One of these days, the film community is going to recognize Walter Hill’s movie The Warriors as the classic that it is.
I think it gets short shrift because of the controversy it generated when it came out in the late-1970s owing to its depiction of New York City gangs and associated violence. But the truth is, it’s an exceptionally well-made film, with brilliant direction, strong performances, sharp editing and terrific cinematography … including some great slow-motion camerawork during the myriad fight scenes.
Surprisingly, it also has a sensitive script that calls attention to class discrepancies, most notably in a sequence set on a subway car. Not your average action flick, methinks.
So this is more than a guilty pleasure. It’s a quality picture, one that I can watch over and over again. I don’t really get tired of it. Maybe it’s because I was born and raised in The Big Apple, and I have an affinity for the film’s depiction of my city. Or maybe it’s just because I like good movies.
Of course, it could be both. Still, one thing’s for certain: It should be in better cinematic standing. And that’s something I’ll advocate with all my heart.
No, this post doesn’t have anything to do with the movies. Instead, it concerns a great mystery: Why I keep seeing the Met Orchestra perform at New York City venues.
Yes, this is a fantastic group of musicians, and its conductor, the estimable James Levine, is one of the best out there today. But this is the umpth time I’ve attended concerts featuring this orchestra within only a few months, and I’m not even a subscriber to the Metropolitan Opera.
Don’t get me wrong … I don’t mind these concerts a bit. In fact, they’ve been terrific. For example, yesterday afternoon at Carnegie Hall, I saw and listened to wonderful renditions of Beethoven’s Second Symphony and Schumann’s Second, Dvorak and Strauss songs warbled by famed soprano Anna Netrebko, and some dreadfully noisy Elliott Carter “Illusions” that seemed quite out of place in the presence of such melodic masterpieces. In general, the afternoon was brilliant, and the sound produced was exciting, with Carnegie Hall’s renowned acoustics doing the great pieces justice.
I just wonder why I’ve been present so frequently at the Met Orchestra’s performances of late. Is it destiny? Fate? It’s like I’m in some Wagner opera dealing with predetermination.
At this juncture, it’s not clear when the next concert will be. I suspect, thought, that it’ll be sooner rather than later.
No film is perfect, and even great movies have scenes or lines that could be better.
I was thinking about this recently while watching Ghostbusters on TV. It’s hardly a masterpiece, yet it remains a terrific comedy and has held up well nearly 30 years after its debut. Still, despite a sharp, hilarious script, it contains a line toward the end that disappoints me to this day: “I love this town,” shouted by Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddmore after the ‘busters save New York City from a supernatural catastrophe.
Blah. Surely there was a funnier way to express triumph than a maudlin acknowledgement of Gotham’s greatness.
Of course, it’s not a movie-breaker, but it brings to mind other frustrating lines from the cinema’s greatest flicks. For instance: the immortal “leave me alone” in Lawrence of Arabia, spoken with great self-pity by Peter O’Toole’s T.E. Lawrence in a dialogue with Jack Hawkins’ General Allenby—who, as if in recognition of this pathetic order, notes that it’s a “feeble thing to say.” I guess it’s hard to count this in the annals of bad lines completely, as it’s followed up in an organic way, though it still rings overdone. So does a much-revered scene in the otherwise extraordinary film The Seven Samurai where Toshiro Mifune’s Kikuchiyo, charged by a dying woman with saving her baby, collapses into the stream surrounding the village and cries along with the infant, lamenting how the same thing happened to him. It’s just a bit too much in a movie noted for its tight script, though it does give some insight into the reckless character’s origins.
These are just a few examples. They don’t ruin the films overall. Yet it’s interesting to see how high our estimation is of them … if we can carp about lesser lines within. Further proof of the merits of these justly praised pictures.