The Great Films

The Great Films – 12 Angry Men

by Alan Rapp on April 13, 2017

in Home Video

  • Title: 12 Angry Men
  • IMDb: link

12 Angry Men movie reviewOur Throwback Thursday post this week takes us back six decades. On this date 60 years ago writer Reginald Rose‘s adaptation of his own teleplay opened in theaters. Directed by Sidney Lumet, the film was nominated for three Oscars yet took home none. However, over time both the National Film Registry and the American Film Institute have named it a film of great significance.

Set entirely in a courthouse, the film follows the deliberations of 12 jurors concerning a case of an 18 year-old accused of stabbing his father with a switchblade. When the film opens only one lone juror (Henry Fonda) has some doubt to the boy’s guilt. While going over the case with the reluctant other jurors, the man will slowly bring others to his side, to the great frustration of one juror (Lee J. Cobb) spearheading the other argument.

No names are used, with each of the jurors identified only by number, and others identified solely as “the boy,” “the judge,” and so on. Focusing on facts and deliberation, the film is tense throughout (although there’s only a single instance where any physical threat is made by one juror to another).

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The Great Films – Double Indemnity

by Alan Rapp on April 28, 2014

in Home Video

  • Title: Double Indemnity
  • IMDB: link

“How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?”

The Great Films - Double IndemnityIt wasn’t the first film in the genre that would come to be known as film moir, but it’s one of the best. Directed by Billy Wilder, who co-wrote the film with Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye), Double Indemnity is often referred to as “the paradigmatic film noir,” raising the bar and setting the standard for all others that followed.

Our story begins with Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray), a cocky insurance salesman bleeding out in his boss’ office of a gunshot wound while recording his confession on Dictaphone. Through Neff’s narration the events which led him to this gruesome end are slowly revealed.

A simple house call to get his client to renew his auto insurance becomes anything but when Neff falls hard for the man’s younger wife (Barbara Stanwyck) who, at their first meeting, suggests procuring accidental life insurance for her husband (Tom Powers), without his knowledge.

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The Great Films – Rear Window

by Alan Rapp on October 7, 2008

in Home Video

  • Title: Rear Window
  • IMDB: link

“Are you interested in solving this case or in making me look foolish?”
“Well, if possible, both.”

With the recent release of Disturbia I thought this would be a good time to introduce a new feature and take a look back at the film which it pays homage to.  Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window is considered one of the director’s finest films by both critics (it earned a 100% Fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes and ranked #42 on AFI’s 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time) and fans (at the time of this review it ranks #16 on IMDB’s Top 250 Films of All Time).

Alfred Hitchcock, ah, there was a man who knew how to tell a tale.  The joy in Rear Window is the simplicity.  One man looking into the windows of his neighbors discovers a little about them, and a little about himself, and uncovers what he believes is evidence of cold-blooded murder.  It’s a film of slow revelations, of constant building tension, of troubled relationships, and of learning the truth about yourself as well as your neighbors.  If you enjoy suspense then you could search long and hard trying to find a flick better than this one.

Stuck at home with a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jefferies (Jimmy Stewart) begins to examine the world around him finding numerous worlds in the apartments across the courtyard.  Over the past six weeks these strangers have become his form of entertainment and his only way to experience the outside world.

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