Films Worth Viewing

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#27
The Seven Samurai-Kurosawa-1954

Kurosawa and I am in agreement, John Ford is the greatest American director. Kurosawa admired Ford's westerns.Ford admired Kurosawa, one example is how Ford practically copies the funeral scene in "Seven Samurai" in "The Searchers."

The film was far and away the most expensive attempted by the Japanese studio. The it took 10 months instead of two; fortunately the studio was making the original "Godzilla" at the same time. The version released in the US was severely truncated. It was an art house success in the US. I saw it twice in the initial release in the 60"s. This was the second time round in the US. Virtually all the principals in the "Magnificent Seven" saw it in the mid-fifties; they were more than impressed.

The basic story is simple; a village being held hostage by bandits sends a party to hire ronin, masterless samurai, to defend the village. The lead samurai, Kombei, chooses five warriors to make up his team. He rejects Kikuchyio, Toshiro Mifume, who is undisciplined, a show-off, and not a real samurai. The ronin's ronin
follows the six and is finally accepted.
I remember most vividly Mifume catching fish with his bare hands, but he becomes a central figure in the defense of the village. The 40 bandits are defeated, but four of the seven die. Western viewers often miss the social conflict/class conflict that is integral to the movie. The film provides a template for caper films from "Topkapi" to "Ocean's 11" and beyond. Kurosawa's films from the 50's onward placed the group seemingly at the center, but broke with Japanese conventions by stressing individuality.

The full length film (207 minutes) is now available. The DVD is pricey, but it is readily available from streaming services. This a great film, a wonderful re-watchable classic.
 
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#28
"Breaking Away" Peter Yates

This a personal favorite: I don't believe this is a great film, but it is the type of film that makes you feel good even after repeated feelings. The setting is Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University. There are the usual town and gown rivalries. The townies are called "cutters" after the local limestone workers.

The film focuses on four cutters, recent high school graduates, uncertain about their futures. They go swimming in a pond formed by the limestone quarry. One of the indications of the town gown conflict is the attitude of these four young men towards the invasion of their swimming hole by IU students.

The conflict intensifies into an actual physical confrontation. One of the four, Dave, is prize winning cyclist. His father runs a shady used car dealership. Dave idolizes Italian cyclists. He plays Italian music, has Italian posters in his room. He goes so far as to serenade an attractive co-ed in Italian outside her sorority house. He participates in a race with the Cinzano team. They dismount him using a bicycle pump.

The movie culminates with the cutters participating in the Little 500 bicycle race. This was a longtime feature of IU tradition. The cutter team wins due primarily to Dave's heroic efforts. Steve Teisch, the writer, won an academy award for best original screenplay. Teisch was an IU graduate and based the race part of the movie on a real life situation.

The film is not currently available on DVD. Used copies are pricey. As per usual try your library. It is available for streaming.
 
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#29
"Breaking Away" Peter Yates

This a personal favorite: I don't believe this is a great film, but it is the type of film that makes you feel good even after repeated feelings. The setting is Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University. There are the usual town and gown rivalries. The townies are called "cutters" after the local limestone workers.

The film focuses on four cutters, recent high school graduates, uncertain about their futures. They go swimming in a pond formed by the limestone quarry. One of the indications of the town gown conflict is the attitude of these four young men towards the invasion of their swimming hole by IU students.

The conflict intensifies into an actual physical confrontation. One of the four, Dave, is prize winning cyclist. His father runs a shady used car dealership. Dave idolizes Italian cyclists. He plays Italian music, has Italian posters in his room. He goes so far as to serenade an attractive co-ed in Italian outside her sorority house. He participates in a race with the Cinzano team. They dismount him using a bicycle pump.

The movie culminates with the cutters participating in the Little 500 bicycle race. This was a longtime feature of IU tradition. The cutter team wins due primarily to Dave's heroic efforts. Steve Teisch, the writer, won an academy award for best original screenplay. Teisch was an IU graduate and based the race part of the movie on a real life situation.

