Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Few Netflix Suggestions: 1930s, 1940s, 1960s Stuff

I'm always looking for Netflix suggestions so here are some from me to you  -  if you're looking for something older:

Sudden Fear - rousing Film Noir starring Joan Crawford as an innocent, wronged woman and Jack Palance as the guy who's out for her money. Holds up very well.

Movies on DVD The Great Lie - Bette Davis gets her man at any cost. Builds to a tense conclusion, then suddenly ends in the most preposterous way. Hattie McDaniel has a nice role in this one as well. This DVD is cool because it has a 'Warners Night At The Movies' feature which simulates a night at the movies with shorts, cartoons and previews. Makes for a great rainy night at home.

Looking for something campy? The Star with Bette Davis as a washed up Hollywood actress is wonderful, until the lousy ending anyway. Lots of great scenes like Bette getting drunk and taking her Oscar on a ride through Tinseltown. Many thought Davis herself was over when she made this picture.

Ocean's Eleven - the original, Rat Pack version is silky smooth and so lightweight it fairly floats above the screen. I miss the old Las Vegas, seen here in all it's glory. A commentary track by Frank Sinatra, Jr. gives this DVD an extra jump.

Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! - super-silly Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller comedy that's good for a few corny laughs. Boy, those jokes got old fast. Just close your eyes and remember when they were new, they sure weren't when this picture was made. A truly awful film but I find it irresistible as an example of what a great number of people went to the theaters to see in the mid-1960s.

Dick Cavett Show: Hollywood Greats - interviews with Bette Davis, Orson Welles, Robert Mitchum, Alfred Hitchcock and others. More please!

Air Raid Wardens / Nothing But Trouble - not Laurel & Hardy's best but pretty darn funny.

Laurel & Hardy: Way Out West / Block-Heads - oh, these ARE two of Laurel & Hardy's best.

I'm No Angel - arguably the best of the Mae West comedies, still unbelievably funny today.

The Old Fashioned Way - my favorite W.C. Fields movie.

The Honeymooners
The Color Honeymooners: Collection 1 - classic Honeymooners routines stretched to an hour with added musical numbers. I loved it, how can you go wrong with Art Carney and Jackie Gleason in their classic roles? Collections 2 & 3 are better than 1 which mostly concerns a trip to Europe that gets pretty outlandish and boring at times. If you enjoy the original Honeymooners this is a wonderful re-imagining of that, with scenes and storylines lifted from earlier episodes and expanded on.

The In-Laws - one of my favorite films of all time, Alan Arkin & Peter Falk were never funnier. I can watch it anytime.

A couple of months ago, Vanity Fair published a cool article on Film Noir. That got my curiosity piqued and I've been Netflixing noir movies ever since.

One I dropped into the player recently was Angel Face starring genre icon Robert Mitchum. Great movie! As I'm wont to do, right after I watch a fab film I flip to the commentary track and view it all over again. I was surprised to find this DVD has one of the best commentary tracks I've heard anywhere. It's narrated by Eddie Muller and full of fascinating stories about Howard Hughes, director Otto Preminger and stars Mitchum and Jean Simmons.

Muller wrote three books considered definitive on Film Noir and apparently carries the nickname "The Czar of Noir." He also wrote that new book on Tab Hunter I've been wanting to read.
A great mix of behind the scenes stories, filmmaking tips and personal asides.