Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Sunday, 30 October 2011

My Movies to Watch List

Author Julia R Barrett recently posted a blog entitled, "Who is Robert Redford?" in response to someone in their 30's who admitted they had no idea who he was!  Redford as we all surely know is one of the most entertaining and influential actors from the last 45 years, but, I don't want this blog to be about him, although for at least one reason that will become clear, he did play a small bit part in my memories of courtship and eventual marriage!

The other thing raised by the original post was a request that we think about our favourite movies and why, were they life changing, thought provoking or just plain entertaining, and to either give them to Julia or as I have chosen to do, write my own blog, so, to the original young lady who posed the question and Julia for the inspiration here is my list and the reasons behind them...

1. The Way we Were with Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand.

This was obviously not the first movie that I remember seeing as, by the time it came out, I was already in my late teens, left home and was serving in the British Army in Berlin.

No, the reason it is number one on my list is because it is the first movie that I took my then (short term girlfriend, Hah) to see, and it was in the American cinema in the American sector of Berlin! I was around 18 and Ishbel was 16, we got married two years later! I still remember and can sing the title song today!

2. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid again with Robert Redford and Paul Newman.

I saw this movie after sneaking into the cinema to see it but I can't quite remember if it was the Odeon next to The Brew ( or, to give it its proper name - The Unemployment Office, where you signed on when you didn't have a job) or the Regal down by The Fountain.

I had been reading western books by JT Edson and of course the Lone Ranger at Saturday morning cinema and Alias Smith and Jones on the Telly, but this was different and the chemistry between these two guys and the humour was unforgettable.  Scenes that you always remember, "I can't swim" before they leap of the cliff into the river,  The song Raindrops Keep Falling on my head and the bicycle scene with Katharine Ross.  The conversation with the George Furth as Woodcock, before they blow him up on the train and so many more...

3. The Ghost and Mrs Muir  Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney.

A widow, Lucy Muir, and her daughter move into a cliff top cottage only to discover that it is still inhabited by the ghost of its former owner a brusque dead sea captain who falls in love with Mrs Muir and who in turn falls in love with him.

Soft I know, but I just love watching this movie even although it was made 9 years before I was even born.  It was a somewhat dark and gloomy film but the concept of a ghost appealed to me then when I first saw this movie.  Rex Harrison's wonderful baritone voice and the the beauty of Gene Tierney all helped to draw you in and the closing scenes, well, tissue time again, that's all I'm saying...

4. Goodbye Mr Chips Robert Donat and Greer Garson.

Another movie made long before I was even born and again one of my all time favourites.  Unbelievably sad about a lonely and strict disciplinarian school teacher who goes off on yet another solo holiday , but finds and falls in love.  Bringing the new Mrs Chips back to the school with him he becomes less strict and more loved by his pupils, thanks to the influence of his wife.

His wife announces that she is pregnant, but both she and the child die during childbirth.  If you haven't seen this and track it down, buy a box of tissues with the DVD, you will need them.

5. We Were Soldiers Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe and Sam Elliot

A bit more up to date with this one, set in the Vietnam war.  While the battle scenes are realistic and well filmed, it has to be one of those 'war' movies that falls into the category of 'anti-war', making you think is it all worth it.  But then as human beings it is probably one of the things that we are best suited to doing, unfortunately.

If you haven't seen this movie can I suggest man or woman, have a box of tissues to hand as the men go off to fight the women are left at home and when the telegrams start arriving informing the wives that their husbands are dead, WOW.  Based on real events and the first real battle that the Americans fought in this conflict, it truly is a riveting film.

6. Barefoot in The Park Robert Redford, Jane Fonda and Mildred Nantwick

Another Robert Redford I'm afraid.  This is one of the most deliciously funny movies of all time with the scatter brained Jane Fonda marrying the up and coming lawyer and him leaving it to her to find their new apartment.  The difference in expectations from them both to the found apartment is just so funny and then mother played by Mildred Natwick after climbing the 5 or was it 7 flights of stairs to the apartment (no lift/elevator) has to be one of the single most funniest moments in film history.  If any youngsters reading this need to watch a film that will make them laugh out loud, this is it.

Supporting the three above are an excellent ensemble cast from the telephone installer, to the delivery man and of course the inimitable Charles Boyer as the European enigma who lives on the roof of the apartment, hilarious, as stuffy Mr Redford is finally cracked.