The film is not currently available on DVD. Used copies are pricey. As per usual try your library. It is available for streaming.
Breaking Away was released while I was at UConn, and it was a movie that attracted me right away. I saw it when it was in the movie theaters, and I took a big liking to it. I probably saw it a few times early on in those days. However, that was it, I probably didn't see it again for many years, perhaps as many as 30. In recent years when I gave any thought to Breaking Away, I started wondering if it would be a film that dated badly. Well, not too long ago I watched Breaking Away on television, and found it held up quite nicely. For me it is still very much an enjoyable film.
 
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#30
The Magnificent Seven John Sturges 1960

As I mentioned above, virtually everyone involved in the production saw "The Seven Samurai" and thought it would make a great western. Yul Brenner played the lead and was tied to the production. There was a major problem facing the production, the impending strike of the Screen Actors Guild. The cast was quickly assembled and signed; they were young and eager. The casting of Horst Bocholz as the Mifume character was questioned, but it turned out to be a happy choice. Eli Wallach , a veteran stage actor, was the choice for the bandit leader. This led to Wallach appearing in some spaghetti westerns.

The Mexican government required an on set censor. This didn't prove to be a real problem, early there were some cast conflicts. McQueen tried to get the camera to focus on him, but Brenner took him down a peg. After some initial problems, cast members were in agreement, that this was a great experience. The younger actors got a huge career boost. The film was hugely successful spawning sequels and a TV series.

Kurosawa saw and liked this film. Finally, the Bernstein score is memorable. All in all one of the signature westerns. The attitude derived from the Kurasowa film gave this film some real punch and more intelligence than found in the typical western.

Readily available streaming; your library has a copy. The DVD is still available. This is a very watchable film.

Next up: "12 Angry Men", "Judgement at Nuremberg", and "The Ox Bow Incident."
 
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#31
The Magnificent Seven John Sturges 1960

As I mentioned above, virtually everyone involved in the production saw "The Seven Samurai" and thought it would make a great western. Yul Brenner played the lead and was tied to the production. There was a major problem facing the production, the impending strike of the Screen Actors Guild. The cast was quickly assembled and signed; they were young and eager. The casting of Horst Bocholz as the Mifume character was questioned, but it turned out to be a happy choice. Eli Wallach , a veteran stage actor, was the choice for the bandit leader. This led to Wallach appearing in some spaghetti westerns.

The Mexican government required an on set censor. This didn't prove to be a real problem, early there were some cast conflicts. McQueen tried to get the camera to focus on him, but Brenner took him down a peg. After some initial problems, cast members were in agreement, that this was a great experience. The younger actors got a huge career boost. The film was hugely successful spawning sequels and a TV series.

Kurosawa saw and liked this film. Finally, the Bernstein score is memorable. All in all one of the signature westerns. The attitude derived from the Kurasowa film gave this film some real punch and more intelligence than found in the typical western.

Readily available streaming; your library has a copy. The DVD is still available. This is a very watchable film.

Next up: "12 Angry Men", "Judgement at Nuremberg", and "The Ox Bow Incident."
Like I said before, "The Magnificent Seven" is a terrific western. In addition to the actors mentioned before, other up and coming cast members include Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and Robert Vaughn. Plenty of good parts to be had in this movie, and plenty of good scenes. While it is hard to pick just one, I love the opening of the film with Yul Brenner and Steve McQueen meeting and driving a hearse to the cemetery. Also love Eli Wallach as the lead bandit, and how he just can't comprehend Yul Brenner and company defending the villagers, right up to the end. It completely mystifies him. Also, my wife loves to compare Wallach's bandit character in this movie to that of his character in "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
 
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#32
Judgement at Nuremberg-Stanley Kramer-1961

This is a film which is remarkably prescient, but still is terrific entertainment. It focuses on a lesser known post WWII Nuremberg Trial; this one is for Nazi jurists. The film is loosely based on an actual trial of 20 jurists. The central issue is the level of responsibility of the jurists for the deaths and imprisonments that were the results of a system of justice in which they willingly participated. This film marked the first time that films of the Nazi concentration camps were seen by a wide audience.

