FAT CITY
1972, Sony Repertory, 100 min, USA, Dir: John Huston

John Huston, his versatility truly liberated by an evolving New Hollywood cinema, directed this gritty, slice-of-life adaptation of Leonard Gardner’s novel about two boxers, one naïve neophyte (Jeff Bridges), and one on his way down (a brilliant Stacy Keach) with his perpetually drunken mate (the great Susan Tyrell). The faithful evocation of street life in northern California Stockton, its working class heroes and skid row flophouses, where dreams and hopes get crushed out like cigarette butts, is priceless.


THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)
1941, Warner Bros., 101 min, USA, Dir: John Huston

Based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel, this classic mystery gives life to Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) and a masterfully drawn group of characters involved in a dangerous and double-crossing hunt for a bejeweled golden falcon statue. The first-rate cast includes Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Huston’s father, Walter.


THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
1951, Warner Bros., 69 min, USA, Dir: John Huston

Until the last decade, this was regarded as one of director John Huston’s lower-profile pictures, but with each passing year its stature and merits grow. A profoundly moving rendition of Stephen Crane’s classic novel of the Civil War, with an exceptional Audie Murphy as Henry Fleming, the young soldier wracked by self-doubt, and the offbeat Bill Mauldin (the most famous political/war cartoonist of the era) equally good as his friend. With Royal Dano, Arthur Hunnicutt.


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