, stultified bore.
Hurricane Marlon is sweeping the country, and I wish it were more than hot air. A tornado of praise—cover stories and huzzahs—blasts out the news that Brando is giving a marvelous performance as Don Corleone in The Godfather, the lapsed Great Actor has regained himself, and so on. As a Brando-watcher for almost 30 years, I’d like to agree.
Accattone lives as a work of narrow but intense vision—a film about viciousness and criminality that evokes compassion. Its style is neorealist: it was made on locations, not in studios, with nonprofessional performers. Sometimes this method makes merely vernacular films, but it gives Accattone a grainy, gripping authenticity.
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey took five years and $10 million to make, and it’s easy to see where the time and the money have gone. It’s less easy to understand how, for five years, Kubrick managed to concentrate on his ingenuity and ignore his talent.