Celluloid Hero

by Mark Forman on October 1, 2018

The last few days have been culturally rich with music-listening to more Spotify during my morning exercise. Recent listens: Miles Davis' Agharta, Jimi Hendrix, some classic old school NYC Hiphop. So yesterday I was sitting around deciding what to watch-had watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 the night before. It dawned on me it had been quite some time since I had watched Sam Mendes' Road to Perdition. I mistakenly though that Roger Deakins had done the cinematography for that. Upon checking it was Conrad Hall. i did some research on Conrad Hall and was totally blown away with his credentials. After watching the Road to Perdition and the flawless cinematography I was motivated to watch more of his work and did so with Marathon Man which reminded me of the intense and gritty NYC of my childhood.

Tom Hanks was the star of Road to Perdition but the screen time that Paul Newman had the spotlight shone the brightest for me. I think this was one of Paul's last roles as it was Conrad Hall's last film which is recognized in the closing credits. Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier were both great in Marathon Man and Hall's presentation of the gritty nerve-wracking tenor of NY in the 70's was spot on. Clearly I didn't have enough Paul Newman to satisfy my craving so I opted for The Hustler over the Conrad Hall shot: Cool Hand Luke.

Newman was fantastic as was Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott and Piper Laurie. The overall all tone of The Hustler was a bit depressing but the story, dialogue and performances were of excellent quality and life of course has it's depressing moments-no point in trying to evade them. It's interesting where technology has brought us-to achieve this day full of movie viewing I just sat at my internet connected desktop computer and streamed them. Not a bad way to pass a Sunday.