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Medium Cool

Medium Cool(1969)

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  • medium cool

    • kevin sellers
    • 7/18/16

    The best thing about this film is its ability to plunge us back into the unhinged summer of 68 in America where memories of Kennedy and King's assassinations were still raw, an unpopular war raged, and chaos seemed to lurk around every corner; nowhere more than in the streets of Chicago where anti Vietnam protestors and Dick Daley's brown shirts (i.e. the Chi. police, actually wearing blue unis) went at it to the accompaniment of mace, tear gas, nightsticks and the chant of "Pig." (Is this summer as bad? Hard to say, since it's not nearly over, although it's off to a good start with the events in Dallas, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Orlando furnishing a solid base of hate and racial divide.) Unfortunately, writer/director/cinematographer Haskell Wexler provides a rather uninteresting story and characters upon which to hang his disturbing imagery and scenes of mass violence. Like many camera people who decide it's more fun to yell "action" then to have it shouted at them Wexler seems to forget that a director's job goes beyond the merely visual. Pacing is also involved and Wexler falls short in this aspects. The film meanders quite a bit the first hour, with too many repetitive scenes of the main character photographing inner city and political disturbances and hanging out with his dull, sexpot girlfriend. Things start to pick up once a hillbilly mom and her young son appear and unless the actor who plays the kid, Harold Blankenship, is a natural, which I doubt, then Wexler must be given credit for coaxing such a believable performance from him, the best in the film, in my opinion, although Verna Bloom is also quite good as the mom. As for Robert Forster, he's a bit too actor's studio intense for me. The second hour, dominated as it is by the feel of a city coming apart, is much stronger stuff. So, let's give this film a B for Blankenship and the second half. P.S. Great music by such 60s stars as Mike Bloomfield, Love, and the Mothers Of Invention.

  • How We Got To The '70s

    • Mac
    • 7/13/16

    This month(July.2016)Turner visits the '70s in general,but this film shows how we got there. The subject will be visited again,I'm sure,so here's hoping this gets included when movies like All The President's Men and The Candidate get airtime on TCM, even China Syndrome. I would even pair this with 1776 some July 4th to compare and contrast events almost 200 years apart. They are stories of the messiness of Democracy. The media wasn't ready for their close-up in 1968. As we face another slug of Conventions,which have become infomercials,scripted right down to the Partitioned Protest Area,away from the events,sanitized for your protection.

  • Splendid Robert Forster

    • Adventure
    • 2/7/12

    This movie made me a movie fan and I respect the work of Robert Forster as star of Medium Cool for his brave and compelling performance.

  • Medium Cool (1969)

    • James Higgins
    • 12/15/09

    This is one of those films where you have to put your mindset in the year it was made. This was quite unique and revolutionary at the time, particularly the combination of the real footage with dramatic footage, and it worked quite well. Also, the nude scenes were very controversial at the time. It's filmed very simply, especially the cinematography. Good and real performances. Very believable done. Quite interesting, but it has lost some of it's punch over the years.

  • Real History Becomes Real Cinema...

    • G.P. Stojcevic
    • 8/12/07

    The Chicago Convention of 1968 was the point at which America was almost plunged into another Civil War. The nation was torn apart by the Vietnam War, the corruption in Washington D.C. and the counter culture movement.Against this back drop legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler set his only film as a director.Using TV reporters Robert Forster and Peter Bonerz he explores these issues and the issues of the medias role, for good or for ill, in all the events in play.Largely overlooked at it's release, this film is finally receiving the credit it deserves.MEDIUM COOL is also the only film late blues musician Mike Bloomfield ever scored and being a Chicago icon himself, fits perfectly into the story.One of the most unnerving elements of the film is the car crash that opens it and the car crash that closes it, almost a mirror effect that haunts the viewer long afterward.If you have not seen this film yet please do not miss it. I was there during the events and this is as close as you can come without being beaten and gassed.

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