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Thursday, 8 December 2011

100 Essential Classic Films: Part 3 (80-71)

(You can find the other 100 Essential Classic Film posts here)

#80 The Browning Version, 1951

Dir.: Anthony Asquith
Starring: Michael Redgrave, Jean Kent, Nigel Patrick
IMDb says: Forced to retire from an English public school. a disliked professor must confront his utter failures as a teacher, a husband, and a man.
Why I picked it: When I first saw this four years ago I really thought I wouldn't like it at all but from the word go, I was completely drawn in my the story. It's a magnificent. Although certainly not the type of film that one can watch over and over again, it really does deserve two or three watches because there is so much to be gleaned from it.

#79 Cool Hand Luke, 1967
Dir.: Stuart Rosenberg
Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy
IMDb says: A free-spirited convict refuses to conform to chain-gang life.
Why I picked it: In this film Paul Newman plays one of cinema's most brilliant and memorable anti-heroes, Luke Jackson. This is a film that makes it impossible for you to glance away from the scene even for a second; a film that necessitates more than one viewing for even minimal understanding of the incredible story. Whilst it may not appeal to everyone, I really can't recommend it enough.

#78 The Big Country, 1958
Dir.: William Wyler
Starring: Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Caroll Baker, Charlton Heston
IMDb says: A New Englander arrives in the Old West, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land.
Why I picked it: I'm not a fan of Westerns and I never have been but this breathtakingly stunning film is one of the exceptions. As well as having one the best casts a film ever had, The Big Country has a really intriguing and exciting storyline, beautiful cinematography, and is absolutely epic.

#77 The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, 1943
Dir.: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Starring: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook
IMDb says: Portrays in warm-hearted detail the life and loves of one extraordinary man.
Why I picked it: The Archers made so many brilliant films but Colonel Blimp has to be one of the greatest of the lot. Besides the amazing work they did of directing, the entire cast all give excellent performances too (a special nod to Deborah for so magnificently pulling of playing three different women in one film). Keep a packet of tissues handy for this one!

#76 Rebel Without a Cause, 1955
Dir.: Nicholas Ray
Starring: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo
IMDb says: A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.
Why I picked it: Everyone knows about Rebel whether they've seen it or not and, as such, I'm not going to rave about it here, I'm just going to recommend that you watch it ASAP because this is one of those rare films that actually live up to the "hype".

#75 Whistle Down the Wind, 1961
Dir.: Bryan Forbes
Starring: Hayley Mills, Diane Holgate, Alan Barnes, Alan Bates, Bernard Lee
IMDb says: When an injured wife murderer takes refuge on a remote Lancashire farm, the owners three children mistakenly believe him to be the Second Coming of Christ.
Why I picked it: Whistle Down the Wind is a beautiful film which I would venture to say is one of the greatest British films ever made. It's charm and sense of nostalgia is timeless; it has a innocence about it that is just as touching today as it undoubtedly was when it came out.

#74 I'll Be Seeing You, 1944
Dir.: William Dieterle
Starring: Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, Shirley Temple, Spring Byington
IMDb says: A soldier suffering from battle fatigue meets a young woman on Christmas furlough from prison and their mutual loneliness blossoms into romance.
Why I picked it: I watched this film for the first time after Audrey included it in her Box Set Monday post . She described it as being a film that "has a very quiet and honest feel about" and I can certainly vouch for that. It's a Christmas film with a difference and, as we're in December now, I highly recommend a viewing! ;D

#73 Swing Time, 1936
Dir.: George Stevens
Starring: Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire
IMDb says: A performer and gambler travels to New York City to raise the $25,000 he needs to marry his fiancée, only to become entangled with a beautiful aspiring dancer.
Why I picked it: When I was figuring out which films to put on this huge list, at one point realised that something was lacking on the list. After much head scratching, I realised I needed a Fred and Ginger film. As Swing Time is my favourite, I immediately chose that one. It's fresh, it's snappy, it has one the most incredible dance scenes ever, and it's FRED AND GINGER! What's not to love?!

#72 Gentlemen's Agreement, 1947
Dir.: Elia Kazan
Starring: Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, Celeste Holm, June Havoc, John Garfield
IMDb says: A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred.
Why I picked it: When I switched on the tv and saw this was playing, I have to admit I wasn't expecting too much of it. After all, Hollywood isn't really the best at handling delicate issues such as this. However, I became immediately engrossed and when the film ended I was pleasantly surprised with how amazing the film actually was. Like any film, it has it's flaws, but when you consider the year in which it was made it really is quite incredible.

#71 Modern Times, 1936
Dir.: Charlie Chaplin
Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard
IMDb says: The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.
Why I picked it: Arguably one of Chaplin's finest films, Modern Times is a beautiful film which, whilst full to the brim with many hilarious comedy scenes that only the great Chaplin could pull off, also has a deeper, more sobering message to tell. The final scene where Chaplin and Goddard walk off, hand in hand, along a long (and winding) road with only themselves and their smiles to keep them going is definitely one of the most moving and most beautiful endings of a film ever.

Thanks for reading!

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