1,001 Movies – Week 36

“City of the Dead” to “A Clockwork Orange”

 

City of the Dead (1960) – Of all the attempts at bringing the work of H.P. Lovecraft to the screen, this is the runaway best.  Ironically, it isn’t based on or connected to any of HPL’s work.  It does, however, contain many of his favorite elements, and brilliantly captures the atmosphere he sought to establish in so many of his stories. (KCL)

City Slickers (1991) – Extremely funny film from screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel that’s full of reverence for the past films but stands on its own to tell the story of three friends facing (or avoiding dealing with) their mid-life crises’ by spending a fortnight on a cattle drive. Jack Palance and Bruno Kirby are both missed. (GS)

Cleopatra (1934) – Cecil B. DeMille’s take on the classic tale has all the spectacle he is renowned for as well as a whole lotta spice provided by the stunning Claudette Colbert. The scene where she is rolled out of blanket is just…well, it’s nothing short of “wow.” Her Marc Antony is portrayed by the God-like Henry Wilcoxon – he of the gorgeous gams, glorious head of hair and those sexy wristy things. (GS)

The Clock (1945) – This is Judy Garland at her best, with or without singing or dancing – and here is neither. The chemistry between her and Robert Walker is unmatchable. The milkman, James Gleason, is comic charm and the director, Vincente Minnelli, makes everything snap, crackle and pop! (Realistically there was way too much drama behind the scenes – perhaps that is why everything works perfectly on screen.) It is another well worn plot – two people meet in the big city, keep meeting, and decide to get married. They have to do this in two days (Hence: The Clock) before he ships off again. Watch this one with someone you care for, you’ll both be crying. Watch it yourself, and you’ll still cry, but you’ll also fall in love with Judy.  (KWR)

A Clockwork Orange (1971) – Hugely controversial Stanley Kubrick adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ classic futurist nightmare. Not as violent (or, actually, as disturbing) as its reputation suggested during the 25 years when you couldn’t see the thing if you lived in Britain The satire of the original has also lessened through time, although the acting (Malcolm McDowell and Warren Clarke, especially) is never less that brilliant. Memorable script – “Show us yer yarbles if, indeed, y’have any yarbles to show!” and redolent with Wendy Carlos’s influential electronic score. (KT)

 

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

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