The acting is great; Maximillian Schell won the academy award as best actor. You might find his performance as the lead defense counsel a bit over the top. Burt Lancaster is memorable as Ernst Janning , the Nazi minister of justice. Spenser Tracey plays the chief judge, Richard Widmark plays the chief prosecutor. Montgomery Clift and Judy Garland play survivors. Marlene Dietrich plays the widow of a German general.
The Tribunal hands out stiff sentences. Since the trial is occurring with the Cold War beginning to become a major factor, the allied governments are eager for German support. The Berlin Blockade begins during the trial.
The decisions were not popular, by the time of the film's debut, all of those convicted in the lesser trials had been freed. When the film premiered in Germany in 1961, the audience was not responsive.

In the climactic scene in the film, Janning asks to meet with the chief judge after the verdict has been announced. Lancaster asks Tracey for understanding. He didn't understand how evil the system would become. Tracey responds that the first time he knowingly convicted an innocent man and sentenced him to death, the system was totally destroyed. The question of whether or not to try and ameliorate the system from the inside still is important.

The film was based on a Playhouse 90 TV drama. The screenwriter, Abbie Man, was responsible for getting the film made. He won an academy award for his screen play. Some 20 years later :"Judgement at Nuremberg" made a successful debut on Broadway.

The film is available to stream. It is available on DVD.
 
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#33
" He participates in a race with the Cinzano team. They dismount him using a bicycle pump.
I look back at that scene as a metaphor for UConn's brush with P5 football. Just when we showed we could compete with them, we get a pump in the spokes. As the chumps that did it ride away laughing.

The other part of Breaking Away that stuck with me was Daniel Stern's character saying how his father loves when he fails "so he can be supportive." Then at the end he said he was going to take the college test "because my father has a birthday coming up."
 
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#34
The Ox-Bow Incident-William Wellman-1943

This short (75 minute) film is extremely well made and deals with an important problem. The film is based on the debut novel by Walter Van Tillburg Clark. In 1885 a small Nevada town is rocked by the rumor that a local rancher has been murdered by rustlers. The sheriff is out of town ,so the posse formed is only semi legal.

The posse finds 3 men with the rancher's cattle. This confirms their guilt. When a vote is taken, only seven vote to investigate further. The "rustlers"in both the book and the filrm duly hanged. The 3 rustlers are played by Dana Andrews, Anthony Quinn, and John Ford"s older brother. The chief protagonist is played by Henry Fonda.

The sheriff arrives, the rancher was shot but lives; the real rustlers are captured, but the hangings are history.
The sheriff vows the law will deal harshly with the lynch mob, but both the book and the film leave this as an unanswered question.

The film is available on DVD and streaming. I suggest that if you plan to buy the DVD, you opt for one of the several collections which feature this film. I have the Henry Ford Collection on Fox. This 10 film collection includes "Drums Along the Mohawk." "The Grapes of Wrath," "My Darling Clementine," and "The Longest Day."
 
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#35
12 Angry Men-Sidney Lumet-1957

This is one of my all time favorites. It was filmed on location at 60 Center Street an actual courthouse. Almost the entire film takes place in the jury room It was based on a Studio One TV production. It as director Lumet's first feature film. The actors don't have names; they are known by their jury numbers. The cast is drawn from
NY theatre actors. Even Fonda, as juror 8, came through the NYC theatre scene.

The case is a murder trial of a 17 year old Hispanic for killing his father with s switchblade. In the initial jury vote the jury votes 11-1 for conviction. The rest of the film follows the road to an eventual verdict of not guilty.
Lumet does a masterful job of raising the tension level through filming techniques which give the film a feeling of claustrophobia.

This is acted wonderfully; a great film made on a small budget. Though observers opine that it was largely ignored by the public, despite critical aclaim. It returned a 10 fold boxoffice on the initial cost. It has been re-made in many countries and languages, satirized on numerous tv comedies, this is an iconic. Check out IMDb
for goofs; I didn't notice them. This is a tribute to how engrossing it is.

My highest recommendation.
 
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#37
The Bride of Frankenstein-James Whale-1935

This is the top vintage horror film in the minds of most critics. As a horror figure I prefer Dracula; the character has provided much more in the monster lexicon. We have individually and collective understanding of the rules of vampires. There has been little or no development in monster studies. When
Mel Brooks made "Young Frankenstein" using the lab props from the original "Frankenstein" it was more than an homage to the original; it was a literal re-creation. Whale showed more originality in "Bride". Whale avoided making a sequel, and he only made it because he was given total control. The monster speaks, there is an intro featuring the two Shelly's, a second scientist (even more outre than Baron Frankenstein) comes with miniature humans in bottles, the named character appears only briefly, and the monster destroys himself and his bride. Whale really didn't want to make a third entry in the franchise.

