Tag: classic film

To Kill a Mockingbird

April 24th, 2017 — 5:17am


To Kill a Mockingbird – nf

Sometimes when you think about great classic movies which you may have seen years ago, you might wonder if they were really as good as they were supposed to have been. Every once in a while we take such a stroll down memory lane and view one of them. Certainly in this case, we were not disappointed.

The setting of this movie was during the Great Depression in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s. This was a time when there was overt prejudice towards black Americans. In fact lynchings were occurring in the Deep South. Remember, also when this film was released in 1962, Martin Luther King was yet to make his “I Have a Dream Speech” and didn’t tragically lose his life through assassination until six years later in 1968.

Gregory Peck, in a terrific Oscar-winning performance, plays Atticus Finch, as small town lawyer who is widower and lives with his eight and six-year-old children. He is asked by the local judge to defend Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), a black man who is unjustly accused of raping and beating a white woman. The courtroom scenes are riveting.

Of course, great credit goes to the original author, Harper Lee, who wrote the book and Horton Foote, who wrote the screenplay. We also appreciate the accomplishment of the director, Robert Mulligan, especially because the audience sees much of the meaning of this film through the eyes of Finch’s two children, six-year-old Scout (Mary Badham) and 8-year-old Jem (Phillip Alford). Their identification with the morality and sense of justice of their father is what we hope and believe comes through to succeeding generations. The supporting cast is excellent and includes Robert Duvall who plays a young man with developmental problems who reflects an additional theme of the movie. It shows how people react to someone who is “different,” with fear and the need to distance themselves. This subplot in the story is another indication of the need to put ourselves in “someone else’s shoes,” in to order to try to understand that person.

The film which is 129 minutes, is in black and white and will hold your attention as well as being an unforgettable piece of cinematic history. It is also a reminder of how people are capable of prejudice and hateful discrimination. (1962)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

Double Indemnity

July 1st, 2013 — 10:43pm

Double Indemnity**

Double Indemnity- nf– The main thing that we can say about this classic film is that it reflects the state of the art of the time  and demonstrates what would have been a thrilling mystery in the 1940s. (It is set in 1938 probably to avoid any wartime issues) Other than an historical film document, there is no way that a modern  filmgoer would view this movie other than as a unsophisticated black and white  film noir drama. It is hard to believe that it was co-written by the  premier mystery crime writer of his time,  Raymond Chandler, along with the premier filmmaker, Billy Wilder who directed it. Fred MacMurray played the slick insurance salesman, cocked hat and all, who gets drawn in by beautiful, unblinking ,sparkling eyes,  glossy lips, sexy voice  Barbara Stanwyck who also wore an enticing ankle bracelet. Edward G Robinson who has a voice and a tone just like everyone who has ever imitated him,  plays the tough, all wise insurance adjuster who is in the process of sniffing out out the plot to kill the Stanwyck  character’s husband and make it look like an accident to collect double indemnity !! The music background is as you would have expected it. The crime has to be solved without any  CSI techniques. Hardly anything in the film was believable but it held our interest. This was partly because of the twists and turns of the thin plot and partly because we were thrilled to be watching the ancestors of the some of the great crime movies and TV shows that we can see today. (1944)


Comment » | 2 Stars, Crime, Mystery

Adam’s Rib

April 23rd, 2011 — 9:12pm


Adam’s Rib- nf.  Every once and awhile we like to go back and view a well acclaimed classic film. We do it for enjoyment but also to  try to figure out what is that makes it so great and so enduring. We chose one the 10 best films of all time according to the American Film Institute. The magnificent screenplay by Ruth Gordon and Garsen Karnin, nominated for an Academy Award puts a comedic spin on the age old battle of the sexes which really foreshadows the Women’s Movement and Women’s Liberation which was still 20 years away. The story opens as a woman (Judy Holiday) secretly follows her husband (Tom Ewell) to the apartment of a woman with whom he is having an affair. Quite distraught, she pulls out a revolver and tries to shoot the couple injuring her husband. The following day over breakfast, in a beautiful Manhattan apartment, another husband and wife are reading about the impending trial of this woman. The man who happens to be an Assistant District Attorney (Spencer Tracy) feels that this woman deserves to be fully punished for her terrible deed. His wife, a high powered attorney (Katherine Hepburn), isn’t so sure about that and believes that if the shooter were a man finding his wife having an affair, there would be much more sympathy the perpetrator. Wouldn’t you know it, the husband is assigned to be the prosecutor and the wife has independently decided she would offer to defend the shooter. The trial becomes the vehicle for a hilarious but penetrating analysis of society’s attitude towards women. All the arguments and counter arguments get played out in the courtroom during the day and then in Mr. and Mrs. Bonner’s (Tracy and Hepburn) apartment in the evening. Throughout the film each time one of the characters would seemingly make the winning point in the  male-female conflict, the other would seem to find a way to swing the pendulum in the other direction. The chemistry between these two people is quite palpable. Not only are they great actors but it is well known that they also had a real life romance over many years although never married to each other. The icing on the cake for this movie is that it also introduced an unforgettable Cole Porter song Farewell Amanda which is weaved into the story as it is sung by one of the characters (David Wayne) accompanying himself on the piano, reprised by the voice of Frank Sinatra on the radio, whistled by Katherine Hepburn and sung a cappella by Spencer Tracy. So put together a top notch story with a contemporary social issue that everyone can relate, add well timed comedy, two very well liked actors who have something special between themselves and a hummable musical theme and voila – you have an American classic film ! (1949)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Comedy, Romance

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