Happy Thanksgiving! Among the many things I am thankful for are good movies and the RBCers who chime in to my weekend film recommendations with their own reactions and analyses. Many times on the posts and in emails to me, people have asked why I don’t have all my recommendations in one place. Well, instead of a new recommendation this week, I am finally getting around to responding. Here is the full list as of Thanksgiving, 2012, to be updated now and then. The list is alphabetical, with “The” and “A” in titles disregarded. Best holiday wishes to all.
Airplane! — A goofy, inspired send-up of Zero Hour! Comic brilliance.
American Movie — Funny and engaging slice-of-life documentary about a struggling filmmaker and his family and friends in Wisconsin.
Brighton Rock — A tough hood played by Richard Attenborough finds himself falling in love with the saintly girl who witnessed him commit a murder.
Bullitt — Steve McQueen is cooler than cool in this gripping crime film, featuring the most famous car chase in the history of American cinema.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari — The first horror film and first film with a twist ending is a triumph of German Expressionism. A unique cinematic experience.
Charlie Muffin — Near-perfect espionage film with David Hemmings as a burned out but still brilliant British spy struggling with inept superiors.
The Cheap Detective — Neil Simon’s parody of Bogart films is even funnier than his Murder by Death (see below), with Peter Falk leading a wonderful comic cast.
A Christmas Carol — A treasure of a short animated film including disturbing Victorian images from the Dickens classic.
A Christmas Story — Irresistible comic nostalgia from Jean Shepherd about a boy’s wish for a special present. You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.
The Claim — Michael Winterbottom’s Western-style adaptation of Hardy’s Mayor of Casterbridge features nuanced acting and astonishingly beautiful scenery.
Count Dracula — Louis Jourdan makes a smooth vampire in this modestly budgeted but solid BBC adaptation of Bram Stoker’s famous novel.
The Court Jester — Danny Kaye does it all in one of the funniest films in the history of American cinema. The pellet with the poison’s in the…
The Cruel Sea — Jack Hawkins anchors an unromantic and moving portrayal of the life of British sailors during World War II.
Curse of the Demon — Jacques Tourner’s chiller pits a skeptical psychologist against a supposed mystic who places a deadly curse upon him. It couldn’t be real, could it?
The Day the Earth Stood Still — Robert Wise’s peerless sci-fi classic about a cultured, peace loving alien’s visit to Earth. Klaatu Barada Nikto!
Devil in a Blue Dress — Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle tear up the screen in a fine film noir based on Walter Mosley’s novels about a Black detective in the 1940s.
Dracula — Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson of Dark Shadows fame deliver a streamlined, fresh and scary take on the bloodsucking Count.
Dracula (Spanish language version) — Shot with Spanish-speaking actors at night on the same sets as the famous Browning/Lugosi version, this film is just as good as its more famous twin.
Ellery Queen Mysteries — Boxed DVD set of the beloved Link/Levenson detective show that was cancelled after only one superlative season. See if you can guess, “who done it”.
Flirting — Australian film set in a boys’ school next to a girls’ school gets the aches and joys of adolescence just right.
The Frightened City — Herbert Lom and Sean Connery in a solid B-movie melodrama set in the London underworld.
Get Carter — Michael Caine is electrifying as a bereaved gangster who goes to Newcastle to find out how his brother died. Brutal and stylish.
Great Expectations — British film giant David Lean does right by Charles Dickens.
Green for Danger — The inimitable Alistair Sim investigates a murder in Sidney Gilliat’s marvelous comic mystery.
Hell Drivers — Ex-Con Stanley Baker takes on a tough truck driving job, nasty criminals and an agreeably sassy Peggy Cummins in Cy Enfield’s exciting and dramatic film.
The Hill — Director Sidney Lumet’s spare, gut wrenching study of men in a military prison stars Harry Andrews, Sean Connery and Michael Redgrave.
Hoop Dreams — One of the greatest documentaries ever made flinches at nothing in the lives of two African-American teenagers who dream of playing pro basketball. Perhaps the best film Keith has reviewed at RBC…unforgettable.
How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying — The charming Robert Morse sings his way from window washer to CEO in 1950s Manhattan, in an effulgent adaptation of Frank Loesser’s Broadway smash.
Impromptu — Judy Davis sparkles as George Sand in a funny, sexy, artistic romp in the French countryside with Chopin, Liszt and Delacroix.
