Monthly Archives: July 1992

Right On! The Original Last Poets

A fascinating time capsule-shot in 1968, released in 1970–this is a filmed performance by three angry, talented black poets. Gylan Kain, Felipe Luciano, and David Nelson recite their rhythmic, passionate work to Afro-Cuban percussion (with occasional flute and guitar) on a rooftop and other urban ghetto settings, working out a highly politicized poetics that anticipates rap while conveying much of the essence of black-power rhetoric of the late 60s. More than a simple objective rendering of an event, this film is interspersed with cutaways and found footage in a very effective fashion by director Herbert Danska, probably best known for his 1967 jazz feature with Dick Gregory, Sweet Love, Bitter. To be shown on video; the run will extend through August 13. (Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Thursday, August 6, 7:00 and 9:00, 281-4114) … Read more »

The Swordsman in Double-Flag Town

A visually impressive ‘Scope “western” from mainland China, reportedly the first, directed with flair and economy by He Ping. It may occasionally suggest Sergio Leone in aspects of its spare, confrontational plot, but its subject (Gao Wei as a young hero protecting his child fiancee from bullies) and its style of presenting action (slower and faster than what we are accustomed to in westerns) seems more Asian than European or Hollywood, which is entirely to this picture’s benefit. Whether you take it as pure Chinese or ersatz American or both, it certainly packs a wallop (1991). A Chicago premiere. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, July 25, 6:00 and 8:00, and Sunday, July 26, 4:00, 443-3737) … Read more »

Try and Get Me!

From the Chicago Reader (July 17, 1992). — J.R.

 

try-and-get-me-lovejoy

Conceivably the most anti-American Hollywood picture ever made — I certainly can’t think of any competitors — Cy Endfield’s brilliant and shocking thriller (originally known as The Sound of Fury) was adapted by Jo Pagano from his novel The Condemned, which was inspired by a lynching that occurred in California in the 30s. A frustrated and jobless veteran (Frank Lovejoy), tired of denying his wife and son luxuries, falls in with a slick petty criminal (Lloyd Bridges), and the two work their way up from small robberies to a kidnapping that ends in murder. Apart from an unnecessary moralizing European character, this masterpiece is virtually flawless, exposing class hatreds and the abuses of the American press (represented here by Richard Carlson as a reporter) with rare lucidity and anger. At once subtle and unsparing, this may be the best noir thriller you’ve never heard of, perhaps because Endfield’s American career was cut short by the blacklist the same year it was released (1951). With Kathleen Ryan, Katherine Locke, Adele Jergens, and Art Smith. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, July 17, 7:45, 443-3737)