Movie Review: Rear Window (1954)


Hitchcock ThursdaysFollowing up on my Classic Movie Project, I made a list of ten Alfred Hitchcock movies I wanted to watch or rewatch. I’ll be posting reviews on Thursdays throughout the summer.

Title: Rear Window
Release Date: September 1, 1954
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Production Company: Patron, Inc.
Summary/Review:

If I played Jimmy Stewart’s part in Rear Window:

ME: I’ve been so bored, I’m just looking out the window watching my neighbors.

GRACE KELLY: I love you. I think we should get married.

ME: Wow! Really?  Forget about the window!  Let’s get married

(Roll credits)

Apart from my inability suspend disbelief that L. B. “Jeff” Jefferies (Stewart) is not interested in Lisa Fremont (Kelly), Rear Window is a fascinating motion picture. Built on a remarkable studio set, Jeff’s window looks out on a courtyard surrounded by New York City apartment buildings where his neighbors go about their daily lives.  Many of the actors in this movie only appear in distant shots through windows which requires remarkable skill and timing (and ear pieces so they could get direction from Hitchcock). I’m also amazed by the ambient sound of city life in this movie, and even the soundtrack is built entirely of diegetic music.

The movie cycles through experimental, comical, and thrilling moments, but it is also contains dark undercurrents.  The movie makes the audience conspirators in Jeff’s voyeurism as we look at his neighbors through the movie camera.  It also needs to be said that Jeff is a jerk, and treats Lisa awfully.  It’s no surprise that Hitchcock cast the beloved Jimmy Stewart in the role so we would care about him at all.  While I wonder why Lisa would like Jeff in the first place, I am impressed in the way that Kelly maintains her dignity and demonstrates her value.

This movie confines the story to a single place, much like Lifeboat and Dial M for Murder, and makes that limitation a strength.  There’s so much happening in this movie that will take repeated views to catch.  I think this is among Hitchcock’s best works.

Rating: ****1/2

Movie Review: Dial M For Murder (1954)


Hitchcock ThursdaysFollowing up on my Classic Movie Project, I made a list of ten Alfred Hitchcock movies I wanted to watch or rewatch. I’ll be posting reviews on Thursdays throughout the summer.

Title: Dial M For Murder
Release Date: May 29, 1954
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Production Company: Warner Bros
Summary/Review:

I watched this movie when I was younger and remember that it was Hitchcock’s only movie filmed in 3-D with a famous scene of Grace Kelly reaching toward the camera to get a pair of scissors.  That was about all I remember.  Like Rope, Dial M for Murder is set primarily in one apartment although without the tension of taking place in real time. Retired tennis player Tony Wendice (played as a gleeful sociopath by Ray Milland) comes up with an elaborate plan to murder his wife Margot (Kelly) as revenge for her having an affair with crime novelist Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), while also being able to inherit her wealth. Tony comes up with an elaborate plan to blackmail a university acquaintance and low-level criminal, Charles Alexander Swann (Anthony Dawson), into carrying out the murder while he’s at a party with Mark.

Of course, Tony’s plan goes awry, although he is resilient in improvising alternate plots. There are a lot of twists in the story but it also feels overly talky and focused on tiny details. A lot of Hitchcock movie plots don’t make much sense when you think about them after the fact, such as Vertigo, but Dial M for Murder strains its credulity as its playing.  This is especially true in the final act when both Mark and police inspector Hubbard (John Williams) each individually come to realization of what Tony really did and challenge him in his apartment.  The script also doesn’t give Grace Kelly much to do other than react to things happening to her, which seems a big waste of her talent.

Dial M for Murder is mildly entertaining, but by Hitchcock standards it’s a dud.

Rating: **1/2

Movie Review: Rebecca (1940)


Hitchcock ThursdaysFollowing up on my Classic Movie Project, I made a list of ten Alfred Hitchcock movies I wanted to watch or rewatch. I’ll be posting reviews on Thursdays throughout the summer.

