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Non-Review Review: The Candidate (1972)

The Candidate is that rare movie that is anchored firmly in its own time, released in June 1972, but remains relevant through until today. Writer Jeremy Larner won an Oscar for his screenplay, and his portrayal of election politics seems worryingly plausible. The Candidate is remarkably frank about its politics, but also in its depiction of the system. There’s no pussyfooting around for fear of alienating the audience with hostile political ideas, instead the film embraces its political position and runs from there. While it feels like it was written in the shadow of the then-looming 1972 Presidential election, it does seem to be quite applicable to modern politics.It remains relevant, perhaps an illustration of how little has changed.

If anything, it seems like The Candidate is relatively tame compared to current political realities.

“I came here to chew gum and get elected… and… well, I’m not out of gum.”

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Fresh Perspectives: Classic Directors and Not-so-Classic Films…

I caught Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety at the weekend, and I have to admit, I liked it. I’d only heard the movie mentioned in passing from time to time, never discussed with the same reverence as Space Balls or Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein, but never with the same bitterness as Dracula: Dead and Loving It. It never really made it on to any conscious “to see” list with any of the great works from iconic directors. However, I really enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t consider it a forgotten classic, or a misunderstood gem overlooked in Brooks’ impressive filmography. It has its flaws and problems, but I enjoyed it. In fact, while I wouldn’t consider on par with some of his stronger films, I dare say that I actually enjoyed it more than some of them, despite the fact I hadn’t heard that much about it. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if I enjoyed it more because I hadn’t heard that much about it.

High expectations can lead to monstrous results...

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Non-Review Review: High Anxiety

I quite enjoyed High Anxiety, even if it didn’t rank quite as high as some of Brooks’ other efforts. While it still possesses the same wonderful wry moments, High Anxiety is a Mel Brooks film that arguably works better as a farce than as a parody. I suspect that this has something to do with the director’s intended target. While Westerns were ripe for mockery in Blazing Saddles and old horror films were perfectly suited to the sense of humour in Young Frankenstein, it always seemed like Alfred Hitchcock was aware of his own filmmaking style, and seemed to occasionally be gently mocking it himself, rather than playing his heightened suspense with a po-faced sincerity. I think that parody and satire work best when they represent an attack on a target that suffers from a little bit too much self-importance, while Hitchcock’s films are generally a little more self-aware than that.

Gone to the birds?

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