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Forgotten Gems


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Initial post: Jul 18, 2012 9:01:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 20, 2012 12:59:36 PM PDT
Lev says:
I invite people to list and perhaps comment on a few great films that most of us are likely not to have seen, whether because they are old and forgotten, foreign, marketed poorly, whatever. The problem with 'The Top 10 Movies to See Before you Die' thread is that most of us have indeed seen those movies. This thread is about the movies you should see before you die, but possibly haven't. If you have never heard of some of these films, I suggest looking them up at www.imdb.com.

The following list is for people who love black and white:

The Wind (1928)
Pandora's Box (1929)
Shanghai Express (1932)
Ruggles of Red Cliff (1935)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
The Shop Around The Corner (1940)
To Be Or Not To Be (1942)
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)
Separate Tables (1958)
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Posted on Jul 18, 2012 10:54:01 PM PDT
rick tan says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2012 12:19:03 AM PDT
'Ruggles of Red Gap' was 1935, I believe.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2012 6:20:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2012 6:26:18 AM PDT
Lev says:
rick tan: "The Dark Knight Inception The Dark Knight Rises"

Lev: Perhaps you didn't read the OP? The films that you have listed came out relatively recently and have made millions of dollars. Please give us a list of good films that have been forgotten, or overlooked. No more box office smashes, please, unless they were box office smashes before we were born.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2012 6:23:42 AM PDT
Lev says:
Jonathan Baker says: 'Ruggles of Red Gap' was 1935, I believe.

Lev: Thank you, Jonathan. I have edited my list accordingly. Would you care to offer yours?

Posted on Jul 19, 2012 6:48:34 PM PDT
"Cold Turkey" is a dark comedy with a big cast, from the 1970's. A town tries to give up smoking. It's subversive stuff which may seem mild by today's standards.

And next, a moody and suspenseful psychological study.
"Séance on a Wet Afternoon" is a British story of a psychic named Myra (the divine Kim Stanley) who coerces her mousy husband into snatching the daughter of an important man ... all so that Myra can bring the whereabouts of the child to the authorities and reveal her clairvoyant talent.
The movie is all about Kim Stanley's acting. Now, the film is probably not to everyone's taste: slow moving and quiet but really unusual and often gripping. And with good, stark, b&w camera work.

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is a touching coming-of-age drama based on the classic novel, a slice of life from an America that once was.

"The Snake Pit" features Olivia De Havilland (Oscar nominated) in a realistic and stark story about a woman in a mental institution who through therapy remembers her life prior to entering this bleak place.

The Cinemascope comedy "Desk Set" from 1957 features Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (both ooze charisma in their films); the story involves Tracy arriving at the research department of a TV network to observe the daily routine, but he cannot divulge to the associates why he is there. So, the women who work there assume they're going to be replaced.

Posted on Jul 19, 2012 6:50:28 PM PDT
I believe rick tan is trying to be funny, as usual. Betcha he wows them at the local pub, lol.

((crickets chirping))

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2012 9:00:53 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 20, 2012 5:03:58 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2012 9:54:58 PM PDT
Hikari says:
@Sardy
Between us, I doubt rick is old enough to be legally served in a pub.

I see you say you're from Pennsylvania. Next door here in Ohio, we don't have pubs . . only bars and Applebee'ses. Pub sounds a lot more cosy.

Oh, Lord, completely off the subject, but I've just had a fright.

Have you seen K.D. Lang lately? Let me rectify that if not:
---------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XyKZcvLqmk&feature=related

Voice of an angel. Face of . . .Paul Sorvino? Dear me. She's had it a bit rough.

Posted on Jul 19, 2012 11:59:31 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 20, 2012 12:12:20 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2012 7:43:54 AM PDT
Hikari,

Not the best photo of lang, really. And even if lang looked like the grandmother from The Addams Family, she would still be one of the most amazing vocalists in the world. I remember when I got my cassette of Absolute Torch And Twang. Felt like I had found a jewel.

re: pub

I use that word because it sounds nicer than "bar". We have bars here, I just avoid 'em ... I was a bit of a bar-fly once upon a time. I'm better off having closed that chapter, lol.

Back to the topic-- I remembered another old gem I enjoy, that others may have missed along the way. I Walked with a Zombie is an example of what a director and film crew can do with limited funds and lots of creativity. It's a gothic mystery with a tropical setting ... with a dash of "Rebecca", among other things. Lots of atmosphere.