What makes this memorable is perhaps best illustrated with the long scene between the blind hermit and the monster. The monster learns to speak, finds a friend, hears music, and smokes a cigar. Karloff's desire for friendship leads him back to the castle. He finds Pretorius and the construction of the bride is begun.

The acting is excellent, the photography inspired, and there in an excellent score. Suspend disbelief and enjoy this classic.
 
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#38
The Bride of Frankenstein-James Whale-1935

This is the top vintage horror film in the minds of most critics. As a horror figure I prefer Dracula; the character has provided much more in the monster lexicon. We have individually and collective understanding of the rules of vampires. There has been little or no development in monster studies. When
Mel Brooks made "Young Frankenstein" using the lab props from the original "Frankenstein" it was more than an homage to the original; it was a literal re-creation. Whale showed more originality in "Bride". Whale avoided making a sequel, and he only made it because he was given total control. The monster speaks, there is an intro featuring the two Shelly's, a second scientist (even more outre than Baron Frankenstein) comes with miniature humans in bottles, the named character appears only briefly, and the monster destroys himself and his bride. Whale really didn't want to make a third entry in the franchise.

What makes this memorable is perhaps best illustrated with the long scene between the blind hermit and the monster. The monster learns to speak, finds a friend, hears music, and smokes a cigar. Karloff's desire for friendship leads him back to the castle. He finds Pretorius and the construction of the bride is begun.

The acting is excellent, the photography inspired, and there in an excellent score. Suspend disbelief and enjoy this classic.
I just love "Bride of Frankenstein", it's a marvelous old horror classic. Director James Whale is at the top of his impish horror game, and he did a few other old horror classics as well with the previously mentioned "Frankenstein', as well as "The Invisible Man" and "The Old Dark House". Always a pleasure to watch Karloff do his thing. And of course, Colin Clive gets to shout "It's Alive!" again. But to me, what really makes "Bride of Frankenstein" go is the addition of the off the wall Ernest Thesiger as Doctor Pretorius, the guy is a real hoot. In addition to Pretorius and his miniature humans, I just love the encounter of the monster and Pretorius in the underground crypt. Thesiger is also worth watching in "The Old Dark House" as well.
 
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#39
Carrie-Brian dePalma-1976

This is Stephen King's first published novel for which he received a $2500 advance. It is hard to believe when
you look back at his success since then. If you read the IMDb material, it seems as if every young actress in Hollywood tried out for the Carrie White part. DePalma was an inspired choice to direct the film. You all know
the story; the bullied daughter of a religious zealot has supernatural powers. She uses her powers in a spectacular way at the prom after she is bathed in pig's blood.

I thought the weakest part of the film was the opening scene in girls' locker room. De Palma does an excellent job developing characters. It is hard not to have sympathy for the Carrie character; since public awareness of bullying has grown enormously, it is even more relevant today. This is part of the reason that this film is still enjoyable today.

One further note in the first climactic scene; Carrie and her date Tommy are on a turntable rotating one way while the camera above them rotated in the opposite direction. This allowed amazing coverage of the pig blood shower. Carrie covered in blood is unforgettable. The next two climaxes are also memorable, cudos to DePalma. If you haven't seen this film recently; you should enjoy it again.
 
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#40
Exorcist-William Friedkin-1973
This film was very successful; it remains the 1st or 2nd highest grossing horror films of all time. The film opens in Northern Iraq at an site of an ancient town. Among the items discovered was an image of a demon. Max von Sydow plays the priest/archeologist who makes this discovery. This sends him on a journey to another site where he views a full scale statue of the demon.