TitleRebecca
Release Date: April 12, 1940
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Production Company: Selznick International Pictures
Summary/Review:

I watched Rebecca as a teenager and one of the main things I remember about the movie is that I really liked Joan Fontaine’s hair.  Fontaine’s hair is still great, but so is psychological thriller from Alfred Hitchcock.  This is Hitchcock’s first American film the Hitchcock style is compromised by producer David O. Selznick’s Hollywood flair (especially the soundtrack which can overwhelm the film).

Fontaine plays a young woman who unjustly is given no name in this story.  She’s working as a wealthy woman’s companion traveling in the French Riviera when she meets moody and brooding wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier).  They fall in love and marry and he takes her home to his estate in England, Manderly.  The new Mrs. de Winter finds Manderly overwhelmed by the memory of Maxim’s late wife, Rebecca. The creepy housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), is especially devoted to Rebecca and strives to make the second Mrs. de Winter feel unworthy, and even suicidal.

Over the course of the movie, secrets of Rebecca and Maxim’s past are revealed with some surprising twists.  Like many Hitchcock movies, when you think about it too hard, the plot doesn’t make too much sense, but you can set that aside because the mood and tension are built up so well.

Rating: ****

Movie Review: The Lady Vanishes (1938)


Hitchcock ThursdaysFollowing up on my Classic Movie Project, I made a list of ten Alfred Hitchcock movies I wanted to watch or rewatch. I’ll be posting reviews on Thursdays throughout the summer.

Title: The Lady Vanishes
Release Date: 7 October 1938
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Production Company: Gaumont British | Gainsborough Pictures
Summary/Review:

Set in the fictional European nation of Bandrika, this comical thriller features several British characters being ugly travelers as one of their number mysteriously disappears. The film begins at a snowed-in alpine resort, but the majority of the film takes place on a train. Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) is reluctantly traveling home to England to marry an aristocrat.  Iris is hit on the head by a falling planter box just before boarding the train, and in a disoriented state she’s helped on board by an elderly governess, Miss Froy (May Whitty).

When Iris awakes from a nap, Miss Froy is missing and no one else on the train remembers her ever being on board. Iris gets help from a smart-aleck ethno-musicologist Gilbert (Michael Redgrave), and together they search the train and uncover more and more curiosities. The movie expertly ties together mystery with romance and a comedy of manners. Only in the third act does the movie fall a bit apart with a lengthy gun battle.

Rating: ****

Movie Review: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)


Hitchcock ThursdaysFollowing up on my Classic Movie Project, I made a list of ten Alfred Hitchcock movies I wanted to watch or rewatch. I’ll be posting reviews on Thursdays throughout the summer.

Title: The Man Who Knew Too Much
Release Date: December 1934
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Production Company: Gaumont British Picture Corporation 
Summary/Review:

As a child, I watched the 1956 Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much.  Although the only thing I can remember about the movie is Doris Day singing “Que Sera, Sera,” I remember liking it well enough. The critical consensus, however, is that the 1934 version of the movie is better.

The movie begins with the British Lawrence family enjoying a vacation at a Swiss ski resort.  Jill Lawrence (Edna Best) is dancing with a French ski jumper they befriended, Louis Bernard (Pierre Fresnay), when the latter is shot from outside the ballroom.  In his dying moments, Louis tells Jill to have her husband Bob (Lesley Banks) to find in his room a secret message for the British Consul about an international crime.  Bob finds the secret note, but is witnessed in the act, and in retaliation, a criminal gang lead by Abbot (Peter Lorre) kidnaps the Lawrence’s young daughter Betty (Nova Pilbeam).

The Lawrence’s return home to London and refuse to cooperate with the government officials, knowing it could lead to the gang killing Betty.  Instead, Bob begins an investigation with his comic relief brother-in-law, Clive (Hugh Wakefield).  Their investigation leads to a dentist office, a church for sun-worshipers, the Albert Hall, and eventually a massive shootout that would put Quention Tarentino to shame. Bob really doesn’t go into any of this with a plan and succeeds by luck, so much of the tension is around whether his latest improvisation will work.

Lorre is great as the villain, as always, but many of the other performances are kind of flat.  If you think too hard about a lot of Hitchcock films, the plans of the characters don’t make too much sense in retrospect, but in this movie they don’t even make much sense as you’re watching it.  This film is a serviceable thriller, but I wouldn’t rank it among the all-time classics or even the best Hitchcock films.

