The second bank holiday just passed in the UK and you know what that means – more classic movies to catch up with. I managed to watch 3 films featured on The American Film Institute’s top 100 movies of all-time list over the long weekend. I’m trying to cut back on big nights out to get that toned abs look in time for the Summer – so pretty much stayed home all weekend and thought I’d make a dent on the list.
First up was a movie I have been anticipating since I staggered upon the countdown all those years ago and that was ‘Vertigo’. Considered Hitchcock’s finest work and starring one of the classic period’s biggest stars James Stewart – the movie had a lot to live up to and it climbed up an astounding 52 spots on the revised list from #62 to #9. I even convinced my sister Nicky who doesn’t think any movie made before 1985 is worthy of her time that “This is the one to watch”. I was expecting suspense, superb acting and a gripping plot – it had all that, but something was missing. Maybe the hype was too high that it could never live up to it, but I felt it was at times too slow and perhaps too long (it didn’t help that Nicky kept asking how long left). The movie though was shot beautifully and the chemistry between Kim Novak and Stewart was electric, but I’m not too sure how this could be Hitchcock’s highest place movie on the chart (don’t tell anyone, but I liked ‘Dial M for Murder’ more) I’d give it 3 out of 5 – perhaps like contemporary critics my appreciation for the ‘Vertigo’ will increase over time.
James Stewart & Kim Novak in ‘Vertigo’
Next up is perhaps my favourite picture of all time so five out of five even before I review. I’ve seen it before, but I again convinced Nicky to watch ‘All about Eve’ (1998 #16, 2007 #28) on Sunday night. I was slightly nervous because I love the film so much and would be so disappointed if she didn’t feel the same – thankfully she did. What I love about this picture apart from the witty screenplay, immense acting and all around awesomeness is how relevant the plot is today 65 years after it was released. Everyone wants to be famous and they will do anything to get there – we’ve seen it before, I can imagine one of the Kardashians relating to Eve so the film is timeless. Perhaps the dinner party is my favourite scene, Davies (who should have taken a joint Oscar with Gloria Swanson that year. Judy who?) is as catty and sharp as ever and Marilyn Monroe makes a pre-superstar appearance playing her ditsy self. The camera loves her and she is indeed a star, but I couldn’t help but share the same sentiments as Nicky when she said “She plays the same dumb blonde role all the time with the stupid voice”- Perhaps someone like Gloria Swanson, Shelly Winters or Natalie Wood deserved her place on the 50 Greatest Stars of all time.
Watch the gala premiere of ‘ All about Eve’ – Davies brings her mother as her plus one. How cute.
The final film I forced myself to watch was ‘Dances with Wolves’ which was on TV yesterday- actually my Brother Sati convinced me to see it – you see I’m pretty reluctant to see anything Western (I still haven’t seen ‘The Searchers’ yet) and especially if it has Kevin Costner in it, but it was featured at #75 on 1998 list, so it would be another one to cross off. I was pretty surprised to see the movie trending on Twitter when it aired and I even tweeted ‘Not bad for a Kevin Costner movie’. The plot was solid but what particularly impressed me was Costner’s directing which won an Academy award it was far better than his at times stiff acting and unbearable narration. The film is worth seeing even if just for the scene where they chase the buffalos – I really hope no animals were hurt during the filming of this epic movie that took five years to make and at times felt as long to watch. But what do you expect from a Western War film? I’d give it three stars.
See Kevin Costner winning Best Director at the 1991 Oscars
I’ve set my Sky Planner for ‘North by Northwest’ and ‘Rear Window’ – Come on Hitchcock, Grant and Stewart! Don’t disappoint!