Dennis Raymond
The Battle of Algiers

a review of

“The Battle of Algiers”

How surprised we were three years ago by the success of “To Die in Madrid,” Francisco Rosi’s remarkable compilation of old news films from the Spanish Civil War. The distinction of that film was the poetic way in which it shaped and explained the ironic progress and outcome of the struggle. And now we have a new film, though in much the same vein, which is historically more immediate.

...

Dennis Raymond
The Bride Wore Black

a film review of

“The Bride Wore Black”

Francois Truffaut’s “The Bride Wore Black” is terrific. Infused with his patented brand of gentle humor, the film is a modern horror story in which lovely Jeanne Moreau goes about methodically murdering five gentlemen with an iron calm and comic sunniness. Essentially an entertainment movie, a minor effort for Truffaut, other films of similar genre pale beside it.

...

Dennis Raymond
Raymond dumps on film reviewers

Just how do you go about opening a good movie in this town without getting jumped on? Ingmar Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf is the best film to appear in Detroit since his earlier Persona, yet by the time you read this, it will probably have already left the Studio North Theatre.

The mechanics of film distribution is often a complicated and unfair process: The survival of a small specialized film—Alain Resnais’ classic La Guerre Est Finie, for instance—depends entirely on the support of local critics. Hard-core Resnais buffs can fill a small theatre for maybe four nights, but after that, the film is on its own, La Guerre Est Finie opened in Detroit during the newspaper strike and, despite the rigorous attempts of the distributor and exhibitor to save it, it barely stayed above water for two weeks. If a Resnais film results in financial loss, will that same exhibitor be willing to risk playing any future films by Resnais? We can only hope and pray.

...

Dennis Raymond
Yellow Submarine

“Once upon a time, or maybe twice, there was an earthly paradise called Pepperland, which existed 80,000 leagues beneath the sea...”

And so it was, a land of brilliant color and elegant people and Ming music, with words such as “love” and “know” and “yes” dotted about the landscape.

But Pepperland had enemies, the Blue Meanies, who hated music and bombarded Pepperland with rockets and Apple Bonkers and Hidden Persuaders and Snapping Turtle Turks—and an evil flying Blue Glove.

...

Dennis Raymond
Romeo and Juliet—Hagbard and Signe

The biggest mistake in bringing Shakespeare to the screen is to construct some sort of stone effigy to him. But France Zeffirelli’s film production of “Romeo & Juliet,” at the Studio 8, pulsates with a life all its own.

In translating a stage drama to a visual medium, much of the dialogue has been cut in favor of the action. Surprisingly, this works beautifully. “Romeo & Juliet” is a remarkably visual movie that could stand on its own for the imagery alone. The result is a thoroughly “cinematic” film adaptation.

...

Dennis Raymond
Zita

Six years ago, Robert Enrico directed the award-winning “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” This short film told of a condemned man during the Civil War who, seconds before he is about to be hanged, fantasizes his escape. Enrico’s current “Zita,” at the Studio New Center through December 18, carries this same theme even further.

...

Dennis Raymond
Faces: “jolting & powerful” Film review

John Cassavetes’ “Faces,” currently at the Studio North, is the best American American movie since “Bonnie & Clyde” or “The Graduate.” By that I mean that this movie could not have been made outside of the United States and still strike us with all the honesty and impact and pain that is possesses. For the problems that Cassavetes has chosen to explore in “Faces” are, I believe, peculiarly American, deep rooted in our contemporary society: in particular, this country’s almost fanatical preoccupation with sex.

...

Dennis Raymond
Negatives: “suggestions of the unspeakable” Film review

Remember “Mademoiselle,” the Tony Richardson-Jean Genet collaboration in which lovely Jeanne Moreau raced around the French countryside in stiletto heels heaping destruction on a poor little town, and all because of sexual repression? Then there was Jules Dassin’s 10:30 p.m. “Summer,” the agonized tale of a traveling menage a trois.

...

Dennis Raymond
Candy: doesn’t make it Films

“Candy” must be the world’s first avant-garde Gallop poll movie; there’s something for everybody... dirty old men, freaks, sadists, mom and dad, the kiddies, and homosexuals.

The director, Christian Marquand, started out with a fool-proof formula guaranteed to appeal to the “with-it” film audience. Consider this: the screenplay, by Buck Henry, was loosely based on Terry Southern’s notorious best seller; the casting department had lined up no less than Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Ringo Starr, Walter Mathau, James Coburn, Charles Aznavour, John Astin, Elsa Martinelli, and a much-publicized little Swedish dish, Ewa Aulin, to play the title role; and then toss in all sorts of movie madness...bits and pieces of “Persona,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “The Graduate,” “Barbarella,” “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” a whole segment from “8-1/2,” nods to Lester and Godard, and finally, a little “2001” mysticism thrown in for box-office measure.

...

Dennis Raymond
Last of ’68 Films

Every Christmas season, the movie market is positively flooded with the year-end glut of new releases, and 1968 proved no exception.

Trying to keep up with these new films is a major task for a pure-bred film buff like myself, but the fact is that I’ve seen only four holiday releases that I would risk recommending to you: “Faces,” John Cassavetes’ unmerciful study of middle-class mores in America; “Bullit,” a fast, lean, and exciting detective yarn, and the only successful genre film of the year; “Romeo and Juliet,” Franco Zeffirelli’s irreproachable popularization of the play; and “The Stalking Moon,” a Western that transcends itself and becomes instead a thrilling horror movie.

...

Dennis Raymond
Shame Film review

When the heroine of Ingmar Bergman’s great movie “Persona” turned on a television set and saw the atrocities of the Vietnam war, we in the audience experienced something close to cultural shock—a medievalist had crossed the time barrier. One of the severest and most frequent criticisms of Bergman has been his renowned social indifference.

...

Dennis Raymond
Films Raymond Reviews Two

“The First Time” (Studio-North)

When you see “The First Time” you begin to think that this “Graduate” bit is becoming a pretty poor excuse for a movie.

This time the striking Jacqueline Bisset has the Mrs. Robinson role, and Wes Stern, Rick Kelman, and Wink Roberts all comprise the Benjamin Braddock figure, working under the assumption that three Dustin Hoffmanns are more fun than one.

...