It is currently Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:31 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 38 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: 273 Thieves' Highway
PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 9:58 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm
Thieves' Highway

Image

Thieves' Highway vividly depicts the perilous world of “long-haul boys,â€

Criterionforum.org user rating averages



Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:52 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 10:33 pm
Location: Camarillo, CA
I'm really glad this film is coming to the collection, saw it at the LACMA as part of a Jules Dassin series. The print was absolutely stunning, so much so that I had to refocus my attention on the plot at times. Underrated noir, great chemistry between Richard Conte and Valentina Cortese. A little tongue in cheek at times, but very entertaining nevertheless.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:26 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 4:38 pm
Location: 'Frisco
I'm very excited about this one. It played at a festival of San Francisco-set films noir nearly two years ago, but I missed it. And since I currently work in San Francisco (organic) produce racket, it feels especially relevent to me.

Plus I just haven't seen enough Dassin.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 11:12 pm 
Good picture. If the 1940s were cast as the "trucker film decade," this and Raoul Walsh's They Drive by Night (1940) would be its bookends. Both films are identified by their talented "tough guy" cast and by their source material: novels by A.I. Bezzerides. Lee J. Cobb can be a little hard to take, as usual, but it's direction is taut and Valentina Cortesa and Richard Conte make a sexy couple.

On the other hand, Night and the City is truly phenomenal. It's a rare kind of noir film, in that it's set in London. Viewers can behold Richard Widmark's greatest performance - he burns a hole in the screen and then burns a hole in the hole - a narrative-arresting wrestling sequence that borders on the avant-garde, and a supporting cast that, astonishingly, is more than capable of keeping up with Widmark.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 5:40 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:58 pm
Location: Paris, Texas
While the back covers are up on Criteriondvd.com, i've noticed that they have edited the synopsis on this one by removing "masterpiece" and "blacklisted" from the original posting. Something minor, but interesting.

Criterionco.com Synopsis:
Quote:
Thieves’ Highway is set in the world of “long-haul boys” who drive by night to bring their goods to the markets of America’s cities. Ex-G.I. Nick Garcos (Richard Conte) is a tyro trucker bent on satisfaction from the man responsible for crippling his father—ruthless market operator Mike Figlia (Lee J. Cobb). Along the way, he is seduced by siren Rica (Valentina Cortesa) and drawn into the San Francisco produce racket—landing him in a web of treachery and heartbreak. The Criterion Collection is proud to present this Jules Dassin masterpiece, the last film he completed in America before he was blacklisted.



Back Cover on Disc


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 6:37 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:30 pm
Location: NC
Night and the City's synopsis is slightly different as well.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:57 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:21 pm
Valentina Cortese is really outstanding in this film. But did anyone else find the ending a trifle forced, sudden and disappointing? (Apparently Bezzerides strongly objected to the addition of the scene in the bar where the police reprimand Conte for taking the law into his own hands, but the final exchange in the truck between Cortese and Conte really did the movie no favors either, in my opinion.) That and similar quibbles aside, though, it's quite good overall.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:10 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:53 pm
Location: Oh Where, Oh Where?
definitely, but dassin points out in the interview that the closing scene and the bar scene you mentioned were studio added.

i was really fond of the sound of the apples rolling down the hill, captures the sense of loss wonderfully.

and yes, cortese is superb.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 12:01 am 
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
This is a very nice surprise. Rich Conte has a great performance here as the blue-collar ethnic type imbued with the American work ethic (actually, I can't think of a bad Conte performance...watch The Big Combo, for example). The over the road driving scenes are actually exciting and full of tension. Lee J. Cobb gives a taste of his later performance in On the Waterfront. Valentina Cortesa is also worth watching as the foreign-born hooker. All in all a very tight, ensenble performance.

Dassin portrays a true melting-pot America here....just about everyone speaks with an accent, or has an "ethnic" look. He paints a picture of America as hard-working immigrants and blue-collar types looking forward to getting ahead after the War, but, in noir fashion, there's still dark parasites underfoot looking to undermine all that.

