On TCM 12/16/16- In the William Wyler directed The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)-One of my all-time favorite sequences in the history of cinema is when screen great Dana Andrews as down and out war hero/soda jerk veteran Fred Derry takes a walk in a junkyard populated with retired WW 2 aircraft and is lucky to be in the right place at the right time landing a good job where he learns how to recycle the junked war planes into prefabricated homes.
From an ordinary B screenplay filmed on mostly low budget locations underrated director Andre De Toth’s camera with the help of veteran cinematographer Bert Glennon and perfect casting masterfully shows us an ultimate NOIR world in Crime Wave (1954) where: screen great Sterling Hayden as Lt. Sims chews on a toothpick to give up his smoking habit; Gene Nelson as Steve Lacey is the ex-con trying to keep out of trouble with the law and his lovely wife played to perfection by Phyllis Kirk; and the evil troublemaking gang led by Ted de Corsia with henchmen Charles Bronson and all time screen crazy Timothy Carey.
Recently on TCM-In the Delmar Daves directed 3:10 to Yuma (1957) which I recalled was described as a poor man’s High Noon by TV Guide—It is fun to watch great movie actors Glenn Ford as an outlaw leader (certainly cast against type) and birthday today 12/13 Van Heflin as a modest but skillful small-time rancher match wits and psychological motivations. Very suspenseful to the last moment!
While in prison Lawrence Tierney as Dillinger (1945) masterfully carves a gun out of wood and successfully engineers his escape-However in the mock crime documentary Take the Money and Run (1969) imprisoned Virgil Starkwell (Woody Allen) fails when he carves his gun out of soap and it is raining outside!
The Philip Yordan (Oscar nominated here) screenplay for Dillinger (1945) effectively cast with Lawrence Tierney in the title role and Anne Jeffreys as his gal captures Noir claustrophobia when Dillinger spends months hiding in a small Chicago room decorated only with his own wanted poster.
Van Gogh look alike Kirk Douglas celebrating his 100th birthday today gave a brilliant performance (even for him) in the Vincent Minnelli directed Lust for Life (1956)…As Bud Collyer used to say on “To Tell the Truth” -Will the real Vincent Van Gogh stand up?
Born on 12-8-versatile screen icon Lee J. Cobb who was the bitter jurist #3 in the Sidney Lumet masterpiece 12 Angry Men (1957) who tried to bully the wise kindly senior jurist # 9 (first to back Henry Fonda in his “Not Guilty” vote) played to perfection by Joseph Sweeney…. However, talk about great actors reversing roles in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956) Sweeney shows off his diverse acting range when he plays the bitter old man Edward M. Schultz who tries to cheat Gregory Peck/Jennifer Jones out of a family inheritance and Lee J. Cobb plays Bernstein the wise kindly Connecticut judge who exposes Sweeney as a fraud.