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Posted: March 18th, 2014, 12:31 am
I enjoy reading these lists, and wish I had more time to post some of my own. Peggy Cummins was so adorable when I met her at the TCM Film Festival a few years ago. She was amazed at how a film she made so long ago still has such appeal She is such a sweet lady!
I love Gun Crazy and am so happy to see it's part of so many lists here.
Posted: March 19th, 2014, 12:29 pm
Significant event: The first issue of Cahiers du Cinema came out. And the auteurs (and auteurists) followed.
Drat! I had sixteen movies on my list of "these have to be considered for my Top Ten". Unfortunately for them, I had another twelve on my list of "these are definitely Top Ten." <sigh>
1. On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray/uncredited Ida Lupino) - It has the mark of a truly great movie: it gets better each time I watch it.
2. The Steel Helmet (Samuel Fuller) (in this, the correct year) - If you die, I'll kill yuh! Sgt. Zack. Dead man's nothin' but a corpse. No one cares what he is now. War. If I was right all the time I'd be an officer, Lieutenant. No heroes.
3. The Hoodlum (Max Nosseck) - There are sociopaths and, then, there's Vincent Lubeck. My favorite Lawrence Tierney performance. And Mother Lubeck telling her son what every son wants to hear from his Mother: You've never been able to escape the stink of the world because you are the stink.
4. He Ran All the Way (John Berry) - Truly the last of John Garfield.
5. The Prowler (Joseph Losey) - Guilt. No redemption.
6. 5ive (Arch Oboler) - The re-imagining of the Adam and Eve story, turned on its head in a post-apocalyptic world.
7. M (Joseph Losey) - How could one dare to re-make one of the greatest films ever made? Luckily, Losey dared.
8. Fixed Bayonets! (Samuel Fuller) - Sometimes the bullet has your name on it.
9. Girl on the Bridge (Hugo Haas) - One cannot survive survivor's guilt. Production Company: Hugo Haas Productions. Producer: Hugo Haas. Director: Hugo Haas. Co-Writer: Hugo Haas. Co-Star: Hugo Haas. Auteur: Hugo Haas.
10. Pickup (Hugo Haas) - No! Hugo Haas did NOT make the same movie over and over.
Favorite non-English language movies: The Diary of a Country Priest (Robert Bresson) and Der Verlorene (Peter Lorre).
Ten Favorite Honorable Mentions: Hard, Fast, and Beautiful (Ida Lupino); The Thing from Another World (Christian Nyby/Howard Hawks); An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli) (for just the last 17 incredible minutes thanks to Gene Kelly & John Alton); Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock); The Well (Leo Popkin/Russell Rouse); Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder); A Street Car Named Desire (Elia Kazan); A Christmas Carol (Brian Desmond Hurst); The Man Who Cheated Himself (Felix Feist); The Scarf (E.A. Dupont).
Edit: Corrected the spelling of Arch Oboler's name. Just re-watched 5IVE in preparation for my class. Devastating experience.
Posted: March 19th, 2014, 1:03 pm
ChiO, you usually have a film or two on your lists I haven't seen, so the "must see" list keeps lengthening, but this time I've only seen four of your top ten.
Losey's remake of M definitely sounds interesting; David Wayne seems like a good choice for the Peter Lorre role. I'm curious about some other 1951 films, like The Thirteenth Letter (Preminger's remake of Le Corbeau) and two Douglas Sirk films: Thunder on the Hill is out on DVD, but The First Legion, with Charles Boyer as a priest, is the one which really intrigues me.
Posted: March 19th, 2014, 2:34 pm
Sirk made eleven films in the '50s before MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954) and I haven't seen any of them - so they're all of interest to me. I have a grainy copy of THE 13th LETTER.
M is fabulous. It often gets a bad rap because "well, it isn't as good as Lang's." Not many movies are, but that doesn't mean there aren't other great movies. Watching it without any preconceived "it's-just-a-remake" notions and it'll bowl you over.
Posted: March 19th, 2014, 3:29 pm
kingrat wrote:The First Legion, with Charles Boyer as a priest, is the one which really intrigues me.
This was on TCM a couple of years ago, but even DVD-r copies don't seem to be available anywhere. It would be good to see this again. Boyer was quietly great in this movie.
I've heard so many good things about the Losey M
over the years, it would be great to see it.