Haven't listened to the commentary yet, but with Alain Silver on that I'd assume that it will be worthwhile.

All this and a great transfer too. In my view, this is one of the better Criterion releases of the year.

Tribe


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:54 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am
I just watched this and was completely awed by it. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what Dassin did. It's a genre B picture, and while many Hollywood directors before Dassin had played various degrees of lip service to narrative conventions, he seems to be the first to have deconstructed them for dead in the dust.

And has any ever director loved his actress so much as Dassin loved Cortese?

Now I have an idea of what Godard was talking about when he said Dassin's Euriopean films couldn't hold a candle to his Hollywood films.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 6:25 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:27 pm
Location: London, UK
The only thing that's currently keeping me away from this release is the sound of the horrible studio-imposed happy ending. How bad is it? Does it end up capsizing the film?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 6:29 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:53 pm
Location: Oh Where, Oh Where?
not at all.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:53 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am
Narshty wrote:
The only thing that's currently keeping me away from this release is the sound of the horrible studio-imposed happy ending. How bad is it? Does it end up capsizing the film?

It takes up about three minutes of screen time and does nothing to interfere with the experience of the film.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:57 am 
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Quote:
The only thing that's currently keeping me away from this release is the sound of the horrible studio-imposed happy ending. How bad is it? Does it end up capsizing the film?

No way. Admittedly, it does look forced, particularly after all tht has come before in this.

Tribe


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 10:45 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
Jesus! I know drug dealers that are less vicious than the people in this movie. Who ever would have thought dealing in produce could be so seedy and dangerous!?

Great film (the ending wasn't bad at all) and it moved incredibly fast. Lee Cobb was fantastic in this film, as was everyone else, but he stood out best for me.

The DVD transfer is great, but I was disappointed with the amount of supplements. The Dassin interview was great, though. I really enjoyed watching him think back, and it was nice to see he was obvisouly quite happy with how the film turned out, and apparently we both liked the same shot from the film.

Excellent blind buy, though. But I figured I wouldn't be let down since I loved both Night and the City and Rififi. Had a feeling Dassin wouldn't let me down. Now I'm going to refresh myself with Night and the City.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 6:22 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
Has anyone noticed the interesting additional material in the trailer?

There is the master shot of the scene where Nick Garcos smashes Mike Figlia's hand. There is a brief cut to this shot in the final film when Nick hits him and then cuts into single shots, but this holds on the long shot while Mike nurses his hand.

There is also the shot of Polly saying "Goodbye, hero" before she leaves him. I guess it might have been cut because it was too extreme a reaction.

The interview with Jules Dassin was great - I don't miss a commentary with him, especially with the interesting Alain Silver commentary compensating.

The addition of the ending to Thieves' Highway of the cops seems fine to me. It seems to work because it may be the police's job to deal with people like Figlia but they don't, as shown by the ineffectual policeman letting Figlia scam Nick's apples earlier in the film. It fits in well with the idea of not being able to trust anyone but yourself to do the right thing, but also provides a necessary sop to the censor and the audience by showing the rule of law reasserting itself. But this scene does not tell us anything of whether Figlia gets let off lightly or punished severely by the police for his actions. Its open to an optimistic or pessimistic interpretation.

So while it is a shame that Zanuck found it necessary to change Dassin's film to add the scene, I think it showed that the tone of the film was understood by him and the addition is not incongruous with the rest of the film.

EDIT:Mobius Forum has said that A.I. Bezzerides died on New Year's Day 2007, at 98 years old.


Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Mar 30, 2007 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 2:47 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:27 pm
Location: London, UK
It's curious that Steven Spielberg is listed in the booklet's "Special Thanks" list. I wonder what he was responsible for. In any case, it's clear this movie was a major influence on Duel.

