Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday at the Movies #13 - 50s and 60s
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Today would have been my father's eighty-eighth birthday, so we'll take a look at films he might have seen in the 50s and 60s, and I saw, alone or with parental supervision, on the small screen.

Irma La Douce: I have no idea why my dad thought this was an appropriate movie to watch with a twelve-year old, but I distinctly remember being called into the living room to watch this with him and my mom. Maybe because my mom's name was Erma? Happy little tale of a playground supervisor turned policeman turned pimp turned man in love, turned...well, that's another story. I wouldn't put it on the kiddy matinee, but a good couple hours in the underbelly of Paris for the grownups.

Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte: No idea if Dad saw this one, but odds are good. Horror seriously can't get much better than Bette Davis playing an aging southern woman, already teetering on the brink of losing it from being blamed for the murder of her married lover all those years back, and taunted over it, even by little kids, ever since. Then, when she's faced with possibly having her house torn down to make way for progress, events transpire to bring the past back to life, and Charlotte will either finally get her answers or lose what little she has left, both mentally and otherwise. Modern slasher flicks have nothing on this.

Psycho: I cannot mention horror without mentioning Psycho. Alfred Hitchcock directs a story by Robert Bloch, and Anthony Perkins provides a tour de force as Norman Bates, one of the most memorable bad guys on the big screen. Janet Leigh provides both misdirection and the iconic shower scene that flings open the door for the real horror to ensue. Classic doesn't begin to describe. The last scene still gives me chills.

To Sir With Love
- This is the first movie I stayed up until insane hours of the morning to watch (long before the invention of the VCR)and still count it totally worth it to see Sidney Poitier as a young teacher in London's East end. More than a Cockney Welcome Back Kotter, this film provides us with Lulu's iconic titular song and pure brilliance by Sidney Poitier as his character faces professional and personal challenges. 60s aficionados will love the costumes and scenery, and the strong story at the heart of it all holds everything together.

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