The scene shifts quickly to Georgetown where a film is being made on the college campus. Ellen Burstyn is the
star of the movie. She has rented a house while she is shooting the movie. She shares the house with her 12
year old daughter. The movie unfolds around a strange illness of Reagan, Linda Blair. Her behavior becomes increasingly erratic; her mother does all the correct things, doctor visits, tests, interviews with psychiatrists; nothing works. A final suggestion of an exorcist occurs simultaneously with a mysterious death and a church being vandalized.

the stage is set for the entrance of two final key characters. A priest/psychiatrist (Jason Miller) and a police Lieutenant (Lee J. Cobb) become involved with the case. Damien (the priest) talks to Regan and tries to determine if her symptoms meet the church's standards for an exorcism. Max von Sydow is brought back
to to be the chief exorcist.

This is the basic plot line, where the movie derives its power is from the acting, camera work, special effects,
and most importantly the work of Friedkin. He did virtually everything including choosing the music. I watched
the director's cut which adds 10+ minutes. This is another film which has aged very well. Despite the premise,
none of the basic characters is anything other than believable. Linda Blair was sentenced to a career off horror
films; there was an actual serial killer in the movie; the followups were less than mediocre, but none of this can
dim the luster of this classic.
 
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#41
Next up: "Night of the Hunter," "Double Indemnity," and "Laura."

Night of the Hunter-Charles Laughton-1955

This is the only film Laughton ever directed. A man robs a bank, killing two in the process. He rushes back to his home intent on hiding the money, almost $10,000. His cellmate is Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), an itinerant preacher and serial killer. He tries and fails to get his cellmate to tell him where he hid the money.
Powell is in prison for car theft; he only gets 30 days. I know, I know, that's really not credible.

The film starts with two passages: the first shows Rachael Cooper, silent star Lillian Gish, giving Biblical instructions to a group of children she fosters. The second shows Powell riding in a car discussing His mission with God. He reveals that he has murdered 12 widows for their money. Shortly after we find out that he has
love on the fingers of one hand and hate on the other.

Powell woos the widow Harper and marries her then murders her which his pattern. The children escape by locking him in the cellar and taking their father's skiff down river. The balance of the film is taken up with Powell's search for the children.

Along the river bank we see various animals starting with a frog. The script is by the famous photojournalist, James Agee. Mitchum's performance is chilling; there is no question he represents Hate. Gish represents Love
in this struggle Love wins.

There is surprising tension in this film. The characters are believable, even Powell. This is one of the greatest of all film noirs. This film has at least 15 unforgettable images, and it makes excellent use of hymns. It's available through Amazon. It is unrated, but it is probably not suited for young children.
 
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#42
Next up: "Night of the Hunter," "Double Indemnity," and "Laura."

Night of the Hunter-Charles Laughton-1955

This is the only film Laughton ever directed. A man robs a bank, killing two in the process. He rushes back to his home intent on hiding the money, almost $10,000. His cellmate is Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), an itinerant preacher and serial killer. He tries and fails to get his cellmate to tell him where he hid the money.
Powell is in prison for car theft; he only gets 30 days. I know, I know, that's really not credible.

The film starts with two passages: the first shows Rachael Cooper, silent star Lillian Gish, giving Biblical instructions to a group of children she fosters. The second shows Powell riding in a car discussing His mission with God. He reveals that he has murdered 12 widows for their money. Shortly after we find out that he has
love on the fingers of one hand and hate on the other.

Powell woos the widow Harper and marries her then murders her which his pattern. The children escape by locking him in the cellar and taking their father's skiff down river. The balance of the film is taken up with Powell's search for the children.

Along the river bank we see various animals starting with a frog. The script is by the famous photojournalist, James Agee. Mitchum's performance is chilling; there is no question he represents Hate. Gish represents Love
in this struggle Love wins.

There is surprising tension in this film. The characters are believable, even Powell. This is one of the greatest of all film noirs. This film has at least 15 unforgettable images, and it makes excellent use of hymns. It's available through Amazon. It is unrated, but it is probably not suited for young children.
I saw Night of the Hunter for the first time a couple of years ago. A knockout of a movie, with so many great images that remind me of both of the images that show up in John Ford movies, and German silent film Expressionism. No question that Charles Laughton delivered the goods with this one. Terrific performances by both Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish. This one is an absolute must see.
 
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#43
I am continually surprised that there are so many enthusiasts on the Boneyard. I pick films that I like, and I try to pick some films that are less well known. You are right on your identification of Laughton's images.
 
