Thursday, May 24, 2012

154. Cat People

Cat People
Directed by Jacques Tourneur

We have entered the next stage of horror films, I believe.  In the thirties we had a lot of cheesy monster films. Now, we are getting something a lot more subtle. As hokey as the movie poster looked, this film relied on mounting tension rather than gore.

This movie is about a Serbian woman who may or may not be a cat.  Her cattiness actually might just ruin her marriage!  Anyway, that part of the movie isn't really what is important.  What is important is the way Tourneur skillfully makes you like the main character and sympathize with her.  There also is another really intriguing story line about another love interest of the hubbie.

This film isn't even remotely frightening but it is exciting so definitely check it out.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts: 

Major hit in the box office which led many critics to retract their formally scathing reviews.

Took 18 days to film.

Used sets from The Magnificent Ambersons (which I will be reviewing next).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

153. To Be or Not To Be

To Be or Not To Be
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

So many movie posts!  Losing steam...

This is a very sad and funny movie to watch.  Carole Lombard died shortly after she finished filming.  She was such a great actress and had so much more to give!  This movie is pretty gutsy since it mixes humor and Nazis in the midst of WWII.  I don't think this is a case of "too soon"; it is actually quite enjoyable.

An acting troupe gets involved in an anti Nazi plot.  It is pretty hilarious but also poignant and if I wasn't tired of writing posts I would dwell more on it.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

The line "what could happen in a plane?" was deleted know.

Panned by critics since no one really felt like laughing know.

152. Casablanca

Directed by Michael Curtiz

I think it was Roger Ebert that said that most people would think Casablanca if someone said the word "movie".  I have always sort of wondered why.  Don't get me wrong; it is a great movie.  But it is not my favorite; not even my favorite Bogart.  Maybe I should ask Harry and Sally.

If you haven't seen this, shame on you.  To Have and Have Not is actually pretty similar, which is another movie I like better.  I think this is definitely a movie that should be watched.  However, it is not as overwhelming as you might think it is going to be.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Too many!  Here

151. Now, Voyager

Now, Voyager
Directed by Irving Rapper


The girly girl in me absolutely adored this movie; the film critic in me was only mildly impressed.  I felt like this whole movie should have been to the song "Coming Out".  Bette Davis gets an awesome makeover, both on the inside and out.

Bette Davis is always an amazing actress and this role seemed to be meant for her.  The suffocating mother is played to perfection as well.  This film is like Legally Blonde.  I am not sure if it is for men as well but it is damn entertaining for me.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

People went crazy when Paul Henreid lit two cigarettes at once.  That is pretty sexy.

Close adaptation of the novel.

Bette Davis thought the score interrupted her performance.

150. The Palm Beach Story

The Palm Beach Story
Directed by Preston Sturges

This is a really great film; I would rank it along with Bringing Up Baby.  Good thing I like Preston; this book is absolutely obsessed with him.

This movie is about a woman who wants to divorce her husband so she starts to seduce a rich guy.  But maybe she still has feelings for her husband??!!?!  Implausible situations ensue.

I really enjoyed this movie.  It felt very fresh.  I am still used to divorce being risque with this movies and it is an interesting new concept to start showing in films.  Sturges is always good for some double entendres. Check it out.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Carole Lombard was originally going to star in this movie but she died in a plane crash.

Originally going to be titled "Is Marriage Necessary?"


149. How Green Was My Valley

How Green Was My Valley
Directed by John Ford

Yikes.  That was boring.  Like 2001: A Space Odyssey boring.  It is a film about Welsh miners.  Enough said.

I have never been to Wales although I imagine it is nothing like what the movie portrayed it as.  There were very annoying songs interspersed in the movie which brought film down from boring to just boring and ridiculous.  I also found it a bit surprising how left wing this movie was considering how conservative John Ford was.  Maybe he was just too scared to show that during the 40s.

Skip it.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

Filmed in Malibu.  I see he was going for authenticity.

Intended to be a glorious epic like Gone With the Wind.

Beat Citizen Kane for best picture.  What??? Come on!

148. Sullivan's Travels

Sullivan's Travels
Directed by Preston Sturges

This is an entertaining movie with a really stupid message.  It promotes movies that have absolutely no meaning to escape from every day troubles.  I don't blame it though; I would want to escape 1941 as well.  However, I don't think it should be ranked like it is among movies that really made a difference.

This film is about a director who decides to take to the road to understand "real" America.  He meets Veronica Lake along the way.  She is only 4'11'', did you know that?  Kate Basinger did a good job of acting like her in LA Confidential.  Great movie...

Wow. I am really digressing.  The point is, this is really an entertaining but meaningless film.  I guess I am just a snob since most 1001 movies are pretty deep.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Veronica Lake was pregnant during this movie.

#61 in AFI's top 100.

Coen brothers used the title O Brother Where Art Thou for their 2000 film.

Premiere voted the movie poster #19 in 25 Greatest Movie Posters.

147. High Sierra

High Sierra
Directed by Raoul Walsh

So I have been saying this in all my blogs so I might as well mention it in this one.  I just got back from a glorious trip to London.  Check it out!

But this is actually relevant to this blog because I saw the house where Alfred Hitchcock lived.  It was awesome!

Anyway, back to Bogie.  Well, this certainly isn't my favorite Bogart film, but of course, that doesn't mean it is bad.  We are right in the midst of the strict Production Code and this movie did an excellent job of making a likable criminal even with the codes.  This film is about Roy Earle, who gets out of prison to pull off another heist.  There is a love triangle here; Bogie falls for a good girl while another criminal loves old Humphrey (kind of like Trouble in Paradise).  Of course, it has a really predictable ending because it is a gangster movie.

I am really not a big fan of gangster movies, but it is a pretty good film regardless.  Check it out.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Last movie Bogie made that he did receive top billing.

Ida Lupino hated Humphrey Bogart.