Science Fiction · Thriller

All’s Fair in The Love War

Although we (as in, yours truly) are not the most enthusiastic supporters of television, we do feel an odd nostalgia for televised events we never witnessed, such as Elvis Presley’s first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, or the Apollo 11 moon landing. Another bit of TV business for which we recently developed a fondness is ABC’s… Continue reading All’s Fair in The Love War

Drama · Thriller

The Sidney-Poitier-as-Social-Barometer Film Theory

We’re working on a Sidney Poitier film theory. We started developing this theory while watching the 1950 thriller No Way Out, in which Poitier portrays a young doctor at a busy city hospital. As the film opens, Poitier is asked to fill a shift in the hospital prison ward, where he examines two white prisoners. The two are brothers, and are sporting gunshot wounds… Continue reading The Sidney-Poitier-as-Social-Barometer Film Theory

Drama · Thriller

Barbara Bel Geddes: Caught in an Unrealistic Worldview

One of the most satisfying experiences in film, in our opinion, is when a sympathetic character decides Enough Is Enough. A good actor lets you know the instant their character snaps, usually with a clenched jaw and don’t-mess-with-me expression. Barbara Bel Geddes has such a moment in the 1949 thriller Caught, a film loosely based… Continue reading Barbara Bel Geddes: Caught in an Unrealistic Worldview

Adventure · Drama · Thriller

Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges

B. Traven (18??-1969?) was a popular novelist who never gave interviews. Not even his publishers knew him; they communicated with someone claiming to be his agent via a Mexican postal box. Traven might have been onto something. The great thing about not generating your own publicity is that others will do it for you – and they’ll create fantastic stories. For example, some… Continue reading Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges

Drama · Thriller

Bette Davis: Underacting for William Wyler

*Spoiler Alert* They created the best opening scene in the history of cinema: On a moonlit night, on an isolated rubber plantation in Malay, a woman follows a man out of a house. As he stumbles down the stairs of the veranda, she fires at him repeatedly with a handgun, even after he’s dead. In films… Continue reading Bette Davis: Underacting for William Wyler

Film Noir · Thriller

Bruno Anthony’s Reliance on Public Transportation

One of our favourite on-screen performances is Robert Walker‘s turn as the psychopath Bruno Anthony in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Strangers on a Train (1951). Walker is electrifying as the spoiled, too-smart-for-his-own-good Anthony, a man with a slippery, non-stick charisma that easily deflects criticism. Even his rare flashes of anger are charmingly displaced by a mischievous smile and an amusing it’s-not-my-fault demeanour. There… Continue reading Bruno Anthony’s Reliance on Public Transportation

Mystery · Thriller

Basil Rathbone, Fortune Hunter

There’s nothing more chilling than a villain with a large vocabulary. In the 1937 British thriller, Love from a Stranger, Basil Rathbone plays the kind of villain nobody wants to meet in real life. Rathbone’s villain is handsome, suave and articulate. But he would do anything to get your money – including marring you. We first meet Rathbone’s gold-digging character when he… Continue reading Basil Rathbone, Fortune Hunter

Thriller

Ingrid Bergman: Questioning Your Way to Better Mental Health

In the 1945 thriller Spellbound, Ingrid Bergman asks a lot of questions. She asks so many questions, in fact, we’re willing to bet she holds some kind of cinematic record. Bergman plays a psychoanalyst who helps amnesia victim Gregory Peck uncover details of a murder he may or may not have committed. She is convinced Peck has knowledge… Continue reading Ingrid Bergman: Questioning Your Way to Better Mental Health

Film Noir · Thriller

Teresa Wright: Film Noir Superhero

Spoiler Alert! In Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, Teresa Wright does something no law enforcement agency is able to do. She handily dispenses with a dangerous villain and makes The World A Safer Place. (Get this: She does so while wearing classic leather pumps and tailored outfits.) Shadow of a Doubt (1943) is Hitchcock’s attempt to scare the pants off… Continue reading Teresa Wright: Film Noir Superhero

Comedy · Thriller

How to Survive Shipwreck with a Murderer and a Stupid Detective

If there’s anything the movies have taught us, it’s this: Whenever you go on a boat, always wear your best gown and pearls – and bring your fur coat, if you have one. The movies tell us how exciting ships are. A person is forever running into millionaires or Royalty In Disguise. If you’re really lucky,… Continue reading How to Survive Shipwreck with a Murderer and a Stupid Detective