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(YouTube) Video Saturday Cinema - Under Fire - 1983 Nick Nolte, Joanna Cassidy and Gene Hackman are reporters covering the Nicaraguan revolution. And one of them fakes a story   ( divider line
    More: Video, Gene Hackman, Joanna Cassidy, Nicaraguan, South Dakota  
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460 clicks; posted to Video » on 15 Feb 2014 at 11:00 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2014-02-15 09:00:32 AM

Based in part on the on-camera murder of ABC newsman Bill Stewart and translator Juan Espinoza (please view this link with caution) when covering the 1979 Nicaraguan revolution, this film shows three reporters - a photographer, journalist, and an editor - during the last year of the régime and a love triangle between them.

It also stars the beautiful Nikon F2A and a Leica M4.*

The immensely boinkable Joanna Cassidy stars with Gene Hackman and Nick Notle. For once, the love triangle in this film doesn't come off as something to sell tickets to women but a practical outcome of the plot.  The only thing that didn't strike me as realistic is that reporters weren't fast forwarding and rewinding their tape cassettes all the time, looking for that darned quote they knew they heard.

The film takes sides straight off. Samosa is portrayed as a corrupt police-state dictator, and the rebels as a wholesome and happy movement. At the time, the international chess game was a series of interlocked proxy conflicts with the US regarding the south American continent as its patch. A corrupt dictator was at least not pro-Soviet and therefore 'good'.

René Enríquez, himself a Nicaraguan, plays Samosa. His most famous role was playing Lt. Ray Calletano on the police drama Hill Street Blues.

One lovely character is the French 'businessman' living in Managua walked right out of Doonesbury. He's corrupt, indifferent, while claiming to be on the right side of history, seems resigned to flex as the winds change direction. He's played with delightful dry rot in his soul by French film star Jean-Louis Trintignant in his first English speaking role.

About Latin America, he says 'In 20 years we will know' whether the revolution was worth it or not.  The concept of east and west has now changed to mean the Arab world and not the Russian-led Soviet bloc.  What different times we live in. The level interference in South and Latin America in the 1970s was irksome to many and criticism of it was often thought of as anti-American.

The stellar soundtrack had movie music genius Gerry Goldsmith at the conductor's podium. This was in his phase of introducing synths into symphonic music and he's backed by an amazing Pat Metheny on guitar as you can here in this clip. If some of the music sounds familiar, a track was used in Django Unchained.

Despite an Oscar nomination for the music, the limited pressing that accompanied the film was never followed up. LPs were selling for hundreds on E-Bay and muddy recordings being passed between music enthusiasts with greater urgency than the Star Wars Christmas Special. Finally a CD release about ten years agorectifiedthis situation.

Canadian-born British director Roger Spottiswoode began with that staple of 1980s late night television, Terror Train. He eventually directed the best of the Brosnan James Bond films Tomorrow Never Dies, as well as the Sixth Day, Air America, Turner and Hooch, the Pursuit of BD Cooper and a film based on the experiences of Canadian General Romeo Dallaire's command of the UN outpost in Rwanada during the massacre, Shake Hands With the Devil.

John Alcott was the director of photography. He worked on several Kubrick films such as Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, and The Shining.  The film also snared a BAFTA for editing. In case you're wondering, Lucas and Spielberg favourite  Drew Struzan did the movie poster above.

As an aside, less than one month afterthe murder of the Messers Stewart and Espinoza, with no (official) aid now coming from the US, the Samosa regime fell to the Sandinistas. This eventually resulted in a colossal scandal as the proxy war continued. By the time Under Fire was made a in 1983, the CIA was trying todestablize the country in the hopes of bringing Samosa back.

* My first pro camera was the FM2, BTW. The huge knurled focusing rings of the Nikon lenses had gone away by the time I began buying photo equipment but I've always loved the look of that gear. Okay, cue the Nick Nolte impaired driving mug shots...

Link to last week's Saturday Cinema
2014-02-15 11:40:30 AM  
Will have to watch this if only for the score.  Loved that one for many years.
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