Sunday, July 13, 2014

Film Classics of the 20th Century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at You Only Live TwiceSleeper,  Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.

This week, we look at an 80s classic.

The 70s saw many film directors flourish including such notables as Alan J. Pakula, Francis Ford Coppola, Elaine May, George Lucas and Brian De Palma.

De Palma is responsible for directing many classics including 198's Blow Out, the script for which he also wrote.

In this film, John Travolta's a sound effects guy in the film world and the sounds seem a little generic to one director who wants Travolta to move from using stock audio.  Which is how John ends up on a bridge with a boom microphone recording when an apparent blow out of a tire sends the car of a governor under water.

The governor dies before John can get to the car but the woman with the governor, Nancy Allen, is alive and John rescues her.

Nancy's a woman who does make up for car shows but has bigger plans, "I've seen these big movie stars like Barbra Streisand, you know?  They don't know how to do her right.  I know how to fix her face."

But Travolta's focused on what he recorded which appears to reveal it wasn't a blow out.  Instead, it sounds like the tire was shot out.

A lot of things aren't what they seem.

And as facts change, the constant is the chemistry between Travolta and Allen.

Allen and Travolta had genuine chemistry in another Brian De Palma classic (Carrie).

Brian's called "the master of suspense" more often than anyone except Alfred Hitchock.

But Brian De Palma is a true master.  He's the last of the big directors to make a '70s film.'  Blow Out is very much a 70s film where nothing is as it seems and, at times, you feel you're watching a character study and not a movie only for the next second to spin everything around and have you marveling over how easy it is for De Palma to switch tones and do so convincingly.

The movie will take you through a full range of emotions the way few films ever do.  And it has an ending that is rife with meaning and resolution.

Blow Out is one of the best suspense classics of the 20th century.

De Palma, Travolta and Allen are at their finest in this film.

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