Posted: March 19th, 2014, 7:39 pm
1951: the movies this year have such variety that no strong overall themes emerge, as far as I can tell, except that there are a staggering number of superb performances. A Streetcar Named Desire dominated the acting awards, even though Marlon Brando failed to win an Oscar (which at that point in his career he very much wanted), but the list of great performances by men in leading roles would also have to include Robert Ryan (On Dangerous Ground), Alastair Sim (A Christmas Carol), Robert Walker (Strangers on a Train), Montgomery Clift (A Place in the Sun), Michael Redgrave (The Browning Version), John Garfield (He Ran All the Way), Kirk Douglas (Ace in the Hole), Canada Lee (Cry, the Beloved Country), and Humphrey Bogart (The African Queen).
The women weren’t too shabby, either, with Vivien Leigh being joined by Ida Lupino (On Dangerous Ground), Thelma Ritter (The Model and the Marriage Broker), Katharine Hepburn (The African Queen), and Pier Angeli (Teresa).
Early Summer and Diary of a Country Priest would be contenders for the top ten if I were including foreign films.
Top Ten for 1951:
1. CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY – Not a movie that’s supposed to be good for you, just a great film. Location shooting in South Africa helps. The bitterly ironic plot—a basically good man accidentally kills one of the few white men trying to help—leads to a moving conclusion where much is implied in the few words that one of the grieving fathers can say to the other.
2. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN – One of Hitchcock’s best, with Robert Walker in his greatest role as the pathological Bruno. Hitch doesn’t really know what to do with the insufficiently blonde Ruth Roman, but otherwise it’s terrific.
3. WESTWARD THE WOMEN – Not a big hit at the time, but it looks mighty good today, as the mail order brides on a wagon train learn how to cope with difficulties on their own.
4. DECISION BEFORE DAWN – One of the most obscure films ever nominated for Best Picture, but you know what? It fully deserved the nomination. Litvak films in the rubble of Germany. Oskar Werner returns to his native land to spy for the Americans. What he sees, and what we can see in his eyes, make the movie unforgettable.
5. THE AFRICAN QUEEN – Bogart and Hepburn make a great combination.
6. ON DANGEROUS GROUND – I think Nicholas Ray unbalances the film by devoting so much time to Robert Ryan’s cop on the edge, a much fresher character then than now, and for me the film doesn’t really begin until he drives to the snow country. The romantic subplot, which Ray didn’t like, is exactly what I do like, and Ryan and Ida Lupino are both remarkable, with Ward Bond excellent as the father of the murdered boy.
7. THE PROWLER – This film has problems of balance also, but the final third, in the ghost town, makes up for any previous shortcomings. Who knew that the desire to own a motel on the road to Vegas could prove so treacherous?
8. PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN – Only Jack Cardiff’s sensational cinematography and Albert Lewin’s direction are enough for Ava Gardner’s goddess-like beauty. A bit slow in places, with too much narration (but in James Mason’s voice!), and some dazzling, unforgettable moments.
9. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS – I’m with ChiO on this one. The final ballet is so great that nothing else matters.
10. THE BROWNING VERSION – One of the best filmed plays, with Michael Redgrave at his best as “the Himmler of the Lower Fifth.”
Honorable mention: Ace in the Hole, The Lavender Hill Mob, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Place in the Sun, A Christmas Carol, The Model and the Marriage Broker, He Ran All the Way, The House on Telegraph Hill, The Steel Helmet, The Tall Target, Show Boat, Teresa
Best Actor: Robert Ryan, On Dangerous Ground
Best Actress: Ida Lupino, On Dangerous Ground
Best Supporting Actor: Oskar Werner, Decision Before Dawn
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Collinge (Teresa) or Hildegard Knef (Decision Before Dawn)
Posted: March 20th, 2014, 2:33 pm
More movies I inadvertently left out. THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952) and the lovely SEPARATE TABLES (1958). Next time, I'll use the link!
Posted: March 25th, 2014, 12:48 am
“ACE IN THE HOLE” - Billy Wilder
Wilder does it again. And so does Kirk. Both of these men are not afraid to show the seamy side of human nature: selfish, exploitative, greedy. And tell me that Wilder’s not prescient. Did he call it or not? The media circus in this movie seems like it’s ripped from the today’s headlines as they milk the life out of this story and
the trapped miner. Billy Wilder...I love you.
* * * * * * *
“ANNE OF THE INDIES” - Jacques Tourneur
I dunno. I can’t quite see sleek simmering Jean Peters call her agent and say: “Get me a pirate script. I want to play a pirate.”
