Thursday, 26 May 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 150: Wednesday June 1

Fat City (Huston, 1972): BFI Southbank, NFT1 6.10pm

John Huston is much better known for The Dead, African Queen and The Maltese Falcon but this is surely his finest work.  Don't miss the chance to see a rare screening of this wonderful slice of Hollywood melancholia in which Stacy Keach gives the performance of a lifetime as a struggling boxer giving it one last try and Jeff Bridges shines as a naive up-and-coming fighter. Watch out in particular for the final scene and an audacious, haunting shot a minute from the end.

Here is the Time Out review:

'Marvellous, grimly downbeat study of desperate lives and the escape routes people construct for themselves, stunningly shot by Conrad Hall. The setting is Stockton, California, a dreary wasteland of smoky bars and sunbleached streets where the lives of two boxers briefly meet, one on the way up, one on the way down. Neither, you sense instantly, for all their talk of past successes and future glories, will ever know any other world than the back-street gymnasiums and cheap boxing-rings where battered trainers and managers exchange confidences about their ailments, disappointments and dreams, and where in a sad and sobering climax two sick men beat each other half to death for a few dollars and a pint of glory. Huston directs with the same puritanical rigour he brought to Wise Blood. Beautifully summed up by Paul Taylor as a "masterpiece of skid row poetry".' Tom Milne

Here's a sneak preview.

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