Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ten Underrated Movies


“AIRPORT” (1970 USA) Not the comedy, but one of the movies “Airplane” satirized. Like trains, airplanes and airports are intrinsically cinematic. Throw in a blizzard and a mad bomber. Pure entertainment. The film is also a rare celebration of what most Americans spend most of their time at: work.

“THE BRAVADOS” (1958 USA) Great Western posse chase film as Gregory Peck hunts down four of the toughest movie bad guys ever.

“ICE COLD IN ALEX” (1958 UK) One of the tensest, edge-of-your seat war movies ever made, about a British ambulance crew trying to escape Nazis in WWII North Africa.

“MAJOR DUNDEE” (1965 USA) Not Sam Peckinpah’s best film, but thematically his most ambitious. During the Civil War, a motley collection of soldiers and rebels, whites and blacks, discover their identity as Americans by leaving the country on an expedition into Mexico.

“THE MISFITS” (1961 USA) One of the greatest American movies, with perhaps the strongest acting, especially from Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. Their performances are so good they’re surreal. In the story, Clark Gable tries to prove himself against a Mustang stallion, while with his performance, the aging Gable tries to hold his own as an actor against the younger stars. His final scenes are harrowing. Also tragic and heroic.

“THE SICILIAN CLAN” (1970 FR) A great caper flick, but also a study of a mob family which predated “The Godfather.” As exciting a crime movie as ever made.

“THE SILENT PARTNER” (1978 CAN) Suspenseful battle of wits between bank teller and bank robber which is unpredictable right to the end.

“THOSE LIPS, THOSE EYES” (1980 USA) Starring Thomas Hulce and Frank Langella as novice and mentor, this little-viewed film captures the magic of theatre and acting.

“VIVA LAS VEGAS” (1964 USA) Colorful and ridiculously entertaining musical starring Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret, with explosive high-energy chemistry between them. Viva man and woman.

“WESTWARD THE WOMEN” (1951 USA) A wagon train full of mail order brides headed west encounters obstacles, and the women take over. A more truly feminist film than anything made now. See it and find out. Denise Darcel and Robert Taylor—she the aggressor!—make another hyper-dynamic movie couple.


(UPCOMING: I’ll soon be examining and scientifically ranking the greatest Western movies of all time.)