Rough Cut Blog

Recent miscellaneous viewing, part two

Charles Bronson as real-life career criminal Joe Valachi in Terence Young's The Valachi Papers (1972)

More random viewing: two obscure independent films from the BFI, Margaret Tait’s poetic Blue Black Permanent (1992) and Maurice Hatton’s gritty fake-umentary about the film business, Long Shot (1977); and three from Twilight Time – George Sluizer’s interesting Americanization of his existential thriller The Vanishing (1993), Terrence Young’s straightforward fact-based crime saga The Valachi Papers (1972), and D.W. Griffith’s monumental but deeply troubling Birth of a Nation (1915).

Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero (1983): Criterion Blu-ray review

Natural value trumps commercial value in Bill Forsyth's Local Hero (1983)

Following the surprise international success of Gregory’s Girl (1980), writer-director Bill Forsyth was given greater resources by producer David Puttnam and made what on the surface was a whimsical comedy reminiscent of Ealing Studios in the ’50s; three-and-a-half decades later, the delightfully charming Local Hero (1983) can be seen as a subtly prescient warning about the most urgently pressing issues we now face – climate change and the need to find sustainable ways to inhabit the planet.

Peter Fonda’s Idaho Transfer (1973)

Kelley Bohanon as sullen time traveler Karen in Peter Fonda's Idaho Transfer (1973)

The late Peter Fonda briefly interrupted his acting career in the 1970s by directing three features, only the first of which is recognized now as a classic: The Hired Hand (1971). But the second, a no-budget science fiction movie called Idaho Transfer (1973), deserves to be rediscovered both for its sparely poetic treatment of time travel and its prescient vision of imminent ecological catastrophe. Unfortunately, it can now only be viewed as a lo-res, open-matte YouTube video.