Lyle Hill's blog

10:31 AM on 10.14.2012

Rumble Fish – Coppola’s last epic?

If academy awards could be given for the dominance of a decade then Francis Ford Coppola would without contest have been the greatest director of the 1970’s.

Patton (1970) , Godfather I (1972), Godfather II (1974) and Apocalypse Now (1979), four epics, four cinema classics, in but a single decade. Alas, as with most great film makers, after several successes a steadily decline and fade into obscurity soon began.

Nowadays Coppola is unheard of in the world of film making, the unknown Tretro (2009) being his last project. But one anomaly, or bump, if you will, in the natural process of a director’s decline, occurred in 1983.

It was Rumble Fish.

And it was a total failure.

Budgeted at $10million it made a meagre £2.5million at the box office. Critics and reviews tore it to shreds in their pompous columns, one even going far enough to question Coppola’s mental state to make such a picture.

But if you watch the movie; not as a Coppola fan, nor as a Mickey Rourke or Matt Dillon fan, then what you will see in a mysterious, intriguing, and utterly incomparable movie that finds its way into no particular genre.

The discrete Coppola-isms that bring a smile to a knowledgeable fan are rife in the picture. The set and the scenery, the haunting script that brings flashbacks to the dialogue of the great Apocalypse Now, as well as the darkness of plot that is almost impossible to summarise or explain.

Rourke plays his character to perfection, as is to be expected. And Dillon, yet again, portrays the disgruntled youth with blissful ease.

Pay your respect to a director that has passed through in the industry we so much love.

Any chump on the street knows The Godfathers and his other big hits.

Do yourself a favour; broaden your horizon; watch Rumble Fish and be absorbed.

Francis Ford Coppola Reigns.   read

2:42 PM on 09.12.2012

Lawrence Tierney. A late goodbye to a forgotten legend.

From Bogart and Cagney to Pacino and DeNiro. A lot of great gangster tough-guys have come and gone over the years.

However none were as realistically convincing, and menacingly similar in life; to the cut-throats, mobsters and rough necks he immortalised on screen, as Lawrence Tierney.

Cagney and Pacino, like many others, were 9-5 tough guys on set, but Tierney (maybe in a hyper-dedicated form of method acting?) stayed in character 24/7. Whether it was breaking the jaw of a mouthy college student in a bar or dialling 9-1-1 and upon their arrival then attacking the police officers. He was a Hollywood Hellraiser; a breed similar to Mitchum, McQueen and Marvin. A distant cousin of his across-the-pound counterparts; Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed.

Tierney himself said "I must have thrown half a dozen careers away." Maybe more so - with the life he lead - a life literally torn apart by booze and self-destructive relationships.

But if you dig through the controversy... The alley fights, the bar brawls and the run-ins with lawmen and directors alike (once attempting to punch Quentin Tarantino on set of Reservoir Dogs), what you find is a very handsome, talented and convincing actor, who all but defined film noir, better than anyone before or since; and is much more deserving than the title of 'the most feared actor in Hollywood history.'

Lawrence Tierney...
A man made for stardom, who couldn't quite handle it when he got there.


For great Tierney films, check out:

(1947) The Devil Thumbs A Ride

(1951) The Hoodlum

(1945) Dillinger (who portrays bank robber John Dillinger far more convincingly than J.Depp)

(1948) Bodyguard   read

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