Monday, August 12, 2002

The Movie I Watched Last Night XXXI
Friday: Escape from Alcatraz
Clint Eastwood stars in this retelling of the single successful escape from the prison island near San Francisco. The movie is extremely slowly paced, slightly dark, and moody -- but not overly suspenseful or overly dramatic. The escape seems a foregone conclusion, so there's little build up or intensity, and the movie works well primarily because of the characterizations and relational interplay. Roberts Blossom's role as Doc packs the most punch, as his self-mutilation aptly communications the inhumane taking away of rights and identity in the prison setting. All he has left is his painting -- with the image of a flower representing the spark left within him -- and then the wardens take that away. That scene was the most effective in the film.

Saturday: Nancy Drew, Reporter
A 1939 film featuring America's favorite teenage female detective. While on a class trip to the local newspaper, Nancy sneaks an assignment off the desk of an AWOL reporter and finds herself wrapped up in a mystery involving an inquest, a poisoning, and a contested will. The short movie is quick-witted and interesting, and the chemistry between Nancy -- played by Bonita Granville -- and Frankie Thomas' Ted Nickerson is light-hearted yet affectionate. The scene in which the jealous Nancy realizes that the "older woman" Ted's been spending time with is in fact his tennis instructor is a wonderful expose of misguided jealousy. Interestingly, this is one of three Nancy Drew movies released in the late '30s. And 11 years later, Thomas went on to star in "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet." A fun Saturday morning movie.

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