THE GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID
1972, Universal, 91 min, USA, Dir: Philip Kaufman

Director Philip Kaufman’s gritty re-examination of the story of the Jesse James-Cole Younger gang and their disastrous assault on the town of Northfield, with Cliff Robertson and Robert Duvall heading an astonishing ensemble cast that includes Luke Askew, R.G. Armstrong, Matt Clark and Elisha Cook. A down-and-dirty Western refreshingly stripped of the usual reality-obscuring gloss.


…AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.
1979, Sony Repertory, 119 min, USA, Dir: Norman Jewison

“You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order!” Al Pacino stars as Arthur Kirkland, who has seen some of the worst abuses of the courtroom in his 12 years as a defense attorney. Nonetheless he continues to fight passionately for his clients - but is thrown for a loop when one of them is a judge (John Forsythe) who has clashed with Kirkland in the past. Pacino’s tour de force performance earned an Oscar nomination, as did Barry Levinson and Valerie Curtin’s original screenplay. A still-relevant skewering of the American legal system, …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL boasts a fine supporting cast including Jack Warden, Christine Lahti, Jeffrey Tambor and Lee Strasberg.


THE YAKUZA
1975, Warner Bros., 112 min, USA, Dir: Sydney Pollack

Sydney Pollack directs this potent, poignant thriller that blends American neo-noir and the then-peaking Japanese yakuza film genre. Robert Mitchum is a world-weary private eye who joins up with a taciturn kendo instructor (yakuza movie icon Ken Takakura), who has a wartime obligation to Mitchum. Likewise, Mitchum owes past wartime comrade Tanner (Brian Keith) a favor as well, and it’s a humdinger: Rescue Tanner’s kidnapped daughter in Japan. A labyrinthine plot is set in motion, and soon Mitchum and Takakura become embroiled in a horrifying series of double crosses and mixed signals that result in a trail of bloody retribution. Adapting the story by Leonard Schrader, Paul Schrader and Robert Towne wrote the moody screenplay. Co-starring Richard Jordan (THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE), Keiko Kishi, Herb Edelman, Eiji Okada. The sleek production design by Stephen B. Grimes not only evokes the spartan Japanese lifestyle but also amply reflects an atmosphere where cold, serpentine violence can strike from the darkness like a coiled viper. “Mitchum is at his laconic leaden-eyed best as the private eye who is forced to team up with a reformed criminal played by Takakura, an icon of the Japanese gangster genre … there are enough double-crosses to satisfy the most jaded fans of the genre.” – Channel 4 Film (U.K.)


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