Showing posts with label Martin Balsam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Martin Balsam. Show all posts

Sunday, 5 May 2013

All the President's Men

This 1976 political thriller is based on the book of the same name by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. It stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the two reporters who were responsible for uncovering the facts of the Watergate Scandal which ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. Nominated for eight Academy Awards it won three and is often regarded as one of the best political thrillers of all time.

The movie manages to capture the sense of urgency, frustration and fear that must be present inside a major newspaper office as its staff are working on a sensitive story such as the one depicted here. It portrays journalistic workings in what appears to be an accurate way and follows the story from beginning to, not quite the end, but a satisfactorily conclusion. The central partnership is strong and ebbs and flows from distrust to jealousy to solid teamwork and mutual admiration and respect. The film also gets to the heart of the Watergate Scandal, introducing a lot of characters who would otherwise have been lost in history.

Sunday, 22 July 2012


"A boy's best friend is his mother"

Having embezzled $40,000 from her employers, Secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) flees in her car. After narrowly escaping the clutches of a suspicious Police Officer she pulls into a quite motel during a heavy rainstorm. The owner Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) greets her warmly and explains that they don’t receive many guests due to the freeway being moved. After offering Marion supper at the house he shares with his mother, Norman has to then retract the offer following an off screen argument with the old woman… A few days later when Marion’s disappearance in noticed a Private Detective (Martin Balsam) tracks her movements to the motel but he too goes missing. Fearing the worst Marion’s boyfriend Sam (John Gavin) and sister Lila (Vera Miles) head to the motel to search for the missing woman.

Psycho contains one of the most famous scenes in all cinema history as well as one of the most recognisable scores and most unexpected and shocking twists. Even without these three key elements though it would still be a five star film.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

12 Angry Men

"Prejudice always obscures the truth"

1957 – New York. A Jury of twelve men have finished hearing the trial of a young immigrant man accused of murdering his father by stabbing him to death. After a brief vote in a sweltering deliberation room the vote is 11/1 in favour of a guilty verdict. The jury have been informed by the Judge that they must reach a unanimous decision. Voices are raised and tempers fray as the twelve men debate the case that could send a man to the Electric Chair.

This film has one of the most compelling stories I have ever seen. I couldn’t take my eyes off it for a minute. I was afraid of blinking or turning my head to check the time in case I missed a vital detail. This really is masterful story telling. In the beginning it is just Henry Fonda’s ‘Juror number 8’ character who votes not guilty but as the film progresses he and others question statements and evidence until more and more of the jurors have doubts. It is fairly obvious from early on what the outcome is going to be but that doesn’t matter. How they reach the decision is fascinating.