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The following are just a few of my favourite films.
The Passionate Friends Charulata The Fabulous Baker Boys They Might Be Giants Pociag (1959) The Secret Garden(1993) Scaramouche The Awakening (2011) The Guard Pickup on South Street The Dark Corner House Of Flying Daggers The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Ikiru The Stranger Within A Woman (1966) The Human Condition Trilogy Nothing But a Man The Quiet Duel Millions Like Us Cornered The House by the River Daybreak (1948) There Was a Father Sisters of the Gion The Whole Wide World The Years Between A Man Escaped The Magician Blanche Fury A Patch of Blue The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Farewell My Lovely (1944) Priceless Nayak: The Hero Begin Again The Innocents The Tomb Of Ligeia How To Steal A Million The Towering Inferno Adam's Rib My Best Friend The Thief of Bagdad (1924) Random Harvest The Wicked Lady(1945) The Man in Grey(1943) Dragonwyck Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison Ice Cold in Alex Black Narcissus A Matter Of Life and Death The Life and Death Of Colonel Blimp I Know Where I'm Going The Red Shoes The Spy In Black Menilmontant (1926) Roman Holiday Mr Skeffington The Go Between Walk The Line(2005) Dogfight (1991) Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962) Shadowlands The Remains Of The Day The Only Son Pandora and The Flying Dutchman The Hours The Primrose Path Private Hell 36 The Sundowners(1960) The Goddess (1934) Sunday In New York Conspiracy of Hearts Apres Vous Scenes From A Marriage The Virgin Spring Shame(1968) A Room With A View Howards End The Wings Of The Dove Torch Singer (1933) The Little Foxes The Crucified Lovers Twentieth Century Grand Hotel Zodiac Oranges and Sunshine Mary Queen of Scots(1971) Sense And Sensibility (1995) The Trouble With Angels Lawrence Of Arabia The World Of Suzie Wong Breezy The Music Room Odette Ju Dou They Flew Alone Sundays and Cybele Carve Her Name With Pride The Nun's Story All About Eve Girl With Green Eyes The Bitter Tea Of General Yen My Best Friends Wedding Paris When It Sizzles The Indiana Jones Trilogy The Queen of Spades Le feu Follet Lady Jane Dodsworth White Christmas The Train Robbers Waterloo Bridge (1940) Only You (1994) Silkwood The Accused Creature from the Black Lagoon The Thin Man The Big Heat The Pelican Brief Silver Streak Bigger Than Life Spin(2003) The Hardcore Life(1979) To Have and Have Not Out Of Africa Catch Me If You Can The Legend of Hell House The Changeling(1980) La Strada Falling In Love The French Lieutenant's Woman The Householder Broken Blossoms The Painted Veil (2006) Sabrina (1954) The Odd Couple The Odd Couple 2 On Golden Pond (1981) The Lion In Winter(1968) Pretty Woman Ordinary People Finding Neverland Ladies In Lavender Mahanagar To Kill a Mockingbird Her Majesty Mrs Brown Dead Poets Society Three Days Of The Condor The Day After Tomorrow Bombay Talkie True Grit(1969) Street of Shame (1956) The Lady Vanishes Rebecca Suspicion Vertigo The Birds Saboteur Shadow of a Doubt The Man Who Knew Too Much To Catch a Thief Topaz Family Plot Notorious Lifeboat Marnie North By Northwest Gaslight(1940) The Omen(1976) Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World Ladyhawke Candleshoe The More the Merrier Missing The Legend of Bagger Vance Heat and Dust The Penalty (1920) Seabiscuit Late Autumn Top Hat The Gay Divorcee Jaws The Emperor's Club Wolf A Night to Remember Footsteps in the Fog Charade Alien Aliens Elizabeth Late Spring Scent of a Woman Erin Brockovich Network The Silence of the Lambs Captain Blood It's A Wonderful Life The Abyss Wuthering Heights(1992) Apollo 13 The Mummy The Mummy Returns Mr Smith Goes To Washington My Favourite Year Last Chance Harvey The Patricia Neal Story Victim Scott Of The Antarctic Whistle Down The Wind Niagara San Francisco Husbands and Wives The Black Swan (1942) Frankie and Johnny Gallipoli The Bad And The Beautiful The Glenn Miller Story Fearless(1993) Double Indemnity Mrs Henderson Presents Sophie's Choice Outsourced(2006) The Fugitive Chocolat Class Action That's Life(1986) The Mudlark The Card (1952) Gone With the Wind Portrait Of Jennie The Banger Sisters Last Orders The Apartment Some Like It Hot Clean and Sober A Man of No Importance Sky West and Crooked Daddy Nostalgie Anne of the Indies (1951) The Chalk Garden Miller's Crossing Paisan Shoeshine Jagged Edge The Life of Oharu
My favourite Actors and Actresses.