Just to second everyone else, it's an absolutely stunning film. I never thought a film about the task of trying to truck and sell a consigment of apples could be so intense and involving but, by jove, it was. The ending was a bit limp - the movie could just about survive the scene with the police clearing things up, but the final romantic pairing was pretty ghastly. Still, one can't have everything.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:58 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:59 am
Just watched it. Loved it.
I was thinking of "Wages of Fear" while I wacthed it.
Didn't find the ending inappropriate but the cop "scene" is very abrupt.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 12:38 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:20 pm
Narshty wrote:
It's curious that Steven Spielberg is listed in the booklet's "Special Thanks" list. I wonder what he was responsible for. In any case, it's clear this movie was a major influence on Duel.


Interesting tidbit from the August newsletter:

Quote:
The only film noir (that we know of) about apples and overland trucking, Jules Dassin's Thieves' Highway was a real discovery for many of us here. One of Dassin's lesser-known films, the title was presented to us by Twentieth Century Fox at a time when we were discussing licensing a package of titles from them, including Dassin's classic Night and the City. Fox had received word from Steven Spielberg that Thieves' Highway was one of his favorite films and that he was looking forward to a DVD edition. They asked us to include it in our deal, and when we saw the white-knuckled, hard-boiled thriller, we were delighted to oblige!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 10:48 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:27 pm
Location: London, UK
This is, of course, a brilliant picture.

Some thoughts: the reshoots of the ending seem to be very minimal. The only Zanuck-ordered changes seems to be the single insert of the cop giving Nick a quick telling-off - the police, remarkably, never actually charge Nick with anything and in the very next scene he's free to go and pick up Rica. The clumsiness of the final rear-projection scene seems merely to show that Rica will now become an "honest woman" befitting of a war veteran, as opposed to just someone for Nick to hook up with. They actually loop in the very same line of dialogue heard earlier in the noughts & crosses game for Rica's lame response. The scene directly before that seems totally Dassin's work, with the broad comedy of the crowd scene and the location shooting.

Also, I thought Alain Silver's commentary was terrific, and one of the very best in the collection. It really deconstructed, in several key sequences, Dassin's mastery as a director and how subtly he keeps the audience totally engaged. His thoughts on the characters, especially in relation to the novel, and the overall story arc were very insightful, and he only discussed biographical details of actors and crew members when necessary, instead of padding it out with continual checklists of film credits. Indeed, all the extras were great, including the trailer with, as Colin said, all the alternate and deleted footage (more truck rolling!), and even the Bezzerides trailer was a nice pencil sketch of the author's strengths and style. I'm sure this will be in my top five discs by the end of the year.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 9:36 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am
This is easily my pick for "surprise disc" of the year. Night and the City carried the bigger reputation but I thought this one was the better film.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:08 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:19 am
Location: Hong Kong
So many great moments in this film, especially from Valentina Cortese. Hard to believe she was only 24. I bought it today on a Chinese (Bo Ying) bootleg for about US$1.50, and tomorrow I'll go and get the real thing.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:39 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden
Sorry to be reviving an old thread, but I watched this last night and then logged on here to read what the forum members have written about this film, mostly because -- like most people here -- I had not really heard anything about this film prior to its inclusion in the Criterion Collection, and I was very positively surprised by its many good qualities.

The sequence in which Conte and Mitchell are driving through the night, and Conte is on the brink of falling asleep, simply had me on the edge of my seat, and I did something I otherwise never do -- yes, I actually found myself talking back to the screen, trying to get the guy to pull over and rest for a spell. And, it just went on and on, with flat tires, those other guys gaining on them, and that universal axle always looming in the back of my mind, like a ticking bomb. Pure, great filmmaking!

