Drama

Lane Slate – Deadly Game (1977)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Twice during the mid-1970s, Andy Griffith unsuccessfully attempted to launch a TV detective series titled Abel Marsh. The first pilot film was The Girl in the Empty Grave; the second was The Deadly Game. Griffith once again stars as resort-town sheriff Abel Marsh, this time wrestling with a sinister conspiracy involving a dangerous chemical spill. Lane Slate produced, directed and wrote the film, while Griffith’s longtime manager Richard O. Linke functioned as executive producer. Deadly Game was first telecast December 3, 1977. Read More »

Stanley Kramer – Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)


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This movie is a fictionalized account of the war crimes trial of judges and prosecutors who served the Nazis.
“Judgment at Nuremberg” depicts a watershed event: the first trials, based on principles of justice and international law, of the leaders of a country that waged aggressive war and committed crimes against humanity. The film is a gripping, searching and provocative look at the moral issues surrounding both the actions of the accused and the process of bringing them to justice. The film also explores the issue of whether ordinary Germans bore responsibility for the Holocaust. Read More »

Stanley Kramer – Inherit the Wind (1960)


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Description: Inherit the Wind (1960) portrays, in partly fictionalized form, the famous and dramatic courtroom “Monkey Trial” battle (in the sultry summer of 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee) between two famous lawyers (Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan) who volunteered to heatedly argue both sides of the case (over 12 days, including two weekends).

Its story centers around the issue of evolution vs. creationism, in the prosecution of 24 year-old Dayton High School mathematics teacher and sports coach – and substitute science teacher – John T. Scopes for violating state law (the 1925 Butler Act) by teaching the Darwin’s theory of evolution in a state-funded school. The film’s title was taken from the Biblical book of Proverbs 11:29: “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind.” Read More »

Stanley Kramer – On the Beach (1959)


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In 1964, nuclear war wipes out humanity in the northern hemisphere; one American submarine finds temporary safe haven in Australia, where life-as-usual covers growing despair. In denial about the loss of his wife and children in the holocaust, American Captain Towers meets careworn but gorgeous Moira Davidson, who begins to fall for him. The sub returns after reconnaissance a month (or less) before the end; will Towers and Moira find comfort with each other? Read More »

William K. Howard – The Valiant (1929)

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Paul Muni’s film debut. Muni earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance, the first of six in his long career.
A drifter with a clouded past accidentally kills the key witness to a crime, then sacrifices himself to the law under an assumed name rather than disgrace his family. In this manner, Muni is certain that he’s redeemed himself for his previous misdeeds–but a curious police inspector tries to probe his past. The Valiant was remade in 1940 as THE MAN WHO WOULDN’T TALK, with Lloyd Nolan in the Muni role. Read More »

William Wyler – The Collector (1965)

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Quote:
John Fowles’s novel The Collector was written in the form of a dual diary, one kept by a kidnapper, the other by his victim. The film is told almost exclusively from the point of view of the former, a nerdish British bank clerk named Freddy Clegg (Terence Stamp). A neurotic recluse whose only pleasure is butterfly collecting, Clegg wins $200,000 in the British Football Pool. He purchases a huge country estate, fixes up its cellar with all the comforts of home, then kidnaps Miranda (Samantha Eggar), an art student whom he has worshipped from afar. The demented Clegg doesn’t want ransom, nor does he want to rape the girl: he simply wants to “collect” her. She isn’t keen on this, and tries several times to escape. After several weeks, Clegg and Miranda grow increasingly fond of one another, and Clegg promises to let her go. When time comes for the actual release, however, Clegg decides that Miranda hasn’t completely come around to his way of thinking and changes his mind, leading to a further series of unfortunate events. Read More »

Lars von Trier – Idioterne AKA The Idiots (1998)

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“Now Lars von Trier, one of Dogma’s founders, has used these techniques to produce a two-hour, semi-pornographic Mentos commercial.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Lars von Trier is, to me, one of the most consistently intriguing media figures of the last few years. He’s so determined to carve a niche for himself in film history that he seems to be guaranteed one, at very least, due to his grandstanding. Critical reception to this self-proclaimed genius is certainly mixed. It’s not surprising that he is usually able to alienate a good portion of his audience before they even view his film. Others, like Scott, seem unable to get a concrete grasp on what they’re watching. For my money, the film is a masterpiece. Combined with his other 2000 U.S. release, Dancer in the Dark, von Trier has proven his self-proclamations of cinematic genius to be true. Read More »