Best bit: when Betsy takes Jessica through the sugar cane fields to the voodoo ceremony. Super eerie, and yet beautiful, and featuring a palpable sense of unease. The sound alone is wonderful.

It's available on the box set The Val Lewton Horror Collection (Cat People / The Curse of the Cat People / I Walked with a Zombie / The Body Snatcher / Isle of the Dead / Bedlam / The Leopard Man / The Ghost Ship / The Seventh Victim / Shadows in the Dark / Martin Scorsese Presents .... A few good creepy ones in there from the 1940's.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2012 7:52:37 AM PDT
Balok says:
@Lev:

> The Box of Pandora (1929)

If you mean the one with Louise Brooks and directed by G.W. Pabst, then people will probably have more luck finding it under its usual English title _Pandora's Box_ rather than under a literal translation from the German.

There are several ways of looking at "Movies you ought to see, but probably haven't" -- there are obscure films, and there are lesser (or lesser known) productions of great directors.

For example, if you've never seen a film by Bergman, _A Lesson in Love_ and _Waiting Women_ would not be my first recommendations. But if you've seen even a few of his classics, it's probably worth a diversion to see these early comedies, which IMO are both funnier than _Smiles of a Summer Night_, even if they are not as great.

Along those lines, if you've never seen a film directed by Billy Wilder, then _The Major and the Minor_ and _One, Two, Three_ wouldn't be my first recommendations. But both of them are (IMO) worth seeing. In the first, Ginger Rogers plays a woman from the midwest who in fleeing New York and a lecherous Robert Benchley, finds herself having to dress up as a twelve-year-old in order to be able to afford the train fare. In his first American film, Wilder is already showing his style and his interest in satirizing American attitudes toward sex. There's also a hilarious scene in which twelve-year-old SuSu (aka Ginger Rogers) tries to get a high school boy to do her a favor by promising to go to the dance with him. He asks her if she can dance, and she does a quick buck-and-wing, to which he replies, "Adequate." _One, Two, Three_ is probably my favorite Wilder film. Even though it's a satire of the Cold War, I find that Jimmy Cagney's performance and the general attitude of the film ("Is everyone in this world a hypocrite?" -- "I don't know everyone") makes it surprisingly not dated.

Third and last example (I have several things to do and only an hour and a half in which to do them) -- when people think of de Sica's neo-Realist classics, they probably have in mind _Bicycle Thieves_ and _Umberto D_. I'd like to put in a good word for _Miracle in Milan_. It's closer to "magical realism" than "neo-Realism," but I think that the way that he coats a bitter satirical pill in a sugar-coated fairy tale is pure genius.

Speaking of Ginger Rogers, as a fan of Ginger and of Comden and Green, I'd have to recommend her reunion film with Fred Astaire, _The Barkleys of Broadway_.

An offbeat film (but one that has a Criterion release) is Cornel Wilde's _The Naked Prey_. Vaguely based on a true story, Wilde plays a man who is part of a 19th-century hunting party in Africa, one of whose members offends a local tribe. After killing the rest of the party in various horrific ways, they strip Cornel Wilde, give him a headstart of a bowshot, and spend the rest of the movie hunting him down as he tries to make his way back to civilization. . .

_La Ronde_ -- a comedy based on a play by Schnitzler about the serial affairs of a group of characters, beginning and ending with a prostitute. Does anyone even know nowadays that Max Ophuls once existed?

_Good Morning!_ -- Ozu's comedy of changing society in Japan, about two boys who refuse to speak until their father buys them a television. It also shows that Great Directors [tm] are allowed to get away with flatulence jokes in their movies.

_Dr. Terror's House of Horrors_ -- a cheapoid horror anthology film with inter alia a very young Donald Sutherland. It's not up there with the great Hammer horror films, but it does have one of the 100 greatest lines in movie history.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2012 1:22:17 PM PDT
Lev says:
Hi, Balok!

Thank you for the correction re: 'Pandora's Box', which is probably the most erotic and decadent film without nudity that I've ever seen. I've changed my OP accordingly.

I confess that I don't know anything about Billy Wilder, and I hereby resolve before all the world to correct that situation--thanks for the recommendation.

Re: The Bicycle Thieves. I don't know why this film is famous, while King Vidor's The Crowd languishes in relative obscurity. The former, methinks, owes a great debt to the latter.

You've mentioned Dr. Terror's House of Horror's before. It scared the life out of me when it first came out, and I haven't seen or heard of it since, except from you. If I bring it home, I think my wife will never forgive me. But that's never stopped me before...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2012 10:57:43 PM PDT
Balok says:
@Lev:

> I confess that I don't know anything about Billy Wilder, and I hereby resolve before all the world to
> correct that situation--thanks for the recommendation.

