This time of year you can count on holiday shopping madness, eating too much and a proliferation of “Best of the Year” lists. I try to limit myself on the first two items (usually without success with either) but go nuts with my “Best of” lists.
During the next few weeks, I’ll be posting sporadically with several “Best of” lists that I hope you’ll enjoy. My first list should be a Best Books on Movies list. These won’t be books to movies, but rather books about movies, some new, some old. (I also look forward to reading your “Best of” lists.) See you then…
Photos: Lisa Renee Jones, Stumptown Blogger
Act of Violence (1948) Fred Zinnemann (2x)
Warner Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 DVD
World War II hero Frank Enley (Van Heflin) is a well-respected man in Santa Lisa, California and has everything going for him: a wonderful wife named Edith (Janet Leigh) and a little boy named Georgie.
But when Frank discovers that one of his war buddies Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan) desperately wants to see him, he panics. No one knows why, but Frank’s fear forces him into hiding.
Fine Dead Girls (2002) Dalibor Matanić
Global Lens DVD – library
Fine Dead Girls is a film noir set in Croatia. Two young women, Iva (Olga Pakalović, right) and Marija (Nina Violić, left) rent an apartment in the city of Zagreb. They’re just looking for a little quiet in their lives, but Olga (Inge Appelt, below) the landlady seems as if she might be trouble, not just to the women, but to everyone she meets. She’s confrontational, rude and aggressive. Her son Daniel (Krešimir Mikić) tries to hit on Iva, but she’s having none of it. Daniel doesn’t know it, but we do early on: Iva and Marija are lesbians and once the word gets out, there’s no end to the trouble the two women are faced with.
Pushover (1954) Richard Quine
Columbia Film Noir Classics Vol. II DVD
Paul Sheridan (Fred MacMurray, left) is a straight-laced cop who’s on a stakeout to find out if Lona McLane (Kim Novak, right) knows anything about a $200,000 bank haul that her boyfriend Wheeler (Paul Richards) was involved in. Only one problem: Sheridan starts falling for Lona, who wants Sheridan to knock off Wheeler so she and Sheridan can make off with the cash.
D.O.A. (1950) Rudolph Maté
Mill Creek Crime Wave DVD
D.O.A. contains one of the most original openings in film noir. A man named Frank Bigelow (Edmond O’Brien) walks into a police station wanting to report a murder. The cops ask him who was murdered. Bigelow replies, “I was.”
River (TV 2015) Created by Abi Morgan
Netflix (6 episodes, approx. one hour each)
It’s a show you probably haven’t seen and probably haven’t even heard anyone talking about, which is understandable. With all of the TV shows to choose from out there, this Netflix original (borrowed from BBC One) could easily slip past you. But it shouldn’t.
We may not have had a huge crowd for our Film Noir Double Feature yesterday at the Severna Park Library, but those who came had a great time and enjoyed some great discussion.
I am so honored to be a contributor to ScreenPrism, a great website and discussion platform for those of us who love movies, can’t get enough of them, and often have questions about them.
If you’re not familiar with the site, please read their About Us page, which will tell you everything you need to know. You may even want to submit a question.
The question I recently answered for ScreenPrism:
Through the years we’ve read and heard of some awful, tragic events that happened because someone was inspired to do something they saw in a movie. We’re all mimics at heart in one way or another, and although we see behaviors from movies imitated mostly by kids, none of us are immune. (We might not do it, but who hasn’t thought about yelling “You can’t handle the truth!” or another famous movie line at someone?) The instances from my own experience have thankfully not been tragic, but were at times just plain dumb. In some cases, I was able to observe these lapses in common sense from a somewhat safe distance.
Case in point: my friend Ben. Ben and I were beyond kids at the time, band directors (yes, young men in their 20s put in charge of a room – or a football field – full of young people with instruments in their hands) onboard a plane about to take off for a band convention in Chicago. It was Ben’s very first flight and he was excited. He was also a fan of the move Airplane! (1980)…
The Twilight Zone: Season Two (1960-1961)
Image Blu-ray, (4 discs; 12 hours, 5 min.)
I could spend hours, days talking about The Twilight Zone, why I love it, why it has continued to be popular, and on and on. I’ve seen every episode at least once, many of them at least a dozen times, yet they still continue to amaze me. Countless numbers of people watch the episodes on TV marathons each year, but a few years ago, I saved up for the Blu-rays, which I have been dipping into here and there. I watched Season One a couple of years ago and just finished Season Two. I won’t go into details here; you’re either on board with TZ or you’re not. You either understand and accept the limitations of the special effects of the time or you don’t. Even more so, you either appreciate (mostly) well-written episodes or you’d rather watch something else. I’m only listing my favorites (which may not necessarily be the best episodes) from Season Two.