Claude Rains Stanley Baker John Mills Ian Richardson Geoffrey Rush Mark Ruffalo Eric Portman William Holden Michael Caine Aidan Quinn Sidney Poitier Raymond Burr Takashi Shimura Brian Cox Bob Hoskins Gene Hackman Peter Finch Alan Rickman Sean Pertwee Jon Pertwee Jonathan Hyde Timothy Dalton Dirk Bogarde Charles Dance Colin Firth Alec Guinness James Stewart Geoffrey Palmer Bernard Hepton Jeremy Brett Denzel Washington Stephen Dillane Gary Oldman John Hurt Errol Flynn William Powell Richard Burton Gene Wilder John Hallam Rod Taylor Yaphet Kotto Kevin Spacey Max Von Sydow Andy Garcia Colin Jeavons Ed Harris Morgan Freeman Al Pacino Peter O'Toole Roy Scheider Dean Stockwell Joel McCrea George Sanders Edward Everett Horton Leslie Howard DeForest Kelley Morgan Freeman Dick Powell David Warner Roscoe Lee Browne Robert Hardy Anthony Quinn Walter Huston David Wenham Krister Henriksson Michael Goodliffe Cary Grant Albert Finney Richard Crenna Robert Loggia Vincent Price Ross Martin Patrick Malahide Robert Walker Sr Gordon Jackson Hugh Jackman Tom Hanks Gregory Peck Kevin Kline Denholm Elliot Lon Chaney Sr Sam Neill Mark Harmon Daniel Craig Robert Newton Stewart Granger Paul Freeman James Purefoy Anton Walbrook Jonathan Pryce Geoffrey Keen Shashi Kapoor John Thaw Edward Mulhare Peter Sellers Christopher Cazanove David Niven Alec Guinness Robson Green Roshan Seth Bruce Greenwood Gary Cooper Richard Armitage Roger Allam Victor Garber Vivien Leigh Deborah Kerr Judi Dench Maggie Smith Ingrid Thulin Sharmila Tagore Helen Mirren Helena Bonham Carter Winona Ryder Sylvia Syms Gong Li Lingyu Ruan Ingrid Bergman Bonnie Hunt Sarah Lancashire Gene Tierney Stephanie Beacham Cate Blanchett Rachel Weisz Kate Winslet Ava Gardner Archie Panjabi Greer Garson Jenette Goldstein Meryl Streep Anne Revere Audrey Hepburn Setsuko Hara Nicole Kidman Marilyn Monroe Emily Watson Julianne Moore Kathleen Byron Jean Arthur Dorothy Dandridge Laura Linney Katherine Hepburn Barbara Stanwyck Eva Green Lee Remick Ziyi Zhang Elizabeth Taylor Madhabi Mukherjee Greta Garbo Maggie Cheung Joanne Woodward
My favourite TV series and miniseries.
