The Sopranos Features: Introduction

By Jeppe Kleijngeld

For a period of eight blissful years, The Sopranos answered the TV-prayers of me and millions of other TV-maniacs. As a huge fan of GoodFellas, a quality series about a New Jersey mob family sounded like music to my ears. It delivered on its high expectations. No, it exceeded them by far.

Tony Soprano, family matriarch, mob boss and psychiatric patient. The perfect characteristics for a leading man of a drama show. This complex character is wonderfully portrayed by the now legendary James Gandolfini. He is a fat, bald ladykiller, A charismatic sociopath. And also a family man and murderer. You just couldn’t ask for a more captivating main character.

But it isn’t just Tony who delivers. The supporting cast is delicious as well. We all have our favourites (mine is consigliere Silvio Dante), but I give praise to all; the hilarious psycho Paulie Walnuts, self-absorbed Christopher, ethically conscious Dr. Melfi, money-grabbing Carmela, crazy uncle June. Too many to mention, but all marvellous indeed!

So, what gives this show its ridiculous appeal? The guns, the girls, the gabagool? I guess this is just one of those very rare productions in which everything fits in perfectly; the teleplays, the actors, the soundtrack, the look and feel…it is perfect. Brilliant even.

When talking about classic mob movies, The Godfather and GoodFellas always come up first. The Sopranos can now be added to the mix. Mind you, this isn’t some ordinary rip-off. Since the pilot episode it has stood on its own feet. It is a highly original and modern take on the ‘been there, done that’ gangster genre. It placed mobsters with old values in the 21th century with all of its problems: depression, terrorism, failing capitalism and addiction.

For 86 episodes you are watching killers, who lack any form of empathy for their victims. Still, you love to spend time with them because they are so entertaining and their behaviour is so funny (when it’s not off-putting and disgusting). Often, the writers remind the audience of who these people really are. So how does one cope with all these horrible crimes on his conscience? Being a sociopath helps, but otherwise there is therapy (Tony), the catholic church (Carmela) or drug abuse (Christopher). High concept TV at its best.

Creator David Chase, who in the past worked on shows such as Northern Exposure and The Rockford Files, has created a cultural phenomenon. The Sopranos must be viewed, loved and treasured. Seriously, you’d be a douchebag to miss it.

Le samouraï (1967, Review)

Directed by:
Jean-Pierre Melville

Written by:
Jean-Pierre Melville
Georges Pellegrin

Alain Delon … Jef Costello
Francois Périer … Superintendent
Nathalie Delon … Jane Lagrange
Cathy Rosier … Valérie, The Pianist
Jacques Leroy … Man in the passageway
Michel Boisrond … Wiener
Robert Favart … Bartender
Jean-Pierre Posier … Olivier Rey
Catherine Jourdan … Hatcheck Girl
Roger Fradet … First Inspector

‘There is no greater solitude than that of the samurai. Unless it is that of the tiger in the jungle. Perhaps…’
– BUSHIDO (Book of the Samuraï)

As the above quote that opens Le samouraï indicates, this film revolves around a loner. Hired killer Jef Costello (Alain Delon) lives in a greyish apartment with a bird as his only company. As soon as he gets up from his sofa, he engages in a dangerous mission: a contract murder in a crowded nightclub. Many patrons spot him in his conspicuous outfit: a raincoat, a hat and white gloves, much like how the gangsters in old Hollywood movies dressed.

After the murder, the police start to round up the usual suspects including Costello. He turns out to be a professional however; the beautiful Jane provides him with a watertight alibi. There is something strange at work though. The nightclub’s pianist, who clearly had a good look at Jef, lies to the police and says it wasn’t him. The cops are forced to release him, but the superintendent doesn’t trust it and has him tailed. In the meantime, we meet Jef’s employers who are unhappy with the many eyeball witnesses and plan to have him removed.

Le samouraï is a very minimalist film with also a sense of avant garde in it. It reminds a lot of John Boorman’s Point Blank that was released in the same year. The story is deceivingly simple, but leaves much room for various interpretations. Rather than on storytelling, director Melville focuses on style and he does so in a brilliant fashion. This movie is just perfectly crafted. Every image, many just showing uber-cool protagonist Jef roaming around in Paris, is shot amazingly and serves a purpose as well. The colour pallet consists of solely cold colours.

Although inspired by American gangster flicks, Le samouraï is still very distinguishable due to Melville’s master’s touch. In turn, it has inspired many modern gangster authors including John Woo and Quentin Tarantino. The films from Woo – most notably A Better Tomorrow and The Killer – feature scenes almost literally lifted from Le samouraï.

The first viewing is a bit awkward because of the cold, distant tone. But multiple viewings are bound to reveal a lot of hidden substance in the multi-layered screenplay. Both critically and commercially this is considered as one of Melville’s greatest successes.

OLIVER REY: ‘A wounded wolf. He’ll leave a trace now. No, we have to get rid of him and quick.’

This is Johnnie To’s favourite film.

