1948: Movies Sorted By Tier
Submitted by jim on Wed, 11/03/2004 - 12:54
The Red Shoes... If this movie doesn't make you give ballet a second look, nothing will. Now if I could just find a similar introduction to opera, I'd be well on my way to getting myself some culture. In the first half of the movie we meet our cast (the young talented composer looking for his big break, the young talented dancer looking for her big break, and the impresario who eats, sleeps, and breathes his ballet company) and watch them work towards developing a production of The Red Shoes. Dullsville, USA, right? Wrong! It's quite riveting, and the sense of tension on opening night is as palpable as in the best sports movies. It is obvious that some kind of triangle must develop between these three, and add to that the foreknowledge that this is Hans Christian Anderson territory, and you should have plenty of ideas as to where this movie goes in the final third. I was initially put off by the ending, and the ambiguity as to how much our heroine was influenced by factors (supernatural? psychological? symbolical?) beyond her control. This implied break from reality seemed to come out of nowhere, as previous such concoctions were reserved for the ballet-within-the-film. But if you're willing to make the leap from realistic to a big art/life influence-circle, it's more satisfying (although still worries and hectors the corners of my mind as I type this).
The Bicycle Thief... I've seen this movie compared to Life Is Beautiful, which I think is apt, but I think I prefer comparing it to Zhang Yimou's Not One Less for it's use of unprofessional actors, depiction of poverty, and emotional (although quite different) ending. Regular readers will guess that if I'm comparing it to one of Zhang's movies than I must have liked it, and I did. Sometimes I think the best performances ever are given by regular folks rather than professional actors. Everyone in this movie is fantastic, and the ending is so touching. No father should be faced with such a choice, and no child should have to grow up in one day.
Red River... It's really a shame about the cringe-inducing women characters and their dialog, which cripple the very beginning and very end of this film. As it is, I loved most of it. John Wayne's best performance of those I've seen, and Mongomery Clift was very good. His was a surprisingly effective and understated performance considering the era.
Rope... Considering when it was made, I found this movie shocking. Not for the homosexual undertones (which are subtle enough to go unnoticed), nor for the murder itself, but for the callous behavior of our protagonists after the crime (inviting the victim's parents over to unknowingly eat from their son's coffin-top!). Part of the point, I'm sure, and very well done. Each reel is a single shot, making the movie feel like a play--a bold move that works quite well.
Treasure of the Sierra Madre... Fabulously fun fickle fortune film. It's a treat watching Bogart's character slide, and wondering if he'll rebound or not. Great action, very interesting character triangle, and an excellent bar brawl thrown in for good measure.
Glad I Saw
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
- None Yet
Could Have Missed
- None Yet
Should Have Missed
- None Yet
El Sucko Grande
- None Yet