Rating: ***

Movie Review: Memento (2001)


Title: Memento
Release Date: March 16, 2001
Director: Christopher Nolan
Production Company: Summit Entertainment | Team Todd
Summary/Review:

Here’s another movie I can scratch from the list of movies everyone has seen except me. The movie stars Guy Pearce as Leonard (in a very different role from The Adventures of Priscilla), a man who has lost the ability to retain new memories after a home invasion where the attackers also raped and murdered his wife.  Leonard has dedicated his life to investigating the attack and avenging himself on the murderer of Catherine (Jorja Fox).  He keeps track of facts through notes, Polaroid photographs, and by tattooing the most important details on his body.

Stylistically, the movie is designed with the scenes played in reverse order so that the audience can get a sense of Leonard’s experience of not know what comes before.  These scenes are intercut with black & white scenes, played in the proper chronological order, where Leonard talks on the phone about a story from his earlier life as an insurance investigator, where he dealt with the case of a man with a similar short-term memory loss condition.  Joe Pantoliano stars as the undercover cop Teddy and Carrie-Anne Moss plays a bartender named Natalie, each of whom may be untrustworthy and using Leonard’s disability against him.

Memento is a creative movie and an interesting story with a creative structure. I can’t get too enthusiastic about the movie’s revenge and dead wife tropes, and as a mystery it’s mostly a trick of the film’s structure.  Like Christopher Nolan’s later movie Inception, it plays with the ideas of reality and how people create reality for themselves.  These are interesting ideas to play with and make entertaining films but not something I’m going to want to revisit.

Rating: ***1/2

Movie Review: Vertigo (1958) #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge by watching and reviewing some of my favorite movies of all time that I haven’t watched in a long time. This post contains SPOILERS!

Title: Vertigo
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Production Company:  Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions
Synopsis:

San Francisco police detective John “Scottie” Ferguson (James Stewart) pursues a criminal in a rooftop chase that leads to a police officer falling to his death, and Scottie suffering from vertigo due to a fear of heights.  He retires from the police force, but an old college friend Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore) hires him as a private detective to follow his wife Madeleine (Kim Novak) who has been behaving strangely.

Scottie tales Madeleine, making a scenic tour of San Francisco sights including the florist, Mission Delores, the Legion of Honor art museum, and the McKittrick Hotel in an old mansion.  She seems to be obsessed with an 19th-century San Francisco woman, Carlotta Valdes who Scottie learns from a local historian had committed suicide at the age of 26 after being cast aside by her wealthy lover.  Elster confirms that Carlotta is Madeleine’s great-grandmother and that he fears Carlotta’s spirit is possessing Madeleine.

Tailing Madeleine to Fort Point beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, he witnesses her jumping into the Bay and jumps in to rescue her.  After she comes to in his apartment, they talk and form a connection.  The next day they start spending time wandering San Francisco together.  Madeleine describes a place from her dreams that Scottie recognizes as a preserved historic site Mission San Juan Bautista.  Believing that visiting may jar her memory and help solve the problems she’s having, Scottie takes Madeleine to the mission.  After kissing and declaring her love, Madeleine runs up the stairs of the church tower.  Unable to pursue her due to vertigo, Scottie watches helplessly as she falls to her death.

Severely traumatized, Scottie spends several months in a sanatorium.  Returning to his normal life, he spots a shop clerk on the street who resembles Madeleine.  He follows her to her hotel apartment, and despite her declarations that she is Judy from Kansas, he insinuates himself into her life.  His obsession builds as he purchases clothing for her that Madeleine wore and bleaches her hair blond.

Scottie makes a stunning realization when Judy dons a necklace that was Madeleine’s and was said to once be Carlotta’s. He drives back to Mission San Juan Bautista and confronts Judy as they climb the tower.  She admits that she worked with Elster in a plot to kill his real wife whose murdered body was actually tossed from the tower.  Knowing that Scottie would not reach the top due to his vertigo meant he’d be the perfect credible witness for their con.  Scottie overcomes his vertigo and he and Judy reach the top of the bell tower where Judy is startled by a nun and falls to her death.

When Did I First See This Movie?:

This was yet another movie I watched for the first time in my high school film studies class.  I saw it several times but one memorable occasion in college came in while a friend was watching it and observed how Jimmy Stewart never seems to be paying attention to the road in the many scenes where he drives his car.  We had some good laughs about that.

What Did I Remember?:

I remembered most of the basic plot points well, if not the details.

What Did I Forget?:

The biggest thing I forgot is that Judy has a flashback to the real Madeleine’s murder and narrates a letter confessing her role in it before reconsidering.  I honestly thought that the revelation of Judy’s involvement as accessory to murder didn’t come until the very end of the movie, which honestly makes more sense from a storytelling perspective.

What Makes This Movie Great?:

Casting the affable Jimmy Stewart as the controlling, obsessive Scottie works in that viewers are sympathetic to him even as he is truly awful. Kim Novac does a great job portraying a stiff wealthy woman with a mid-Atlantic accent as Madeleine and then the more working woman Judy.  Her character is really good at improv since she’s almost always playing someone else to deceive Scottie.  The cinematography and colors of the movie are amazing as are the outfits that Edith Head designed for Kim Novac.

What Doesn’t Hold Up?:

I think the technical brilliance of the movie and how it makes San Francisco its palette may overshadow the fact that this is a slow-moving story with a romance that’s not very credible.  Also, Elster’s plot to kill his wife by hiring Judy to deceive Scottie makes very little sense in retrospect.  So many things had to go right for that plan to come to fruition that seemed needlessly complicated.  Mind you, this movie is still great, it is just not as perfect as I remembered.

Is It a Classic?:

It is a classic, but I think people overrate it when they put it at or near the top of the all-time great movie lists.  I don’t even think it is the best Hitchcock movie.  It is definitely the iconic San Francisco movie, though.

Rating: ****

One More All-Time Favorite Movie Starting With V:

  1. Les Visiteurs

What is your favorite movie starting with V?  What would you guess is my movie for W (Hint: it’s a documentary with a punch!)?  Let me know in the comments!

Movie Review: Psycho (1960) #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge by watching and reviewing some of my favorite movies of all time that I haven’t watched in a long time. This post contains SPOILERS!

TitlePsycho
Release Date: September 8, 1960
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Production Company: Shamley Productions
Synopsis:

A couple meet for a lunchtime tryst in a Phoenix hotel. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) hopes they can get married and legitimize their relationship, but her boyfriend Sam Loomis (John Gavin) wants to pay off his alimony debts before he commits.  Return to work at a real estate office, Marion is entrusted with $40,000 in cash that a boastful client leaves in payment for a property.  Marion decides to steal the $40,000 and flee to California to help Sam pay his debts.

On her journey, Marion is questioned by a suspicious state trooper who finds her sleeping in her car on the side of the road.  To cover her tracks, she trades in her car for a new one surprising the car dealer with her willingness to pay for a car and go.  Close to her destination in Fairvale, California, Marion drives through a raging downpour and decides to stop for the night at an old fashioned motor court, the Bates Motel.

The motel owner Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) makes a sandwich for Marion and they dine together in the motel office. Marion overhears Norman’s mother chastising him and as they talk about it the conversation between Marion and Norman becomes increasingly awkward.  Marion returns to her room at the motel and takes a shower, where she is stabbed to death by a shadowy figure.  Norman covers up the murder, presumably by his mother, by cleaning up the bathroom and sinking Marion, all her possessions, and her car in a swamp.

A week later, Marion’s sister Lila (Vera Miles) arrives at Sam’s hardware store and confronts him about Marion’s absence.  A private investigator, Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam), has been following Lila, and he informs them both that he is also trying to find Marion for stealing $40,000.  Arbogast makes inquiries at various hotels in the Fairvale area before finding evidence that Marion stayed at the Bates Motel.  While hoping to find out more information from Norman’s mother, Arbogast is also stabbed to death.

Lila and Sam, not hearing back from Arbogast, decide to investigate on their own.  The learn from the local sheriff that Norman Bates’ mother died in a murder/suicide a decade earlier.  They go to the Bates Motel with the plan for Sam to keep Norman occupied while Lila looks for the mysterious older woman in the Bates House.  Norman overpowers Sam, and Lila goes to hide in the house’s fruit cellar.  She discovers the mummified corpse of woman just as Norman shows up wearing a wig and a dress and ready to stab Lila.  Sam arrives in the nick of time and Norman is apprehended.  As an epilogue to the movie, a psychologist explains that Norman murdered his mother and adopted a split personality where he sometimes acted as his jealous mother.