One of the advantages of having Thomas A. Stith on "ignore" is that I don't have to worry about coming across his inevitable rants about my complete lack of cinematic good taste.

If you're new to Wilder, you probably would be better off starting with his acknowledged classics before moving on to _The Major and the Minor_:
The Apartment
Sunset Blvd
Some Like it Hot
Stalag 17
Witness for the Prosecution
Ace in the Hole (AIUI, it wasn't tremendously popular at the time, but has undergone a critical reevaluation since)
One, Two, Three (I'm biased -- I really love this film)

Many people pooh-pooh his later films, but I think that of his films of the 1970's, only his remake of _The Front Page_ is a failure, and IMO the other three (_The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes_, _Avanti!_, and _Fedora_) are all worth watching.

> You've mentioned Dr. Terror's House of Horror's before. It scared the life out of me when it first came
> out, and I haven't seen or heard of it since, except from you.

I wouldn't confuse it with a great film by any means, but I think it's worth watching just for the segment with Donald Sutherland which, as I've said on many occasions, concludes with one of the top 100 lines in the history of movies.

If you like anthology horror, I'd also recommend _Asylum_ (the 1972 one written by Robert Bloch). The frame story is that inmates of an asylum tell their stories to an applicant for a job on the staff. It was the third feature at a drive-in that my parents took us to when I was a kid. After the first sequence (a man and his mistress conspire to kill the man's wife, chop her up into pieces, and put them into a freezer, which is fine until the pieces crawl out of the freezer. . .), my parents declared that the movie was too scary (despite my insistence that it wasn't) and took us home -- it took me something like 35 years to find out how the movie ended (by buying the DVD).

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2012 10:28:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 22, 2012 10:28:41 AM PDT
Lev says:
Balok: One of the advantages of having Thomas A. Stith on "ignore" is that I don't have to worry about coming across his inevitable rants.

Lev: Isn't he just William A. Smith signing in under a different name?

Balok: . . . my parents declared that the movie was too scary (despite my insistence that it wasn't).

Lev: But it WAS too scary--it was too scary for them.

Thank you for the Wilder recommendations. I am always on the prowl for great films I haven't seen yet. Hence, the inspiration for my OP.

My wife and I have just discovered Israeli films. We saw 'The Syrian Bride' last night--one of the most suspenseful movies I've ever seen in my life! Also one of the most existentially absurd, and one of the most moving...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2012 10:06:47 PM PDT
Balok says:
@Lev:

>> One of the advantages of having Thomas A. Stith on "ignore" is that I don't have to worry about
>> coming across his inevitable rants.

> Isn't he just William A. Smith signing in under a different name?

Not even close. In fact, one of the few things that WAS and I agree on is that Stith's posts frequently hint at some kind of serious psychological problem (armchair analyst sez: clinical depression). Which is one reason that I put Stith on ignore -- it's too easy to make fun of him, and making fun of people for things they can't help falls IMO squarely into the category of "placing a stumbling block before a blind person."

> But it WAS too scary--it was too scary for them.

I find that well-done psychological horror films (e.g. _The Innocents_, _The Haunting_) tend to be scarier than Robert Bloch-style horror. (More Stith-baiting ahead, I'm afraid) And let's face it, the effectiveness of the shower scene in _Psycho_ is about 99.95% Hitchcock, 0.05% Bloch.

> I am always on the prowl for great films I haven't seen yet.

Glad to be of service. I hope that JB will provide you with his list -- he's seen more great films than I have, and he also will recommend great films (Last Year at Marienbad, films by Godard) that I would recommend that you should avoid unless you are a serious masochist.

> My wife and I have just discovered Israeli films. We saw 'The Syrian Bride' last night--one of the most
> suspenseful movies I've ever seen in my life!

I have to confess that I'm not all that up on Israeli cinema. As you can guess, they normally don't show them with English subtitles here, and it took me a long time before my Hebrew got good enough for me to be able to follow them. If you've never seen "Salah Shabati," I highly recommend it to you. And I won't mention that _The Last American Virgin_ is actually a remake of a far superior Israeli film; it's not a particularly great Israeli film, although it did spawn something like 7 sequels, but it's far superior to the American remake.

Posted on Nov 21, 2012 2:10:27 PM PST
Laust Cawz says:
http://unpopculture.freehostia.com
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  17
Initial post:  Jul 18, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 21, 2012

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