The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, April 13-19

the squeeze-lee van cleef

The Squeeze (1978)
Directed by Antonio Margheriti
As with many of the grindhouse fixtures offered by Nitehawk Cinema’s resident sleazemongers The Deuce, The Squeeze hoists a ragged pulp storyline—this time: “old timer re-emerges for one last big score”—sporadic genre touches, and uneventful stretches in-between. Luckily, Margheriti (serving, in another great exploitation tradition, under the Americanized alias “Anthony M. Dawson”) takes joy in his performers and emphasizes character-driven story, crucial to the Italian crime cinema worshipped by the younger New Hollywood directors. In the cold open, he literally plucks Spaghetti Western vet Lee Van Cleef, scowling eyes and all, off a ranch and into a wintry Manhattan jewel heist. Partnered with Lionel Stander and his gravelly growl, Van Cleef finds himself on the run after the job goes explosively wrong, finding refuge with neighbor Karen Black. The banter of their ham-fisted performances provide ample comic relief in a thriller that attempts to turn limitations into opportunities. Max Kyburz (April 14, 9:30pm at “The Deuce,” at the Nitehawk)

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