New Yawk New Wave At Film Forum

Posted: January 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

Film Reviews of Greeting and Hi. Mom

Film Forum’s program on cult New York films has put together not only a collection of great films made in New York, but also some of the lesser known titles.

These are the films that I find the most interesting:

Here’s a great double bill of two early Robert De Niro movies, both  made by Brian De Palma.  Greetings,  made in 1968, has a very young De Niro hanging out in downtown Manhattan with his crazy friends trying to figure ways out getting out of the Vietnam War. There is some really great footage of The Central Park Zoo, and also a great scene filmed in Bookmasters, a great independent bookstore  long gone, that was on 59th Street and 3rd Ave.  I do remember buying  Mad paperback books in there with my dad. There’s a most interesting scene of Robert De Niro hiding between books and watching  a girl  in there who’s trying to steal books.  He  pretends that he works there and pays for her books.  Meanwhile,  his friend meets a wacky guy  talking about JFK conspiracies.  These moments make  you wish you were still living back in those carefree times.

In Hi Mom, De Niro films nude movies from his apartment and meets  up with Jennifer Salt and  really plays up that he is on a date, even though  he has her being filmed.  There are some very intense moments where a group of black  radical  actors are  staging a  very realistic play that scare a lot of people into performing their project of showing  what it is like to be black.   Such a film could have never been made now, as it might be considered not politically correct.  It’s great to see Robert De Niro playing these more subdued parts before he became typecast into playing tough guys and gangsters!

Another great double bill are two films that take place on New York subway trains:

The Dutchman  is a play by Anthony Harvey about a crazy white girl played by Shirley Knight and a black guy played by Al Freeman.  She sets the scene eating her apple and trying to seduce him, but is playing with his head  and pushes him to the the limit.  It’s almost like a modern day Adam And Eve story.  It’s nice to see footage of the old subway trains with straw seats, ceiling fans blowing and the vintage subway ads.

The Incident, directed by Larry Peerce, has Martin Sheen and Tony Musante in their debut film.  They play two hoods that terrorize late night riders on their way home.  The film opens up with them in a pool hall as the owner kicks them out.  That sets the scene  for the cast of characters  all heading from different parts of the city  to the train.  There is a young Donna Mills also making her debut with her overeager boyfriend trying  kiss her.  Then, walking down the street is an uptight Jack Gilford and his wife.  He is  annoyed at the way the young people act today.  Ruby Dee and her anti-white boyfriend Brook Peters is  fighting with the token booth clerk that pushes his change into the floor.  Also, Ed McMahon, who can’t afford a cab, is worried about getting his daughter and wife home.  Beau Bridges is an  army guy with a broken arm who ends up taking on Maritn and Tony  as they hassle all of these train travelers on one roller coaster ride though wacky New York.  This great black & white film predates The Taking of Pelham 123.  It is one of my all time favorite films and very underrated.

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