Notorious is a 1946 American thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains as three people whose lives become intimately entangled during an espionage operation. It was shot in late 1945 and early 1946, and was released by RKO in August 1946.
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/
It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on the short story “The Greatest Gift” written by Philip Van Doren Stern.
The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of hisguardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and the contributions he has made to his community.
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.”
It’s a Wonderful Life was nominated for five Oscars without winning any, although the film has since been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, and placed number one on their list of the most inspirational American films of all time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_a_Wonderful_Life
IMDB Ratings: 8.7/10, An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/
Double Indemnity is a 1944 American film noir, directed by Billy Wilder, co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, and produced by Buddy DeSylva and Joseph Sistrom. The script was based on James M. Cain’s 1935 novella of the same title which originally appeared as an eight-part serial in Liberty magazine.
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.
Deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1992, Double Indemnity was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In 1998, it was ranked #38 on the American Film Institute‘s list of the 100 best American films of the 20th century, and in 2007 it was 29th on their 10th Anniversary list. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Indemnity_(film)
IMDB Ratings: 8.6/10, An insurance rep lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator’s suspicions. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036775/
Cleopatra is a 1963 British-American-Swiss epic drama film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The screenplay was adapted by Sidney Buchman, Ben Hecht, Ranald MacDougall, and Mankiewicz from a book by Carlo Maria Franzero. The film starred Elizabeth Taylor,Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall, and Martin Landau. The music score was by Alex North. It was photographed in 70 mmTodd-AO by Leon Shamroy and an uncredited Jack Hildyard.
Cleopatra chronicles the struggles of Cleopatra VII, the young Queen of Egypt, to resist the imperialist ambitions of Rome.
Despite being a critical failure, it won four Academy Awards. It was the highest grossing film of 1963, earning US $26 million ($57.7 million total), yet made a loss due to its cost of $44 million, the only film ever to be the highest grossing film of the year yet to run at a loss. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra_(1963_film)
IMDB Ratings: 6.8/10, Historical epic. The triumphs and tragedy of the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056937/
Rope is a 1948 American thriller film based on the play Rope (1929) by Patrick Hamilton and adapted by Hume Cronyn (treatment) andArthur Laurents, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by Sidney Bernstein and Hitchcock as the first of their Transatlantic Picturesproductions. Starring James Stewart, John Dall and Farley Granger, it is the first of Hitchcock’s Technicolor films, and is notable for taking place in real time and being edited so as to appear as a single continuous shot through the use of long takes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rope_film
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.
The Grapes of Wrath, Τα σταφύλια της οργής (1940)
The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John Steinbeck‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath_(film)
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/
Rebecca is a 1940 psychological/dramatic noir thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock as his first American project.
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.
It was the opening film at the 1st Berlin International Film Festival. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebecca_(1940_film)
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/
It Happened One Night is a 1934 American romantic comedy film with elements of screwball comedy directed by Frank Capra, in which a pampered socialite (Claudette Colbert) tries to get out from under her father’s thumb, and falls in love with a roguish reporter (Clark Gable). The plot was based on the story Night Bus by Samuel Hopkins Adams, which provided the shooting title. It Happened One Night was one of the last romantic comedies created before the MPAA began enforcing the 1930 production code in 1934. In spite of its title the movie takes place over several nights.
The film was the first to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay), a feat that would not be matched until One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and later by The Silence of the Lambs (1991). In 1993, It Happened One Nightwas selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Happened_One_Night
IMDB Ratings: 8.3/10, A spoiled heiress, running away from her family, is helped by a man who’s actually a reporter looking for a story. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025316/
The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed primarily by Victor Fleming.Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf received credit for the screenplay, but there were uncredited contributions by others. Based on the 1900 children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, the film stars Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley,Bert Lahr, and Frank Morgan, with Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charles Grapewin, Clara Blandick and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins. Notable for its use of special effects, Technicolor, fantasy storytelling and unusual characters, The Wizard of Oz has become, over the years, one of the best-known of all films. It is far and away the best-known version of L. Frank Baum’s book, perhaps even eclipsing the fame of the novel itself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wizard_of_Oz_(1939_film)
IMDB Ratings: 8.2/10, Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138/
The General is a 1926 American silent comedy film released by United Artists inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, which happened in 1862. Buster Keaton starred in the film and co-directed it with Clyde Bruckman. It was adapted by Al Boasberg, Bruckman, Keaton, Charles Henry Smith (uncredited) and Paul Girard Smith (uncredited) from the memoir The Great Locomotive Chase by William Pittenger. The film, an adventure-epic classic made toward the end of the silent era, received both poor reviews by critics (it was considered tedious and disappointing) and weak box-office results (about a half million dollars domestically, and approximately one million worldwide) at its original release, but is now considered by critics as one of the greatest films ever made. However, because of its huge budget ($750,000 supplied by Metro chief Joseph Schenck) and poor box office, Keaton lost his independence as a film-maker and was forced into a restrictive deal with MGM. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_General_(1926_film)
IMDB Ratings: 8.4/10, When Union spies steal an engineer’s beloved locomotive, he pursues it single handedly and straight through enemy lines. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017925/
The Phantom of the Opera is a 1925 American silent horror film adaptation of the Gaston Leroux novel of the same title directed by Rupert Julian. The film featured Lon Chaney in the title role as the deformed Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to force the management to make the woman he loves a star. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)
IMDB Ratings: 7.7/10, A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0016220/
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a 1948 American film written and directed by John Huston, a feature film adaptation of B. Traven‘s 1927 novel of the same name, in which two impecunious Americans Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) during the 1920s in Mexico join with an old-timer, Howard (Walter Huston, the director’s father), to prospect for gold. The old-timer accurately predicts trouble, but is willing to go anyway. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treasure_of_the_Sierra_Madre_(film)
IMDB Ratings: 8.5/10 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040897/