Monday, 7 May 2012

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

Trailer Title Screen #1

 Trailer Title Screen #2

 Trailer Title Screen #4

Country: USA 


  1. I love this film. An oddly stylized flick, the exact opposite of the docu/handheld feel of its doppelganger: THE FRENCH CONNECTION, which is as much about the grit, grime, and crime of 1970's Manhattan, as TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is about the slick, desert-like feel of 1980's Los Angeles.

    Indeed, in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., Friedkin goes to great lengths to photograph parts of the south land that tourists visiting L.A. will never see. Another great, grimy crime film set in L.A. around this time period, is Mike Figgis' INTERNAL AFFAIRS. In that worthy-of-a-shower romp, Richard Gere plays a truly loathsome antagonist to Andy Garcia's turn as an initially optimistic internal affairs officer. I think both of these films fall securely in your aptly dubbed "neon noir" sub-classification.

    And I would love nothing more than for you to review my magnum opus of a short. I'll send you a link to the new up-res HD version post haste!

  2. I was shocked and outraged when William Petersen gets blown away! This is a favourite of mine too - my top 3 Friedkin films are 1. CRUISING 2.THE FRENCH CONNECTION 3. TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA, so I think a great deal of this one, even if I'm not a big fan of the director. It's excellently cast, and as you note the city itself becomes a character in its own right, a wonderfully evocative space.

    I haven't seen INTERNAL AFFAIRS, but I have duly added it to my rental list. Figgis uses space and setting very well too, his British thriller STORMY MONDAY is well worth watching. Nice use of the phrase 'Neon-Noir' sir! I feel that your next project, or a future project should be within this genre :-) I can tell you have an eye for that kind of material. I may even come out of retirement, leave my self imposed exile in the countryside of Herefordshire, and return to the world of the screenplay in order to pen the ultimate 'Neon-Noir' tale. I might even have a shave and haircut as well!!!

    You do realise Greg that it will be impossible for me to negatively review your magnum opus. Your continued support of my endeavours here and elsewhere guarantees you a glowing endorsement :-)

  3. Sorry for the delay in responding, amigo. My personal life took over for a change, but I'm settling back in nicely, thank you very much. No more week long delays in responding to the important business we conduct over here on these fine pages, good Sir.

    For me, THE FRENCH CONNECTION is still the best film Friedkin's made to date. There's just something about the look of it I can't shake: the warm Kodachrome film stock; the slightly shaky documentary-style handheld camera work; an amazing score by jazzman Don Ellis, etc. I love it. It also doesn't hurt to have two powerhouse leading men like Hackman and the undervalued (but only slightly so, as he gets his due) Scheider in your film. For my money, you can do no better than those two!

    CRUISING is also a great, though unsettling film. As you aptly pointed out once: "... a truer horror film in many respect to the celebrated EXORCIST," or something to that affect. Though I happen to like the latter more than you do, CRUISING is by far the better film. Reading your review of PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK made me think that you ought to consider reviewing CRUISING, though there is a toll to pay for watching said picture. I wouldn't envy you, as watching CRUISING is a grimy, unpleasant (though not an entirely unrewarding) affair. It's hard to express, but I think you get my meaning. All the true horror fanatics in your readership could school themselves in the real dark side of cinema if they could drum up enough guts to watch this grim contribution to the form.

    And as far as TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. goes, the casting is indeed superb, my friend. When he was on his game, you could do no better than William Peterson for my money. And I'm with you, his death at the end is nearly unforgivable. An utterly shocking moment! WHY?! WHY, I SAY?!

    Oh, and I think we should come up with a sub-genre classifications for neon-noir. I've been thinking about it off and on for a while now, and there are differences to the classic, neo- (which it is a part of, for sure), and the rural forms of the genre. I like the term a lot and feel it is more than just a passing classification. And thanks for saying I have an eye for such material, because I'd like to think so, too. You'll be pleased to know that the screenplay I'm trying to make out here in LA is a very, solid contribution to your sub-classification!

    And you should dust off the old spurs and write some fiction again. A true writer needs to be able to jump around from form to form to form. I guess it is as simple as this: why the hell not do it? Shit, I'd be more than happy to help you kick around some ideas. Do it.

    And on that note, I can write no more. My nightly evasion of the killer clown that lives under my bed can no longer be avoided. I call him Stuttering Bill. He's not very nice.


  4. Real life can be a nuisance at times, I always try my best to avoid it, but sometimes its impossible, so I fully understand. Yes I think this is our personal little corner of the Internet, you're pretty much the only person that comments on this site, and I thank you very much for taking the time to do so.

    I will certainly consider reviewing CRUISING, I'm tempted to include it in a poll, but I suspect it wouldn't stand a chance of making the Top 2, so I'll class it as a request from you, and I'll endeavour to get on with it. It's the only film of Friedkin's that has a genuine sense of mystery, and is far and away his most interesting work. Not his best, I think you were quite right in honouring THE FRENCH CONNECTION. But CRUISING is a more fascinating, troubling, and complex film than THE FRENCH CONNECTION. Yeah I've always mantained that CRUISING is Friedkin's truest and purest horror movie.

    Your current project sounds intriguing, and like New York (prior to the clean up) and New Orleans (think Eastwood's TIGHTROPE), L.A. is always a great setting for a movie. I wish you the best of luck with that. I may indeed take you up on the idea of kicking some ideas around, now it's a case of finding some! :-)


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