Made In U.S.A.

1966, Movie, NR, 90 mins

Review

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Karina ventures to a place in France called Atlantic City to find the killer of an ex-lover named Richard Politzer. Interested in her case, Menzer gets involved, dragging along his nephew Alfonso. When Menzer is found dead, Karina is arrested and eventually released into the custody of Szabo. His assistant, Leaud, accuses Karina of the crime. She kills him; Szabo tries to kill her, but ends up her victim, as does Alfonso. In this gangster film, of sorts, Godard pays homage to the films he knew as a youngster. As is often the case with Godard, plot is secondary to technique as he stretches the limits of the narrative form. This film is dedicated to directors Sam Fuller and Nicholas Ray, but Godard also gives his characters such Americanized names as Richard Nixon, Aldrich, Widmark, Siegel, and Goodis (the pulp writer upon whose novel SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER is based). This film's gangster theme is merely a framework on which Godard builds his cinematic devices, experimenting with vivid comic-book colors and innovative sound techniques. For example, as Karina searches for Richard Politzer, we never hear his last name because it is always silenced by external noises (e.g., engine roars). There are also repeated instances when Politzer's voice (really Godard's) is barely audible as a tape recording supplying information on the kidnaping and murder of Ben Barka (a Moroccan leftist). Since no real information is known about Barka's abduction, then none would be delivered in the tape recording. Clearly, Godard made this film to show the Americanization of French life, from gangster pictures and pop music to bright, billboard settings--all made in the USA. Shot at the same time as TWO OR THREE THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER, Godard felt challenged to make two films simultaneously. He also was inspired to create a female counterpart to a Humphrey Bogart character. The appearance of longtime Rolling Stones rocker, Marianne Faithfull, singing "As Tears Go By," also adds interest. While not one of Godard's best films, MADE IN U.S.A. does have its moments, many of them comic, such as the absurd dialogue in the bar scenes. The film has been shown in the US; however, due to legal hassles over source copyrights, it has never had an official release. leave a comment

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Made In U.S.A.
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