NICKELODEON
1976, Sony Repertory, 122 min, USA, Dir: Peter Bogdanovich

A hugely entertaining slapstick farce and heartfelt Valentine to the earliest days of the Hollywood movie industry. Ryan O’Neal stars as the bumbling young lawyer who accidentally stumbles into directing, Burt Reynolds is the hot-tempered leading man, Tatum O’Neal is the brains behind the operation, and lovely Jane Hitchcock is the object of everyone’s affections. Co-starring John Ritter, Stella Stevens and Brian Keith.


WHAT’S UP, DOC?
1972, Warner Bros., 94 min, USA, Dir: Peter Bogdanovich

A luggage mix-up leads to stuffy academic Ryan O’Neal being taken on a wild ride by free spirit Barbra Streisand in this outrageous farce. Working from a precise and hilarious script by Buck Henry, David Newman and Robert Benton, director Peter Bogdanovich crafts a tribute to 1930s screwball comedies that is fast, funny and packed with delirious supporting performances; Madeline Kahn is a standout in her screen debut.


THE DRIVER
1978, 20th Century Fox, 90 min, USA, Dir: Walter Hill

Criminally underrated and overlooked upon its initial release Walter Hill’s auto-noir, THE DRIVER, has justifiably built a cult following over the past decade from filmmakers, cinephiles and academics alike. Created in homage to Jean-Pierre Melville and Euro crime cinema, Hill pits existential getaway driver Ryan O’Neal against pit-bull detective Bruce Dern for a cat-and-mouse pursuit across the wasted underbelly of ’70s Los Angeles.

THE DRIVER is lean, mean and underpinned by a masterful cast that delivers sardonic wit and bitter brilliance on par with the very best film noir. Making her Hollywood debut, Isabelle Adjani has never been cooler in this twilight world where names are eschewed for actions. Where Hill most notably deviates from his peers and predecessors are the truly electric chase sequences. Breathless even by today’s standards, Hill repeatedly throws the viewer against his bumpers as he perilously races across LA’s unforgiving asphalt – an astonishing accomplishment considering the now-antiquated state of cars in 1978.

An influence on almost every heist film that followed, THE DRIVER represents a highlight of Hill’s stellar career and a stone cold, tough-as-nails masterpiece.


Syndicate content