To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

To Live and Die in L.A., William Friedkin. Recently “re-discovered” and a major influence on 2011’s outstanding action film Drive, TLADILA was a late-night cable staple when I was in my late teens…minus the nudity and vulgarity. Some think it’s cheesy. What it really offers is the last gasp of a 1970s mainstream action style that combined grit with art-house level editing and cinematography, here in full-force with Robby Muller’s exhilarating camera work and M. Scott Smith’s seat-of-the-pants cutting. The same script in the hands of other action directors of the era, like Richard Donner, would simply have been a Lethal Weapon (1987) manqué. Friedkin shows his chops by combining 1980s slickness (such as the electro-pop soundtrack by Wang Chung) with 1970s gravitas. It gives the film an edge that still makes it compelling viewing. Pop-culture bonus: The British nanny from Fraser plays a lesbian slut.

Check out the 1980s cocaine and bourbon editing of the trailer:

And the awesome soundtrack:


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