Most of Kino-Lorber’s previous installments in their “Forbidden Fruit: The Golden Age of the Exploitation Picture” series have been confined to the 1930s and 1940s; this one dates to 1966, from an era when American exploiters found that there was money to be made by importing sexual “education” films from Europe, where filmmakers could be more candid. This one was, per the opening credits, “filmed in the Gynecological Clinic in Zurich,” and it’s basically a hospital soap opera, interspersed with…
The great Western director Budd Boetticher helms this 1952 oater, with Robert Ryan and Rock Hudson as brothers returning to their Texas home after the Civil War. Hudson is optimistic, but Ryan is sullen, dead set on “building an empire,” and Louis Stevens’ screenplay slowly moves them into opposite sides of right and wrong. Raymond Burr turns in a deliciously villainous turn as the local land baron in Ryan’s way, but by the story’s conclusion, the hero has become the villain, and the intensity of the climactic familial standoff is surprisingly powerful.
My favorite thing is how they introduce his diary but *don’t* have him voice-over from it, as if THAT was the thing that would make us all notice they were ripping off TAXI DRIVER.
Anyhoo I fucking loathed it, and not because it’s particularly provocative or irresponsible; it’s too stupid to be. It’s just a dipshit lunkhead bro’s idea of how to make an Extremely Serious Movie. That score!
My friend, the film critic, noted “Netflixpert” and Playlist contributor, Charles Bramesco, once summarized the conundrum of Netflix original films thus: “It’s where great filmmakers go to make their worst film.” This is, to be clear, not an airtight theory (and obviously subjective); for every few “Hold the Dark”s or “Land of Steady Habits”es, you can find a “Da 5 Bloods” or “Marriage Story” to effectively counter. But the underlying point stands. The streaming service’s much-noted hands-off production process seems…