|Gene Tierney's Ellen--so lovely|
and apparently normal.
89. A Shot in the Dark - Peter Sellers first appeared as Inspector Clouseau in a supporting role in The Pink Panther. But he perfected Clouseau in this perfect farce, which amazingly was based on a stage play without Clouseau. The scene of Clouseau bungling through a nudist camp is a comedy classic--but Sellers is just as funny trying to walk through a door. Herbert Lom is delightful as Chief Inspector Dreyfus...who would have thought he could be so funny?
88. Dracula Has Risen from the Grave - As many of you know, I'm a fan of Hammer's horror films. This fourth entry in the studio's Dracula series features well-developed characters, a lively story, interesting themes, and stunning color photography (the director was award-winning cinematographer Freddie Francis). It's not my favorite Hammer vampire film, but closely edges out Kiss of the Vampire and Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter.
|Uncle Charlie and his favorite|
86. Enchanted April - Four British women, who desperately need a break from their monotonous lives, rent an Italian villa. During the month they spend together, they learn about each other, gain insight into themselves and their loved ones, and emerge with a new outlook on life. This uplifting film makes its points subtly and benefits from an ideal cast featuring Miranda Richardson and Joan Plowright. I love how the
85. 12 Angry Men – I read the play in high school long before I saw the film adaptation—and yet, knowing the plot’s outcome didn’t lessen its impact at all. I’m always amused when a film critic notes that a movie adaptation of a play failed to “open it up.” To me, a movie can take place entirely in one room—as this one mostly does—and be utterly gripping. Henry Fonda shines as an Everyman forced to take a stand against the rest of a jury, but there are many superb performances in this insightful examination of our justice system.
|Does her daughter Bunny|
83. A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven) – Because of a Heavenly mistake, an RAF pilot (David Niven) survives a crash and falls in love. Unwilling to go to Heaven, he argues before a celestial tribunal that he should be allowed in live out his life on Earth. This perceptive, haunting fantasy from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger lingers long after the closing credits. The incredible set design and Powell’s use of color are justifiably famous, but it’s the performances—especially those by Niven and Roger Livesey as his friend-turned-lawyer—that give the film its heart.
|Lady and the Tramp dine to the|
lovely song "Bella Notte."
81. Whistle Down the Wind - In rural England, three children discover a fugitive in their barn and come to believe that he is Jesus. This unique film works as both a religious allegory and an intelligent look into the world of children. Hayley Mills and Alan Bates give powerful performances. Based on the novel by Hayley's mother, Mary Hayley Bell, who also wrote the screenplay. Andrew Lloyd Webbers transformed it into a stage musical that never made it to Broadway.
Next month, I'll count down 80-71, which will include the first of multiple list appearances by Errol Flynn, plus a made-for-TV horror film, Dirk Bogarde, and Sam Peckinpah.