Friday, February 23, 2007
With the Oscars coming up Sunday, everyone is focused on the movies. I thought this might be a great time to point out some great movies you probably haven't seen. And the best thing is, you can view them dirt cheap.
Next time you visit your local convenience store, thumb through the box of dollar videos sitting on the counter. True, there is a lot of junk there, but there are also some truly great movies available there, often packaged two on one disk. This is especially true for vintage Film Noir, but also great Westerns, War films and Comedies.
A few of my recent finds include:
THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS. A terrific noir with Barbara Stanwyck, a very young Kirk Douglas, Van Heflin, and Lizabeth Scott. From IMDb: "In 1928, young heiress Martha Ivers fails to run off with friend Sam Masterson, and is involved in fatal events. Years later, Sam returns to find Martha the power behind Iverstown and married to "good boy" Walter O'Neil, now district attorney. At first, Sam is more interested in displaced blonde Toni Marachek than in his boyhood friends; but they draw him into a convoluted web of plotting and cross-purposes."
THE STRANGER. Orson Wells, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young. From IMDb: "Wilson of the War Crimes Commission is seeking Franz Kindler, mastermind of the Holocaust, who has effectively erased his identity. Wilson releases Kindler's former comrade Meinike and follows him to Harper, Connecticut, where he is killed before he can identify Kindler. Now Wilson's only clue is Kindler's fascination with antique clocks; but though Kindler seems secure in his new identity, he feels his past closing in."
On the same disk is THE TRIAL. Directed by Wells and starring Anthony Perkins, this movie is based on the novel by Franz Kaska. Haven't watched it yet, but the reviews sound excellent.
From KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL: Another really terrific noir starring John Payne, one of my favorite actors. I really enjoyed this movie. IMDb: "A down-on-his-luck ex-GI finds himself framed for an armored car robbery. When he's finally released for lack of evidence--after having been beaten up and tortured by the police--he sets out to discover who set him up, and why. The trail leads him into Mexico and a web of hired killers and corrupt cops.
Also on this disk, a Dragnet episode, and a vintage Mighty Mouse cartoon!
A WALK IN THE SUN: Terrific WWII flic starring Dana Andrews. From IMDb: "In the 1943 invasion of Italy, one American platoon lands, digs in, then makes its way inland to attempt to take a fortified farmhouse, as tension and casualties mount. Unusually realistic picture of war as long quiet stretches of talk, punctuated by sharp, random bursts of violent action whose relevance to the big picture is often unknown to the soldiers."
Also purchased but not yet viewed: THE ROAD TO BALI. Bob Hope , Bing Crosby classic. A western twinbill; NEATH THE ARIZONA SKYS w/John Wayne and SANTA FE TRAIL w/Ronald Regan.
So, for $5, I got eight terrific movies, a couple of TV shows, and several pretty neat cartoons. Now that's a bargain.
Viewed the Western double feature yesterday. The John Wayne flick wasn't much, but the other film, SANTA FE TRAIL, was terrific. It chronicles the exploits of a group of West Point grads in the years just prior to the Civil War, fast friends who would become famous as enemies just a few years later, and the nations inevitable slide into civil war. Really strong cast. Stars Ronald Reagan (as George Armstrong Custer), Errol Flynn (as J.E.B. Stuart), Raymond Massey (as John Brown), Van Heflin, Olivia De Haviland, and Alan Hale. This movie really gives you the a feeling of the times, and almost a sense of dispair at the inevitable.
I also found 6 early Hitchcocks for $6 at Canadian Tire once.
In the non-cheap dept., my noir fave is "The Big Sleep". For classics in general, I like Claudette Colbert too, but Myrna Loy and Barbara Stanwyck even more.
SME, Dad may disown you for liking Barbara Stanwyck! ;)