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Features Screengems

Screengem: The Polaroid Pictures in The Verdict (Sydney Lumet, 1982)

Rock bottom. While we’ve all seen it portrayed in countless movies, have any of us actually hit it? In a scene a few minutes into Sydney Lumet’s 1982 courtroom drama The Verdict, we are left in no doubt that disgraced former star attorney Frank Galvin (Paul Newman) is staring rock bottom full in the face, […]

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Features Screengems

Screengem: The spittoon in Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)

Old pals John Wayne (as Sheriff John T. Chance) and Ward Bond (as Pat Wheeler, soon to be murdered, shot in the back) have a conversation that says much about the good guys’ dilemma in Howard Hawks’ classic Western Rio Bravo (1959). Wheeler: A game-legged old man and a drunk. That’s all you got? Chance: That’s […]

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Features Screengems

Screengem: Frank’s Cut-and-Paste Collage in Thief (Michael Mann, 1981)

Premier US film-maker Michael Mann paints pictures on an epic scale and delivers major set-pieces without losing sight of the very human dramas at the heart of his story. His first feature, Thief (1981), recruited James Caan as safecracker Frank – a state-raised kid who spent much of his teenage years and young adulthood in prison. Frank […]

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Features Screengems

Screengem: The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (John Hughes, 1986)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off may have as its star the titular character who’s laissez-faire attitude to bunking off makes for an entertaining thrill ride, but the beating heart of the film belongs to Ferris’ long suffering best friend Cameron. A neurotic, self-loathing pessimist who only seems to come alive when telling Ferris what a goof […]