Directed by Sam Wood
Screenplay by Thornton Wilder, Frank Craven and Harry Chandlee, based on the play by Thornton Wilder
Starring William Holden, Martha Scott, Fay Bainter, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Guy Kibbee, Stewart Erwin and Frank Craven
The notion seeming to underlie the “Make America Great Again” slogan is a desire to return to a different, simpler time in our history, when the grass was always greener and everybody was prosperous and people knew their place. In other words, it years for a fictional time in our history where life was never tough for anybody, especially for white people.
In other words, it desires the world of Our Town, minus the tragedy. Continue reading
Directed by John Schlesinger
Screenplay by Frederic Raphael
Starring Julie Christie, Laurence Harvey and Dirk Bogarde
When it came up as a Best Picture Project subject, I might’ve made some statement to the effect that 1969’s Midnight Cowboy was the first Best Picture winner of the 1970s. No, the statement doesn’t make the logically-inept conclusion that because 1969’s Best Picture Oscar was awarded to it in 1970 it is somehow a 70’s film, because all Oscars are awarded in the actual calendar year following their release. Rather, the statement was all about sensibility. Continue reading
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Screenplay by John Paxton, based on the novel “The Brick Foxhole” by Richard Brooks
Starring Robert Mitchum, Robert Young, Robert Ryan and Gloria Grahame
Chances are you’ve never heard of William Phipps. Until I saw Crossfire, I’d never heard of him either. Of course, given he had a largely undistinguished screen career it makes sense to not hear of him. Probably his most-widely seen role was as Prince Charming in Disney’s original Cinderella, but given that was voice work and you never actually saw his face, does that even count? That said, his IMDB page does list some 229 acting credits, stretching from 1947-2000, none of which were what you’d call memorable roles. Still, that’s a pretty robust career for a guy whose name you do not know.
It’s sad he’s not more well-known, given he was easily the standout of Crossfire, his feature-film debut. Cast as the dumb, scared and cowed Leroy, who seems to exist only as a punching bag for Robert Ryan’s Montgomery, he brings a level of reality to the role the others in the film fall short of. Sure, they do credible work, but Phipps truly has something extra and even if he’s in the film for maybe 10 minutes at most, those 10 minutes make a mark. Continue reading
Directed by Garth Davis
Screenplay by Luke Davies, based upon the book “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierly
Starring Sunny Pawar, Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman
Fact: Authenticity matters. If there is nothing else we value more in this world than authenticity, I don’t know what it is. After all, we live in a world where posers are shamed, “fake news” is openly scorned (even when the news itself is not fake and the idiot screaming “fake news” just doesn’t have any substantive response to the reporting), and ‘Trolls” are called “Trolls” for a reason.
And why do we value authenticity? Because when somebody is not authentic they are, in essence, lying to the world. And nobody likes a liar. Continue reading
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Guy Bolton and Ernest Vajda, based upon the novel “Le Prince Consort” by Leon Xanrof and Jules Chancel
Starring Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Lillian Roth and Lupino Lane
First, a confession – I have no history with Ernst Lubitsch. Yes, I know Billy Wilder wrote for him and revered the so-called “Lubitsch Touch.” And I know William Wyler also held the man in high-esteem. But as I’m neither Billy Wilder, nor William Wyler, I have no background with him. At this point the most I’ve seen from the Lubitsch filmography is about 30 minutes of To Be Or Not To Be, which I recently tried but gave up for failing to engage me. Continue reading