Muscle Beach + a Piece of the Action
Aug 28, 2013 | 579 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
These two films, selected by cinephile Pierre Rissient, remind us of the overlooked role of the writers of the 40s, 50s and 60s, who in those days often worked in the shadows of the producers and directors. The visionary documentary short Muscle Beach (1948) was conceptualized by the American poet and novelist Edwin Rolfe. Though at the thick of political and literary action in the 40s and 50s (he volunteered to fight fascism in Spain), Rolfe has been largely forgotten after being blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Earl Robinson, another politically motivated artist, composed and sings the music for the film, which follows amateur weightlifters on the beach at Santa Monica. Alfred Hayes, though more interested in fiction, found steady work in long-form TV. His A Piece of the Action, cleverly written for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour, stars a young Robert Redford as a law student lured into gambling. Hayes, who died in 1985, is experiencing a critical reassessment; two of his novels are being reprinted this year after decades out of print.


MUSCLE BEACH | U.S., 1948, 10m | Directors: Irving Lerner, Joseph Strick

Writer: Edwin Rolfe

Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive


A PIECE OF THE ACTION | U.S., 1962, 60m | Director: Bernard Girard

Writer: Alfred Hayes, Oliver H.P. Garrett

Starring: Alfred Hitchcock, Gig Young, Martha Hyer, Robert Redford

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