Starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly, and Raymond Burr with director Alfred Hitchcock, this is a superb film that takes place in a very limited space. L.B. Jefferies (Stewart) is a professional photographer who is incapacitated in his flat with a broken leg. All he has to pass the time is watching the people across the courtyard. Although he very rarely interacts with them, he slowly begins to know them just by spectating. Pretty soon he realizes something is amiss when the annoying wife across the way is no where to be seen and her husband (Burr) is acting strangely. With help of his ravishingly beautiful girlfriend (Kelly), Jeffries tries to uncover the truth. Everything escalates when Lisa breaks into the man’s apartment and it finally peaks in a climatic confrontation. In the end all is well and Jeffries realizes his true love. This is one of my favorite films because of its unique setting and it is possibly Hitchcock’s best. He takes an environment that is so confined and then makes a very entertaining and suspenseful film with it.
Starring Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb with a solid cast of others, the film follows different people before and during the sinking of the infamous ocean liner. Stanwyck has taken her son and daughter away from their wealthy father. He gets on board however and the relationship gets strained. Meanwhile a young man falls for their daughter trying to win her affection. The viewer also sees the captain who seems to be a good man and we come to known a priest turned drunk who is in disarray. When the ship strikes the iceberg everything changes instantly and the estranged pair show their love while others show their courage. This film is not historically accurate and some people will find it unspectacular compared to the modern blockbuster. However, it is all about the characters and they make this a very moving if not underrated film. It seems fitting that I first watched this film exactly 100 years after the fact.
Telling the semi-biographical story of Robert Stroud, Birdman relates his life from violent beginnings until his later years. Burt Lancaster superbly characterizes Stroud as a tragic hero. Despite a relatively simple plot following the progression in a man’s life, Birdman is worth seeing. Ultimately, it is the charcters played by Lancaster, Karl Malden, and Thelma Ritter respectively, that make this movie. Ironically, by the end of the film after all he has accomplished the Birdman is still not a free man. Even if it is not completely historically accurate, this movie tells a great story. Having actually toured Alcatraz after viewing this film, I have to say it resonated with me even more.
Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) is a seemingly modest and conscientious girl who gets the chance of a lifetime. She is able to meet a great Broadway star (Bette Davis) as well as her close circle of friends. Soon she is helping this Margot Channing by taking care of errands and odd jobs. This ambitious girl finally convinces one of Margot’s friends Karen (Celeste Holm), to let her be an understudy. And so when Margot is detained the night of a show, Eve gets her chance at the big time. However, Eve soon shows a different side of herself; one of back-stabbing and blackmail. Through her manipulation, she meets a famous critic (George Sanders) and wins an award. However, he has her pegged and the truth becomes evident. By the end of the film, Eve seems to have fallen for the same trap that Margot had. This film was pretty good and featured a good cast including Thelma Ritter and a young Marilyn Monroe. As Davis exclaims, “fasten your seat belts!”