Short Film Ratings: Classic Special
In this edition of my Short Film Ratings, I have decided to watch some Golden Age Hollywood Classics that I’ve really wanted to see but never have. Expect some more Classic Specials as I am loving watching them! This post includes North By Northwest, Rear Window, High Society and Citizen Kane.
North By Northwest 4.25 / 5
IMDb Rating: 8.4
Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason.
It features on 6 American Film Institute lists, and it comes in at #4 on the list of Suspense/Thriller films.
Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest features the debonair Cary Grant as a hapless advertising executive Roger Thornhill, who is mistaken for the mysterious government spy George Kaplan by some foreign spies who interrogate him and release him into a car while intoxicated.
The foreign spies’ attempts to get rid of Thornhill are unsuccessful and thus ensues a brilliant game of cat and mouse as he tries to survive their pursuit across the country. Grant’s Thornhill portrays a multitude of charm and humour as he deals with the unusual situation that he finds himself in. Nowhere else does he exhibit brilliantly funny quibs and one-liners than at the auction. And his charm is very evident while on the train with Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) despite the fact that he should be nervous due to being pursued, nonetheless, his charm and pick up lines are witty and perfect.
Hitchcock is the master of suspense in this adventure-thriller as he magnificently puts the audience in the shoes of Thornhill as he tries his upmost to evade the relentless foreign spies that have pursued him. North By Northwest is a gripping adventure-thriller that keeps your eyes glued to the screen throughout and Grant’s charm, wit and humour and Saint’s glamour and own heroism both make this a brilliant film. The one thing that I disliked from the film was the abrupt ending as they enter the tunnel which was also loaded with sexual innuendo. But apart from the weird ending of the film, it was a great film and very watchable.
IMDb Rating: 8.6
Starring: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr.
Appears on 4 AFI lists, inducted into the National Film Registry and Oscar-nominated.
Another Hitchcock classic. James Stewart plays wheelchair-bound professional photographer Jeffries who develops an unhelathy obsession of spying on his neighbours through his apartment window. Through this obsession he begins to think and believe that one of his neighbour’s has murdered his wife. Rear Window, again demonstrates Hitchcock as the master of suspense in this tense and gripping film that delivers an exciting conclusion that merits the brilliant build-up.
Grace Kelly as Lisa, Jeffries’ girlfriend, is a glamourous socialite but also provides several interesting and thought-provoking moments of evaluation which arguably Hitchcock tried to highlight through the story. Lisa asks about rear-window ethics and whatever happened to “love thy neighbour”. However, all notion of ethics go out of the figurative window as events progress in such a way that convinces Jeffries of his initial beliefs.
Hitchcock has produced an accomplished film with two brilliant leads who are complimented by all the nieghbours, Stella the nurse and Lieutenant Doyle. Rear Window explores many deeper threads about humans and their obsessive curiosity and voyeurism which forms the basis of the film and adds to it’s reverence as one of Hitchcock’s classic films.
High Society 3.25 / 5
IMDb Rating: 7.0
Starring: Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm, Louis Armstrong.
Grace Kelly’s last acting role before she became the Princess of Monaco. The musical was based on the play The Philadelphia Story. The film is famous for it’s musical numbers; True Love, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, You’re Sensational and Well, Did You Evah!
Boasting a stellar cast of Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra I was expecting something magical in this musical version of The Philadelphia Story, but my expectations of it probably left me feeling a bit flat. The film was missing some zest and zeal from the actors and the storyline in general. Crosby is very leisurely throughout, Kelly lacks real energy and Sinatra’s character is quite plain.
The film is a pleasant one, which will keep you entertained for the duration but I wouldn’t consider it to be a film that is watched and rewatched. If you haven’t seen it, you’re not missing much.
However, after watching Rear Window and High Society, I can now say that I love Grace Kelly!
Citizen Kane 4.25 / 5
IMDb Rating: 8.4
Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten and Dorothy Comingore.
Considered the greatest film of all time by many, including the AFI. Orson Welles, aged 25, co-authored, starred, directed and produced the film, which was his cinematic debut. Nominated for 9 Oscars, it won for Best Writing. Orson Welles is considered one of the greatest actors and directors of all time, in the lists composed by the AFI and the BFI.
I was cautious about watching this film, mainly due to the tagline that is blessing and a curse: The Greatest Film Of All Time. How can any film live up to that?
The film was very very good and it has stood the test of time equally well considering it was released 74 years ago! Though Citizen Kane is a mystery concerning the last words of the dying Kane, the film covers multiple genres and storylines from different viewpoints which worked brilliantly, and the flow of the film was not disrupted at all. The last word that Kane uttered was “Rosebud”, and the film’s focus is on who or what Rosebud is or was. We are taken through Kane’s personal and professional life by people who knew him well in the attempt of those at The Daily Inquirer to unearth what he meant by Rosebud.
The film is considered the greatest of all time because of the groundbreaking cinematic developments, risks and techniques that the film used. Though the film was enjoyable, the mystery engaging and the film incredibly put together, modern audiences will disagree with the lavish praise it has been afforded. The film in the twenty-first-century is not aimed for the standard fillmwatcher, it is for the film students and the film critics. They can talk all day along about how important the film has been to the film industry. In particularly the deep focus photography, method acting, in-camera effects, extensive use of low-angle shots, non-linear narrative, experimental camera work, special effects makeup and experimental use of sound effects. All of which have contributed to Citizen Kane‘s appeal and study.