Directed by Carol Reed
Written by R.C. Sherriff, based upon the novel of the same name by F.L. Green
Starring James Mason, Kathleen Ryan, Robert Newton and Cyril Cusack
Believe it or not, it’s not always easy watching the movies in this series. No, I don’t mean in terms of availability, like I’m out here picking movies that are basically unavailable and so it’s hard to watch them. As if there is any sense to that.
No, I mean they’re difficult to watch in terms of hearing a film defined as ‘classic’, only to learn it actually doesn’t live up to the hype. That instead of being rapt by this supposed-classic, I’m bored silly and constantly looking at your phone and counting the minutes until it’s over. And at the end, you wonder if you just missed something about the film and it’s truly a classic, or if everybody else simply drank the Kool-Aid and you’re the only sane one left. Continue reading
Directed by Delmer Daves
Screenplay by Halsted Wells, based on the short story by Elmore Leonard
Starring Glenn Ford, Van Heflin, Felicia Farr, Richard Jaeckel, Henry Jones, and Robert Emhardt
A courtly outlaw, Ben Wade (Glenn Ford), robs a stagecoach in rural Arizona. In the robbery, the stage driver winds up dead. When a posse is formed to catch the outlaw, a local rancher, Dan Evans (Van Heflin), agrees to join. Only, after the outlaw is caught and it’s decided to take him to a neighboring town to be put on the train to Yuma, the posse chickens out. Bluntly, they fear Wade’s gang will kill them. The only one who sticks is Evans, who really needs the $200 he’s being offered for the job. The question is: will Wade make it to the train, or will Evans be killed before finishing the job? Continue reading
Directed by Victor Seastrom
Screenplay By Victor Seastrom and Carey Wilson, from the play by Leonid Andreyev
Starring Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, John Gilbert, Marc McDermott, Ruth King, and Tully Marshall
First, a disclaimer: silent films are a big ask, and putting one into this series and expecting you to watch it is not something done lightly. The problem with silent films is they are very much like puppies and babies, in that they need constant attention. Unlike puppies and babies, though, they lack the essential cute and cuddliness that make the constant attention worthwhile. Sure, a silent movie might be good, and that’s something. But the only way you’ll know it’s good is through that constant attention. Even then, that may not be enough.