The B+ Movie Guide: The New List (Part XV)
I gave Colin a giant list of 500 movies, and he finished it. Of course I’m gonna come up with another list.
This one is for everyone, though. Not specifically for Colin. This is raw material for everybody, should they choose, to go out and see more movies. Not all of them are essential. Most of them are just awesome. I told Colin that once he finished this list, I’d give him another one that was more fun than work. Geared toward cool stuff that he’d enjoy.
I went through and found 1,000 more movies that I think either need to be seen (leftover “essential” films) or are just really great and would be enjoyed by most who see them. Here they are:
Elia Kazan movie. About a light-skinned black girl who falls in love with a white doctor. And about how she takes care of a dying woman, who grows to respect her and ends up leaving her property to her after she dies, and the woman’s relatives fighting against it in court. Because racism. It’s actually less over the top than you’d think. You can’t argue against Elia Kazan. He had a good touch when it came to these sorts of films. This was his follow up to Gentleman’s Agreement. It got a bunch of Oscar nominations, and I think “issue” films from this era should be seen, because it’s fascinating seeing how Hollywood deals with these types of issues (when they do).
The Reckless Moment (1949)
Noir melodrama. Max Ophuls. James Mason and Joan Bennett. Bennett thinks her daughter accidentally killed an ex-boyfriend who was hounding her and covers it up. Mason is a crook who sees this and decides to blackmail her. However, pretty soon, he actually falls for her and realizes that Bennett’s daughter didn’t do anything. So instead, he actually ends up helping them out. It’s a really good noir. I like it when genres overlap. Also, James Mason is the best.
Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)
John Wayne. His first Oscar nomination. It’s that story of — he’s the officer who the men hate because he puts them through hell, but then they realize that he was actually preparing them properly for battle, and that he’s responsible for keeping them alive. And over the course of the film, more and more is revealed about Wayne’s character. It’s… really good. I don’t want to ruin it, but Wayne is terrific here, and the film is really good. This got a bunch of Oscar nominations that year. But really it’s just a great war movie with a terrific John Wayne performance.
The Set-Up (1949)
Noir boxing movie. A washed up boxer’s manager takes money for a dive, because he figures the boxer can’t win anymore anyway. He doesn’t even tell the boxer about the set-up. The boxer, meanwhile, refuses to give up, and prepares to beat his much younger opponent, and the manager gets nervous, wondering what’s gonna happen if he actually wins. It’s really good. Robert Wise directs. Robert Ryan is the boxer. Great noir.
The Small Black Room (1949)
Powell and Pressburger. David Farrar (who you’ll recognize from Black Narcissus), is a bomb-diffuser who is in constant pain from an injury and is an alcoholic. (Actually, you’ll see a lot of similarities to The Hurt Locker here.) So he’s going around diffusing these bombs, not caring if he dies. It’s a really good drama. A very underrated movie by the two of them. Oh, and Farrar’s girlfriend is played by Kathleen Byron, who was Sister Ruth. Highly recommended.
The Stratton Story (1949)
Baseball movie. Starring Jimmy Stewart. The first half is basically him falling in love with June Allyson and getting into baseball (Agnes Moorehead plays his mother and Frank Morgan is his mentor). But really what it’s about is him losing his leg and deciding he’s not gonna let that ruin his career. So he goes back out there and learns how to pitch on a wooden leg. I love these sports movies. And I love that Jimmy Stewart is playing a baseball player. Plus he plays a dude with one leg. How can you not be intrigued by this?
Thieves’ Highway (1949)
Noir. Jules Dassin. Who directed quite a few classic noirs. This is also a truck driving noir. Guy starts driving produce loads in order to get revenge for the crippling of his father-in-law. Trust me when I say all of these driving movies are worth seeing and are riveting. Did you like Wages of Fear? They’re all like that. And they’re all gonna be on here, because they’re great. Just see them. Trust me.
Too Late for Tears (1949)
This was my first introduction to Dan Duryea. Man, is he great. Arthur Kennedy and Lizabeth Scott are driving home from a party one night and stumble onto some money. Money that was meant for Dan Duryea. Meanwhile, he follows them and meets her the next day (the scene where he first comes into the apartment and sees her is incredible), and tells her she owes him the money. Meanwhile, Kennedy has hidden the money, because they agreed to leave it there until they’re sure no one will come to claim it and it is safe to use. Basically, she wants to spend the money, because she wants that kind of life, and he is overly cautious. And you throw Duryea in the mix — it’s just a great movie. A noir, Duryea just killing it — trust me when I say you’ll fall in love with Dan Duryea the more you see him, especially with this movie.
Twelve O’Clock High (1949)
This is similar to Sands of Iwo Jima. Except with air force bombers instead of marines. Gregory Peck is the officer the men hate because he’s really strict, and etc. etc. Also really good and highly recommended. Peck was nominated for this, and Dean Jagger won Supporting Actor for it.
