This is actually my second favorite Hawks (barely beaten by Rio Bravo). It's also his most underrated in my opinion. Have you read Bogdanovich's comments on The Big Sky? They're short, but amazing nonetheless.
Three years after script duties on Spielberg's Jaws, Milius took to the ocean again for a very different film, a '60's-set rites of passage tale of three Californian beach boys. We see their lives change over twelve years with the encroachment of events from a tumultuous decade; namely the war in Vietnam. Spectacular surfing sequences are beautifully photographed by Surtees and the overall tone glows with nostalgia..
I had low expectations before watching this film, assuming that its low profile - despite the newsworthy casting of three generations of the legendary Douglas acting clan - must be because it's a spectacular misfire. With that in mind, I have to say I rather enjoyed it in a sub-On Golden Pond kind of way. Yes, it's thoroughly contrived but I was satisfied with just seeing Kirk and Michael finally sharing the screen..
In five concise chapters containing ravishing images of nature, this serene film explores a range of human experiences including joy, sorrow and guilt. There is a recurrent animal motif and other imaginative touches, like the ornate door that opens at the start of each section. Style and content are fused seamlessly and the director is Ozu-like in his non-judgmental treatment of his characters. Absolutely beautiful..
Future Hammer maestro Fisher gets a co-director credit on this atmospheric drama set during the 1889 Paris Exposition which immediately made me think of Polanski's similarly themed but totally different Frantic. Simmons, beautiful as ever, is aided by Bogarde in a frantic search for her missing brother, hindered by unhelpful hotel staff. If you like something a little bit offbeat, this is definitely worth a look..
One of Fassbinder's favourite films with a storyline that sounds uncannily similar to Berlin Alexanderplatz. I'll have to try and track it down..
Despite butchery from greedy studio heads who pulled the film from cinemas and trimmed 20 minutes simply so they could show one more screening per day, this pioneering yarn from Hawks is still marvellous. The episodic river journey to trade furs with Blackfoot Indians is laden with incident and Douglas is his usual ball of energy. OK, maybe it's not as great as Red River or Rio Bravo but it's rather splendid anyway..
Hope's ornate adventure is transferred to the screen in the definitive film version. Selznick assembled a sparkling cast and recruited Wong Howe to make sure the production gleamed in gorgeous monochrome. Colman is perfectly dashing in a dual role and his duel with Fairbanks Jr. bests the following year's Flynn/Rathbone face-off in The Adventures Of Robin Hood. This is easily the crowning glory of all swashbucklers..
In this heartwarming film De Sica and Zavattini continued their long-running investigation of the social conditions of post-War Italy begun a decade earlier. Set in a Rome being rebuilt in the midst of an economic revival, the story is of a newlywed couple and their struggle to find a home. Working class solidarity is celebrated in a film that stands as a fitting coda to the most fruitful period of De Sica's career..
Two New York intellectuals chew the cud but it's Shawn who does most of the listening as he dines out with Gregory and learns of his old friend's strange recent life experiences. Malle's film is undoubtedly daring and unique with moments of real insight, humour and drama. Having said that, it's not really my kind of thing and I admired it a lot more than I liked it. Still, this is minimalist cinema with a vengeance..
Despite being in a poor state of health in the year before his death, that old rascal Peckinpah showed that his professionalism was still intact when he shot the final film of his great career. It's undoubtedly flawed but, despite editorial interference, there is still some great stuff on screen. The convoluted screenplay is delivered admirably by an eclectic cast with special kudos going to the brilliant John Hurt..
Sam's third time in the director's chair sees the World War II combat veteran tackling his first war picture, a gritty tale of a platoon battling for survival behind enemy lines during the Korean War. Evans portrays a grizzled veteran who shepherds a lost patrol to a Buddhist temple and is the heart and soul of the movie. Through his experiences we're given a crash course in Fuller's battleground values. A triumph..
After being behind the camera on the vast majority of the Rathbone/Bruce Holmes movies, Neill took His Last Bow as a director with this highly efficient noirish B-movie. Despite a hardly surprising twist ending which I saw coming a mile off, this is a terrific vehicle for Duryea to show off his acting prowess in the ostensibly sympathetic role of an alcoholic songwriter trying to save an innocent man from execution..
It's The Bard on the Range for Daves in his second great Western of '56, an intriguing and very loose interpretation of Othello. An impressive cast was assembled and atypical good guy performances were delivered by Borgnine and Bronson who were usually cast as villains in this sort of flick. The much underrated Ford stands out, though, as the title character; a Shane-like loner with a troubled past. Very impressive..
After annoying Carroll purists with his version of Alice In Wonderland, dear Uncle Walt was at it again with his 'reimagining' (loathsome word!!) of Barrie's perennial tale of The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. Rating the movie solely as entertainment (I couldn't care less if it's faithful or not), I have to say I found it wholly endearing, as did my daughter judging from the hearty chuckles emanating from her direction..
Easily the most disappointing of the Boetticher/Scott partnership, this is still a relatively worthwhile viewing experience. Despite the director/star collaboration which raises expectations, this was strictly a conventional Warners 'oater' and isn't part of the renowned Ranown Cycle. There doesn't seem to be too much heart in the project but the pic plods along quite satisfactorily despite its lack of inspiration..
A personal favourite of mine for many years, this bizarre hybrid has a bit of everything - even rattlesnakes! Bikers, road movie enthusiasts and horror aficionados are all catered for, not to mention fans of smash-'em-up car chases. Fonda and Oates head up the cast and have a devil of a time trying to escape from Texan Satanists. Featuring a final scene that is one of the bleakest and most effective in '70's cinema..
Wisely abandoning Michael Myers after the entertaining but lacklustre Halloween II, the third film in the series was a stand alone story concerning the fiendish plot of a toy maker to wreak havoc via his Halloween masks. The film cleverly references everything from Invasion Of The Body Snatchers to Willy Wonka! Unfortunately, its box office failure led to the resurrection of Myers for the abysmal fourth installment..
In the darkest, least populous hospital in history, murderous Michael Myers continues his rampage.. The original Halloween is an undoubted horror masterpiece and its sequel gains plus points for continuing the story from the moment the first film ends and having Carpenter, Hill and Cundey back on board to keep a certain quality control. Not as bad as expected and on the whole I would say it was a Pleasence surprise..
How to describe this little known pre-Code marvel? The presence of Ruggles in the cast tells you that it's bound to have a comedic element. However, the sight of Atwill should lead those familiar with his work to expect something a little more chilling.. The truth is, you get a bit of both! Quite frankly, it's a thoroughly entertaining hybrid that has to be seen to be (dis)believed. I loved every silly second of it..
A fascinating entry in the wonderful Ranown cycle of Westerns that, unlike others in the series, largely eschews location shooting for an almost real-time, dialogue driven picture filmed on the Columbia backlot. It plays out like High Noon in reverse and triumphantly pulls off the neat and tricky feat of avoiding a fatal climactic face-off between Scott and his nemesis for something more considerate and satisfying..