In a Lonely Place — Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame and Director Nicholas Ray are in peak form in this dark tale of romance and murder that packs an emotional wallop.
I Walk Alone — Ex-con Burt Lancaster is out to get his former pal Kirk Douglas in this tough gangster melodrama.
In Which We Serve — Noel Coward’s sincere and stirring film about the Royal Navy succeeds as a patriotic wartime tonic and a great film in its own right.
It — Stephen King’s tale of a menacing clown battling a group of friends first as children and then as adults will send a shiver up your spine.
The King of Comedy — Guest reviewer and actor Ian Jentle explains why this film and Raging Bull reveal the greatness of Robert DeNiro.
Layer Cake — An ultra-cool, violent British gangster film featuring Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney and Michael Gambon. The only review Keith wrote while sitting in one of the sets of the movie!
Local Hero — Master of quirkiness Bill Forsyth scores again with this endearing, funny tale of an American corporation’s effort to buy land from a group of Scottish villagers.
The Long Arm — The ever-solid Jack Hawkins plays a police inspector who has an idyllic family but faces the challenge of dealing with an extraordinarily clever and violent thief in post-war London.
The Long Good Friday — Bob Hoskins explodes as a British mobster in one of the great crime films of recent decades.
The Most Dangerous Game — Leslie Banks is a superbly depraved villain in this pre-code thriller about a deadly hunt in which you-know-what are the prey.
Murder by Death — Neil Simon’s witty play mocking fiction’s most famous detectives is a delight in the hands of world class cast. A worthy companion piece to The Cheap Detective (see above).
The Music Man — Robert Preston soars as a singing, dancing con man in this funny, uplifting film based on the hit Broadway musical.
My Favorite Year — Peter O’Toole’s considerable charm holds together this warm, hilarious story of a broken down movie star’s appearance on a live television show in the 1950s.
Outland — High Noon in space with Sean Connery as a marshal and Peter Boyle as a sleazy mining magnate.
The Perfect Candidate — This essential documentary for political junkies gives an inside view of the Oliver North-Chuck Robb senatorial race in Virginia.
Peter’s Friends — A group of Oxbridge friends (played by a real-life group of the same) reunite at Peter’s house to examine their own lives and learn about a life-changing development in Peter’s. The “British Big Chill” is substantially better than its American cousin.
Robbery — Peter Yates got the job as the Director of Bullitt (see above) after helming this well-done caper film based on the famous 1963 British train robbery.
Ruggles of Red Gap — Special guest reviewer Dr. Jean O’Reilly highlights the joys of Leo McCarey’s amusing and sweet film, with a standout performance by Charles Laughton.
The Ruling Class — Outrageous, irreverent one-of-a-kind black comedy/drama/musical about a daft British Earl who thinks he’s the messiah.
The Sting — Guest film reviewer Johann Koehler describes why he loves seeing Newman and Redford bilk nasty gangster Robert Shaw.
The 39 Steps — Robert Donat cuts a dash in Hitchcock’s thoroughly enjoyable comedy-romance-suspense film about an innocent man battling a devilish spy ring.
Strange Impersonation — Hillary Brooke makes the most of one of her best roles in this tale of strong women battling for love and more. Anthony Mann directs with his usual verve, and the recently restored print looks fantastic.
Superman — Richard Donner’s reverent, thrilling film gives the comic book icon the superior treatment he has long deserved.
Time, Gentlemen, Please! — This nearly forgotten British comedy tells the delightful story of the one resident of an Essex town who refuses to work.
Too Late for Tears — In an underappreciated noir classic, Lizabeth Scott tears up the screen as a scheming, brutal woman.
Treasure Island — Walt Disney’s first live action film is a superb, family-friendly adaptation of R.L. Stevenson’s novel.
Unman, Wittering and Zigo — Students torment their teachers in this disturbing, little known British chiller.
Watership Down — A dark, mystical animated film based on Richard Adams’ bestselling novel about rabbits on the run.
The White Knight Strategem — Handsomely produced BBC update of Sherlock Holmes features an astonishingly good performance by Rik Mayall as a dipsomaniac yet clever police detective.
Zero Hour! — The film that Airplane! parodied so well is in fact a solid suspenser with a strong-jawed Dana Andrews rescuing a plane in peril.