Throwback Thursday: Rutger Hauer in the 1980’s

If you’re acquainted with this blog at all, then you’re already aware of the sheer reverence I have for Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (1982).  So I won’t belabor that subject yet again in order to note Rutger Hauer’s passing this past Friday.

Hauer was a prolific actor, and his fans can remember him fondly from any number of roles.  Below are the trailers for my three favorites.

The first is 1986’s “The Hitcher,” which might have been the first modern, adult horror film that I truly loved.  (This is leaving aside Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 “The Birds” and various monster movies aimed at kids.)  I’m a little concerned that the trailer below misrepresents the movie, though.  “The Hitcher” aspired to be a serious film, and was truly a great horror-thriller, in my opinion.  It was moody, atmospheric, thoughtful and methodically paced (although it didn’t lack blood and violence either).  It was far better than the 80’s action-horror boilerplate movie that the trailer seems to depict.

Hauer was terrifying.  (If you are wondering, that is indeed C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh costarring.  And if you watch the trailer very closely, you can see Jeffrey DeMunn — who contemporary audiences will recognize as Dale from “The Walking Dead.”)

The second is movie is 1985’s “Ladyhawke,” which saw Hauer co-star with none other than Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer.  It had far more mainstream appeal, and it reliably kicks up nostalgia every time it’s mentioned on social media.  (Seriously, go try it.)

The third is one that far fewer people will remember –1989’s “Blind Fury,” which rode the tail end of the decade’s martial arts craze.  It was zany stuff, and it didn’t hold back on the 80’s-era cheese, but it had a lot of heart and was surprisingly earnest.  Some of the action sequences were damned impressive too.  (And if you were a nut for 80’s ninja movies, you’ll of course recognize Sho Kosugi as the acrobatic villain here.)

 

 

 

 

How now, brown cow?

(Yes, I do realize that the cows below are black and white.)

I took a ride through a few country vales this past weekend with an old friend.  Although the company was excellent, the late January dusk gave the end of the day a dreary visual juxtaposition.

The first three shots here are a bit blurry, but I’m including them anyway — they have an Edvard Munsch quality that’s kind of neat.

That first shot reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

 

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A very short review of “Rebecca” (1940)

Scratch one thing off the bucket list — I finally got around to watching Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca.”  (A cinephilic uncle introduced me to a handful of the director’s better known classics when I was an adolescent — “Rebecca” was one that we never got around to.)  Based on my own enjoyment of it, I’d rate this film an 8 out of 10.

Please bear in mind that this is one of the slower Hitchcock films.  Until its plot accelerates toward its end, it spends much of its running length as a methodically paced, brooding Gothic romance and mystery.  It’s also a psychological thriller, and you can tell that Hitchcock is working to translate onto the screen its character-focused source novel.  (I haven’t read Daphne du Maurier’s eponymous 1938 book.)

“Rebecca’s” final act brings the viewer into familiar Hitchcock territory with some interesting surprises.  What I liked best about seeing the director’s style, however, was his trademark sharp characters and dialogue — with both heroes and villains sparring in a dry-witted and rapid-fire fashion.  It’s something you don’t often see today.   I don’t think all old movies are like this — some of the “classics” I’ve been recommended are absolutely vapid.  But Hitchcock treated his viewer as intelligent adults, and I think it’s part of the reason why people love him.

 

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