The last frame in the last Alfred Hitchcock film involves Barbara Harris winking to the camera. It’s as perfect a last shot a director could ask for, especially one like Hitchcock. The erstwhile Master of Suspense made a career out of delicious irony, nods to the audience, and playing with expectations. His whole career is like a dry British joke; even his most serious films include some kind of off-kilter humor. FAMILY PLOT is a weird movie; it’s the classic “Anastasia” fairy tale turned on its head. It has certain Hitchcock elements, including a morbid sense of humor and meticulously crafted sequences.
Tag: Karen Black
By Peggy Nelson
Nashville – 1975 – dir. Robert Altman
Set in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville (dir. Robert Altman, 1975) follows musicians, con artists, politicians, and weirdos as their lives overlap and intersect over the course of a fateful few days. The film showcases Altman’s signature style of combining multiple story lines, noisy, overlapping dialogue, and realistic, scattered camera angles into a complex yet consistent narrative whole. Considered by many to be Altman’s best film, it sashays between dialogue and song, the individual and the political, and humor and tragedy, without missing a beat.
FIVE EASY PIECES
By Peggy Nelson
Five Easy Pieces – 1970 – dir. Bob Rafelson
In Five Easy Pieces (dir. Bob Rafaelson, 1970) Robert Eroica Dupea, played by a young-ish Jack Nicholson, has “dropped out” by dropping down a couple of levels in the class structure. Frustrated by the constraints of a serious classical music career, when we first meet him he is working on an oil rig, hanging out with his working class buddies at the bowling alley, and dating a diner waitress (Karen Black), in a thorough rejection of his upper class background and ideals.