Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lifeboat (1944)

This Hitchcock drama begins with a German U-boat bombing an American ship. As the ship goes down in the opening shots, we see a fabulously dressed Connie Porter (Tallulah Bankhead) adrift in a lifeboat, filming everything for an article she wants to write. She is soon joined by other survivors of the blast, including an engineer, a steward, a nurse in training, a woman with a dead baby, and even the captain of the now sunk German U-boat. They drift together for weeks. But despite what you may hope for, and despite the fact that there are so many pros to eating a number of the characters, no one even considers eating anyone else in Lifeboat.

Connie Porter: Apparently the actress is a diva just like her character. Probably wouldn't taste so good, but it might have been good to get her and her complaints about losing her luggage out of the way.

Kovak: So annoying. From the moment he steps on the boat he is arguing and wanting to kill or abandon other survivors. Eat him.

Gus Smith: Not so tasty. Gimpy leg, eventual gangrene. Ick. "What good's a hepcat with one gam missing?"

Mrs. Higley: She sadly jumps off the side of the boat and drowns herself after the death of her baby, is attached to the boat by a rope, and they cut her free. Did no one think to save her for later?

Mrs. Higley's dead baby: Inappropriate to comment.

Alice MacKenzie: Do not eat. She's a nurse. More valuable to have her alive.

Stanley "Sparks" Garrett: Could never have been eaten. The actor, Hume Cronyn went on to star in Cocoon and Batteries Not Included. Too important to eat.

Joe: Token wise black character. Plays a mean flute and prays...too valuable to eat.

Rittenhouse: Too sinewy. Probably not a good first choice of a meal.

Willy (the German captain): Oh, definitely to be eaten. He was trying to bring the boat to a German supply ship from which they would all surely have been sent to a concentration camp. And he had secret supplies he did not share.

But as I said, no one gets eaten. For tales of cannibalism, skip Lifeboat and take a Criminal Law class in law school.

The 39 Steps (1935)

Similar to Hitchcock's later movies Saboteur and North by Northwest, The 39 Steps is about a man who is accused of a crime he did not commit and then dragged into intrigue in order to clear his name, saving some people and possibly the world along the way.  The major difference: No one scales a national monument.  This time the hero is Richard Hannay.  During a performance by the amazing "Mr. Memory," Hannay meets a spy who runs to him for protection and then is murdered in his home.  Hannay must flee to avoid being arrested for her murder.  While on the run, he falls in hate with a lady on a train who gives him away, tries to complete the spy's mission, and then rediscovers and eventually falls in love with the lady from the train.  They hate each other so much, you just know they'll end up together.
The first time I watched The 39 Steps I couldn't get past the way that our hero treated his leading lady. He was obnoxious. I finished the movie, declared him to be a jerk, and reported to my dad that it was far from being my favorite Hitchcock. It's a few years later now, and thanks to my dad making me watch this movie again, I can now give it three stars and say that yes, I would see it again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Depending on my mood when watching this movie, I either laugh a lot or feel vaguely depressed.  Ahhh, nuclear humor.  David has a friend who says he judges people's intelligence based on whether or not they laugh at this movie.  I will definitely see this movie again (hopefully in a good mood if it happens to be with David's friend), and regardless of my mood, I can give the movie four stars.

I give you the highlights:

Peter Sellers:

and Peter Sellers:

and Peter Sellers:

and the finale:
Watch it.