7. The Sand Pebbles Steve McQueen, Candice Bergen

What can I say about this movie. Steve McQueen and Candice Bergen.  Bergen has to have been one of the most beautiful women on the planet (and still is for a woman of senior years)  and she could act.  She was not the main focus of this one, that was more McQueen doing what he always did, play the lone rebellious part in a group under pressure, but played it to perfection and as usual (not giving it away here if you haven't seen it, but think Great Escape ending)

8. Soldier Blue Candice Bergen, Peter Strauss.

I think this was the first truly Violent western I had ever seen and it was probably most notable for those graphic scenes against the Indians by the soldiers including the breast cutting one, truly horrific.  This film was also notable for the title song by Buffy Sainte-Marie

9. Casablanca  Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Raines

I said for No's and 7 and 8 that  Bergen was one of the most beautiful women on the planet but even she was surpassed by Ingrid Bergman's Ilse Lunde next to Bogart's Rick Blaine an atmospheric war time thriller with a love triangle between Rick, Ilse and Victor.

While this was a great movie, it was however  the scene stealing Claude Raines as Captain Renault who was my favourite character.

10. Cockles and Mussels or in the original French, Crustacés & Coquillages. Gilbert Melki, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Sabrina Seyvecou.

This is a great littler French film that I discovered on the BBC late one night and I absolutely loved it. Light hearted and funny and I have watched it about 4 or 5 times,

The plot is that of a family; husband, wife, teenage daughter and son,  returning to the fathers family home each year for the summer holiday but it turns out that the wife is having an affair and is followed by her lover and she keeps sneaking away to see him.  The daughter is off on the back of her boyfriends motorbike touring leaving the son to cope with his neurotic parents, but his gay friend turns up and the parents think that he may be gay.  It turns out also that prior to leaving the village the father was also gay and had an affair with the local plumber who encounters the family son's friend whilst 'dogging'!

The whole thing is a farce and as such hilarious, if you can get your hands on it, well worth the effort, and all is revealed at the end and all live happily together, Oh and it ends with a little song and dance for the closing credits, so a bonus

11. Wasabi Jean Reno

Another French movie. You may recognise the title Wasabi, as the name of the Japanese condiment much like our own mustard and is a bit of an acquired taste probably much like the film, but I do have a penchant for foreign movies, French ones in particular and I also happen to like Jean Reno very much.

Reno plays a hard boiled French cop who always gets results, no matter the cost and after another bout of mayhem is ordered on leave.  As he takes this forced holiday he receives word that the love of his life, in a former life, while in Japan has died, and he has been appointed executor of her will.  In arriving in Japan he finds that he has a daughter although she does not know he is the father, thinking that she was the product of a rape.  It's two days before her birthday and the Yakuza want her dead to recover money that her mother stole from them.  Mayhem ensues and a few laughs particularly over Renos penchant for Wasabi but unlike normal people he does not just take a pinch he guzzles it and others trying to emulate this make for some serious laughs.

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12. Shoot em Up Clive owen, Monica Belluci and Paul Giamatti

A ridiculous modern film from the man With No Name type (although the 'hero' actually does have one).  A guy is sitting at a bus stop when a pregnant woman on the verge of giving birth staggers by. He ignores her as she stumbles past and into and empty warehouse.  He follows her in and helps her give birth as a bunch of hit men turn up.

They don't want the woman, well not alive anyway, but they do want the child.  From that moment on every killer and thug descends upon them and he starts killing them all as he protects both the woman and her child.  Paul Giamatti is ridiculously over the top as the lead hit man and the movie while full of gruesome murder and mayhem is so full of of over the top laughs.  Who are you she says to him at one point,  "I'm a British nanny and I am armed and dangerous."  This is so ridiculous you just cannot help liking it

13. Hello Dolly! Barbara Streisand, Walter Matthau and Michael Crawford

Deliciously funny musical and I could populate this list with musicals as, when I was a kid and just after BBC2 TV started broadcasting in the UK, there was one on every week, I loved them! They were all of course from the 40's and fifties and I may do another list populated just with them.

But, Hello Dolly just breaking into the 70's and my teenage years and of course we (in the UK) had our very own Michael Crawford 'starring' in it as well.  But the colour and music and wide sets along with the humour that Ms Streisand is so good at was just fabulous , Oh, and let's not forget that scene with the great Louis Armstrong.  5 year old twin grandchildren can sing the song "Put on your Sunday clothes" from Wall-E so it will soon be time to get the movie on for them.

14. The Shawshank Redemption Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman

Surely if you are reading this you have seen this movie!  I am also an avid reader but have to confess to only having read 1 book by Stephen King and IF I have read a book I have yet to then see a film representation that has done the book justice.

So, not having read the book I am going to give it a miss as this movie was just stunning in its story of the banker wrongly convicted of his wife's murder in the 40's and sentenced to life imprisonment.  The subsequent brutality of that incarceration and his seemingly quiet acceptance of his new life to eventual..... well if you haven't seen it, you must.