And, the performances were wonderful, as has been pointed out by several of the posts above. Everyone seems to love Valentina Cortese; certainly a different type of femme fatale for the forties, both in her looks, but also in her moral make-up. I kept thinking of Isabella Rosellini in Blue Velvet -- both the way Valentina looks in the film, and her accent of course, but also in the sense that I could see her end up like Dorothy Valens a decade or two down the road. I will abstain from repeating the praise of Richard Conte and Lee J. Cobb's -- although I must say that I thought I had seen Cobb play nasty villainous characters before, but he sure was in rare form in this one, oozing sleaze at every turn, but still absolutely believable. I will write a few words about Millard Mitchell (whom I do not think anyone mentioned yet). Here is another one of those wonderful American actors, who show up time and again in supporting parts, and always add another element of class to the productions that they are in. I especially liked the way he emerged from working underneath the truck at the beginning of the film with a smudge of oil on his nose -- just a small detail that immediately sold him in the part. Then, his attempt to cheat the apple farmers out of their hard earned money, only to redeem himself a little later, as he comes to Conte's rescue. I like the way he played this part (and of course it is also to the credit of the script and Dassin's direction); there is this real feeling that he could so easily swing either way. He convinces us that he actually has a heart of gold, but he is clearly getting older, and the worry that he will not make out good is there in the crow's feet that grace the corners of his eyes. It is clear that it would not take too much temptation to tip the scales in favor of some underhanded business to make an easy buck.

In fact, for me the key to the excellence of this film lies in the way that Dassin captured this sense of quiet desperation. There is this strong urgency for all the characters in the film to somehow "make it," because surely America is not a place, where you want to be poor and unsuccessful. This feeling is also there in America today (or, at least ten years ago, when I lived in Chicago), but it must have been so much stronger in the late forties, after all the deprivation that the nation had been through with two wars and the depression. And, naturally this aspect is only heightened by the way in which the multi-cultural nature of the population is captured in this film (as someone else pointed out above). If there is pressure in a group of people, then ethnic differences will only amplify it. I think this point is quite subtle in the film, but we do get it in the way that characters will look at each other, when they hear each other's last names, and it is there in the sexual curiosity between Conte and Valentina, and clearly it is apparent in the almost complete exclusion from the cast of any Americans of Anglican lineage.

I am not one to complain about the eclectic selection of titles that are being included in the Criterion Collection, but here is a wish that the good people at Criterion will be able to unearth and include more of this type of small, forgotten American classic in the catalogue.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:46 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:40 pm
Location: Melbourne
ftsoh wrote:
Just watched it. Loved it.
I was thinking of "Wages of Fear" while I wacthed it.
Didn't find the ending inappropriate but the cop "scene" is very abrupt.

Just watched this recently for the first time. I was thinking Wages Of Fear also, although this definitely stands its own ground. I do like Rififi and Night And The City better though. I know some on here have said it doesn't impact the film, and I can't say I know exactly what was and wasn't changed on behalf of the studio - but for me the ending just kills it for me, I can't swallow it. It's far too neat for my liking and although a somewhat welcome reprieve from the bitter attack on human nature seen throughout, I can't buy it. If that makes me cynical then so be it, but I think it's more a case of I would like things to be seen through to their logical conclusion. This is a solid film but definitely not in the same league as Rififi - which is absolutely flawless. I enjoyed the ride though; had a very pulpy, beaten-up, almost Fuller-esque feel to it.

However I was quite struck by the montage sequences where Dassin overlays images of the speedometer, the truck's tyres, etc, with the protagonist's face as he is driving. They're striking to say the least. Does anyone know who first used these kind of montage / overlay techniques? Was this fairly cutting edge for its time?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:42 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm
soma wrote:
However I was quite struck by the montage sequences where Dassin overlays images of the speedometer, the truck's tyres, etc, with the protagonist's face as he is driving. They're striking to say the least. Does anyone know who first used these kind of montage / overlay techniques? Was this fairly cutting edge for its time?

These sequences have a venerable genealogy stretching back (at least) to the 1920s Impressionists (and the Soviet avant-garde, who were co-opted Impressionists anyway). You can find similarly intoxicating passages in the silent films of Kirsanov, Epstein and Gremillon, and, although I haven't seen it, I believe Gance pioneered much of this in La Roue. The advent of sound momentarily knocked this stuff onto the cutting room floor, but it returned soon enough. Did somebody mention Slavko Vorkapich?


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 38 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group




This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection