Monday, June 29, 2009

To Kill A Mockingbird

1962 - Drama, Directed by Robert Mulligan

  • Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, Lawyer
  • Mary Badham as "Scout" Finch
  • Phillip Alford as "Jem" Finch
  • Robert Duvall as "Boo"

I love this move, I watch it every time it's on TV.

The movie takes place during the summer. One of the Finch's neighbors is a man "Boo", who is kept locked in the house by his own father because he was arrested for disorderly conduct and his father agreed to keep him locked up if they wouldn't send him to jail. Everyone in town believes he is a killer, a madman. Actually, he's very nice, just quiet and shy.

Atticus is asked by the local judge to defend Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman whose father is the town drunk. He beats and abuses his daughter. Atticus loses the case and Tom is convicted. Tom tries to escape from the police but is shot dead. He was innocent.

One Halloween, Jem and Scout are attacked in the woods on their way home from school. Jem is knocked unconscious and the man tries to kill Scout with a knife. Suddenly another man comes out of the trees and saves them. It is Boo.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Classic Movie - The Good Earth

Classic Movie - The Good Earth
Black and white - 1937
Starring Paul Muni as Wang Lung and Luise Rainer as his wife O-Lan
Academy Award Winner for Best Actress and Best Cinematography

This movie is about Chinese farmers struggling to survive. Wang Lung is a farmer who marries O-Lan, a servant at the Great House. They call it the Great House because that is where the most powerful and rich family in their village lives.
Owning land is a big thing to farmers but it's very expensive to buy. Together the couple has 2 sons and 1 daughter. Everything is fine until a drought comes, bringing famine. Wang Lung can't decide if he should sell his land or not. He needs to find a way to feed his family.
Eventually, they follow the rest of the villagers south, to find work. They have to beg and steal to survive. After the drought they return home to their farmland but still struggle.
After years of struggling things turn around for the family and the boys get a great education. They help their father buy the Great House. But then he cheats on his wife with a young dancer he met. When a swarm of locusts threatens the village his oldest son tells them about making a firebreak. When the disaster is over, Wang Lung realizes what a fool he's been and makes up with his wife.
I like this movie. It's longer than most movies but they did not leave anything out.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Classic Movie - Casablanca

When I hear the word Casablanca, I think romance. But there isn't much romance in this movie. It's about World War II with a little romance thrown in.
It takes place in Morocco, which is being held by the French Army. Rick is an embittered expatriate who owns a cafe in Morocco with his friend Sam, played by Dooley Wilson. He tries not to take sides in the war but is unwillingly drawn into it. When the Nazi's head into Africa, citizens are trying to leave Morocco by way of Casablanca. The only way they can do this is to have a “letter of transit” from the corrupt police chief played by Claude Rains. There are few letters he gives out. But Rick buys a whole stack of them from another corrupt person.
Rick's ex-love Ilsa shows up at his place asking him for help to get her and her husband out of Morocco. Now, her husband is a person the Nazi's would love to capture because he is a resistance leader. Rick agrees to help, for love's sake.
When Rick and Ilsa first see each other, and their eyes lock, you can feel the love they once had.
No one in the movie ever says, “Play it again Sam”. But when Ilsa asks him to “play it”, Sam knows what song she means, “As Time Goes By”. That was her and Rick's love song. This movie stands the test of time. It really grabs your attention throughout the whole movie. I really like this movie.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Classic Movie - An Affair to Remember

An Affair to Remember - 1957

Starring Cary Grant as Nickie Ferrante and Deborah Kerr as Terry McKay. Directed by Leo McCarey.
This is the best romance movie ever made, according to me. I love this movie, it is one of my favorites.
It goes like this: A man (Nickie), falls in love with a woman (Terry), while on a cruise. They are both engaged to other people who are waiting for them back in New York.
They try to hide their feelings from the other passengers and crew but it doesn't work. Everyone knows they are secretly meeting just by the way they look at each other and act around each other.
On their last day at sea, they agree to meet in 6 months at the top of the Empire State Building, if everything goes as planned. When the day arrives, Terry gets hit by a car while running to the Empire State Building. Nickie is already at the top waiting for her, pacing and checking his watch. He stays there until midnight, 6 hours after they were supposed to meet. When Terry doesn't show up, Nickie thinks she has decided to stay with her fianceƩ.
After a year goes by they run into each other at the ballet, neither one has married. Terry doesn't want Nickie to know she is in a wheelchair. She doesn't want his sympathy. They exchange pleasantries and after Nickie leaves Terry gets into her wheelchair.
Nickie decides to pay her a visit at her apartment and all the truth comes out. They still love each other.
You have to see this movie, especially if you are a romantic at heart.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Classic Movie - On The Waterfront

Marlon Brando

I think this is one of Marlon Brando's greatest performances. He plays an ex-boxer, now a dock worker who stands up to a corrupt union boss after a fellow longshoreman is murdered. His character, Terry Malloy, plays a tough guy who doesn't trust anyone, even the Priest that spends a lot of time on the docks trying to help the longshoreman. Terry is pressured by his brother to keep quiet about the union's activities. Before you know it, he is summoned to court to testify on what he knows about the murder.
Back in those days, there was a lot of pressure to join a union. Some men were afraid of joining because they were told they would be fired and sometimes their families would be threatened.
Brando's famous line, which is identified with this movie is, "You don't understand! I could've been a contender. I could've had class and been somebody." I don't want to tell you the whole story, I want you to watch the movie.
This is not a romance movie or comedy. It's kind of on the dark side, but it shows us how bad things were in those days. Great performance.
Anyway, I love classic movies and I think this is one you shouldn't miss.

Winner of 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director
Starring: Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint and Karl Malden
Directed by: Elia Kazan
Made in 1954, Black & White, Not-rated

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Classic Movie - Little Women

Katherine Hepburn

One of my favorite movies. The original was made in 1933 and it is my favorite. It was re-made in 1949 and again in 1994. The 1933 version starred Katherine Hepburn as Jo March, Joan Bennett as Amy March, Jean Parker as Beth March and Frances Dee as Meg March, all sisters. Their mother was played by Spring Byington whom they lovingly called Marmee. Douglass Montgomery played their neigbor's grandson, Laurie and Henry Stephenson played his wealthy grandfather, Mr. Laurence. The novel was written by Louisa May Alcott and the movie was directed by George Cukor.
This movie takes place in Concord, Massachusettes during the Civil War. It's about 4 sisters whose father is away fighting the war and their mother is trying to make ends meet. It's about coming of age, falling in love with the wrong person and overcoming obstacles. Even though times are hard for them, they find a way to help the less fortunate. They give their Christmas breakfast to a poor, sick woman who has a new baby, along with other children. Jo wants to be a writer but keeps getting turned down from publishers until one day, she has a story published. Laurie falls for Jo but she rejects him and moves to New York. The youngest sister Beth catches Scarlet Fever and Jo returns home, poor Beth doesn't make it.
This movie takes you on a roller coaster ride, you feel bad for the March family but then something wonderful happens, they are invited to a ball. Up and down. Up and down. It makes me emotional watching it. Oh, there is so much to this movie that you just have to watch it. Katherine Hepburn is wonderful in her role. I love the way she says, "Christopher Columbus!"