When Did I First See This Movie?:

Someone (my mother?) told me the basic plot about Norman Bates having a split personality and being a knife-wielding murderer.  When I was probably too young to watch this movie, around 9-10 years old, I was excited that it was on tv after school one day.  I missed the beginning of the movie and tuned in when Marion and Norman are talking.  Hitchcock rolled in his grave knowing that I’d missed the movie AND had been spoiled about the surprise twist.

What Did I Remember?:

The shower scene, obviously, as well as Arbogast’s murder, Lila’s discovery, the psychologist’s speech, and Norman in his cell.

What Did I Forget?:

Even though I’d watched the movie in its in entirety at a later date, it was still a surprise how much of the “stealing $40,000” suspense plot there is before the big twist.

What Makes This Movie Great?:

Long before Game of Thrones killed off its protagonist in the first season, Psycho upended filmgoers’ expectations by not only having Marion brutally murdered 50 minutes into the movie, but also that her theft of $40,000 was a complete MacGuffin.  And then Arbogast takes over as the protagonist for the next part of the movie, where it appears that he will solve the mystery, until he is also murdered.  Lila is the final protagonist who sees the movie to the end.  This movie challenged the conventions of the production code and introduced the slasher film genre, changing Hollywood forever, for good and for ill.  And while it’s a low-budget movie, the cinematography, music, and acting performances from the likes of Leigh and Perkins are magnificent.

What Doesn’t Hold Up?:

I think the movie holds up well overall, although I suspect the early scenes of suspense around Marions theft and then the ten minutes where Norman silently cleans up the scene of the crime may be too slow for a lot of modern audiences.

Is It a Classic?:

No doubt.

Rating: ****

Five more all-time favorite movies starting with P:

  1. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
  2. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  3. Popeye (1980)
  4. The Portrait of Jennie (1948)
  5. The Princess Bride (1987)

What is your favorite movie starting with P? What is your guess for my Q movie (Hint: It features a clown, but a crying on the inside type)?  Let me know in the comments!

Movie Reviews: Jaws (1975) #AtoZChallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge by watching and reviewing some of my favorite movies of all time that I haven’t watched in a long time. This post contains SPOILERS!

TitleJaws
Release Date: June 20, 1975
Director: Steven Spielberg
Production Company: Zanuck/Brown Company | Universal Pictures
Synopsis:

A rogue shark attacks people swimming in the waters off of a New England beach town.  Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but others, including Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) fear the economic devastation of closing the beaches right before Independence Day.  The shark kills more people, the shark expert Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) arrives to advise, and shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) offers to kill the shark.  Quint, Hooper, and Brody sail out on a boat that’s not large enough to track and kill the shark, bonding on the journey.

When Did I First See This Movie?:

This movie was filmed in Martha’s Vineyard, a place that my family vacationed at often during my childhood.  We loved visiting the spots used as locations for the movie including some businesses that still had their “Amity” shop signs on display.  I’m pretty sure that I watched Jaws 2 and Jaws 3-D before I ever watched Jaws in its entirety, but sometime in the late 80s it became one of my favorite films of all time.  The sequels are “meh” because they’re about the shark, but Jaws is a story about people.

What Did I Remember?:

I remembered the plot and many details fairly well.

What Did I Forget?:

There’s a brilliant scene where Martin Brody’s son imitates all of his gestures and they make faces at one another.  It’s one of those great Spielberg family touches.  Later in the scene, Ellen Brody (Lorrraine Gary) and Hooper have great repartee over wine, which is interesting considering that in the novel they have an affair (I’m so glad Spielberg didn’t include this subplot).

While I remembered that Mayor Vaughn wanted to keep the beaches open, I forgot that Vaugh actually encourages people to go into the water before the July 4th shark attack.

