Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Alphaville (1965)

Starring Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff, Laszlo Szabo, Howard Vernon
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
(actor & director credits courtesy

A secret agent is sent on a mission to the city of Alphaville, home to a powerful supercomputer that completely dominates the people and is waging war with its enemies.

Possessing the look and tone of a hard-boiled 1940s film noir, complete with black-and-white photography, voice-over narration, and a grizzled cynical lead in Eddie Constantine, Godard's film uses that setting as a springboard to launch into a poetic exploration of man and existence, not easily decipherable upon first viewing.  It's a marvelous film to look at and is filled with unusual edgy scenes including at a hotel where "seductresses" take guests to their rooms and offer personal service, and at a swimming pool where independent thinkers are executed and finished off by elegant swimmers toting knives.  I can't say this type of moviemaking is my particular cup of tea, but I can respect it as an art film, although not one I truly understand yet.

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