Living up to its name, this satire directed by Stanley Kubrick is quite peculiar to say the least. The nation is on the edge of nuclear war because of a lunatic general (Sterling Hayden) who made the decision to override the authority of the president (Peter Sellers). Tempers flare in the war room as the leaders decide what to do. Will the Doomsday device be unleashed as Dr. Strangelove (Sellers again) supposes or will the bomb be stopped in time? One of the obvious highlights of this film would have to be Peter Seller’s performances as three distinct characters. George C. Scott also delivers a very respectable performance as a general advising the president. Then, there is Slim Pickens who is often remembered for the famous bomb riding scene. This film is good but in my mind it is not great. However, it does depict an era of tremendous fear brought on by the Cold War, thus making it historically important.
Starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Angela Lansbury, and Janet Leigh, the plot revolves around a Korean war hero who is brainwashed to be a weapon for Communists. Several men in the company have recurring nightmares about brainwashing, communists, and murder. Sinatra’s character has trouble finding solace, however he does meet a beautiful woman (Leigh). Harvey’s character returns home constantly at odds with his domineering mother who is married to a dim-witted senator. He has no idea what deadly purpose he is being used for. His brainwashing causes him to commit several shocking murders. It is up to Sinatra to finally save him and stop his one final violent act. However, Harvey’s character does prevail by himself but not without tragedy. Sinatra and Harvey give wonderful performances and Lansbury is especially chilling. As you will find out, this film shows all the twists and thrills that come out of a simple game of solitaire. It was also a sign of the times during the Cold War.
Based on true events, this film describes the heroic exploits of POWs in a German Stalag during World War II. With extreme heart and teamwork the men take upon the task of making a massive escape. Led by Richard Attenbourough, Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Charles Bronson to name a few, they begin their monumental task. Despite adversity, their plan slowly becomes reality and escape is imminent. When the time comes over 70 men get away in the night, escaping secretly across Germany. However, relief is quickly replaced by tragedy as many of the escapees are shot or captured. Through it all the Allies struggle courageously against the Nazis. By the end they may be a little battered but they certainly are not beaten. Besides a wonderful ensemble cast, this film has one of the most iconic themes and chase scenes of all time.
Adapted from the famous novel, this film holds its own thanks to a stellar portrayal of Atticus Finch by Gregory Peck who embodied one of the most heroic screen personas because of his humility, his quiet strength, and his ability to understand others. Furthermore, this film covered the issue of prejudice when it was still a very explosive subject to many people.
*May Contain Spoilers
Adapted from Harper Lee’s classic, this film has a lot of things going for it. This includes a touching story and on of the greatest heroes of all time. It follows the recollections of Scout (Mary Badham) as she remembers her childhood with her older brother Jem and their widowed, lawyer father Atticus. The plot revolves most importantly around the trial of a black man for an accused rape of a white girl . The only man willing to defend Tom Robinson is Atticus because he feels it is the right thing to do. In probably his greatest performance, Gregory Peck portrayed a quiet yet courageous man, Lee had likened to her father. Instantly we are drawn to this well-grounded person who is not always liked or successful for that matter, but who always does what is ultimately right.
Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton with director Mike Nichols, this taboo-breaking adaption of the stage play revolves around a middle-aged couple. George is a professor and he and his wife Martha have a love-hate relationship. Urged by her influential father, Martha invites a young couple to their home. Because of the late hour and lots of alcohol, the rest of the evening becomes a wild war full of nasty insults, hurtful games, and manipulation. Martha and George use their guests and go as far as physical violence. However, in the end secrets are uncovered and they realize that they truly are afraid of Virginia Woolf. What began as a joke became all too true. At points this film seemed to elude me but I will say the acting was intense and powerful. There were moments where you disdain these people, then you feel pity for their plight, and other times you may even be able to relate to them in some ways.
Starring Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, and Polly Bergen, the film is an ominous and intense thriller.Peck is an attorney in a small town and he has a beautiful wife and young daughter. However, Max Cady (Mitchum), a man he helped put away, is now out. He makes it clear he wants revenge and he will bide his time to get what he wants. He constantly torments, stalks, and plays mind games with Peck and his family. All the police and private investigator can do is keep him under surveillance. Desperate, Peck decides to set a trap, moving his wife and daughter to a house boat on Cape Fear river. Sure enough Cady comes and shows his animalistic and brutal side. In the final showdown, Peck and Mitchum face off in a tense confrontation. Cady gets what is coming but not without doing damage. Following the Night of the Hunter, Mitchum plays an even greater villain here because he fills you with anxiety without doing anything.
Directed by Jules Dassin and starring Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, and Don Taylor, this documentary-style police procedural is an intriguing film. It begins with an omniscient narrator explaining the setting in New York. Soon we witness the aftermath of a murder. Then, we are following the detectives in Homicide as they try to follow the case. A beautiful model is dead and the suspects are few. Furthermore, they must figure out how stolen jewelry and a drowned man fit into the case. As Lieutenant Muldoon suspects, everything leads to an unknown culprit, a McGillicuddy. Little does the perpetrator know the police are closing in on him and it is only a matter of time. I found this film to be unique because of it’s narrator, semi-realistic approach, and relatable characters. On top of that the progression of the story was interesting and the ending sequence was entertaining. There truly are 8,000 stories in the Naked City. Enough to make a TV show.