The Village Squire, 1935
Director Fritz Lang (1890-1976) had an advanced sense of story telling. He made many color films during his long career, but of particular interest are his black and white silent films like Metropolis, and early sound films like M and Testament of Dr. Mabuse.
Lang moved to Hollywood after more or less running for his life when the Nazis took control of Germany in the early 1930s. Lang's Testament of Dr. Mabuse takes an (indirect) look at Nazi party politics through the prism of madman gangster Dr. Mabuse, contained within an asylum but by the power of his mind he continues to run his criminal empire by force of will.
Ace of Hearts, 1921 - Goldwyn Pictures
Released September 17, 1921.
Lon Chaney (as Farrallone) and Leatrice Joy (as Lilith) are both members of a secret political society of revolutionaries intending to make the world better through assassinations and bombings. Actor John Bowers is Forrest, a man younger than Farralone but sharing the same affection for the ideologically pure Lilith, a woman wholeheartedly dedicated to the cause with no time for love from either man. The secret group also includes a number of other men, all meeting surreptitiously in order to plan their targeted killings determined by drawing cards from a deck (incidentally, as the film starts with the lettered titles announcing the stars and director, only a single playing card without lettering is shown to title this film, the card is of course the ace of hearts.)
When Forrest is selected (by the ace of hearts drawn from a deck) to carry out a dangerous assassination of a businessman, Lilith begins to have doubts about her vow of chastity to the cause, and proposes marriage to Forrest as a way to reward and to bolster his courage to carry out the killing (he will be delivering a bomb to the eating establishment the businessman frequents).
Chaney's character Farrallone looks on at this change in Lilith with anguish as he has been nursing his love for her in silence. His affection is soon put to a bigger test when he realizes that Lilith and Bowers have actually fallen in love and are starting to renege on the suicidal bomb plot to further the aims of their secret society.
The Time of Their Lives, 1946, Universal Studios
Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marjorie Reynolds, Binnie Barnes, John Shelton, Ann GIllis and Gale Sondergaard
Released August 16, 1946
Lou Costello (as Horatio) and Marjorie Reynolds (as Melody Allen) become ghosts after being mistakenly shot by American troops and (wrongly) labeled traitors to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, their spirits trapped on the grounds of the large estate where their bodies were thrown down a well. A letter addressed to Horatio from George Washington which would prove their innocence is secretly hidden in the estate furniture .
Flash forward 166 years and the two are still trapped but must now face the new residents of the estate, one of whom is Dr Greenway (Bud Abbott) a psychiatrist and the descendent of Cuthbert Greenway, who was Horatio's competitor for the love of Nora O'Leary (Ann Gillis). The dead Horatio and Melody are bound to the estate until the letter can be found, and comical shenanigans ensue.
More Anita Ekberg
Only the Lonely, 1991, written and directed by Chris Columbus, produced by John Hughes.
The Creature Walks Among Us, 1956
The 1959 film based on the Tennessee Williams play. More on Suddenly Last Summer
More Elizabeth Taylor
Forbidden 1932 - Barbara Stanwyck throws away her career as a librarian for a more exciting lifestyle, but gets bogged down in a long-running relationship with a married statesman (Adolphe Menjou) and director Frank Capra has a hard time making sense of it all in this "weeper" from 1932.
Ball of Fire 1941 - Barbara Stanwyck introduces Gary Cooper to "yum-yum" and it turns his world upside down. Why did she do this? He was perfectly happy secluded in an old house with 7 other bachelors working on writing an encyclopedia. She, however, needed a place to hide from the police and these "eight fish in a barrel" seemed like the perfect cover. Mayhem ensues.
Penguin Pool Murder, 1932 - James Gleason and Edna May Oliver star in a wise-cracking murder mystery set in the New York City Aquarium. He's a police detective and certain she's a meddling old maid until he notices she's not only smarter than everyone else in the room, but she's going to solve the case with or without his help.
The Killing -1956 - Sterling Hayden leads a group of small-time crooks in executing a daring precision racetrack robbery, until a few tiny details screw everything up. A fast-action, time-bending story of an (almost) perfect crime. Marie Windsor and Coleen Gray also star. Kubrick's direction is tight and as efficient as the crime being shown onscreen.
3 Days of the Conder, 1975 - Robert Redford as CIA analyst Joe Turner, trapped between warring factions within the CIA itself. Confused by why everyone is shooting at him, he goes on the run with kidnapped Faye Dunnaway in tow. Sydney Pollack's direction is tense and has clear storytelling. Max von Sydow is on hand as an amused veteran hitman who learns Joe Turner a thing or two. A great big slice of 1970s paranoia powers the film and lays down the template for many films that have followed afterward.
Easy Living, 1937 - Jean Arthur is poor Mary Smith who suddenly becomes the target of every salesman in town trying to gain access to the wealthy, all because of her impromptu friendship with millionaire investor J. B. Ball (Edward Arnold) who she meets by accident when he tosses his wife's fur coat off the top of an apartment building. Classic screwball comedy with script from Preston Sturges.
The Alligator People, 1959 - Tragic case of a man slowly becoming an alligator, and his determined wife (Beverly Garland) who wants to find him (he's in hiding) and get answers. With a hook-handed Lon Chaney Jr as a maniacal alligator hunter in the bayou. Appeared the same year as the famous Elizabeth Taylor film Suddenly Last Summer, and shares many remarkable similarities.
The Last Valley 1971 - Michael Caine and Omar Sharif find refuge in a valley untouched by the ravages of the Thirty Year War devastating Europe. As the snow flies, a peaceful calm settles over the encamped soldiers (who are really more like bandits) and villagers (who have secrets), but Spring is coming.
Heaven Knows, Mr Allison - 1957 - Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum. He's a marine and she's a nun on a Japanese occupied island during World War II. Well-done John Huston directed film that somehow finds a way to square a circle when we see that our two characters are completely unable to pursue the love they obviously share.
The Quiet Man, 1952 - Director John Ford's favorite personal project and a comic masterpiece (which he was afraid he had botched while filming it in Ireland) with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara as newlyweds who must battle their village and themselves to achieve marital peace.
Bachelor Mother 1939 - He's (Niven) the son of the owner (Coburn) of a department store who thinks he's doing a good deed by reuniting an employee (Ginger Rogers) with her child given up to an orphanage. Only the kid isn't hers, and nothing she does can convince anyone of the truth. A screwball comedy classic.
The Lady Eve - 1941 - Preston Sturges directed this most stately of his farcical comedies as a personal challenge to tailor a comedy around Barbara Stanwyck. He provides so much ammo she needs to play two characters, with a befuddled Henry Fonda in tow.
Night of the Hunter 1955 - British arch-actor Charles Laughton directed only one film, and it features Robert Mitchum as a demented and homicidal preacher (with "love" and "hate" tattooed upon his hands) who is trying to chase down a pair of orphaned children who know the location of hidden bank loot. The only thing standing in his way is a determined Lillian Gish with a shotgun.