Jack Deth

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Jack’s Reviews:

Brute Force | Extreme Prejudice | The Hustler | Twelve O’Clock High | Bonnie & Clyde | The Outfit | The Thing from Another World | The Night of the Hunter | Cape Fear | Out of the Past  | The French Connection| To Live and Die in L.A.

All of Jack Deth’s posts on FlixChatter
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What do I love most about movies?

Being able to be transported to another time and place with all the resources available in a director’s toolbox to tell a story well. The story doesn’t need eye popping Special Effects or gratuitous sex to move it along. If the story is good and captures the imagination. Most everything else is a distraction.

Which is why I am more of a fan of films made from the 1940s to the 1970s. The last golden era of film. That ushered in the idea of ‘Blockbuster’ films. That are given one, perhaps two weekends to recoup their budgets or be shipped quickly to HBO, DVD and later, Blu-Ray.

Give me a solid story and a cast of hungry, able talent with minimum interference from corporate ‘suits’ and lawyers any day. A you’ll have a ‘Classic’ within five years. As opposed to the cookie cutter, sequel-ized, ‘Bankable’ sausage made, interchangeable films that arrive with too much hoopla and forgotten within weeks.

What’s the first movie you ever watched that left a huge impression on you?

The first would be Howard Hawk’s 1951, The Thing From Another World. Which had me enthralled from its eerie, other worldly Theramin backed opening credits to its closing urgent pleas to “Watch The Skies!”. A perfect movie. Sci-Fi, B-movie, or otherwise. Though it may boast Christian Nyby as its director, Hawks’ fingerprints are all over this classic gem that scared me silly about fifty years ago. Utilizing the cramped quarters of the Quonset Huts at the North Pole to heighten claustrophobia. While interspersed, overlapped, stepped on dialogue helps to find ways to destroy Earth’s latest vegetable based visitor. With most of the best ideas coming from the heroine, Margaret Sheridan’s Nikki.

The impression was that the movie had no weak or stagnant spots. Moving not like a freight train, but more like someone lost in a ink black hallway. As more and more is discovered and the Thing is ambushed and set ablaze in a room with no other lighting. Only to return later for a final showdown.

The perfect example getting the most bang for the buck!

What are your ultimate guilty pleasure flicks?

Wow! This is going to be a odd conglomeration.

Infra-Man: A classic Shaw Brothers’ Chinese import from 1975. The ultimate in badly dubbed Si-Fi  ‘Chop-Socky’. With Princess
Dragon Mom. The prototype for every future ‘Power Rangers’ evil matriarch and her army of mutant henchmen trying to take over the world.

The Spanish Prisoner: Just to revel in some of David Mamet’s best early writing from 1997. While savoring Steve Martin as he plays a very believable, smooth high end con man and bad guy. Remember, “Nobody looks at a Japanese tourist.”

Hudson Hawk: From 1991. There’s something that’s just too cool about a Museum heist while Bruce Willis shares a duet of  ‘Would You Like To Swing From A Star?” with Danny Aiello to full orchestration. Also watching a young, miming, pre ‘NYPD Blue’, ‘CSI: Miami’, David Caruso getting beat up is icing on the cake!

Snatch: From 2000. One of the few Brad Pitt films I can tolerate, because Brad Pitt doesn’t look, act or behave like Brad Pitt.
The entire casts rocks out loud in what feels like Guy Ritchie’s update on the 1960s classic, ‘It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World’.

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What are your top 5 favorite films of all time?

1. Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb: The ultimate Doomsday Scenario Black Comedy! Being a child of The Cold War. The film resonated with me as I sat through countless Saturday matinees. Kubrick is deep in his element as he shifted gears from a straight drama to an over the top comedy. Guiding a Who’s Who of superior talent who deliver much more than was asked or required. Who knew that George C. Scott could do pratfall comedy?

2: The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah’s Magnum Opus to the end of the wild west through changing times. A wonderful cast driven four course meal with a full blown train robbery and an against all odds shoot ‘em up for dessert!

3: Who’ll Stop The Rain: A flawless translation of Robert Stone’s novel ‘Dog Soldiers’ from 1978. A young Nick Nolte leads Tuesday Weld and a Who’s Who of character actors on a merry chase after five kilos of Laotian heroin from San Francisco to L.A. Then  south to Mexico. Revealing the seedy, un-glamourous underbellies of those cities in their wake. The post-Vietnam flip side of  ‘Forrest Gump’.

