Never endanger an American’s children. That is the advice given by a foreign minister to his English lackey when it is already too late for the villains in this remake of a film that Alfred Hitchcock originally directed in England before he crossed the pond. Wishing to enlarge and improve on his earlier film, he teamed up with his signature actor and composer to produce this widescreen thriller in 1956.
Marnie is undoubtedly Alfred Hitchcock’s most unusual film. There’s no murder, no spies, no sabotage, and practically no suspense. It is a straight up psychological drama. This might have been a great film, with sufficient editing, perhaps with a different leading actress as Marnie and maybe an American actor as Mark, with some of the action sequences done more realistically. As it is, the movie looks like an overblown Hollywood version of what should be a compelling drama.
This classic 1969 John Schlesinger film, adapted by Waldo Salt, from the novel by James Leo Herlihy, won three Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It is the only X-Rated film to ever win Best Picture. Starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, in what many consider his signature role, the film is about what happens to our dreams when they are tested against harsh reality.
London in 1939 was a hodgepodge of pre-war jitters. Depression era soup kitchens operated down the block from posh nightclubs for the rich and the middle class worked to scratch out a decent living. This is a rip-roaring comedy filled with delightful performances by Frances McDormand and Amy Adams.
This 1941 “screwball comedy” was the first of two comedies that Alfred Hitchcock directed during his long and distinguished career, the other being the black comedy, “The Trouble with Harry.” The script, by Academy Award winning screenwriter Norman Krasna, found its way to Carole Lombard, the actress who actually gave the name “screwball” to this kind of comedy, and she backed the project.
If you buy the cliché that young people who argue and harp at each other are actually flirting, then William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing might have been the first great play to use it. In Joss Whedon’s modern dress adaptation, he has whittled the play to under two hours and presented it in a witty original format.
Mystic River is a hard-hitting blue collar crime movie by the amazing Clint Eastwood. Released in 2003, it tells the story of three boyhood friends forever changed by an incident in 1975. Eastwood makes a point of the fact that things do not add up–it is part of the appeal of the movie. And it is usually a fact of life that most filmmakers do not worry themselves over. For Clint Eastwood, however, the fact that life doesn’t add up is the very point of the movie.