Under Capricorn (1949)
This is specifically going on here. This is a Hitchcock movie that’s a straight drama. No thriller, nothing tense about it. Not even like Rebecca, which has a mystery element to it. This is straight drama. And I think that’s interesting. I also really enjoyed it. I think everyone should see it because it’s Hitchcock and you shouldn’t just see the typical ones. Joseph Cotten goes and meets his childhood sweetheart, Ingrid Bergman, only to find out that she’s an alcoholic. I actually did like this quite a bit. I think it’s underrated because people will dismiss it simply because it’s not like everything else Hitchcock did. I think everyone ought to see this.
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Armored Car Robbery (1950)
Heist movie. A bunch of guys rob an armored car outside Wrigley Field. And it goes horribly wrong, and we see the aftermath of the robbery, as everyone is looking for them. TERRIFIC noir, directed by Richard Fleischer.
The Baron of Arizona (1950)
This list exists because of films like this. I love this movie. I don’t how much I can stress the word love. It is GREAT. No one knows this exists, and it is one of the best movies you’ve never seen. Sam Fuller directs this. Vincent Price stars. Price plays a con artist who spends years forging documents and creating an entire backstory that basically will give him legal status as the man who owns the state of Arizona. No joke. That’s the movie. Based on a real guy. Movies about cons are always good (they’re like trial movies). This one is great. Trust me on this. Everyone needs to see this movie. You won’t know how much you’re missing out until you see this. This is one of the great underrated films of all time.
Between Midnight and Dawn (1950)
Noir. Two cops work the night shift. We follow them as they do their job and pal around. They both have a thing for the dispatch operator, and we follow them as they move into her building and try to make moves on her. Only she’s not interested in cops. And we follow as they arrest a violent criminal who swears revenge, building to a thrilling climax. The great thing about this is how laid back it is for the first half. And it’s only 90 minutes long. But the first half is really laid back and fun, and then it gets to the crime stuff for the last half. Really well done.
Born Yesterday (1950)
Judy Holliday won an Oscar for this (beating Bette Davis and Anne Baxter for All About Eve, and Gloria Swanson for Sunset Boulevard. Eleanor Parker was the other nominee, and she’ll be on here in a minute). You should see it so you can decide whether or not she should have over those others, and also because this is a great movie. She’s a gangster’s moll (Broderick Crawford is the gangster) who is to be tutored so she can be taught proper behavior and manner of speaking. William Holden is the tutor. It’s really great. It’s a comedy, and Holliday is terrific here. George Cukor directs. You should see this one.
The Breaking Point (1950)
This is basically the noir version of To Have and Have Not. (It is, though. Based on the book. I’m guessing it’s more faithful than Hawks’ version.) Michael Curtiz directs. John Garfield stars in his second to last movie. You get to see Garfield in the middle of his blacklisting. Patricia Neal is also in this. It’s worth seeing. It’s good, and you at least know the story, so you can watch it for other stuff besides the plot.
Broken Arrow (1950)
Great western. Colin knows about this. He remembers seeing this for the first time. Jimmy Stewart is a guy who makes peace with the Apache, and Cochise. And it’s about him brokering a peace between them and the whites so the mail can get through their territory. And he marries an Apache girl. But of course there’s the bad Indians who still want to kill the whites, and the bad whites who still want to kill Indians. You know what it’s like. The movie looks great, and is really worth watching.
This is the Eleanor Parker movie I mentioned up there. It’s a prison film. She’s a girl who gets thrown in prison and ends up getting hardened by the experience. We see what life in prison is like, with the sadistic guards and the other prisoners. Prison movies are like trial movies and con movies — always watchable. This one is really good. It’s all women. Parker, Agnes Moorehead, Ellen Corby, Jan Sterling, Jane Darwell, Hope Emerson got nominated for Supporting Actress for this (playing the giant bull-dyke guard who likes to pick on Parker). It’s really good. You should see this.
Dark City (1950)
I really liked this one. Another noir. This is the era of the noirs. A bunch of gamblers take a guy for a bunch of money, but very slowly, they start to get hunted down and killed. Charlton Heston is the main guy. This is really worthwhile.
Dial 1119 (1950)
Another noir. Loved this one. A mental patient breaks out and holds a bunch of people hostage in a basement bar. And the entire movie is a standoff. Cops outside, him and hostages inside. Terrific, terrific movie. Only 75 minutes. You should watch all of these noirs. These are cinema.
CLASSIC noir. Edmond O’Brien has been poisoned and is gonna die. The opening scene is him walking into a police station and reporting his own murder. And the rest of the movie is how he got there and him figuring out who did it to him. Of the many noirs that will appear on this list, this is one of the most essential.
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