Directed by: Joseph Merhi
Starring: Lee Canalito, Diana Frank, and Frank Scala
Perhaps the ultimate “taxicab confession”, The Glass Jungle is another low-budget labor of love from Joseph Merhi and the City Lights crew. Like all the City Lights films, and even the later PM outings, we as viewers can readily see that what these movies lack in finances and technical excellence, they make up for with heart and a scrappy charm. In other words, you can sense that Merhi and the gang were young, hungry, and just wanted to make entertaining movies. They succeeded time and again, and here, in spite of some of its flaws, is no exception.
As Cutler drives around, we get to see a lot of L.A. landmarks preserved in time, which, for us at least, was enjoyable as a time capsule. Some movie marquees are seen, so we know it must have been shot during 1987-1988, as Robocop (1987) is showing, among others. The theme song, “Warrior In A Glass Jungle”, by Lee Witherspoon and John Gonzales, blasts on the soundtrack and is a classic 80’s fist-pumper. Just why we’re supposed to be pumping our fist isn’t exactly known. Maybe because Canalito was a boxer and Rocky movies always had songs like this.
The Glass Jungle is a small, modest movie and a good example of the independent filmmaking of the time. Just because it wasn’t recognized or appreciated by the hoity-toity film festival circuit (i.e. Sundance and the like) doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthy and respectable addition to the independent-film canon. While it may not be as professional a product as our eyes are used to seeing today, we say check out The Glass Jungle for a glimpse of humble – and truly indie – filmmaking in late-80’s L.A.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett