02 June 2015

Cop Hater

Man, who don't hate cops?  The way they go around killing, no, murdering people, then lying about it?

I w-w-was afeard fer m-my l-life, they blubber, like B movie actors.

Ha ha ha. . .if you believe these lyin' bastards, the cops are the biggest scaredy cats around.   Ha ha ha. . .I'm surprised they don't shoot their own shadows!

Anyways, speaking of B movies, and with Americans beginning to catch a glimpse of the truth about their po-lice state, with their militarized cops brutalizing anybody that don't lick their boots, even a friggin' grampa dothead who don't speak english, I figured it was a good time to review a mediocre old '50s film noir, COP HATER.

This 75 minute cheapie is set in the 87th precinct of an unnamed city, a big dirty city that looks (and probably smells) just like the greaseball infested New York City.  In the middle of a July heatwave (all the cops sweat like the pigs they are) two detectives are murdered, and, of course, the Lieutenant wants the case solved RIGHT NOW (wouldn't it be great to see one fucking cop movie where the Lieutenant says, listen fellas, relax, take your time, the world ain't gonna end tomorrow if we don't figure this shit out?).  The Lieutenant assigns greaseball detective Steve Carelli (played by real life greaseball Robert Loggia in his first starring role) and his hard-drinking mick partner Mike Maguire (a hard-drinking Irish cop?  Never seen that before. . .) to lead the investigation. . .which, of course, and like real life po-lice investigations, goes nowhere.  The greaseball and the mick chase one preposterous lead after another (including busting in on one poor bastard right in the middle of his wedding night), and as their frustration grows, they sweat even more profusely.

The incredibly inept investigation is interspersed with scenes of the two detectives' personal lives, featuring the only interesting characters in the movie, the detectives' love interests.  In a bizarre-but-somehow-oddly-effective touch, the greaseball Carelli is given a deaf-mute for a girlfriend, a pretty dummy with a boy's name (Teddy) and a boy's haircut.  What all this silent homo-ism is supposed to mean, I have no idea, but the pretty dummy is nicely played by an actress named Ellen Parker. Unfortunately for Ms. Parker, the role apparently did little for her career, she appeared in only one more movie (another cheapie also co-starring greaseball Robert Loggia), then disappeared from the Big Screen. 

The hard drinking mick is not nearly as lucky in love as his greaseball partner.  The mick is the ball-and-chain in his marriage to a bitter brick shithouse played by somebody named Shirley Ballard.  Here's a clip in which the mick literally cannot see the clue right under his own nose, and in which Ballard demonstrates the fine art of scenery-chewing as she makes crystal clear how repulsive she finds her own personal cop:
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Even at its minimal 75 minutes, the movie seems to plod along until its not-very-shocking *shocking* conclusion, with the only attention-grabber being greaseball Robert Loggia's final scene, in which he gives the first indication he's an actor about to embark on a long-and-successful career. After sleep-walking through most of the film, the greaseball wakes up at the end, and gives a vicious beating to the cop killer, displaying the same deranged energy he will forty years later in his famous Lost Highway *tailgating* scene

And yet despite all its many limitations, COP HATER has to be recommended, for it is a curious movie that seems more timely in 2015 than it probably did in its 1958 release, when it must have been seen as a rather mediocre cop procedural, enlivened only by the two female leads.  When we watch Shirley Ballard spit out her closing lines, which must have been interpreted in 1958 as only the over-heated pot boilings of a psychotic femme fatale, they now seem a clarion call for our age (and check out the prototype Sharon Stone/Basic Instinct mini-leg uncrossing):
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2 comments:

  1. That scene in Lost Highway was so corny. I'd like to see that movie again sometime, though.

    We're better off having cops, even with quite a few corrupt ones, than we would be without them or with only overtly privatized police forces to keep order. A lot of what they do is just revenue-generation, but even their harshest critics want them around when the hell breaks loose. I definitely feel safer in my neighborhood knowing they're around, even if they are ultimately the servants of a hostile elite.

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  2. With the rise of the cities, I supposed policing became necessary. . .if we are stuck with them, let's get better quality. . .I assume the cops I see here are pretty much the average nationwide: they couldn't solve a crossword puzzle, let alone a crime committed by someone with an IQ over 80.

    As for their personalities, and their character, yecch. Whenever I see one, I want to paraphrase E.M. Cioran:

    "Sometimes I wish I were a cannibal – less for the pleasure of eating someone than for the pleasure of vomiting him."

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