But what’s more fun than to play a pirate? She’s on the wrong side of the law, the boss of a crew of men and cruises around the high seas of the Carribbean. It’s a fun movie.
* * * * * * *
“DETECTIVE STORY” - William Wyler
This movie is a time bomb. And Kirk Douglas is the bomb. Yes it’s stagebound but the story’s in the characters, not the landscape. Character actors rock this drama and they’re all in top form, especially William Bendix. Kudoes to Eleanor Parker who is always one to watch. A good character study of a detective who metes out justice. But his rigidity cannot withstand the truth.
* * * * * * *
“HIS KIND OF WOMAN” - John Farrow
Mitchum and Russell together. What a physically imposing pair. But that’s not ( the only reason ) why it’s a favorite. I like it because it’s a fun romp. This movie has everything: two gorgeous leads ( man + woman ); comic hammy relief ( a la Vincent Price ); and Raymond Burr as the handsome heavy. Throw these ingredients in a blender, mix ‘em up and you get ‘puree’ entertainment.
* * * * * * *
“PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN” - Albert Lewin
What happens when a heart-breaking, jet-setting, international playgirl who treats men like toys, falls in love. James Mason is the Dutchman who looks for a needle in Eternity and finds Ava. I have a long and short answer for this favorite of mine. THE LONG ANSWER
: I love the romance of Love...what one does for love...dying for love. THE SHORT ANSWER
: Ava Gardner. Seeing her here is proof Ava is the most beautiful woman in motion pictures in the 1950’s.
* * * * * * *
“A PLACE IN THE SUN” - George Stevens
George Stevens gives a class in Filmmaking 101 as he visually walks us through the story of Boy Meets Girl, Boy Meets Girl...of his Dreams,
Boy Loses Everything. ( Elizabeth Taylor’ll do that to a guy. I marvel at the deck stacked against Monty. ) What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
* * * * * * *
“STRANGERS ON A TRAIN” - Alfred Hitchcock
Hitch is on my list again. He ratchets up the suspense when he shows two strangers on a train kibbitz about exchanging murders. Only one man is kidding. The lighter...the Great Dane on the stairs...the carousel. Come on...you know you rooted for Bruno to get Guy’s lighter. Say, didn’t your mother tell you not to talk to strangers?
* * * * * * *
“A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE” - Elia Kazan
Brando’s animal magnetism viscerally leaps off the screen. Vivien Leigh’s Blanche DuBois comes undone, and it’s the most devasting thing I will see in this decade.
* * * * * * *
“THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD” - Howard Hawks
Sci-fi with the Hawks touch. A community under attack by something from...another world. And this time it's not Communists. Tension. Terrible terrible tension as folks are picked off by...something.
* * * * * * *
“WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE” - Rudolph Maté
We’re coming into the sci-fi era and that’s my genre too! If it crawls, grows gigantically, is not human, or is metaphysical, I’m there. Nature gone atomic, or worlds ending. And Barbara Rush to boot. It’s a sci-fi Noah’s Ark, and desperate people take desperate measures to get off the planet. Why do I feel Mankind still
won’t have learned its lesson in another world
Posted: March 25th, 2014, 3:16 am
Cinemaven, I love your staccato,to the point,wonderfully descriptive phraseology. Am I being pedantic? No one could call you that!
Your words for When Worlds Collide are a classic.
Posted: March 25th, 2014, 12:15 pm
DETECTIVE STORY. Yes it’s stagebound
I love that. Makes me feel I'm in a little bitty theatre with some REALLY good actors!
I don't know ANNE OF THE INDIES. As a Jacques Tourneur fan, I should! Or as my brother says, "Jack Turner. We're not in ****ing France!"
Posted: March 26th, 2014, 4:01 am
Red wrote:I love that. Makes me feel I'm in a little bitty theatre with some REALLY good actors!
Ha! I like the way you put it, Red. And, yes – likewise. Roll out the stagebound films; I'll take all you've got.
Well. It seems I've got a lot of catching up to do. Reading, and writing, and... this list-making looks mighty tempting.
Posted: March 26th, 2014, 12:26 pm
Roll out the stagebound films; I'll take all you've got.
DETECTIVE STORY is one of the best!
Posted: March 26th, 2014, 2:56 pm
If you're tempted to make some lists of your own . . . as Oscar Wilde said, the only way to overcome a temptation is to give in to it.
I always enjoy the wit and wisdom of your brother.