15. High Heels and Low Lifes  Minnie Driver, Mary McCormack and Kevin McNally

A little British Independent movie here and I think before Ms Driver headed off to Hollywood.

 She and her friend, both nurses, overhear a conversation about robbing a bank and decide to try and blackmail the robbers.  It is so farcical and funny and really highlights the blossoming talents of some UK Actors.  Well worth a watch if you can get your hands on it.  The part on the train and the car in the field with the farmer is really funny!

16. In Which We Serve Noel Coward, John Mills, Celia Johnson

A great wartime British film telling the story, in flashback, of a naval ships crew, from construction to sinking and they are stranded in the sea being gunned by passing German fighter bombers.  Coward  plays the heroic captain who loves his ship and crew.  If you haven't seen this it is available to watch on youtube.

One of the most memorable scenes is a dinner party when Celia Johnson, the captains wife gives a heartfelt welcome / warning to the new fiancée of an officer.  Informing her that she has to realise that her husband to be, who will no doubt love her, but he will love his king, his country, his ship and his shipmates ahead of his love for his wife and children.  Stirring stuff.

17. Carve Her Name with Pride Virginia McKenna and Paul Scofield

Another British war movie charting the true story of another British Heroine, one as it turns out, amongst many whose stories have in many cases only come to light many years after the war.

London lass, with English father and French mother, bumps into, has whirlwind romance and marries a French officer.  Officer goes back to the war and dies, wife is recruited for the new Special Operations Executive.  The movie charts her training to her deployment into the field in France to her eventual capture and execution.  If you haven't seen it, tissues at the ready for the final scenes when her toddler daughter is presented to the King to receive her mothers medal!

18. The Bear Bart the Bear, Youk the Bear and Tcheky Karyo 

This movie should probably be higher in the list for the fact that it was, to the best of my recollection, the very first time that Ishbel and I took all three of our children to the movies as a family group (after this, although we went at other times, we always spent boxing day at the cinema as a wind down from Xmas). Marie, our eldest was 10, Brian was 8 and Jennifer was four.
    There is hardly any dialogue in this film, concentrating on the bears and the scenery and the bears trials and tribulations as they evade the hunter.  The scenery and filming was stunning even to our 4 year old Jennifer who loved it sitting engrossed throughout and all five us, although very sad in parts thorughly enjoyed this one.

    19.  Taxi  Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon

    You might think this a strange one on this list BUT it is LOUD, NOISY, FAST and FUNNY and Queen Latifah has the BIGGEST WIDEST SPARKLY SMILE on the planet and the female bank robbers,from a guys perspective, are entirely pleasing to look at as well!

    20.  Alien Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt

    For no other reason than when it first came out it really did scare the Shit out of me.

    Added to that we had been given a VIC20 and there was a little game out at the time based on Alien.  Unlike computer games today this just had a moving cursor and you had to move from room to room and these were just lines on the screen. BUT IT HAD THE BLIP, BLIP BLIP from the scanner from the movie and when that started to bleep faster, so too did my heart, Oh halcyon days!

    Well, that's my list, but there are so many more excellent movies I could have added and I might revisit and go to my top hundred, with Cagney and Bogart and Doris Day, and Audrey Hepburn and all the rest from that era, who were before my time but were some of the best movies ever made.

    Hope you enjoy my list and at least one or two of them may remind you of your favourite, why not leave me a comment and let me know what yours was.


    1. Oh The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is one of my favorite movies...ever! And The Sand Pebbles? What a great movie. And I forgot about Barefoot in the Park. Loved that movie!
      This is why I want people to write their own list - so I can remember all these greats and see the ones I've missed.
      How cute that you and your wife had your first date to The Way We Were. My daughter thinks that movie is so romantic!

    2. Hi Julia, we went back to Berlin A couple of years ago and had a meal in the 1st restaurant where we had our first meal out too!

    3. Of those that you've listed, I've only seen a handful. Alien of course is a good one, Ghost and Mrs. Muir. love it (who says you can't have a happy ending with a ghost)! and of course, sahwshank redemption. Herm...Favorite Robert Redford movies? Out of Africa.

    4. Hey JD, thanks for the visit and the comments Ghost and Mrs Muir was indeed excellent with a happy ending

    5. Good list Tom and some good comments. Was surprised to find Wasabi on there; Nat and I love that movie. If you want foreign, action and humour, get Zatoichi! Reno was very funny in Godzilla and Just Visiting (not great movies but fun).I have too many 'favourite' movies to be able to draw up a Top 10; may do a top 50 one day!

    6. hey Andy, Thanks for stopping by, appreciate the comments. Will try and check out your recommendation sometime


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