HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
   
 
Newest Articles
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
   
 
  Dutchman Strangers On A Train
Year: 1967
Director: Anthony Harvey
Stars: Shirley Knight, Al Freeman Jr
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lula (Shirley Knight) stands alone in a New York City subway station until a train pulls up and she catches the eye of a young man, Clay (Al Freeman Jr) sitting in one of the carriages; their gazes meet and he thinks little more of it other than she seemed quite attractive, but when he looks up again, she is in the carriage with him, and practically demands that she start a conversation. She is munching on an apple as she begins to chat provocatively, and she sounds as if she knows more about him than she lets on - but Clay would have been better returning to his newspaper...

Dutchman began life as a powerful, award-winning work for the stage by Amiri Baraka, then known by the name Le Roi Jones, which was how he was credited when the film version was made by a mostly British production though the leads in what was essentially a two-hander were American. It was a purposefully incendiary work that encapsulated much of the rising sexual and racial tensions of the day, for the main characters were a black man and a white woman, and although she looks to be seeking common ground at first, the outcome was rather different.

That Baraka mixed up the gender politics with the civil rights issues was a brave move, but perhaps Dutchman would have been more powerful on the stage; indeed, it left some audiences baffled as to why the characters acted like they did. Well, one of the characters, as Clay was fairly easy to figure out as he thinks he's going to get lucky after the party he's travelling to with this new arrival, considering the way she is practically throwing herself at him and draping herself over him. But then she starts bandying the N-word about, all the time with the same overfriendly demeanour, and we see that she is the embodiment of something far less appealing than sexual freedom.

There are other people on the carriage, but they don't have speaking roles and are relegated to reacting to the increasingly histrionic Lula: Knight went all out with her performance, often to rather embarrassing degrees to the extent that any man would have run a mile, or at the very least to a different carriage, rather than spend any more time in this obviously unbalanced woman's company. You might think she's drunk, but the closing minutes indicate she knew precisely what she was doing, though a problem arises with the Lula persona when she looks more like a hectoring statement than a real woman.

Nevertheless, nobody said Baraka should be subtle, and as she chomps on yet another apple to dredge up Biblical themes of Eve tempting Adam in the Garden of Eden, you do get the idea that she's bad news, and that by extension all whites are bad news for the black community. It's a contentious message, and the lack of seeing things equally between the races is a product of its time, but can prove troubling even for audiences watching this many decades later. Freeman plays it bemused, then amused, then to counter Knight's big speech (accompanied by much writhing and yelling, another reason why this seems unreal) Clay gets his own where he rails against the prejudice keeping even a well-educated man like himself down in this society simply because of his skin colour. The climax to this now looks less like a call to arms to prevent people like him being crushed under the heel of The Man (or The Woman) and more like the start of a serial killer flick, but if you want to ponder these concerns, it allows that. Appropriately menacing music by John Barry.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2685 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: