Day 318: Morituri (1965)

b70-4887Can you believe that there are only six Sundays left in all of 2016 and that is not including today. With that being said, there is only six more Sundays at the classics left and we have a good one for you today. The film that we chose for today features two actors that I respect immensely as Yul Brynner (The Ten Commandments) and Marlon Brando (A Streetcar Named Desire) star in the 1965 World War II film Morituri. Robert Crain (Brando) is a deserter of the Nazi party living peacefully in India being a pacifist. After a visit from a British intelligence agent, he is blackmailed into doing a mission for the allies during World War II. His mission is to disrupt a shipment of rubber that is leaving Japan, but he has to deal with a tough as nails Captain Mueller (Brynner) and the fact that this is a mission he might not come back from. The film also stars Janet Margolin (Ghostbusters II) as Esther, Martin Benrath (Stalingrad) as Kruse, Hans Christian Blech (Battle of The Bulge) as Donkeyman, Rainer Penkert (Claudia) as Milkereit, Trevor Howard (Superman) as Colonel Statter, Max Haufler (The Trial) as Branner, Wally Cox (Underdog) as Dr. Ambach, and the film was directed by Bernhard Wicki (Paris, Texas).

morituriThis was an excellent film especially if you are a fan of Brynner or Brando and if you are a fan of a great story. Marlon Brando is excellent as a guy who hates war and could care less about who wins, but now has to act like an SS pig. Then you have Yul Brynner, a man with a lot to lose himself which is his reputation, but he also isn’t too fond of an SS officers or the Nazi party. He is sort of a jaded naval captain who just wants to get the job done so he can leave. Then they throw all these other factors at you like political prisoners (like Donkeyman) who want to rise against the system and Esther, a Jewish girl who has so many personal scars along with her physical scars that it torments her. There is a lot to offer in this film to go along with the suspense of the espionage side of the film so if you’re a fan of characters then watch this film. The cinematography in the film is excellent as well as you follow all the tense moments of the film. One of my favorite scenes that really shows what Yul brought to the table in the film was the moment when he lost it in a drunken rage. It was such a powerful scene that gave us our final turning point in the script and story. The film is amazing, I loved it, and it’s available on Netflix right now as we speak. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 311: Sunset Boulevard (1950)

sunsetboulevardfilmposterThere are only seven Sundays left this year after today if you can believe that and t has been quite some time since we last did Sunday At The Classics. So, I figured we better get to those classics and I chose one in the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard (the famous street in Hollywood). Joe Gillis (Damien: The Omen II‘s William Holden) is a struggling writer in Hollywood who is desperately in search of the solution to all of his problems when he stumbles upon a white elephant (what looks to be a big abandoned house) on Sunset Boulevard. What he discovers inside the house is a forgotten relic in former Silent film star Norma Desmond (Queen Kelly‘s Gloria Swanson). After agreeing to finish a script she had written, he soon discovers that he is stuck and that there is no way out as Norma still thinks that she is a wanted star, but she’s really just out of her mind. The film also stars Erich von Stroheim (Blind Husbands) as Max Von Mayerling, Nancy Olson (The Absent Minded Professor) as Betty Schaefer, Jack Webb (Pete Kelly’s Blues) as Artie Green, Cecil B. DeMille (The Ten Commandments) as himself, Buster Keaton (The General) as Himself, and the film was directed by Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot).

SUNSET BOULEVARDWilliam Holden does an amazing job in the film handling double duty as he stars and narrates the whole film. I loved how the film starts at the end and he goes back in time to tell you his tragic tale of how he got there. The film is a real tragic tale of how desperate people in Hollywood can get when the chips are down. All he wanted was a place to store his car until he could figure out how to pay the bank. He agrees to finish the script for this actress and he gets stuck in it as she obsesses over him. She is just so out of touch with reality that it’s a crime itself, but with a woman with so much money to lose, what are the people closest to her supposed to do? Gloria Swanson is also an amazing actress who does a terrific job in the film and even delivered the most famous line ever, “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup.” It was cool to see actual old silent film stars like Buster Keaton, Hedda Hopper, Anna Q. Nilsson, and H. B. Warner because it was like old Hollywood vs new Hollywood. The story is very solid for this film and a strong point in my opinion. The acting is also amazing and is what made this a great film to begin with. There is always going to be the argument of B&W vs Color film, but B&W makes the film look timeless and it enriches the shadows and the light of the picture. Make your own choice, but I love B&W. The film is available on Netflix right now as we speak and I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.