- Once Upon A Time (Alexander Hall)
- Le Plaisir (Max Ophüls)
- All That Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk)
- Sergeant Rutledge (John Ford)
- A Doll’s House (Patrick Garland)
- Julius Caesar (Joseph Mankiewicz)
- The Palm Beach Story (Preston Sturges)
- The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola)
- Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (Martin Scorsese)
- Bad Day At Black Rock (John Sturges)
1- If you are looking for a film that features Cary Grant as well as a dancing caterpillar, then Once Upon A Time is the film for you!
2- Can someone please explain the genius of Max Ophüls to me? I find his legendary moving camera distracting. I find his films dull. I’ll keep trying but I would certainly appreciate a little help here. Le Plaisir flowed better than most of his films I have seen, but for me they are deadly – mostly because they seem to be wearing ‘high art’ on their sleeves and that is never a good thing.
3- This time around I caught up with some films that I have been trying to get to for years. I always dodged Sergeant Rutledge because, for some reason, I figured late John Ford would be stodgy John Ford. I should have known better. It is a stirring film. Its dealing with race issues is surprisingly frank and at the same time matter-of-fact. Quite unusual for a film from 1960 where race was either ignored or served with a sledge-hammer. Ford turns Woody Strode into an icon of virtue to rival what he does with John Wayne. Plus you get to see Billie Burke!
How did I miss Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore? What a rich script, with dense, surprising characters. It doesn’t have the taint that so many landmark films of the 70s have. By way of contrast, The Conversation reeks with that taint. The paranoia, the smarminess, the ugly mise-en-scene, the nihilistic characters – it has them all. It is indeed brilliant, but I think once was enough for me.
4- All That Heaven Allows – pure genius
5- Bad Day At Black Rock was recently shown on TCM as part of a Westerns festival. That was pretty brilliant programming since it is truly a western disguised as a contemporary drama. Good guy rides into town and frees it from the corrupt and sadistic thrall of the bad guy. Plus it features a one-armed Spencer Tracy which makes it required viewing