In this powerful 1964 drama, a young English intellectual attempts to escape his bookish life by going to the island of Crete. On his way, the shy Britisher bumps into a loud, cantankerous old Greek man named Zorba. They become an odd couple suddenly faced with unfriendly islanders who are capable of anything, including robbery and cold-blooded murder. The film starred Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Pappas and Lila Kedrova. The movie received seven Oscar nominations, and Kedrova was selected as the Best Supporting Actress for the year. The music from the film soundtrack, featuring “Zorba’s Dance”, became very popular. And the story was eventually remade into a hit Broadway musical in 1965.
Mel Brooks took the terrifying story of a hideous monster stitched together from the human parts of dead people and turned it on its head. This 1974 uproarious, knee-slapping comic send-up featured fuzzy-locked Gene Wilder as the mad doctor, bug-eyed Marty Feldman as Igor the hunchbacked assistant, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman and Teri Garr as kooky females, and Peter Boyle as the misunderstood monster. The movie’s script was nominated for an Oscar as Best screenplay adapted from another medium. The film’s highlight comes when Wilder and monster Boyle dress up in top hats and tuxes to do a high-stepping tap dance rendition of “Putting on the Ritz.”
This super-charged, super-hero 2000 film was based on fictional Marvel Comics characters. The Brotherhood of Mutants, led by fanatic Magneto, possess a machine that intends to turn human world leaders into mutants at a UN Summit meeeting. The X-men—with their assorted powers—are all that stand in Magneto’s way. The super-dooper ensemble cast of heroes included: Kristen Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Anna Pacquin and Halle Berry.
Many consider James Cagney’s performance as Cody Jarrett in this powerful 1949 film noir as his finest portrayal. The gritty crime drama follows the trials and tribulations of a half-mad gangster and his overly domineering mother. Jarrett’s mob is infiltrated by an undercover cop who succeeds in thwarting the gang’s criminal plans. The action-packed movie starred Cagney, Edmond O’Brien, Steve Cochrane and Virginia Mayo. The film’s most memorable scene has Cody Jarrett, gun in hand, standing atop a burning gas tank shouting out defiantly: “Made it, Ma. Top of the world.”
This melodramatic 1958 thriller from Hitchcock caused a furor among many of its critics. They yelled “foul” because the master of suspense revealed the solution to the mystery in the middle of the film. In the story, Scottie Ferguson, an ex-cop, suffers from extreme acrophobia caused by seeing a fellow officer fall to his death from a high San Francisco rooftop. Scottie is asked to follow a friend’s wife to see if she is losing her mind or is possibly being haunted by a dead woman’s spirit. Scotti falls for the wife and this leads to a series of deadly consequences. The movie starred James Stewart and Kim Novak.
“Who is Keyser Soze?” That is the burning question posed in this offbeat 1995 caper film. A boat at a San Pedro pier explodes and police find $90 million dollars and 27 corpses. At a following inquest, detectives quiz survivors about a legendary crime lord named Soze. One of the men questioned is a cripple who tells a fanciful story about a drug deal gone sour. The police believe the cripple’s story and let him go. As he walks away he loses his limp, revealing himself to be the elusive Soze. The movie starred Kevin Spacey as Keyser Soze. Christopher McQuarrie won an Oscar for his original screenplay.
In this gloomy film noir set in post WWII Vienna, a writer of pulp Western stories, Holly Martins, seeks to find an old friend named Harry Lime. But Lime, it seems, has been killed in an auto accident. However, not all is as it seems. First, Holly Martins finds out Lime is a rotten slimeball dealing in harmful and bogus antibiotics that’ve been killing children. Then, Holly discovers Lime is still alive, on the loose, and extremely dangerous to anybody in his path. The movie starred Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard and Alida Valli. The film soundtrack zither music became very popular world-wide. The most memorable lines in the film were written by Welles himself. In a monologue Lime explains the true history of Europe when he tells Holly: “In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance…in Switzerland, they had brotherly love. They had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock!”
I am pleased to say I have a feature article running today on The Wrtiers Fun Zone. It is entitled, “THE BULL THAT WOULDN’T DIE”, and it tells some of the background on how I came to write my recently published e-story, “THE SEVENTH BULL”. Drop by if you can, but don’t forget to bring along your cape and trusty sword. “OLE!” The link address is: http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/
Poor broke and unemployed screenwriter Joe Gillis can’t win in this 1950 drama. When Joe desperately tries to escape repo men out to repossess his car, he ducks into the driveway of an old Gothic mansion on Sunset Bouevard. That move places Joe under the spell of a one-time silent movie queen, Norma Desmond. And their relationship will lead to unlucky Joe lying dead and facedown in Norma’s opulent swimming pool. The movie starred William Holden, Gloria Swanson and Erich von Stroheim. There were 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay.
This stylish film noir is based on a story by Cornell Woolrich. World traveling photographer, Jeff Jeffries, has been grounded in his tiny Greenwich Village apartment with a broken leg. To amuse himself, Jeff spies on his neighbors through high-powered binoculars to the disapproval of his glamorous blond girlfriend, Lisa Fremont. She says no good can come of Jeff’s preoccupation. And she’s right. A man who’s murdered his wife is about to put Jeff and his ladylove in dire jeopardy. The movie starred James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey and Thelma Ritter. Hitchcock was nominated as Best Director.