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“Unforgiven,” 25th Anniversary Presentation, at Film Forum August 4-10

Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood in Eastwood’s UNFORGIVEN (19

Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood in “Unforgiven.”

August 3, 2017.  Director and actor Clint Eastwood’s 1992 quadruple Oscar winning movie (including Best Director and Best Picture), “Unforgiven,” will have a run at Film Forum, in a stunning 4K restoration, from August 4 – 10.  “Unforgiven is a dark, violent western that explodes the mythology and violent glamour of the old west. It is a story which movies in directions that are unpredictable and which defy expectations of the western genre.

“Unforgiven” is a fascinating meditation on the nature of violence, specifically the ideal of a “shoot ‘em up” versus the reality of actually killing someone.  The difference between the “good guys” and “bad guys” in this film all depends on whose side you’re on.  In this regard, “Unforgiven” is reminiscent of the Italian westerns, called “Spaghetti Westerns,” in which protagonists were not necessarily the “good guys,” a genre in which Eastwood made his bones as an actor. This influence is particularly felt in the film’s final credit, “For Sergio and Don” – Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.  Leone directed Eastwood in his Italian westerns – “A Fist Full of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars More” (1965) and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966).  Siegel directed some of Eastwood’s movies state side, including the iconic “Dirty Harry” (1971), in which Eastwood plays a police inspector who lives by his own code. Read the rest of this entry

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“Scarecrow” (’73) at Film Forum, May 17-23

Gene Hackman and Al Pacino in "Scarecrow."

Gene Hackman and Al Pacino in “Scarecrow.”

“Scarecrow,” the 1973 road movie directed by Jerry Schatzberg, will be having a run at Film Forum from May 17 – 23.  The film stars Al Pacino (fresh off “The Godfather”) and Gene Hackman, both in their primes.

“Scarecrow” will be shown in a clean, beautiful, anamorphic (really wide screen) print which, for me, was a revelation.  I first saw “Scarecrow” many years ago when I taped it off of channel 5 at 2:00 am using the EP (lowest picture quality, but more time on a VHS tape) setting on my VCR.   The film’s original wide screen dimensions were blown up to fill the space of square shaped TVs.  In other words I was losing 50% of the picture.  Now that home video users are used to the concept of letterboxing this problem has become less and less frequent. Commercial breaks were thrown in for good measure but, despite all of this, I liked the film.  Now, seeing “Scarecrow” in its correct, widescreen aspect ratio, I can properly appreciate Schatzberg’s use of long takes as the characters amble about aimlessly toward objectives that they are probably not going to achieve, dwarfed by the wide open spaces through which they travel. Read the rest of this entry