Down and Out in Chicago

At the end of the 1949 Nicholas Ray film, Knock on Any Door, juvenile delinquent Nick Romano, played by John Derek, is sentenced to die in the electric chair for killing a cop, despite the attempts of his attorney, Andrew Morton (Humphrey Bogart), to save him. The story didn’t end there, however, and African-American novelist Willard Motley wrote a sequel to his original 1947 bestseller in 1958 entitled Let No Man Write My Epitaph. It was adapted to the screen under that same title in 1960 and focused more on the ghetto drug problem than urban gang violence although the latter is still an omnipresent concern.

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A Train Wreck Called Poor Pretty Eddie

Poor Pretty EddieSometimes a movie goes so horribly wrong in so many ways that it ends up working on an entirely different level in spite of itself. Such is the case with Poor Pretty Eddie (1975), which is also known as Black Vengeance, Heartbreak Motel and Redneck County Rape, clear indications that this is a movie with a confusing production and distribution history. A sleazy exploitation thriller with artistic pretensions, the film manages to be offensive, crude and inept in equal measure while still succeeding as a compulsive viewing experience for connoisseurs of fringe cinema who think they’ve seen everything.   Continue reading

CINEMATEK in Brussels – Enter The Sacred Film Shrine

Photography by Wouter Spitters

Photography by Wouter Spitters

Prior to traveling to Brussels, Belgium this past November, I put some serious research time into identifying the key sights and activities I wanted to see and do while visiting. Apart from the essentials like a walk through “The Grand Place” and a visit to the Magritte Museum, there are plenty of offbeat detours like the incredibly cluttered but charming Musee de Jouet (a vast collection of toys from the past) and the Musee des Instruments de Musique, housed in a former 1899 department store in the art nouveau style. If you are a fan of Belgium beers, you will be in heaven here (visit A La Morte Subite and Delirium Tremens Cafe for starters) and your choices of various cuisines will be endless though you may be tempted to try the local specialty – mussels & frites – at least once unless you have an aversion to shellfish and french fries. And if you a film lover, particularly one interested in repertory programming, you will be amazed at what you find for Brussels has a thriving movie culture with even more “classic cinema” viewing options than nearby Amsterdam (less than 3 hours by train), another mecca for cinephiles which we visited a few days before.     Continue reading