Short Film Ratings (Classic Special)
Another instalment of a Classic Special Short Film Ratings. The films that I have watched have been Rebel Without a Cause, Dial M For Murder, Pyscho and Casablanca.
Rebel Without A Cause 3 / 5
IMDb Rating: 7.8
Starring: Jmes Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood.
James Dean died before the film was released which has seen it become a culturally significant film evidenced by it’s induction into the National Film Registry. The film received nominations in various categories at the Oscars and BAFTAs.
I think the real reason that this film achieved a ‘classic’ status is due to the fact that James Dean died so young and this being his last film, rather than the strength of his acting performance or the film. The film received acclaim as it was the first film to really focus on the teenager, and the various problems that were never before focused upon. Dean’s acting is nothing exceptional but not bad, though there were a couple of scenes which left me perplexed that he had received a BAFTA nomination for this performance. The first was a scene with his mother and father, where Jim is arguing with them and the language used by him is utterly unrealistic and only used for social comment and effect. The second occurs after the death of Mineo’s character and Dean attempts to cry and it came across as a live performance gone wrong, and I wondered how on earth it made the fine edit as Dean’s attempt to cry were unsuccessful and it surely should have been redone.
The implausible and unbelievable relationship of Dean and Wood left me lost for words. Her boyfriend dies by driving off a cliff and later that night she is telling Dean she loves him, which was preposterous. The image of James Dean is the thing that is remembered rather than the film itself, which was a unique commentary of the delinquent teenage life and relationship with their parents, friends and other teenagers.
Dial M For Murder 4.25 / 5
IMDb Rating: 8.2
Starring: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings and John Williams.
The film got placed on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Thrills.
This was a fascinating film for me. It was less whodunit, but more hedunit and how will he get away with it. The majority of the film is set in one room which is a unique approach as the audience were able to witness every thing that happens, and we are left wondering if he will get away with it, and if he doesn’t, how will they be able to figure out his methods.
Both Ray Milland and Grace Kelly were both brilliant, Milland as the sly, cunning and assured Tony who discovers that his wife Margot (Kelly) is having an affair with crime writer Mark (Robert Cummings). Kelly is the beautiful and vulnerable Margot, who despite her cheating, the audience feel sympathetic towards her.
This is an enthralling film that is characteristic of a Hitchcock film. The pacing, lighting, camera angles, dialogue, the things left unsaid are all part of this brilliant crime thriller that had me gripped throughout.
Psycho 4 / 5
IMDb Rating: 8.6
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John Intire and Janet Leigh.
Considered one of Hitchcock’s best ever and most recognisible films, it was considered a significant enough film to be inducted in the National Film Registry. The film received 4 Oscar nominations (inc. Best Director, Best Supporting Actress). It is also considered the first ever Slasher film.
Hitchcock’s most famous film. Loved by fans and critics alike. Pyscho is the film that is studied by film students across the world, as they take into account the direction, dialogue, cinematography, soundtrack, acting and themes of the film.
Rather than talk at length about those things that come up in a film student’s thesis, I will talk about the effect it had on me as a film-watcher rather than someone investing a lot of time and concentration on the finer details. One aspect I particular enjoyed way the way a protagonist was brought into the film, then clinically dealt with, very different to a lot of films throughout the years, not just in 1960.
The film is one I think everyone should probably see at some point, though fans of current horror films might not be as scared as those back in the 60’s concerning the shower scene, as we have become accustomed to haunting soundtracks and horrific scenes. But in 1960, this set the precedent.
Casablanca 4.25 / 5
IMDb Rating: 8.6
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Dooley Wilson and Conrad Veidt.
Winner of 3 Oscars (Best Picture, Director and Screenplay). 6 lines featuring on the AFI’s Movie Quotes list. The film itself features on 7 lists, including as the 3rd best film of all time.
Considered one of the greatest films of all time and consistently ranking in the top 3 of Best Films lists. The film is essentially described as a romance, but it covers so much more than that. There are comedy elements, usually provided by Claude Rains, the war element, which is the backdrop for the film, and drama, which is probably the main genre challenging the romance.
All the actors give on-point performances, my particular favourites were Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains, especially their scenes together. The comedy element provided these two balanced out the romance and drama perfectly. My favourite line; “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here!” (Croupier hands him his money)…”Your winnings sir.“…”Oh, thank you very much!”
The one drawback I had with the film, was the confusing nature surrounding the letters of transit, but otherwise it is a fantastic film with many memorable lines such as; “We’ll always have Paris”, “Here’s looking at you kid”, “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine” and “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”. And of course the soundtrack, “As Time Goes By”.