1981, Park Circus/MGM, 107 min, Dir: Brian De Palma

John Travolta gives one of his best performances as Jack Terry, a sound-effects man in the wrong place at the wrong time, who accidentally records a fatal car crash that might be a hushed-up political assassination. Combining forces with escort Sally (Nancy Allen) - an eyewitness with an, er, intimate knowledge of the crash - Jack begins piecing together the whitewashed incident, even as his and Sally’s lives become increasingly endangered. A brashly stylish reflection on the corruption of American patriotism and politics from director Brian De Palma. With John Lithgow.

1973, Park Circus/MGM, 112 min, USA, Dir: Robert Altman

Robert Altman deconstructs the private-eye genre while somehow remaining faithful to the spirit of the original Raymond Chandler novel (aided by screenwriter Leigh Brackett, who helped adapt Howard Hawks’ THE BIG SLEEP). Elliott Gould is a smart-aleck, slightly inept Philip Marlowe, a detective seemingly more concerned about feeding a cat than solving a case. He gets drawn into a labyrinth of deceptions and double crosses by friend Terry Lennox (Jim Bouton), a beautiful rich woman (Nina Van Pallandt) with a drunken, genius writer of a husband (Sterling Hayden in a tour de force portrayal), a quietly menacing psychiatrist (Henry Gibson) and a sociopathic gangster (Mark Rydell). Altman rips aside the slick veneer of the Southern California good life revealing the smog-drenched, corrupt underbelly like few other directors before or since.

1974, Universal, 109 min, USA, Dir: Steven Spielberg

An ambitious blend of madcap slapstick and downbeat social commentary, starring Goldie Hawn and William Atherton as a latter-day Bonnie & Clyde.

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