BRUTE FORCE (Jules Dassin, 1947)

A sentimental, arty prison drama written by Richard Brooks from a story by Robert Patterson, Brute Force has its heart in the right place. It takes a stand against American fascism, which it (correctly) sees as flourishing inside the U.S. penal system. But Westgate Penitentiary may be more special than representative. The set is gorgeous […]

THE WIDOW COUDERC (Pierre Granier-Deferre, 1971)

From Simenon, Pierre Granier-Deferreā€™s La veuve Couderc is an engrossing, finely realistic, naturalistic drama set in rural France in 1934. Commenting on the rise of fascism in France, the film isolates the strain in the French personality that would lead some to collaborate with Germans during the Occupation up ahead; it culminates in a massive […]