1,001 Movies – Week 9

“Angel Heart” to “Animal Farm”




Angel Heart (1987) – Alan Parker’s best film in years; a surreal, sensual American Gothic full of disquieting imagery and philosophical ruminations on the nature of existence. Sounds crap. Would’ve been crap, too, if the casting hadn’t been so right. It’s almost impossible to believe that Mickey Rourke’s performance is only the second best in the movie but, hell, Robert De Niro as Satan – what kind of inspired bravery is that?! (KT)


Angela’s Ashes (1999) – Based on the best-selling biography by Frank McCourt about his life growing up poverty-stricken in Ireland; it’s heartbreakingly earnest with tremendous performances from Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle as Frank’s struggling parents. (GS)


Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) – James Cagney meets the Dead End Kids! Directed by Michael Curtiz, this picture epitomizes Warner Bros. gangster film – cheap sets, atmospheric lighting, rapid-fire dialogue and a slew of memorable actors. Cagney kept the Kids in line during the making of the movie by speaking a language they could understand – watch the basketball scene with the knowledge that when he smacks or trips the Kids, it’s all for real. In the end, they admired Cagney almost as much as their characters admired Rocky Sullivan. (GS)


Animal Crackers (1930) – Hooray for Captain Spaulding! The plot, as such, involves a valuable stolen painting but that’s just an excuse for The Marx Brothers to run riot through another high society soiree with some of Groucho’s most memorable one liners and songs including “Hooray for Captain Spaulding” and “Hello, I Must Be Going”. (GS)


Animal Farm (1954) – If you haven’t seen this, you’ve never really seen Peter Cushing. He was always at least excellent, but here, he’s bloody brilliant! I’ve never seen a depiction of absolute, off-the-rails, yet believably convincing phobic terror superior to his performance when they’re dragging him to Room 101. This is required viewing. Period. (KCL)


Originally published in Raspberry World – Volume 2, Issue 1 (June/July 2007)


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