Cassavetes, Alfas and Cool
Sometimes there is a strange serendipity to things. I recently came across strange and rough-round-the edges movie ‘Violent Four’, which was known variously as ‘Bandits in Rome’ and ‘Rome Like Chicago’. I am a sucker for gangster movies and I can sit through almost anything if there is a tough guy, a conspiracy and some intrigue involved. But this film is pretty bad – though there are however three things that redeem it.
1) The achingly cool mannerism of John Cassavetes, perhaps the hippest independent film maker, writer and actor ever to be marginalised by Hollywood. The way he emotes his way through a threadbare script is something to behold.
2) The poster. As in many instances in film history, it makes the movie look so much more dynamic and exciting than it actually is, and evokes a rare sort of Hollywood-Roman creative interaction that is rare as hens’ teeth.
3) Last and not least, the Alfas. There’s something in the design of the late sixties Alfa coupés that perfectly compliments Cassavetes dark cool. Pure design brilliance.
If you can find any clips of the movie on the web you’re a better man than I.
Enjoy instead what must be one of the worst interviews ever, with Cassavettes behind the wheel of a nameless convertible in the Hollywood hills whilst listening to the Beach Boys and telling the French hack that he, the dark lord of Indy cinema, is considering making a musical. The man was a genius.
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