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Re: Clarifying the intent/strategy for such a festival [was:Re: A 1st cut at a "Noir-Roughie" series...]
Posted by RichardW on 9/2/2015, 6:49 am, in reply to "Clarifying the intent/strategy for such a festival [was:Re: A 1st cut at a "Noir-Roughie" series...]"
Last night I watched Lee Frost's THE PICK-UP (1968). It's about how two delivery men assigned to transport money from a Las Vegas casino to the Syndicate bosses in Los Angeles are waylaid on the highway by two con-women who exploit their weakness for women. When the women drive off with the money, the two men must get it back before the Casino boss finds out. It then develops that the con-women were part of a double-cross. Frost involves us in a world of corruption. Everybody is on the con. Our protagonists are criminals, and we're meant to be surprised at just how far they'll go, and how low they'll stoop, to get that money back. There are even some story-telling cliches that Frost manages to avoid. For instance, the dumber of the two is usually sacrificed in stories like this, but not in THE PICK-UP.
If it weren't for the explicit sex and nudity, this film would be no different than the crime noirs Donald Siegel was directing in the 1970s. Indeed it has a lot in common with CHARLEY VARRICK (1973), among others. There is a definite story being told, and sex scenes are only brought into play to advance the plot. THE PICK-UP is notorious for the breast-electrocution scene; but it's pretty mild compared to the SAW films. Frost had genuine talent as a writer and director. A pity he didn't have more time and money to make this film and to shoot it in color. If THE PICK-UP were to be introduced at a roughie festival, attention should be drawn to the fact that much of the taboo sex depicted on camera as well as the torture porn scene are mainstreamed now. Society has caught up. The moral judgment that insured THE PICK-UP would be a roughie no longer exists. Instead, it would be a roughie for other reasons.
"I've been to college, but I can still speak English when business demands it."
Raymond Chandler, 1939.
"All explaining in movies can be thrown out, I think."
Elmore Leonard, 2013.