1,001 Movies – Week 43

“The Dam Busters” to “Dark City”


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The Dam Busters (1955) – Almost documentary-like movie about the development and subsequent deployment of the “bouncing bomb” used by the RAF in a spectacular and hugely successful raid on the Ruhr Valley. Michael Redgrave is brilliant as Barnes Wallis, Richard Todd even better as Guy Gibson. Considering it was made a mere 10 years after the war ended, there’s a surprisingly heartfelt anti-war feel to it. “If I’d known it was going to be like this, I’d never have started.” Watch out for Patrick McGoohan in a tiny walk-on role. (KT)

Dances With Wolves (1990) – A beautiful performance given by Kevin Costner as a hero who leads the Union troops to victory accidentally. As his reward, he requests a position at a remote outpost in the Dakota Territory. Upon arrival, he finds the place completely deserted and the water contaminated. While trying to uncover clues, he meets the two natives of the area, one a lonely wolf he names Two Socks and second a Sioux Indian tribe with which he quickly makes friends. This is a beautifully filmed and acted epic masterpiece, especially the 5-hour version, which moves quickly and fills in a lot of the gaps. (SF)

Dangerous Female (1931) – This pre-code version of The Maltese Falcon adheres more closely to Hammett’s novel than the more famous version which would be made 10 years later. With snappy dialogue (a lot of it is deliciously risqué) and a gritty performance by Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade, this is a must-see, albeit rarely seen, masterpiece. (GS)

The Dark Backward (1991) – Disturbingly bizarre cult black comedy about garbage man/failed stand-up comedian (Judd Nelson) who discovers he’s got an arm growing out of the middle of his back. The terrific supporting cast (Bill Paxton, James Caan, Wayne Newton, Rob Lowe, Lara Flynn Boyle, Claudia Christian) give it their all. Be sure to keep a sharp eye on Newton’s ever-changing trademark mustache. (GS)

Dark City (1998) – Another of those “nothing else quite like it” movies. Rufus Sewell is dogged and lost, William Hurt is enigmatically sympathetic, Kiefer Sutherland is uncharacteristically cringing, and Richard O’Brien is… well, Richard O’Brien. (KCL)



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

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