by Bob Sanders
From time to time we take a look at favorite movies. I long ago gave up trying to list a Top Ten or a Top 15 or Top whatever. These are some “must see” movies that I watch for on my old TV set. I have concluded that “Jaws” is really a great movie, not only for the shark stuff, but for the handling of the beach and town and political goings-on. And it was very influential: it taught me to never go over ankle deep in the ocean. And when the old guy was telling about the SS Indianapolis, that was true, very true. It’s really a great movie.
“Shawshank Redemption?” You better believe it is a mustie. Everybody in it is perfect. The warden, the main guy and, of course, Morgan Freeman. The part in which he is looking for the rock fence, etc., is perfectly done, although how he found the right wall, out of all the rock walls in New England, is a mystery. A definite mustie.
“The Green Mile” also is not bad.
“Detective Story.” It was kind of the forerunner of the gritty, realistic, police headquarters kind of movie/TV series. Kirk Douglas is the star, but some kind of award should be given to Eleanor Parker and William Bendix, and especially Joseph Wiseman, who played the crazy (like a fox) arrestee.
“Out of the Past.” I often run into people who have never heard of it. Shame on them. It is Robert Mitchum’s finest role. It also has some fine acting by Kirk Douglas and Jane Greer. I first saw it on a Wednesday night, drawing night at the movies, for money, up to $100. (That was the most popular movie night: if they drew your ticket stub out of a big box, you won $10, if that person wasn’t there they would increase the amount by $10, up to $100.) I liked it then. And, on seeing it decades later, it holds up completely. A really great “noir” movie. A must see.
“State Fair.” Pure fantasy, but such delightful fantasy: a farm where nobody works, great songs, actors perfect for their roles — Dana Andrews, Vivian Blaine, Jeanne Crain, Dick Haynes. Lovely songs that became standards. I can’t defend it, but it gets to me. Note: they remade it with Pat Boone and some other folks. Avoid this one at all costs. Run, fast, if you see it’s gonna be on.
Why won’t they show “Cross of Iron?” It is a great movie, starring James Mason as a humane German officer, Maximillian Schell as a snotty little Nazi and, especially, James Coburn, in his finest role. It’s directed by Sam Peckinpaugh, the same guy who directed another absolutely must see, “The Wild Bunch.” That one would be worth seeing just to hear the singing when the bunch is leaving the village where they’ve been “R and R-ing” for a few days.
“Inherit the Wind” should be required watching for everybody. And “The Wizard of Oz” and, … , and, … .
By the way, Frosty and I have been to some of the settings. We’ve been to the Iowa State Fair. We’ve been to New England. We haven’t been to the Eastern Front in 1943 and, frankly, have no desire to go there, thanks just the same.
Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.