I have been watching for the last few days this show that I think aired on CNN that looks back at the history of cinema from its beginning to the 2000’s. I am yet to see the last episode but I have to say that seeing this show has left wanting to see more films that I have the time to see. I like that they analyze what the film meant socially as well as artistically. One thing that got me thinking is that if we all produced our own show about the movies that meant something to us or that we love, each one would feature different films. There will be some that might appear in more than one person’s list, but I believe there would be more different movies there. What I wanted was somehow make my own The Movies special in a way and talk about the films I love. They went by decades I will do the same although before the 80’s I saw them years later than when they were first released.
The era of epic films like Ben-Hur, Cleopatra and others, I am yet to see some great movies I want to see. But from this decade the first set of films I saw was the James Bonds films. Of all the Bond films that have been made, these are my favorite ones, Sean Connery is my favorite Bond. Dr. No, Goldfinger, Thunderball are some of the ones I first saw. These films are fun and interesting, you know Bond will win, but the how just keeps you watching and of course it will end with 007 and the girl.
One actor that stands out as my favorite is Paul Newman and in the 60’s he made a lot of great films, I am yet to see highly regarded films like Hud, Hustler, Exodus to mention a few. I have seen more films from Newman but not much from this decade. But there are two films that I have seen that I believe are just great. Cool Hand Luke is a special film and one that impacted me simply because on Newman’s performance. His defiance to authority and how he simply refuses to stay down. The film has so many great moments, the first is when Luke is fighting Dragline and even though he is badly beaten up, he refuses to stay down. With that moment Luke becomes a legend with the other prisoners, they start to live through the things Luke does, showing a simple human emotion to use the lives of others as a vessel to the things you would like to do or be. The other great scene for me is when Luke’s mother dies and he takes the banjo and plays a song while the rest watch him. Newman is perfect in that scene as he performs the song and lets us feel the sadness of the characters loss. And the last, like Dragnet says in the movie, the Luke smile, at the end even when caught he turns and smiles. Great character and to this day I can’t believe Paul did not win an Oscar for that movie. The other is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid, the pairing of Robert Redford and Paul Newman is perfect and I am not a big fan of westerns, this one was different because it was funny and had these two unique characters trying to come to glimpse that the bandit era was ending and that a force was after them, what a great ending on that film.
As a child growing up my mother introduced me and my sister to great Disney films. We had the Disney channel and those days they aired a lot of movies that we enjoyed as a family. Mary Poppins is the first one that comes to mind. The movie to this day stands out as a masterpiece, the story is fun and moving. The music is fun and I am not a fan of musicals, but in this film the songs just work great for the film. Julie Andrews is excellent as Mary and the effects were so unique at that time. The mix of live actors with animation was groundbreaking at the time. The magic of the film is irresistible, at least for me. Another film we use to see and still love is the Parent Trap. The story of twins’ sisters who are identical meet at a summer camp and realize that they had a opportunity to meet the parent they did not know as they were split up when their parents divorced. It is a simple love story and it has funny moments as the girls try to get rid of their dad’s new fiancé and get him together with their mother again.
The Beatles also made two films. A Hard Day’s Night is highly regarded as a classic film, and it is. It presents The Beatles in a somewhat real way. The writers just took what their image was and used it for the film. The story revolves around The Beatles as they prepare for a television appearance. Filled with great songs and carried by The Beatles charm and charisma, it is an entertaining film. My favorite is Help! I know is whacky and silly, and not meant to be taken seriously, but it is a fun movie and the songs even better.
In 1968, Planet of the Apes was released. My fascination with this film started actually with a documentary hosted by Roddy McDowal who starred as Cornelius in the series. I have to say, the makeup was so effective and so well done, and the story had meaning beyond a science fiction story. Always saw it as a critique of how humans are with animals, but it can also be viewed as different races are treated. The first one is the most shocking one with the end and it’s the best one for me although they kept making more during the 1970’s.
This would be my first episode of this series of The movies that I love and impacted me, the list will get bigger in the other decades because I have seen more films on those years. Yellow Submarine was an animated adventure based on the song, it is a weird film, but it was entertaining and the animation felt unique.