Kojak Cold Case The Jewel In The Crown All Creatures Great and Small The West Wing May To December The Twilight Zone(1959-1964) The Adventures, The Return, The Casebook and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes Mad Men NCIS JAG Yes,Minister Yes,Prime Minister The Mallens Poldark(1975) Jane Eyre(1983) Doctor Finlay(1993-1996) Ironside John Adams Only Fools and Horses Friends Frasier Elizabeth R The Persuaders Shadow of the Noose Cheers One Step Beyond(1959-1961) The Streets of San Francisco The Blacklist Quantum Leap The Champions Penny Dreadful Alleyn Mysteries Reilly Ace Of Spies Monk The X Files The Day of the Roses Happy Valley Sex and The City I, Claudius Ballykissangel Inspector Morse Endeavour Game Of Thrones Cadfael Tenko Spiral Between the Lines (1992-1994) Those Who Kill(2011) UFO The Bill Cracker Prime Suspect(UK series) Star Trek Star Trek Deep Space Nine Bleak House(2005) Bleak House(1985) North and South(2004) Inspector George Gently Rome
My favourite directors.
Michael Powell Kenji Mizoguchi Billy Wilder David Lean Ken Loach Steven Spielberg Yasujiro Ozu F.W Murnau Satyajit Ray Ida Lupino Martin Scorsese Stephen Daldry John Ford Gillian Armstrong Frank Capra Richard Attenborough Jean Renoir David Fincher Yimou Zhang James Ivory Mikio Naruse Pierre Salvadori Alfred Hitchcock Akira Kurosawa Peter Weir Anthony Mann William Wyler Joseph Losey
My favourite film and TV composers.
John Barry Rachel Portman John Williams Zbigniew Preisner Jerry Goldsmith James Horner Howard Shore Thomas Newman Bernard Herrmann Alex North Ryuichi Sakamoto Alfred Newman Quincy Jones Ennio Morricone Ramin Djawadi William Alwyn Carter Burwell
I Walk the Line (1970)
A Gregory Peck film that should be much better known
I Walk The Line is directed by John Frankenheimer, has a screenplay by Alvin Argent and is based on the novel by Madison Jones. The film stars Gregory Peck, Tuesday Weld, Estelle Parsons, Ralph Meeker and Charles Durning.
Peck plays Henry Tawes, a married Sheriff in a small American town. The story takes place during the depression years. Henry's ordered life is turned on its head when he meets the Alma(Tuesday Weld). The pair are drawn to one another and begin an affair. Henry struggles with his feelings for the much younger woman.Henry also has to deal with Alma's terrible father (a terrifying Ralph Meeker)and his own devious deputy(Charles Durning).
Peck is utterly convincing as the man struggling against his own feelings and willing to risk all he has to have Alma. I think he gives one of his best performances here.
Weld is excellent as the flirty Alma, who is torn between her way of life and the possibility of a different kind of life with Henry.
Estelle Parsons doesn't get much to do as Henry's wife, I would have liked a few more scenes of her character, Parsons delivers a solid performance despite the short screen time.
The film has a soundtrack by Johnny Cash, the theme song is that most famous of Johnny's songs Walk The Line; and it fits the story perfectly.
I think it's a real shame that this is not one of Gregory Peck's better known films. His performance here is one of his best.
A deaf child learns to cope in a hearing world
Mandy is directed by Alexander MacKendrick. The film stars Jack Hawkins, Mandy Miller, Phyllis Calvert and Terence Morgan.
I enjoyed this one very much. I'm extremely impressed by the performance of Mandy Miller as Mandy, she has the difficult task of conveying what her character is going through by facial expressions only; and she does such a fine job and is utterly convincing and natural in the role. I'm going to try and check out more of her work. She is so good in this film, perfectly conveying how introverted and shy Mandy has become.
Mandy(Mandy Miller)is born deaf, her parents Christine and Harry(Phyllis Calvert and Terence Morgan)raise her at home. Because she can't speak, she can't communicate with her family or anyone else and as she gets older she becomes hard to control.
Eventually she is taken to a residential deaf school, which is run by Jack Hawkins progressive teacher, Searle. Here, Mandy can at last make friends and learn how to communicate in a hearing world. The growing friendship between Christine and Searle, that so easily could have developed into a romance is touching and well conveyed by Hawkins and Calvert.
