I was visiting with a friend the other day, and we got to talking about some favorite movies, and who starred with whom in a particular film. And that made me think about doing another salute to classic movies of different categories. As always, I’m not saying these are necessarily the BEST movies of these types of films, just that these are some that I enjoyed.
Favorite Hitchcock Movies – Alfred Hitchcock was a very well-known director with a distinctive style of movie making. His career began in the 1920s, late in the era of silent films, and then flourished well into the 1960s. He also created a very successful television program. He was known for suspense movies with an unexpected twist in the story. Here are five of my favorites of his –
5. Rope (1948). Farley Granger and John Dall think they have committed the perfect murder. Then Jimmy Stewart starts asking questions.
4. To Catch a Thief (1955). Cary Grant stars as a retired jewel thief who is wrongly accused of stealing a fortune in precious stones and has to catch the real bad guy in order to clear his name. Grace Kelly is always so easy on the eyes.
3. Rear Window (1954). Jimmy Stewart as a New Yorker who enjoys looking out of his apartment window and watching his neighbors, until he sees one of them commit a murder. Grace Kelly plays his skeptical fashion-model girlfriend.
2. Psycho (1960). Janet Leigh embezzles money from her boss, then learns the hard way about the dangers of taking a shower. Also with Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles.
1. North by Northwest (1959). Cary Grant again, this time as an advertising executive who is mistaken for a notorious spy and has to run for his life. James Mason is the main villain, and Eva Marie Saint is the lady trying to help him. Or is she also one of the villains?
Five other great Hitchcock flicks – The Birds, Dial “M” for Murder, The Lady Vanishes, Strangers on a Train, Vertigo.
Favorite Train Movies – Okay, yes, I love trains. And of course, I love movies. So what could be better than movies in and about trains? All aboard!
5. Emperor of the North (1973). Ernest Borgnine plays a vicious freight train conductor in the Pacific Northwest who enjoys throwing hobos off of moving trains, trying to injure them as much as possible. Lee Marvin plays a hobo nicknamed “A Number 1,” who makes it his mission to ride on that train. Based on an uncredited short story written by “Call of the Wild” author, Jack London.
4. Human Desire (1954). Glenn Ford is an engineer returning to railroad work after his service in the Korean War. Gloria Grahame is the boss’s wife, who tries to seduce him into helping her start a new life. Broderick Crawford is the thoroughly despicable boss. A well-made film noir.
3. The Train (1964). In this World War II story based on true events, Burt Lancaster stars as a locomotive engineer who is actually a member of the French Underground, trying to prevent the Nazis from stealing a trainload of French art treasures. The problem is, how do you stop the train without blowing it up and destroying the art that you are trying to save?
2. Silver Streak (1976). Gene Wilder is a book editor trying to get from Los Angeles to Chicago, when he meets Jill Clayburgh on the train. Comedy and romance follow, but then it’s murder. Richard Pryor is a good-natured thief who becomes Wilder’s friend. The music by Henry Mancini is also gorgeous.
1. Union Pacific (1939). A lot of people – myself included – think that 1939 was Hollywood’s best-ever year for movies. In this sprawling epic directed by Cecil B. DeMille, Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck are trying to help the Union Pacific complete America’s first transcontinental railroad, while Brian Donlevy, Robert Preston and Anthony Quinn work to stop it. Mr. DeMille knew how to tell a big story with a broad, sweeping setting, and this is a good one.
Five more favorites – The General, Shanghai Express, The Narrow Margin (1952), The Great Locomotive Chase, Murder on the Orient Express (1974).
Do you have a favorite type of film you’d like to talk about, or maybe, a favorite classic movie director? Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please be sure to save me some popcorn.