Norma Rae: An idea whose time has come

Release Date : March 2, 1979
Genres: Drama
Duration: 1h 54m
Rating: 3/5
Director Martin Ritt
WriterIrving Ravetch 
Harriet Frank Jr.
Produced byTamara Asseyev, Alexandra Rose
StarsSally Field, Ron Leibman, Beau Bridges,
Pat Hingle, Barbara Baxley
Cinematography              John A Alanzo
Edited by             Sidney levin
Music by              David Shire
Production Design by
Production companies20th Century Fox

Norma Rae Webster: Who’s this? Dylan Thomas?

Reuben Warshowsky: He was a poet. A genius and a drunk.

What is it about

In a small town in North Carolina, Norma Rae (Sally Field) is born in a working class family and all she knows to earn for her livelihood is by working in the local textile mill. Her free spirit gets her into quite few problems but the biggest of all comes knocking in the form of Reuben Warshowsky (Ron Liebman) who asks her help in setting up a trade union for the mill workers. She wants to redeem herself from being called a trash for working in the mill and having kids out of wedlock, and also create better conditions for her children if they decide to work for the mill at sometime in their lives.

Will she succeed in her mission?

Thumbs up

Sally Field
Uplifting tale

Thumbs down

Final verdict

A feel good movie with terrific performances, keeps you engaged throughout.

Management Concepts/ Lessons/ References

“If they answer not to thy call, walk alone,
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall, O unlucky one,
open thy mind and speak out alone.”
Ekla Chalo, Rabindranth Tagore

“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and opressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”
― Thomas Jefferson

Jesse James: The outlaw

Release Date : January 27, 1939
Genres: Western, Drama
Duration: 1h 46m
Rating: 3/5
Director Henry King
WriterNunnally Johnson
Produced byDarryl F. Zanuck, Nunnally Johnson
StarsTryrone Power, Henry Fonda, Nancy Kelly, Randolph Scott
Cinematography              George Barnes, W. Howard Greene
Edited by             Barbara McLean
Music by              Louis Silvers
Production Design by
Production companies20th Century Fox

Major Rufus Cobb: [standing over Mrs. Samuel’s body] There’s no use. She’s dead. This is bad! Mighty bad! I’m sure sorry!

Barshee: Well, I’m sorry too!

Major Rufus Cobb: Oh, I wasn’t talking about her. She’s gone. It’s you I’m sorry fer.

What is it about

Railroad agents evict the James brothers from their farm and kill their mother. In order to avenge their mother’s death, Jesse and Frank set out to rob banks and trains.

Thumbs up

Western setting
Lead Cast

Thumbs down


Final verdict

A good watch for old movie lovers, especially for the western aficionados. Probably one of the first outlaw films, a wronged common man forced to take law in his own hands.

Management Concepts/ Lessons/ References

Nobody is a villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories.

–George R. R. Martin

Payback: It’s matter of principle

Release Date : June 20, 1980
Genres: Action, Crime, Drama
Duration: 1h 40m
Rating: 3/5
Director Brian Helgeland
WriterBrian Helgeland, Terry Hayes
Produced byBruce Davey
StarsMel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello, David Paymer
Cinematography              Ericson Core
Edited by             Kevin Stitt
Music by              Chris Boardman, Scott Stambler (Director’s cut)
Production Design byJohn Myhre
Production companiesIcon Productions

“Be grateful for what you get, rule number one.” – Porter
“Not many men know what their life’s worth. I do. Seventy grand.
That’s what they took from me. And that’s what I was going to get back.” – Porter

What is it about

Payback is a 1999 American neo-noir action thriller film written and directed by Brian Helgeland in his directorial debut, and starring Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello, and David Paymer. It is based on the novel The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake using the pseudonym Richard Stark, which had earlier been adapted into the 1967 film noir classic Point Blank, directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin.

After a successful heist, Porter is left for dead. Once he recovers, he seeks vengeance and wants his share of the money. How much? It doesn’t matter to him. Who is pitted against? Same answer. Will he get out alive? Same answer.

Thumbs up

Mel Gibson
Smart Dialogues

Thumbs down

Unnecessary violence

Final verdict

The movie doesn’t disappoint a Mel Gibson fan and provides just about enough to sustain the attention. The role is tailor made for him, and his screen presence allows him to steer through both good and mundane scenes.

Smart writing, decent production design, cinematography and music makes the movie an engaging fare. The blu-ray has a director’s cut and a nice interview with Richard Stark (Donald E.Westlake).

Few tidbits from the bonus features

  1. Writer Richard Stark had a big issue with the name ‘Parker’ as he had to constantly figure out how to use in mundane situations like ‘Parker parked his car’ etc.
    • In his own words, ‘Dialogue comes first, then characters, and finally situations.’
  2. As per Richard Stark, he mentions that Robert Duvall came the closest in terms of Parker’s portrayal in The Outfit, while acknowledge the fabulous job of Lee Marvin in The Point Blank.
  3. The movie blu-ray has both director’s cut and theatrical cut versions, both are not bad actually.

Management Concepts/ Lessons/ References

“When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”
― The Ugly, ‘The Good The Bad The Ugly’
“People who preach inner drive are dreamers with a lot of ideas and a lot of talk, and zero production.”
Tim Grover, Author of ‘Relentless

ET, IT…and the rest