I really hope that people who saw this back at the time of release came to understand that deaf people(and anyone else with a disability)are just as normal as anyone else. I hope this film helped educate people about those who are deaf.
I loved the part where Mandy's mum discovers the teacher she has been talking to perfectly normally is actually completely deaf, but can lip read and use her voice normally; that scene perfectly shows that deaf people can exist just as normally as those of us who can hear.
Jet Storm (1959)
Attenborough and Baker are the only reason to watch this
Jet Storm is directed and written by C. Raker Endfield. The film stars Richard Attenborough, Stanley Baker, Paul Eddington, Diane Cilento, Harry Secombe and Hermoine Baddeley.
I have mixed feelings about this one. Excellent lead performance by Richard Attenborough and solid support from Stanley Baker. Nice to see Paul Eddington and Harry Secombe.The rest of the film isn't as good though.
Most of the passengers seem way too calm and unconcerned with the terrifying situation they find themselves in (that couple who play cards and joke throughout the whole thing among others). I found the lack of reaction quite laughable to be honest; I know we have the stiff upper lip here in Britain, but these passengers are all taking it to a whole other level.
Ernest Tilley(Richard Attenborough) is a bereaved father, who puts a bomb on a passenger plane. He plans to detonate it to kill another passenger who killed his daughter. The pilot(Stanley Baker)has to discover where the bomb is and find a way to talk the man out of his plan.
Also, I was left wondering as to how Attenborough's character knew that the man he was after would be on that particular flight, on that particular day? There are some tense moments. Attenborough gives a very good performance, the scene between him and the boy near the end was quite moving. There is a very impressive and dramatic scene(you will know it when you see it) that was really the only highlight of the film.
I had been looking forward to seeing this for a while, but was left quite disappointed. It has its moments, but they are few and far between. A mixed bag, but well worth a look for the performances of Attenborough and Baker.
The Hanging Tree (1959)
Hope at the Hanging Tree
The Hanging Tree is directed by Delmer Daves and Karl Malden. The film has a screenplay by Wendell Mayes and Halsted Welles which is based on the novel by Dorothy M. Johnson. The film stars Gary Cooper, Maria Schell, Karl Malden, George C. Scott and Ben Piazza.
I was very impressed with Cooper's performance here. Frail is a much darker and complex character than we are used to seeing Cooper play. I loved his scenes with Maria Schell. The title song by Marty Robbins is extremely catchy; once the film is over, go back and listen to the song again, it is all about Frail and the story about to unfold.
Newly arrived Doctor Frail(Gary Cooper)saves the life of a gold thief(Ben Piazza). He then makes the other man work for him in return for the Doctor's silence about the crime. A young woman called Elizabeth (Maria Schell)is injured during a stagecoach robbery, Frail tries to look after her and protect her from the unwelcome attentions of a local man (Karl Malden). Frail finds himself struggling with his own growing feelings for Elizabeth.
The film keeps you guessing until the end about the true nature of Cooper's character. Malden is excellent as a lecherous local who tries to take advantage of Schell's character. George C. Scott appears in his film debut, he plays a faith healer who hates the fact that Doctor Frail is taking away his customers.
Good performances all round, and some stunning location work help to make this a must see.
Deep Waters (1948)
A story to warm your heart
Deep Waters is directed by Henry King and has a screenplay by Richard Murphy, which is based on the novel by Ruth Moore. The film stars Dana Andrews, Dean Stockwell, Jean Peters, Ann Revere and Cesar Romero.
Donny(Dean Stockwell) is a young orphan boy who is placed with a no nonsense, but kindly woman(Ann Revere). Donny's caseworker Ann(Jean Peters)is in love with local lobsterman Hod(Dana Andrews)who befriends the boy.
Donny has had a troubled past and is wary of adults, he is happiest when he is on his own fishing. As time goes on he gradually realises that bad grown ups are the minority.
Filmed on location in Maine, there is some lovely scenery to enjoy. The film is one of those that leaves you in a good mood at the end. A feel good story that is quite poignant in places.
