On the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, we’re celebrating the centenary of a Hollywood icon with a spotlight on one of his best performances. In Peter Yates’s 1973 The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Robert Mitchum stars as a two-bit gunrunner forced to choose between betraying his fellow gangsters and risking more jail time. With its depictions of the gritty side of Boston and its sympathetic embrace of its outlaw characters, this taut crime thriller represents the 1970s Hollywood suspense film at its starkest. Watch it now in its complete edition, with an audio commentary by the director.
Also up this week: a pair of films that bring the iconography of classic rock ’n’ roll to life, a tribute to Jeanne Moreau, and a double bill of irreverent gems by Robert Downey Sr.
Tuesday’s Short + Feature: These Boots and Mystery Train
Music is at the heart of this program, which pairs a zany music video by Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki with a tune-filled career highlight from American independent-film pioneer Jim Jarmusch. In the 1993 These Boots, Kaurismäki’s band of pompadoured “Finnish Elvis” rockers, the Leningrad Cowboys, cover a Nancy Sinatra classic in their signature deadpan style. It’s the perfect prelude to Jarmusch’s 1989 Mystery Train, a homage to the King of Rock ’n’ Roll and the musical legacy of Memphis, featuring appearances by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Joe Strummer.
Remembering Jeanne Moreau
In honor of the iconic French actress, who passed away this week at the age of eighty-nine, we’re showcasing a selection of her best work from her six-decade career, from her breakthrough role in Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows to her midcareer performance in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Querelle.
Friday Night Double Feature: Putney Swope and Chafed Elbows
Kick off your weekend with two irreverent underground classics from iconoclastic New York filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. A mainstay on the midnight-movie circuit, 1969’s Putney Swope is an eccentric comedy that mines gloriously chaotic racial satire from the tale of a Madison Avenue advertising agency that inadvertently elects its only black board member as its chairman. Composed primarily of still 35 mm photographs and processed at Downey’s local Walgreens, the 1966 Chafed Elbows focuses on the outrageous misadventures of a Manhattanite going through his “annual November breakdown.”