4: They Were Expendable: John Ford’s 1945 under rated gem. With Robert Montgomery and John Wayne as Torpedo Boat skippers during the fall of the Philippines. Notable for Montgomery’s choreographing the action sequences and an under stated Donna Reed as a nurse.

5: Miller’s Crossing: The Coen Brothers’ unique 1990 perspective on the classic Dashiell Hammett ‘The Glass Key’ from 1942. With Gabriel Byrne the focus of attention in the middle of murder and  a gangsters’ turf war. Superb cast! Especially Albert Finney, Jon Polito, J.E. Freeman and Marcia Gaye Harden.

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Who are your top 5 actors?

1. Sir Alec Guiness: Forget about Obi Wan Kenobi. Go back to his early Ealing Studio and multiple role films of the late 1940s and 50s. Sir Alec was incapable of giving a bad performance through myriad and Classic films.. Was made to play George Smiley in the UK import mini-series, ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ from the 1980s.

2. Robert Mitchum: Born for shadowy, smoky Noir, Foggy nights, Trench Coats and snap brimmed Fedoras. Often physically imposing and scary. Mitchum could handle a punch better than Bogart or Cagney ever could. With a deep down world weariness and strange dignity about him that was perfect for the camera.

3. Burt Lancaster: The ultimate physical actor who started out in small roles in forgotten films that are now Classics. And doing most of his own stunts up to age sixty in ‘Scorpio’. Imposing and intimidating one moment. Then flashing that jovial smile the next. Not surprisingly, performing some of his best work towards the end of his career with ‘Atlantic City’, ‘Rocket Gibraltar’ and ‘Field of Dreams’.

4. Robert Duvall: Another in the Lancaster vein. Who’s honed his skills on television when not on film. A consumate professional who can play anyone at any time. His best work is still divided equally between ‘The Outfit’ in 1973 and “The Great Santini’ in 1979.

5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt: One to watch and admire as he progresses. From his role on ‘Third Rock From The Sun’ to ‘Manic’, ‘Mysterious Skin’, ‘Havoc’ and ‘Brick’. To bravura work as Arthur in ‘Inception’. Expecting great things from him!

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Who are your top 5 actresses?

1. Helen Mirren: Caught my eye long ago as Bob Hoskin’s wife in ‘The Long Good Friday’ from 1980. Where she mixed mystery and sophisticated, slinky sex appeal into a brew that I’ve followed ever since.

2. Myrna Loy: A perfect blend of class and sass that many later actresses tried to emulate and have never came close to. Holding her own and more with William Powell, Clark Gable and many leading men in countless comedies. Then surprise with a superb, subtle touch for drama in ‘The Best Years Of Our Lives’.

3. Barbara Stanwyck:  The devious femme fatale in ‘Double Indemnity’. Who easily played Fred MacMurray for a sap. When not having fun with Gary Cooper in comedies like ‘Ball Of Fire’ and ‘Meet John Doe’. Or making a fool of Henry Fonda in ‘The Lady Eve’. Ms.Stanwyck could do it all. on the big and small screens. Possessing a presence and ease that was undeniable!

4: Patricia Neal: The ultimate talented trouper who could be any woman on screen and stage. First caught my eye as the upwardly mobile radio reporter in ‘A Face In The Crowd’. Revealing a vulnerability along with an iron will that was present in every role since. No matter how large or small.

5: Audrey Hepburn: The prefect Princess in ‘Roman Holiday’, ‘Sabrina’,  ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ and ‘My Fair Lady’. Who turns around and delivers a grand, rock solid  performance as a blind housewife opposite one of Hollywood’s most slimy fiends. Alan Arkin’s Harry Roat Jr. from Scarsdale, in ‘Wait Until Dark’.

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15 thoughts on “Jack Deth

  1. Jack, always love what you bring to FC and FRC. Thanks for contributing and sharing.

    I noticed that your top 5 actors only contain one “recent” pick in JGL. If only 1 actor from recent years were to be in a list such as this, I am glad to see it be him. A great choice.

    Look forward to more from you.

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