We are also given a glimpse into how the women of the town cope with the dangers fishing puts their men in. There is a very well done storm at sea sequence which is also very suspenseful.
This is a film that I wish was longer, so we could spend more time with the characters.
Great performances from Ann Revere, Dana Andrews, Dean Stockwell, Jean Peters and Cesar Romero(who plays Andrew's friend and fellow lobsterman.)
Griffin and Phoenix (1976)
Grief, loss and love
Griffin and Phoenix is directed by Daryl Duke and is written by John Hill. The film stars Peter Falk and Jill Clayburgh.
Geoffrey Griffin(Peter Falk)and Sarah Phoenix(Jill Clayburgh)meet at a lecture, they enjoy each others company; after getting talking they realise they want to spend more time together. Their friendship turns into love. Tragedy lies just around the corner though, because they are both dying.
Neither wants to tell the other the truth, they just want to enjoy the time left to them. They are forced to face the truth when Phoenix discovers Griffin has a book about coping with terminal illness; she thinks he has been snooping around in her life and has found out about her illness, the book was actually for him to read for himself. During an emotional confrontation and argument on the beach, they confront and discuss the truth.
We see how they deal with their illnesses and how they work on their relationship.
This is one of the saddest films I have ever seen. Falk and Clayburgh are both excellent, their performances are so honest; you feel their pain and fear and you want both characters to be happy, even though we know that is only possible for a short time. The argument on the beach is a highlight for me, so powerfully acted. The scene where Falk takes his anger and grief out on his car really got me too. The hospital room sequence completely tore my heart out, beautifully acted by both Falk and Clayburgh.
A moving film about love and loss. There is a remake, which is good but doesn't come close to this version.
Police Squad! (1982)
How this only lasted six episodes is beyond me. This is just as funny as the film series. Did the humour go over peoples heads at the time of release? When the film proved a success, you would have thought someone would have tried to revive this series.
The sight gags are priceless and the title sequence(in Quinn Martin style)cracks me up. The Rex Hamilton, as Abraham Lincoln! bit gets me every single time.
Frank Drebin(Leslie Nielson)investigates and solves crimes with the help of his colleagues. As in the films it is Nielson's line delivery and physical comedy that make many scenes funny, he plays it straight and that makes the ridiculous situations even funnier.
As with the films you have to pay attention in every scene here, because there are things happening in the back ground to make you laugh too.
If you love Leslie and The Naked Gun and Airplane films, then you should check this series out.
A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery (1987)
Peter and Harriet solve crimes
I love this miniseries so much. I think it is such a shame that more episodes starring Petherbridge and Walter were never made.
The stories are very well done and there is a solid supporting cast. The reason I love this series so much though and return to it again and again, is for Peter and Harriet's relationship. Peter saves her and falls in love, but she feels indebted to him and although she loves him she doesn't want to admit it. Petherbridge and Walter are perfect together and do such a good job of conveying the characters feelings for one another.
I have seen the Ian Carmichael series and for me it is not as good as the Petherbridge version. Petherbrige conveys Wimsey's intellect, but he also makes him funny, charming and tragic in a way. Carmichael's Peter just comes across as dull.
Gentleman sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey(Edward Petherbridge)solves crimes with the aid of his loyal manservant Bunter(Richard Morant). Peter saves the life of novelist Harriet Vane(Harriet Walter)and falls in love with her. Harriet likes him but doesn't seem able to return his feelings. The pair keep getting brought back together solving crimes and mysteries, the more time they spend together the more their feelings for one another grow.
A very enjoyable mystery series. Petherbridge gives possibly a career best performance, I wish he had played Peter in more episodes.
The Mummy Returns (2001)
Past lives and airships
The Mummy Returns is directed by Stephen Sommers and has music by Alan Silvestri. The film stars Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo, John Hannah, Oded Fehr, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Alun Armstrong, Patricia Velasquez, Freddie Boath and The Rock.
