Movie Diary 7/26/2020

The Big Combo (Joseph H. Lewis, 1955). It had been a while. Along with the jazzy coolness of Lewis’s style and John Alton’s cinematography, let us note how Lewis draws interesting things out of actors. Everybody in the film is really on point: the leads; the ambiguously-affectionate hitmen played by Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman; the crime-universe oddballs played by John Hoyt and Ted de Corsia; and the cops played by Robert Middleton and Jay Adler. Everybody brings a little extra to the game.

Imagine the Sound (Ron Mann, 1981). A free-jazz documentary featuring performances (and some zippy interviews) by Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, Archie Shepp, Paul Bley. Not only is the music frequently mind-blowing, but the soft 16 mm. texture looks luscious in these days.