What’s Up With Stan: This Month’s Top Flicks
If you ask me, Stan is starting to seriously out-perform Netflix as a place to watch classic movies. From Midnight Cowboy, to Thief, to The Birdman of Alcatraz, Stan is killing it at the mo. I began to make a list and soon found the list to be over three pages long so… Instead of inflicting that on you, here’s a few good films you may have looked past.
A Bridge Too Far
The perfect entre for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Dunkirk, Richard Attenborough’s A Bridge Too Far is as big as war films get. Written by Misery, Marathon Man and Butch Cassidy and the SundanceKid screenwriter, William Goldman, this film managed to amass an ensemble cast that, for my money, hasn’t been topped. I’m talking about James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Elliot Gould, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Hardy Kruger, Lawrence Olivier, Ryan O’Neal, Robert Redford and more…
Give it a chance. I know, I know, “Notorious Heaven’s Gate”, the film that single-handedly destroyed United Artists, but give it a chance. When Michael Cimino finally got to see his 216 “Director’s Cut” screen at the Venice Film Festival it was received with rapturous applause. Cimino is far from the one trick pony he’s made out to be and Heaven’s Gate is one hell of a way to spend an afternoon.
In the Realm of the Senses
Perhaps still the most widely known film by Nagisa Oshima (whose film A Cruel Story of Youth I wrote about a couple of weeks ago), it was a bit of a surprise hit in the West when it was released in 1976. This was helped in part by the film initially being banned, which is a sure-fire way, we all know, to guarantee the making of a cult classic. Great erotic cinema is rare, with the true masterpieces being able to be counted on only one hand, and Nagisa Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses is one of the greatest examples of the genre.
“All this filming isn’t healthy”, a quote from the film about a boyish compulsive serial killer with a fascination for film cameras could easily be attributed to any number of great directors in the past. This is the film that would, upon release, be dismissed with disgust by both critics and audiences and put a permanent stain on the name of Michael Powell. But that’s not to say the film deserves it. It’s a fascinating watch, just as intoxicating as The Red Shoes, or The Black Narcissus, or any other of the Powell & Pressburger films. Peeping Tom would later find a new home with the adoration of the New Hollywood directors like Martin Scorsese and Brian De Palma.
Starting life as a teleplay starring Rod Steiger, made during the original Television Golden Age, Marty would later be adapted to the silver screen, this time starring Ernest Borgnine in the title role. One of the greatest love stories ever told, Marty is short, sweet and absolutely heart breaking. Never one to avoid writing “messages” into his films, Paddy Chayefsky (who would go on to win two more Oscars for Best Original Screenplay in The Hospital and Network) gives us one of the most timeless stories ever put to screen… It’s like I’ve been saying for years, Rocky is just Marty with more punching.