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#44
Double Indemnity-Billy Wilder-1944

Billy Wilder is nearly forgotten by the general public. His list of significant films is startling: "Lost Weekend," "Stalag 17," "The Apartment," and "Some Like It Hot." That's only the first act. This film for Paramount was
a struggle to make. It was tough to cast; it was problematic with the censor's office; there were problems with wartime austerity; then the relationship between Raymond Chandler and Wilder was terrible.

Barbara Stanwyck is probably the most versatile actress of her era. Fred McMurray made his bones in light comedy roles. Edward G. Robinson played gangsters, but always with a flair. Raymond Chandler delivered
the ironic, witty, fast paced dialogue. Wilder found out that the novel's dialogue didn't make when spoken aloud. The film has a great opening Neff (McMurray) comes into a building in the middle of the night. It holds the offices of his insurance company. He is badly wounded, but tells thecoe story into a dictaphone.

The plot can be a little convoluted, but basically McMurray and Stanwyck come up with a plot to insure her husband, and then kill in a way it looks accidental. Robinson is the claims investigator. He has a little inner man who tells him when a claim is false. What's in between is the magic, the German Expressionist camera
work, the dialogue, the intricate plotting, and always the acting of the three principals. It received 7 nominations, but won not a one.

Film Noir is an American cinema development. Many historians have it begining with the "Maltese Falcon."
The protagonist generally becomes involved in some illegal acts, generally without thinking it through. Go
back to the start of the film, Neff remarks that he did it for for money and a woman and he got neither.
 
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#45
Double Indemnity-Billy Wilder-1944

Billy Wilder is nearly forgotten by the general public. His list of significant films is startling: "Lost Weekend," "Stalag 17," "The Apartment," and "Some Like It Hot." That's only the first act. This film for Paramount was
a struggle to make. It was tough to cast; it was problematic with the censor's office; there were problems with wartime austerity; then the relationship between Raymond Chandler and Wilder was terrible.

Barbara Stanwyck is probably the most versatile actress of her era. Fred McMurray made his bones in light comedy roles. Edward G. Robinson played gangsters, but always with a flair. Raymond Chandler delivered
the ironic, witty, fast paced dialogue. Wilder found out that the novel's dialogue didn't make when spoken aloud. The film has a great opening Neff (McMurray) comes into a building in the middle of the night. It holds the offices of his insurance company. He is badly wounded, but tells thecoe story into a dictaphone.

The plot can be a little convoluted, but basically McMurray and Stanwyck come up with a plot to insure her husband, and then kill in a way it looks accidental. Robinson is the claims investigator. He has a little inner man who tells him when a claim is false. What's in between is the magic, the German Expressionist camera
work, the dialogue, the intricate plotting, and always the acting of the three principals. It received 7 nominations, but won not a one.

Film Noir is an American cinema development. Many historians have it begining with the "Maltese Falcon."
The protagonist generally becomes involved in some illegal acts, generally without thinking it through. Go
back to the start of the film, Neff remarks that he did it for for money and a woman and he got neither.
I mentioned this in another thread, but if I had to pick a movie that absolutely defines Film Noir for me, I would choose Double Indemnity. Another terrific film. There are a number of great Billy Wilder films that my wife and I will watch whenever they show up on television, and this one (along with Sunset Boulevard) lead the pack. My wife loves Edward G. Robinson, often mentioning that it is rare that anyone could make an insurance investigator be so interesting. As for Barbara Stanwyck, if I had to choose a favorite actress, she would be right by the top.
 

storrsroars

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#46
Double Indemnity-Billy Wilder-1944

Billy Wilder is nearly forgotten by the general public. His list of significant films is startling: "Lost Weekend," "Stalag 17," "The Apartment," and "Some Like It Hot." That's only the first act. This film for Paramount was
a struggle to make. It was tough to cast; it was problematic with the censor's office; there were problems with wartime austerity; then the relationship between Raymond Chandler and Wilder was terrible.