What Makes This Movie Great?:

As noted above, this is a movie about people.  The first hour of the movie is less about a shark and more about how people respond to crises.  The town government prioritizing the economic interests over peoples’ lives feels very relevant at the time I watched this movie.  The second part of the movie is three men on a boat all from different backgrounds, all with key abilities, and all with serious flaws.  The camaraderie among Brody, Hooper, and Quint is one of the best aspects of this movie. People may want to avoid or dismiss this as a horror movie but I think they’ll miss that great human storytelling, adventure, and even comedy.

What Doesn’t Hold Up?:

I want to say that the ongoing manhood competition among Quint, Hooper, and Brody is dated, but really men are still that stupid about these things.

Is It a Classic?:

Yes, an all-time great.

Rating: *****

I apparently have no other all-time favorite movies starting with J. Let me know your favorite J movies so I can remedy that.  And if you have a guess for my K movie, let me know in the comments. (Hint: it’s about an out-of-towner having a really bad day in New York).

 

Movie Reviews: Gaslight (1944) #AtoZChallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge by watching and reviewing some of my favorite movies of all time that I haven’t watched in a long time. This post contains SPOILERS!

Title: Gaslight
Release Date: May 4, 1944
Director: George Cukor
Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Synopsis:

This psychological thriller actually lent its name to the form of psychological manipulation and abuse depicted in the film.  The movie begins just after the murder of famed opera singer Alice Alquist as her niece Paula (Ingrid Bergman) leaves her London home and is told not to look back.  A decade later, Paula is pursuing her own singing career in Italy, but her instructor notices that she is distracted by being in love.  Turns out she’s fallen madly in love with her piano accompanist Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer).

Gregory and Paula marry and he manipulates her into moving back into her aunt’s townhouse in London.  Over the weeks and months that follow, Gregory isolates Paula by preventing her from going out and refusing to allow visitors to the house.  He begins to tell her that she’s not well, that she loses things, and is a kleptomaniac. He embarrasses her in front of their saucy, young maid, Nancy (Angela Lansbury).  Paula begins to question her own sanity.

In reality, Gregory is a jewel thief named Sergis Bauer, who murdered Alice Alquist and is now sneaking in the attic to search Alice’s possessions for her famous jewels.  Gregory’s time in the attic leads to Paula noticing the fluctuation in the gaslight (hence the film’s title) and footsteps that add to her sense that she is imagining things.  Inspector Brian Cameron of Scotland Yard (Joseph Cotten, with an unexplained American accent), who was a fan of Alice Alquist, becomes suspicious of what is happening in her niece’s house and reopens the investigation in her murder.  Eventually he is able to help Paula turn the tables against Gregory.  Watching Gregory abuse Paula is extremely difficult, but the ending is very cathartic.

When Did I First See This Movie?:

This is one of the movies I watched in a film studies class in high school.  Imagine, if you will, a bunch of 15-year-old boys realizing that the same actress who played Jessica Fletcher was really hot when she was young.  We also were amused by Boyer’s outrageous French accent and spent weeks imitating the way he said “Paula.”

What Did I Remember?:

I remembered the basic plot, but none of the details, so it was really like watching the movie anew.

What Did I Forget?:

Most everything.  I’ll also add that watching as an adult, the severity of Gregory’s abuse hit me a lot harder, and I felt a lot of sympathy for Paula.

What Makes This Movie Great?:

The movie is melodramatic, but I think that it otherwise is a good microcosm of the very real psychological abuse that occurs in some relationships.  Boyer is convincingly evil while hiding it beneath his charm. Bergman does a great performance of how even a strong person can fall victim to these psychological attacks. It’s not your typical thriller.

What Doesn’t Hold Up?:

This is a 1940s movie based on a 1930s play with a story that is set somewhere around the 1890s, so it should feel dated in some way.  But I think it holds up pretty well overall.

Is It a Classic?:

Yes. And definitely a unique addition to an all-time thrillers list.

Rating: ****

Five more all-time favorite movies starting with G:

  1. Genghis Blues (1999)
  2. Glory (1989)
  3. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)
  4. Good Will Hunting (1997)
  5. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

What is your favorite movie starting with G?  What do you think will be my movie for H? (Hint: It’s set in Brooklyn in the 1960s). Let me know in the commments.