One of my all-time movie technical favs-The English countryside never looked better than it did in master director Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975). Oscar winning here cinematography by John Alcott shows us this beautiful world to the tunes of great classical music while the very engaging off screen narrator (Michael Hordern) tells us how ugly life was there along with a lot of low down gossip about social climber Ryan O’Neal and Lady Lyndon (Marisa Berenson) a high English society widow.
On TCM Sun 9/4/16- NOIR masterpiece Out of the Past (1947) – “I sell gasoline, I make a small profit. With that I buy groceries. The grocer makes a profit. We call it earning a living. You may have heard of it somewhere.” Jeff Bailey (The great Robert Mitchum) opens up a gas station in bright pastoral Bridgeport, California attempting to escape from the evil dark Film Noir world populated with the likes of screen greats Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. As articulate as Mitchum is in his masterful voiceover narration, Jimmy (Dickie Moore), the deaf and mute kid who works for him at this gas station communicates via sign language and facial expressions true respect and admiration for Jeff Bailey.
On TCM 9/3/16- Stagecoach (1939) –Master director John Ford introduces us to two of his future signatures: the Monument Valley location and with a rare very self-conscious zoom in for Ford when his leading man appears for the first time in any Ford film on John Wayne as the Ringo kid. Everyone mistakes the passenger liquor salesman Peacock played by Donald Meek for a preacher. But the joy of Oscar winning here Thomas Mitchell as the heavy drinking Doc Boone discovering this passenger’s true vocation is priceless Fordian humor. I love the performance of Claire Trevor as Dallas and she has great chemistry with the Duke.
At a 2015 Autry Museum event: Joan Collins DBE gave a very informative speech about how she worked with Gregory Peck and director Henry King on the classic western The Bravados (1958). Recently I acquired an out of print DVD and can confirm that it is indeed an underrated cinematic masterpiece that tells a moral tale where screen great Gregory Peck as resourceful rancher Jim Douglas methodically hunts down a gang of bad guys convincingly played by Stephen Boyd, Lee Van Cleef, Albert Salmi and Henry Silva (love Silva’s role here) believing them to be his wife’s murderers. Henry King’s camera frames the beauty and spirituality of Joan Collins as Josefa, a woman who deeply cares for the widower Gregory Peck and his daughter. Hope to see The Bravados widely shown in the future!