Day 346: To Catch A Thief (1955)

tocatchathief_1955_mp_hsb_1200_062320090414After today there are only 20 more days to watch 20 more films which also means that there are only two Sundays left in the whole year. So for today’s Sunday At The Classics, I chose to watch a film from the master of suspense in Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief which stars Cary Grant (North By Northwest) and the beautiful Grace Kelly (Dial M For Murder). John Robie (Grant) is a long retired jewel thief who is just trying to enjoy his time in France until some jewel robberies start to happen. Immediately, John is to blame, but now he wants to prove his innocence by outsmarting the jewel thief so he tags along with a rich American woman named Frances Stevens (Kelly) and her mother until he can figure out who it really is to clear his name. The film also stars Jessie Royce Landis (North By Northwest) as Jessie Stevens, John Williams (Witness For The Prosecution) as H.H. Hughson, Charles Vanel (The Wages Of Fear) as Bertani, Brigitte Auber (The Man In The Iron Mask) as Danielle Foussard, Jean Martinelli (Rouge et Noir) as Foussard, René Blancard (Main Street) as Commissioner Lepic, and Georgette Anys (Four Bags Full) as Germaine.

garceGrace Kelly was such a beautiful woman who was also an amazing actress and Cary Grant is no push over either in the acting department. Both Grant and Kelly put on excellent performances for the good ol’ Alfred Hitchcock in this film which is different than what I have usually seen from him, but you can also see the similarities. The film had some amazing cinematography which was probably my favorite part of the film. There were some amazing shots of the area of Cannes that they were in and some of the shots of the villas were amazing too. The car chase scene was pretty decent in the way it was shot, but nothing like I saw last week in Bullitt. The film had a pretty amazing story to go along with it, but when it came to those final moments when were going to find out who the real burglar was, I finally guessed it correctly. The whole film I had no idea who it was going to be, but I figured out where they would come from and you’ll know what I am talking about when you watch it.  If I am looking at the film stylistically scene by scene then one of my favorite departments for the film was the costumes. One of my favorite segments as far as that is concerned was the ball at the end with their Louie XV themed party. The 50’s was definitely an amazing time for clothing and even film. I think any fan of Hitchcock who hasn’t seen this one should definitely give it a shot. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.

Day 317: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

close_encounters_of_the_third_kind_1977_theatrical_posterI thought since I checked out the new sci-fi sensation Arrival yesterday that I would check out a real sci-fi classic for today. A friend suggested that I watch Close Encounters Of The Third Kind which was directed by Steven Spielberg (E.T.the Extra-Terrestrial) and it so happens to be today’s film. Everything is normal around the country until planes that went missing in the 1950’s mysteriously show up looking like they were brand new. It sets off a chain reaction of events where people around Indiana and other parts of the country come in contact or experience an encounter with UFO’s. One man named Roy (Richard Dreyfuss) and Jillian (Melinda Dillon) whose son was kidnapped want answers as to what it was they saw and why the government is lying about the events. They may just get the answer, but it might be more than they were looking for. The film also stars François Truffaut (Shoot The Piano Player) as Lacombe, Teri Garr (Young Frankenstein) as Ronnie Neary, Bob Balaban (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as David Laughlin, J. Patrick McNamara (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) as Project Leader, Lance Henriksen (The Terminator) as Robert, George DiCenzo (She-Ra: Princess Of Power) as Major Benchley, and Carl Weathers (Rocky) as Soldier. 

closeencounters15657One thing that I will say is that the soundtrack to this film is absolutely amazing and we shouldn’t be surprised by that considering John Williams (Star Wars) composed the whole thing. The score did exactly what it was supposed to do and that it is it helped move the film and it complimented it. Now as far as the film was concerned, this is actually an amazing motion picture especially for it’s time. Of course the film was overshadowed by Star Wars: A New Hope, but it deserves some mention and merit because the special effects were great for 1977. The aliens that you see in the film were kind of weird looking and OK, but it does the trick for the time. The shots of the spaceship are awesome and it’s incredible looking. The acting in the film was great especially from Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon who stole the show. Carl Weathers has a cool cameo as a soldier in the film who threatens Drefuss’s character and a lot of 80’s greats are in this film like Lance Henriksen, etc. Just like in the Arrival, they too have to learn the language of the aliens in order to communicate with them, but this was a better film. The end kind of made sense because you understood why and such. It wasn’t a huge build up to be let down by what the end result was. If you’re a fan of cinema then definitely give this one a watch because I loved it. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 234: Dial M For Murder (1954)

dial M for murderWith only 132 days left in the year and only 18 Sundays left in the calendar year, we are going to try something new here. I am calling it Sunday At The Classics where we review classic cinema and we are starting this week with Alfred Hitchcock’s (Psycho) Dial M For Murder which was released in 1954. Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend) plays Tony Wendice, a former tennis pro who discovers that his wife is having an affair with a writer from New York City. What does he do, well he tries to plan the perfect murder by blackmailing an old college friend, but when that backfires he has to come up with one heck of a plan b just to get the job done. The film also stars Grace Kelly (To Catch A Thief) as Margot Wendice, Robert Cummings (Walt Disney’s Wonderful World Of Color) as Mark Halliday, John Williams (Witness For The Prosecution) as Chief Inspector Hubbard, Anthony Dawson (Death Rides A Horse) as Charles Swan, Robin Hughes (The Flame And The Arrow) as Police Sergeant O’Brien, Leo Britt (The Charge Of The Light) as the storyteller, Patrick Allen (The Black Adder) as Detective Pearson, and George Leigh (Champagne For Caesar) as Detective Williams.

dial mThere is one scene that I had always heard about that was revered by many in this film which is why I decided to watch this. It’s the during the beginning of the film when Tony invites Charles Swan to come over to talk about the “car” for sale. He begins to piece Swan’s true identity to Swan as they are talking and then he reveals to him his secret plan. It is then that he let’s us in on how he wants Swan to commit the perfect crime in detail. The conversation goes on for about 15 to 20 minutes and is just masterful as it seems to be one continuous shot. Alfred was a master with his cinematography and how he wanted to see his film unfold. It’s exactly like François Truffaut once said about Hitchcock calling him a true auteur of cinema.  Just like any great Film Noir or crime mystery film, there is always the reveal about how they came to discover the master plan. That is another great sequence that you have to check out from the master of suspense. One of the things I enjoyed about this film was seeing the beautiful Grace Kelly who really was the face of perfection in classic Hollywood. There was just no other like her in those times and she was awesome to watch in this film even though she really wasn’t the star of the film. Ray Milland of course was the star and he absolutely shined as the an who thought he could think on his feet and that he had everyone hook, line, and sinker. If you want to be a fan of cinema then I definitely suggest that you stick this on your list of films to watch. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.