R.I.P. FilmDungeon (/ fiIḿduƞᵷeon /) was a website for cult-, genre- and exploitation films. The website was founded in 2008 by Jeppe Kleijngeld and was taken offline on 25 august 2020. A new landing page for the site can be found on the founder’s personal blog.

Dutch blogger and journalist Jeppe Kleijngeld founded the site as a pet project beside his full time work as an editor in business economics. Kleijngeld has been a cinema-nut ever since his parents bought him his very first movie encyclopedia. The reviews, credits and black- and white images obsessed him to a point where he wanted to see all the movies from the book. This mission was never achieved, although he certainly came a long way. And he created an IMDb-sized trivia database in his mind. Kleijngeld is especially fond of crime and horror flicks and westerns, but is open to everything that is cinema. He started FilmDungeon so he would be able to rant about films all the time and praise the ones that he loves the most. He was also hoping to pass on his enthusiasm to the younger film fans out there. His website could hopefully inspire a few kids – like himself when he got his first movie encyclopedia – to discover what a beautiful medium film really is.

Due to an outdated technical structure, and the large investment that it would take to upgrade the site, Kleijngeld decided to pull the plug in 2020. He was mostly working on his blog anyway, so figured he could integrate FilmDungeon within his blog that can be found under the url As of 2020, most of the content has not been republished, but Kleijngeld has announced that this will occur from 2021 onward on a special landing page. He has also announced several eBooks that will be published in the coming years. Two of those will be focusing on the genres horror, car movies, drugs movies, cult films, spaghetti westerns and will also contain several special features. He will also release an eBook on American gangster movies for the completist.

See also
FilmDungeon landing page
My 10 Favorite Movie Openings
The Story of Film: Time Traveling For the Cinemad
The James Bond Features
5 Must See TV-shows Before You Die
10 Management Lessons From Highly Successful Gangsters
Stanley Kubrick’s Favorite Movie
Book: Peter Jackson & the Making of Middle-Earth
Jeppy’s 100 – My All Time Favorite Movies (2018)
Hunter Goes to Hollywood: Hunter S. Thompson Triple Bill
My 10 Favorite Horror Movies Ever
My 10 Favorite Movie Endings

De statische status van

Zoals ik de vele duizenden fans van regelmatig moet uitleggen, ligt de site momenteel plat. Nee, niet waar. Platliggen betekent niet toegankelijk, en de site is nog wel toegankelijk. Een betere omschrijving is dat de site stilstaat. Niet dat overleden is, maar er gebeurt niks meer op het platform.

De reden is een technische: ik kan er niks meer aan veranderen. Niet dat ik er nog veel tijd voor had, maar ik zou op zijn minst de content op de homepage af en toe verversen als het kon. Maar dat kan niet meer sinds mijn computer gecrasht is en dat kan niet meer hersteld worden. De laatste content heb ik er een jaar geleden opgezet. Zoals hij nu is zal hij blijven totdat ik de site volledig opnieuw heb gebouwd.

Ik heb eind 2007 gemaakt met een amateuristisch softwarepakketje. HTML heb ik geen kaas van gegeten, dus ik moest iets hebben waarmee in simpelweg blokjes kon slepen en stukken teksten en beelden in kon plakken. Het resultaat was basic, maar acceptabel voor een 1.0 versie.

Mijn kracht ligt in het conceptuele – op inhoud – en het tempo waarmee ik content toevoegde. Op werkte ik drie genres uit: cult, genre en exploitation films. Als ‘one man act’ kun je niet alles doen, dan moet je keuzes maken. Mijn keuze was mainstream cinema links te laten liggen en puur te gaan voor cult films en genres waar veel cult tussen zit, zoals gangster films, horror, carploitation, spaghetti westerns, et cetera.


Mijn ambitie was om recensies te schrijven van alle gangster films ooit gemaakt. De gangster film is namelijk mijn favoriete genre en ik ben nogal een completist. Ik ben al een heel eind op weg in de gangster film sectie van de dungeon. Van de andere vertegenwoordigde genres hoefde het niet zo uitgebreid.

Verder wilde ik gewoon toffe features publiceren, zoals:
Schwarzenegger’s 100 Greatest Kills
The Sopranos Revisitied – 200 Memorable Moments

De exploitation film kwam vooral aan bod in de sectie Cult Radar.

Daarnaast heb ik nog een uitgebreide James Bond Special klaar liggen voor de release van ‘Spectre’ later dit jaar, maar die zal ik dan wel op deze weblog publiceren.

Maar goed, er komt dus een nieuwe versie van, maar dat kan wel een paar jaartjes duren. Het is tegenwoordig niet meer moeilijk een site te maken. Met een dienst als is het zo gebeurt, maar als ik het doe, doe ik het goed. De vormgeving heeft nooit helemaal aangesloten op het centrale thema van de site, dus daar is dit een mooie kans voor.

Het ‘probleem’ van niks doen aan je website is dat je Google ranking wegzakt, maar ja, die was toch al niet zo sterk van Misschien moet ik hem gewoon maar zo laten. Een database site / film archief uit lang vervlogen tijden. Een reliek. Zo retro als maar kan. Ja, misschien wordt dat het wel. Wordt vervolgd (of juist niet).