Set several years after the first film, this sequel finds Rick(Brendan Fraser)and Evelyn(Rachel Weisz)now married. The couple have a young son called Alex(Freddie Boath). The trio are in Egypt looking for artefacts, they come across an ancient bracelet which once belonged to The Scorpion King(The Rock).
The Scorpion King sold his soul to the Anubis, in return he had command over an evil army and was seemingly invincible. Unbeknown to the O'Connell's, followers of Imhotep have once again raised him from the dead, his former lover Anck Su Namun(Patricia Velasquez)has been reincarnated and the pair want the bracelet of Anubis to command the armies so they can dominate the world. Alex tries on the bracelet and discovers he can't take it off, Imhotep and his followers kidnap the boy. Rick, Evelyn, Jonathan (John Hannah)and Ardeth Bay(Oded Fehr) try and get him back and foil this evil plan.
Evelyn keeps having strange visions which we soon discover are past memories, she is revealed to have been the daughter of the Pharaoh murdered by Imhotep.
This film has much more action than the first one, it's a non stop thrill ride and has a cracking score. The special effects are once again not all that great, especially those for the mummy and Scorpion King.
I didn't like Evelyn turning out to have been an ancient princess or what is revealed about Rick, I think that takes something away from the film. In the first film and for the first part of this sequel, Rick and Evelyn are just normal people who come up against out of the ordinary things, they find the strength and courage to fight those things. Making them connected to the past takes away their normality, learning that these things were meant to be just seems unnecessary to me.
The cast once again deliver good performances, Oded Fehr is hysterical as the badass Ardeth Bay. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is chilling as Lock-Nah one of Imhotep's supporters, he's great at playing villains and is very intense here.
Worth a watch, but it's not as good as the first film.
The Mummy (1999)
If you call that a kiss
The Mummy is directed by Stephen Sommers and has music by Jerry Goldsmith. The film stars Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo, John Hannah, Kevin J. O'Connor, Jonathan Hyde, Patricia Velasquez and Oded Fehr.
If you like the Indiana Jones trilogy this film is for you. A good blend of adventure, action, romance and horror.
Librarian Evelyn Carnahan(Rachel Weisz)and her brother Jonathan(John Hannah), find a map with directions for how to get to the ancient Egyptian city of Hamunaptra.
Adventurer Rick O'Connell(Brendan Fraser)has been to the city before, he agrees to take the siblings there after Evelyn saves his life. As the group begin their adventure, they soon discover another group of people are making their way to the city too. Descendents of the bodyguards of the Pharaoh are following all the explorers, to ensure that what is hidden in the city stays hidden.
Once at the city an ancient book is discovered. Reading aloud from it a curse is unleashed which reawakens mummified high priest Imhotep(Arnold Vosloo). He then pursues the group needing their body parts to restore himself fully to life. Imhotep was buried alive as punishment for murdering the Pharaoh. With the help of Ardeth Bay(Oded Fehr)who is one of the bodyguards, the group must work together to try and destroy Imhotep and save themselves.
I think there is a bit too much humour in this film that makes scenes that should be very scary less so. Imhotep should have been portrayed as being even more evil and there should have been some more horror scenes.
The scenes with the mummy look pretty bad, it's obviously computer generated, it would have been better if the mummy scenes were done for real like in the 1932 film, with Vosloo wrapped up and crumbling makeup applied to him.
As it is though this is perfect family viewing, younger children can enjoy it without being too scared.
The growing romance between Rick and Evelyn is so sweet to watch, Fraser and Weisz work very well together and do a good job of showing us how much these characters are beginning to mean to each other.
The entire cast give solid performances, Weisz is the standout for me, independent, adventurous and proving that brains and words can be powerful weapons too. Fraser is very good as the tough adventurer who will do what he has to in order to get the job done and protect the woman he loves.
Goldsmith's score is epic and one of my all time favourites amongst his work. The cast returned for The Mummy Returns, that is an enjoyable sequel but not as good as this one. The third film starring Fraser but not Weisz is best forgotten.