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I've cherished a half-baked idea that Scorsese meant "GoodFellas" to be a story about people who never grew up--a reverse "Godfather" in a way because "The Godfather" is framed as a coming-of-age story for Michael Corleone. Michael's entrance into mob life is depicted as a regrettable but necessary shedding of youthful naivete. Henry Hill, though, is introduced as a spellbound child who's fascinated with the mob life because of his thoroughly childlike view of what it means to be grown up: staying up all night, drinking, throwing money around, breaking all the little rules of life without fear. And not once does Hill really learn any better. Yeah, he's smart enough to realize when the game's up, but even at the very end he's still lamenting the loss of the gangster life in the same terms that he praised gangster life as a kid looking out his window.
Toggle Commented Jun 10, 2015 on Martin Amis on "Goodfellas" at Some Came Running
I was reflecting about how while watching The Paradine Case I was holding out some hope until the end that Mrs. Paradine was innocent, even as the warning signs piled up and even though, viewed objectively, Alida Valli's icy demeanor shouldn't inspire a lot of trust. I think a good deal of that hope does come from The Wrong Man vibe of the prison scenes, especially the first in which we see her led to her cell. (Doesn't help that I can call on a bit of personal experience here that makes the scene all that more disquieting.) "Look how horrible that is!" my brain says. "She can't possibly have done it." "[Mrs. Keane's] refusal to play along is ostensibly what leads to Horfield’s dismissive, contemptuous treatment of Gregory Peck’s Keane in court, but this isn’t followed through with the strength of this initial impetus." I admit, I thought this was deliberate maybe: offering up the hint of an explanation for Horfield's hostility toward Keane, but not insisting on that explanation, so that the viewer isn't forcibly made to sympathize with Keane. But as David Cairns pointed out when he covered The Paradine Case some years ago, Keane makes such a bad impression overall that Horfield's bias seems almost justified. "I'd favour Leo G. Carroll too."
D Cairns: "What Hitch seems to have wanted was a moment when Peck meets the lover and is disgusted by him, and hence with himself for having been tempted by a woman who would sleep with a guy like that. The scene he ends up with plays quite differently with two extremely handsome men." It plays differently, yes, but I still think it plays well. Here's how I read it after watching the movie for the first time yesterday: Keane has constructed himself a fantasy in which a dark-haired beauty from the Continent with a shady past has given up all such allurements to settle down with a grey-haired gentleman to a life of selfless domesticity in the Lake District. Then suddenly his fantasy gets thrown back at him when he meets another dark-haired beauty from the Continent with a shady past: Latour. I think it's more interesting somehow that Keane meets a kind of male double of Mrs. Paradine. For one thing his character provokes something of the same uncertainty of response that Mrs. Paradine does: is he honorable or not? is his apparent sincerity real or fake? But it seems like Hitchcock wanted the groom to provoke only disgust. And you have to admit this: if Hitchcock really didn't approve of casting Jourdan because he was too pretty, then why does he shoot Jourdan the way he does, emphasizing his good looks? The way he's introduced seems especially tailored for him: he's kept hidden in darkness until the moment Keane dramatically pulls aside a curtain to reveal a young and gorgeous Frenchman looking back at him. Hitchcock didn't *have* to do that. Maybe he figured that as long as he was stuck with Jourdan he might as well take advantage of his strengths rather than, say, try to roughen him up and make him look more like Hitchcock's idea of a smelly stable-boy.
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May 3, 2015