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15 MOVIES THAT MAKE ME REALLY HAPPY

by STUART H.

Created 07/16/12

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There are so many movies that absolutely leave me bonkers...all of the ones in my list I have seen at least 6-8 times...trying as best I can to find out how in the world the director did what he did. Sorry but I simply cannot put these films in an exact numerical order. Love 'em all.

  • First of all, the design. Wow: The design. This is Post WW2 in a Vienna few Americans saw and certainly not in a suspense film. Secondly, the excitement of simply waiting for Harry Lime to show up.
    Third, of course, the exquisite finale in the sewers. Fourth, the musical score.

  • Almost as entertaining as this bizarre mystery-adventure, itself, is the Criterion Commentary by director Stanley Donen and writer, Peter Stone. i.e. Cary Grant knocks on Audrey Hepburn's hotel door at 4 in the morning to wake her. Looking at the perfect Hepburn, Stone says, "See? That's how Audrey looks at 4 o'clock." and Donen answers him, "I wish I knew."

  • Has any movie been made with as much exaggerated grand style and class as this famous movie about the world of ballet? The color photography is astounding. If you have even just a love for Dance or for Theatre, you must see this movie. At least once. Marius Goring as the composer and Anton Wolbrook as the impresario are stand outs among the terrific actors and dancers.

  • Kirk Douglas has never been better. This movie makes Wilder's dark, bitter "Sunset Boulevard" look like a walk in the park on a sunny, spring day. Wilder's brutal script seems right on target today with its denunciation of ethics and morals thrown out the window in exchange for personal fame and money. Favorite line is Jan Sterling's "I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons."

  • The movie that made John Wayne a major movie star. And you can see why: Ford's camera loves him. An exciting Western with real, full-blooded characters played by superb actors like Claire Trevor and Thomas Mitchell.

  • Truffaut's "Day For Night" did it for the business of making movies. And Truffaut's "The Last Metro" is a tribute to the actors and staff who make plays. The film is also a mystery set in occupied Paris during WW2. It is also a romance between Catherine Deneuve, her lover, Gerard Depardieu, and her husband, Heinz Bennent.

  • One of Hitchcock's final films in England before his Hollywood movies began with "Rebecca." A delightful comedy-mystery-romance with Hitchcock's usual obsession with the virtuous Innocent fighting to out-run the Powerful and Evil. Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll play the couple who pretend they don't know they were made for each other. And Wylie Watson plays Mister Memory in the great theatre scenes.

  • A brutal, raw film, the debut film of Lindsay Anderson (as good a director on stage as he was on film). All the actors are top notch, Rachel Roberts is superb and Richard Harris gives one of those shockingly great performances that you'll never forget.

  • Thank you Criterion for introducing me to Jean-Pierre Melville. There are many of Melville's movies available from Criterion. My personal favorite is "Bob Le Flambeur" (Bob, The Gambler) followed closely by "Le Cercle Rouge" and "Le Samourai." See them all. I lived in Paris for 13 months and never saw the Paris that Melville exposes us to. This is the dangerous underworld with its own fierce rules of honor and loyalty.

  • Simply one of the few great films adapted from stage plays. It doesn't hurt that the dialogue all belongs to George Bernard Shaw; nor that the editor was David Lean. I have never seen the play nor "My Fair Lady" where Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle are played by young, sexy actors. But here they are with a strong sexual tension from their very first meeting: Leslie Howard and the great Wendy Hiller.

  • Fellini's gorgeous, tragic story was the first foreign film I ever saw. I learned that I could actually read sub-titles and become totally involved in the characters and plot although I was only 12 years old. Anthony Quinn was excellent but I fell in love, of course, with Fellini's wife and muse, Giulietta Masina.

  • A truly spectacular film version of a big hunk of the beloved Dickens novel about a young innocent's coming of age. John Mills is superb as Pip as is Alec Guiness as his flat-mate, Herbert Pocket. But it is Martita Hunt as Mrs. Havisham who brings the film closest to the novel's scenes of fear and horror and the blackest of comedies.

  • Louis Malle's beautiful and heartbreaking movie is autobiographical and certainly one of his finest achievements. That's saying alot.

  • 9 of Raymond Carver's short stories are the basis for Robert Altman's "Short Cuts." It has a huge cast that any director would be thrilled to be working with. They include Lily Tomlin, Jack Lemmon, Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine, Anne Archer, Lily Taylor, Jennifer Jason Leigh and jazz singer Annie Ross. Each story stands on its own and finally at the finale, one sees how brilliantly and seamlessly Altman has connected them all. A very sad movie about life in Los Angeles. It is my favorite film of Altman's.

  • Arguably, one of Hitchcocks greatest romances starring Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant, as gorgeous as ever, in and out of love and danger with Bergman infiltrating a high-ranking Nazi family and marrying the always wonderful Claude Rains.
    The long shot of the key hidden in Bergman's hand is justifyably famous.

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