The clip below is from the 1954 Academy Award winning film On The Waterfront. In it, Marlon Brando plays Terry Malloy, a dockworker whose brother is the right hand man to corrupt, mobbed-up union boss Johnny Friendly. Terry is having second thoughts about being associated with them, especially after he falls for Edie Doyle, a girl whose brother Terry knows that Friendly had killed. In this scene, the local priest Father Barry has been called to the waterfront when a worker who had agreed to testify against Friendly dies in an "accident". As tough as the community he ministers to, Barry stands up to Friendly and his men and tells everyone on the docks a few hard truths. I'm trying to imagine any modern mainstream movie presenting an admirable Catholic character voicing such a clear Christian message. I can't.
This film clip is from the 1945 film My Name Is Julia Ross. An enjoyably gothic B movie, it stars Nina Foch as the titular Julia Ross, a young woman who accepts a job as private secretary to a wealthy widow named Mrs. Hughes. She moves into Mrs. Hughes' London home, which is the last thing she remembers before she awakens two days later in Mrs. Hughes' remote Cornwall mansion. All of Julia's personal belongings are gone and Mrs. Hughes- as well as everyone else on the estate- insists that her name is actually Marion Hughes and that she's married to her employer's creepy son Ralph. Cut off from everyone and everything she knows and surrounded by people who insist that she's someone else, Julia begins to wonder if she actually is losing her mind, as they suggest. Nina Foch does a fine job as Julia, and Mrs. Hughes is played by the always excellent Dame May Whitty (The Lady Vanishes, Mrs. Miniver). The best performance in the film, though, is given by George Macready as the psycho son Ralph, soft spoken but given to sudden violent fits of rage.
This snippet is from the 1944 black comedy Arsenic & Old Lace starring Cary Grant. It was made by Frank Capra and adapted from an earlier play of the same name. In this scene, Grant's character- Mortimer Brewster- discovers that his lovable old aunts are serial killers, charitably poisoning lonely old men.
The clip below is from the 1947 Cary Grant film The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. Grant is Richard Nugent, a successful artist and ladies' man who becomes the reluctant object of a precocious teenage girl's- named Susan, and played by Shirley Temple- infatuation. A hapless victim of her scheming, Richard ends up being tossed in jail after punching the Assistant District Attorney. Susan's uncle is the court psychologist and is aware of who is actually to blame for the fiasco. Hoping to break his niece of her obsession with Nugent, he talks the ADA to agree to drop the charges on the condition that Richard promises to spend time with Susan, sure that familiarity will soon breed boredom for her. The last thing that Richard wants to do is spend time with an annoying teen, so he decides to behave as obnoxiously as possible, hoping Susan's disgusted family will kick him to the curb. This plan is complicated by his growing attraction to Susan's older sister Margaret (played by Myrna Loy). In case anyone was wondering, this is where the movie Labyrinth snitched David Bowie's lyrics "You remind me of the babe..." from.
Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, and swordfighting... it could almost be Robin Hood but of course it's not. Rather, it's the 1935 film Captain Blood which made Flynn a star. In this scene, Blood is terminating- with finality- the unwise partnership he had formed with the pirate Levasseur.
This is a scene from the 1942 movie The Man who Came To Dinner which is an adaptation of the 1939 Kaufman and Hart play by the same name. In it, a prominent family have their lives turned upside down when famous writer and radio personality Sheridan Whiteside comes to dinner, slips on their steps and ends up being laid up at their house while he recovers. As he fills their home with actors, eccentrics, and animals and makes outrageous demands, their lives become laughably chaotic. Then, on Christmas Eve, various crises which Whitside has precipitated come to a head while he's attempting to record his annual Christmas show.
The 1944 movie Laura is a classic film noir, and a favourite of mine. It stars Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Vincent Price, and Clifton Webb, and is the tale of police detective Mark McPherson's (Andrews) investigation of the murder of socialite Laura Hunt. Confronted with a cast of suspicious characters -all who seem to have a reason to want Laura dead- McPherson must navigate through the seamy world of high society, attempting to discover Laura's killer as he finds himself growing ever more obsessed with the dead woman.
The movie clip below is from the 1941 film 49th Parallel, which tell the story of Nazis from a destroyed U-boat attempting to escape from Canada to the then neutral U.S.A. While on the run, they seek refuge in a Hutterite community, assuming that their shared German heritage will make them sympathetic to the Nazi cause. They are mistaken.
This is a scene from the 1956 musical comedy The Court Jester, which stars Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Angela Lansbury, and Basil Rathbone. The film has a medieval setting, and involves a Robin Hood-like band attempting to overthrow the evil king who has usurped the throne and replace him with the rightful king, an infant identified by a purple pimpernel-shaped birthmark on his posterior. Danny Kaye is a carnival worker/ minstrel who the band presses into service, masquerading as the new court jester. What they don't realize is that the actual jester whom they took out to replace with Kaye was also an assassin hired by Lord Ravenhurst (Rathbone). The plot is a bit convoluted to try to explain, and unfortunately the movie was a big flop when released. Time has been kind to The Court Jester though, and it is now much more widely appreciated. This particular scene is the most well-known from the film:
In light of the disgusting Harvey Weinstein story which broke this week, I'm posting a clip from the film Hail, Caesar! In it, the Coen brothers give a peek behind the Hollywood curtain, showing the corruption, greed, rapacious ambition, and general skeeziness inherent to the movie business. As revolting as Weinstein and his actions are, the spectacle of A-list stars scrambling to deny any knowledge of his behaviours and prove that they're pure as the driven snow is grimly amusing. It's absolutely ludicrous for people like Meryl Streep, who openly celebrate pedophile rapist Roman Polanski to now pretend to be shocked by Harvey Weinstein. Too little too late, you shameless hypocrites.