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Saturday, March 15, 2014

No. 1 for March 8, 2014

The Pawnbroker dir. Sidney Lumet (1964)

Rod Steiger plays a Auschwitz survivor running a Harlem pawn shop who turns his survivor's guilt against the people in his life. Lumet uses almost subliminal flashback image to show how Steiger's Nazerman is haunted by his old life. A surprisingly underrated film I only learned about through Pictures at a Revolution, Mark Harris' fascinating book about the upheaval in the film industry in the mid-to-late sixties. This film was one of the first blows against the old fashioned production code. Steiger gives a strong performance in a role very different from the sheriff from In the Heat of the Night, which I also recently saw. Lumet is as masterful here as he was in any other part of his multi-decade carreer.

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