Barbara Stanwyck is probably the most versatile actress of her era. Fred McMurray made his bones in light comedy roles. Edward G. Robinson played gangsters, but always with a flair. Raymond Chandler delivered
the ironic, witty, fast paced dialogue. Wilder found out that the novel's dialogue didn't make when spoken aloud. The film has a great opening Neff (McMurray) comes into a building in the middle of the night. It holds the offices of his insurance company. He is badly wounded, but tells thecoe story into a dictaphone.

The plot can be a little convoluted, but basically McMurray and Stanwyck come up with a plot to insure her husband, and then kill in a way it looks accidental. Robinson is the claims investigator. He has a little inner man who tells him when a claim is false. What's in between is the magic, the German Expressionist camera
work, the dialogue, the intricate plotting, and always the acting of the three principals. It received 7 nominations, but won not a one.

Film Noir is an American cinema development. Many historians have it begining with the "Maltese Falcon."
The protagonist generally becomes involved in some illegal acts, generally without thinking it through. Go
back to the start of the film, Neff remarks that he did it for for money and a woman and he got neither.
I'm glad you did "Double Indemnity". IIRC, when you first gave out the list of what you were going to review, you typed "Double Jeopardy", to which I immediately thought, "Which thing is not like the others?"

Great film and McMurray was an inspired casting choice. And its most-noted progeny, "Body Heat" wasn't too bad either.
 
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#47
"Laura"-Otto Preminger-1944

This is an unusual film; is it really Film Noir? Waldo Lydecker is one of the most unusual movie characters ever.
"I'm not kind; I'm vicious; it's the secret of my charm" is only one of his bon mots. The setting among the rich and snobbish is unusual for Noir. Again with a wartime film some obstacles occurred, however, these were matters of taste and power plays. Preminger seized control of the movie. He made the decision to cut a sequence where Laura is polished to fit in with the upper crust because of wartime privations. More importantly he decided to hire Clifton Webb for the Lydecker role.

This film has an excellent cast : Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Vincent Price and Clifton Webb. All the leading characters have quick cynical lines. The plot is complicated; Laura is murdered. The case is re-assigned to Lt.
McPherson. Waldo Lydecker accompanies McPherson visiting potential suspects. McPherson develops a strange relationship with the deceased. Suddenly, Laura walks into her apartment very much alive. The identification of the real victim is done quickly. The solution of the murder takes a little longer.

This film is clever and delightful; critics seem to me to be overly concerned with the psycho-sexual aspects of the film. Yarders, this is quality entertainment. Don't over analyze and miss the fun.

I haven't decided on my next trio.
 

Fishy

Puncher of Throats
Joined
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#48
The Magnificent Seven John Sturges 1960

As I mentioned above, virtually everyone involved in the production saw "The Seven Samurai" and thought it would make a great western. Yul Brenner played the lead and was tied to the production. There was a major problem facing the production, the impending strike of the Screen Actors Guild. The cast was quickly assembled and signed; they were young and eager. The casting of Horst Bocholz as the Mifume character was questioned, but it turned out to be a happy choice. Eli Wallach , a veteran stage actor, was the choice for the bandit leader. This led to Wallach appearing in some spaghetti westerns.

The Mexican government required an on set censor. This didn't prove to be a real problem, early there were some cast conflicts. McQueen tried to get the camera to focus on him, but Brenner took him down a peg. After some initial problems, cast members were in agreement, that this was a great experience. The younger actors got a huge career boost. The film was hugely successful spawning sequels and a TV series.

Kurosawa saw and liked this film. Finally, the Bernstein score is memorable. All in all one of the signature westerns. The attitude derived from the Kurasowa film gave this film some real punch and more intelligence than found in the typical western.

Readily available streaming; your library has a copy. The DVD is still available. This is a very watchable film.

Next up: "12 Angry Men", "Judgement at Nuremberg", and "The Ox Bow Incident."

Magnificent Seven is in rotation on one of the pay cable channels....it's one of those old movies that I cannot surf past. If it's on, I watch it.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
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#49
Next up: "Once Upon a Time in the West," "The Searchers," and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence." I should finish by the end of the week.
 

8893

Curiouser
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
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#50
"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence."
This film made my top 16 for the @Mano tournament that never was. I will be interested in your take. I have a theory that Pompey--not Doniphon or Stoddard--actually shot Valence. Thoughts?
 

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