Alfred Hitchcock‘s first sound film utilized the new sound technology in a rather creative way off-camera. Hitchcock’s lead actress, Anny Ondra, had a strong Eastern European accent that was difficult for English audiences to understand, so Hitchcock’s solution was to have British actress Joan Barry speak Ondra’s lines of dialogue off-camera. The film concerns a woman who kills a man who tries to assault her. Ondra plays Alice White who, while having dinner in a fancy English nightspot with her husband-to-be Scotland Yard Detective Frank Webber (John Longden), begins to flirt with an artist (Cyril Richard) seated at the next table. The artist invites her up to see his studio, and she goes but balks when the artist asks her to pose in the nude. When the request becomes a demand, Alice stabs him to death. She rejoins her fiance and tries to forget the murder, but her conscience keeps bothering her. To make matters worse, sniveling rat Tracy (Donald Calthrop) materializes to blackmail Alice for the crime. http://www.youtube.com/movie?v=R5VJqr9OgIo&ob=av1n&feature=mv_sr
IMDB Ratings: 7.0/10, Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920’s London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her… http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0019702/
Notorious marks a watershed for Hitchcock artistically, and represents a heightened thematic maturity. His biographer, Donald Spoto, writes that “Notorious is in fact Alfred Hitchcock’s first attempt—at the age of forty-six—to bring his talents to the creation of a serious love story, and its story of two men in love with Ingrid Bergman could only have been made at this stage of his life.”
The film is known for two scenes in particular. In one of his most famous shots, Hitchcock starts wide and high on a second floor balcony overlooking the great hall of a grand mansion. Slowly he tracks down and in on Ingrid Bergman, finally ending with a tight close-up of a key tucked in her hand. So arresting is the shot that an outline of the key became a graphic element in the film’s promotional material. Hitchcock also devised “a celebrated scene” that circumvented the Production Code’s ban on kisses longer than three seconds — by having his actors disengage every three seconds, murmur and nuzzle each other, then start right back up again. The two-and-a-half minute osculation is “perhaps his most intimate and erotic kiss.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notorious_(1946_film)
IMDB Ratings: 8.2/10, A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038787/
Despite initially being considered a box office flop due to high production costs and stiff competition at the time of its release, the film has come to be regarded as a classic and a staple of Christmas television around the world. Theatrically, the film’s break-even point was actually $6.3 million, approximately twice the production cost, a figure it never came close to achieving in its initial release. An appraisal in 2006 reported: “Although it was not the complete box-office failure that today everyone believes … it was initially a major disappointment and confirmed, at least to the studios, that Capra was no longer capable of turning out the populist features that made his films the must-see, money-making events they once were.”
The film stars Fred MacMurray as an insurance salesman, Barbara Stanwyck as a provocative housewife who wishes her husband were dead, and Edward G. Robinson as a claims adjuster whose job is to find phony claims. The term double indemnity refers to a clause in certain life insurance policies that doubles the payout in cases when death is caused by accidental means.
Praised by many critics when first released, Double Indemnity was nominated for seven Academy Awards but did not win any. Widely regarded as a classic, it is often cited as a paradigmatic film noir and as having set the standard for the films that followed in that genre.
IMDB Ratings: 8.1/10, Two young men strangle their “inferior” classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the “perfection” of their crime. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040746/
Similar to the movie 4 Rooms by Quentin Terentino.
IMDB Ratings: 7.9/10, A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and he stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring trying to steal top secret information. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0026029/
IMDB Ratings: 8.3/10, A poor Midwest family is forced off of their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032551/
The film is a gothic tale about the lingering memory of the title character, Maxim de Winter’s dead first wife, which continues to haunt Maxim, his new bride, and Mrs. Danvers. The film won two Academy Awards, including Best Picture out of a total 11 nominations. Olivier, Fontaine and Anderson were all Oscar nominated for their respective roles. Since the introduction of awards for actors in supporting roles, this is the only film named Best Picture that won no other Academy Award for acting, directing or writing.
IMDB Ratings: 8.4/10, When a naive young woman marries a rich widower and settles in his gigantic mansion, she finds the memory of the first wife maintaining a grip on her husband and the servants. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032976/
Metropolis was cut substantially after its German premiere, and much footage was lost over the passage of successive decades. There have been several efforts to restore it, as well as discoveries of previously lost footage. A 2001 reconstruction ofMetropolis, shown at the Berlin Film Festival, was inscribed on UNESCO‘s Memory of the World Register in that same year. In 2008, a copy of the film 30 minutes longer than any other known surviving copy was located in Argentina. After a long period of restoration in Germany, the restored film was shown publicly for the first time simultaneously at Berlin and Frankfurt on February 12, 2010. The event of the Friedrichstadtpalast was shown live on a screen at the Brandenburg Gate as well as on TV on ARTE. This version was also shown in New York at the Ziegfeld Theater in the last two weeks of October 2010.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolis_(film)
IMDB Ratings: 8.4/10, In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017136/
Kobayashi wants his audience to feel the soul crushing persistence of evil that war represents and no one who does make it through all three parts of “The Human Condition” can remain untouched. Each part has its own title (“No Greater Love” — Part I; “Road to Eternity” — Part II; and “A Soldier’s Prayer” — Part III) ) and the first and last parts even have their own intermissions. http://www.offoffoff.com/film/2008/the_human_condition.php
The second of Universal’s “modernized” Sherlock Holmes films pits the Great Detective (Basil Rathbone, of course) against that “Napoleon of Crime,” Professor Moriarty (Lionel Atwill). Surpassing his previous skullduggery, Moriarty has now aligned himself with the Nazis and has dedicated himself to stealing a top-secret bomb sight developed by expatriate European scientist Dr. Franz Tobel (William Post Jr.). Before being kidnapped by Moriarty’s minions, Tobel was enterprising enough to disassemble his invention and distribute its components among several other patriotic scientists. Racing against the clock, Holmes and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) try to stem the murders of Tobel’s colleagues and prevent Moriarty from getting his mitts on the precious secret weapon. The now-famous climax finds Holmes playing for time by allowing Moriarty to drain all the blood from his body, drop by drop (“The needle to the last, eh Holmes?” gloats the villain). Dennis Hoeymakes his first appearance as the dull-witted, conclusion-jumping Inspector Lestrade. Constructed more like a serial than a feature film, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (based loosely on Conan Doyle’s The Dancing Men) is one of the fastest-moving entries in the series; it is also one of the most readily accessible, having lapsed into public domain in 1969. http://www.youtube.com/movie/sherlock-holmes-and-the-secret-weapon