This past year has been not been a very good one for me. My computer crashed and burned, so I was without a computer for several months. Also I had two operations in the span of a few months. One was a cyst removal of my left thigh. It was benign. That was at the end of February. Then last month I had a pacemaker put in.
I was informed that in most cases installing a pacemaker can be an out patient procedure without much fuss. But that was not the case for me due to severe Marfan Syndrome. Everything is complex, and in need of much more attention. I was in the hospital for three days, maybe four if you count the day I had to go to the E.R. twice. The second time they kept me.
My progress in recovering has been slow but steady, and improving. But as a result of the past few months I've had a lot of free time on my hands. As a result of that, yes my TV watching has increased. Or to be more accurate my movie watching has increased.
I have an HDMI cord I plug into the TV so I can watch shows and movies while I am otherwise occupied on my computer, like coming here and chatting with all of you. I was on pain pills for a while so doing anything constructive is/was a non-starter. I'm still not 100% ready to...clean my apartment.
If you know me you know I love Film Noir so I seek them out. I do like Jimmy Stewart, so I seek him out too. But along with movies that I've seen before I found movies I had never heard of that I found entertaining and good.
Maybe you could add in the comments section movies that are your favorites that generally are not on peoples must see lists.
I just now found out that Youtube has a plethora of old Film Noir movies in their entirety to view.
Now through the fog of pain pills and pain if I can remember, oh yes, I was watching a movie called The Stranger circa 1946. Directed by and starring Orson Welles. Also starring, Edward G. Robinson, and Loretta Young. It's a very good movie about tracking down a Nazi war criminal. I've never seen it before but I knew it existed due to various documentaries I've seen about Orson Welles.
Here it is.
Now if you watch it, you will see a list of related Edward G. Robinson movies and one caught my eye. It's called The Woman in the Window circa 1944. Directed by Fritz Lang and staring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, and Dan Duyrea as the bad guy.
I've never seen it before either but it's smart, and funny, suspenseful, and it draws you in.
If you've seen this movie let me know what you think about the ending. Some people see it one way, I see it differently.
Here it is.
Then I found a different Edward G. Robinson movie I liked called Night Has a Thousand Eyes circa 1948. Directed by John Farrow starring Edward G. Robinson, Gail Russell, and William Demarest. Although both these movies I put squarely in the Film Noir realm they are completely different in nature and subject matter. Night Has a Thousand Eyes can get a bit silly. But nevertheless your emotions and empathy get ever more tied to Edward G. Robinson's character the more the story progresses.
Here's where you go.
Now, I'm going to leave Edward G. Robinson and go to Jimmy Stewart. I was searching for Flight of the Phoenix and low and behold Youtube has it. I like this movie, but hated the remake.
Don't worry it's in English if you don't know Spanish.
So I thought if that's there, maybe they have Call Northside 777. One of my all time favorite Film Noir movies, nope.
But then I found a movie that I saw in it's entirety on Youtube not more than a few weeks ago called No Highway in the Sky circa 1951.
Directed by Henry Koster starring Jimmy Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Glynis Johns, and Janette Scott. It's there on Youtube but now you have to pay for it.
It's a quirky movie with Jimmy Stewart playing an aeronautical engineer who is trying to warm people of a flaw in a plane when it accumulates too many flying hours.
The thing that caught my attention about this film is the fact that Jimmy Stewart is playing a character that is so preoccupied with his work, it's almost to the point of neglect with regards to his daughter. I've never seen him play a role like that. Although it was great to see Marlene Dietrich, and you wish Jimmy and Marlene get together, you don't really care about the people on the plane. or the flaw in the plane, or Jimmy's career which is in jeopardy. All you care about is him and his daughter.
As I said I saw it on Youtube a few weeks ago but now it's not there. Look for it in other places, maybe Netflix has it.
Another quirky Jimmy Stewart movie I found is called Dear Brigitte circa 1965. This movie I had seen a long time ago and kept it in the back of mind. This is a comedy directed again by Henry Koster. And starring Jimmy Stewart, Glynis Johns, Billy Mummy, Ed Wynn, and Fabian. Oh and a cameo appearance by Brigitte Bardot. Hence the title of a movie.
Jimmy Stewart plays a professor poet who is constantly at loggerheads with the college administration about science versus the arts. Meanwhile, he is seeking an artistic outlet for his son, but he is tone deaf and color blind. Much to the dismay of Jimmy's character his son turns out to be a math prodigy. He can calculate difficult math equations in seconds, also he can predict the outcome of horse races with 100% accuracy. Meanwhile he has a crush on Brigitte Bardot. He puts a boycott on his abilities unless he can meet her.
Yes it's silly but I love the characters and their relationships. And, they live on a houseboat that looks like a circa 1880's San Francisco brothel. I always wanted to live on a houseboat. Especially one that looked like a circa 1880's San Francisco brothel. And I've always loved Billy Mummy. Youtube has this one, I'm watching it now.
Now you may not know about this next movie. But this one is one of my all time favorite stupid comedy movies. It's called Evil Roy Slade circa 1972 directed by Jerry Paris. Starring John Astin as the title character and a huge list of comic actors, ranging from Henry Gibson to Milton Berle to Dick Shawn.
This was a made for TV movie. It was intended to be a pilot for a western comedy series in which guest stars get foiled by Evil Roy Slade.
Think of this as a TV friendly Blazing Saddles and you get the point. John Astin plays a bad guy that's all you need to know.
Here it is.
Now if none of this is to your liking, if you prefer a bit more meat on the bones I'll direct you to a movie I just recently found out about called Waterloo circa 1970. Starring Rod Steiger as Napoleon, and Christopher Plummer as Wellington. Directed by Sergei Bondarchuk.
There's nothing quirky about this movie at all. Rod Steiger gives a stunning performance as Napoleon, and Christopher Plummer gives a dashingly snobby performance as Wellington. And Orson Welles does a cameo of King Louis XVIII
If you've ever salivated at the prospect of seeing Stanley Kubrick directing Napoleon and wondered, what happened? You have this movie to blame. This movie is magnificent and stunning and costly, and it didn't do well at the box office. I don't know why. Maybe it's because that was the year Patton came out and we can't have two stunning and magnificent war General character study movies. I don't know. As you may know Kubrick used some of the film he shot for Napoleon on the movie Barry Lyndon.
This was a Soviet-Italian production, produced by Dino De Laurentis. It was filmed in the Ukraine and in Italy. They went to great and lengths to authentically recreate the battlefield and the mud. The Russians bulldozed away two hills, laid five miles of roads, transplanted 5,000 trees, sowed fields of rye, barley and wildflowers and reconstructed four historic buildings. To create the mud, more than six miles of underground irrigation piping was specially laid. This movie is lavish and dense and pre-CGI, in American dollars the cost was $38.3 million. By comparison the movie Patton cost $12,650,000.00
With 15,000 Soviet foot soldiers and 2,000 cavalrymen as extras—it was said that, during its making, director Sergei Bondarchuk was in command of the seventh largest army in the world. Fifty circus stunt riders were also used to perform the dangerous horse falls. And you see every nickle of that 38.3 million dollars on the screen. I shudder to think what this would cost today.
Like I said this movie is not quirky, but it is entertaining and captivating. I believe that it wasn't a financial success due to the public just not being interested at the time. With this one there is nothing to poke fun at, or laugh about, or roll your eyes over.
I recently recommended this movie to a friend of mine. He thought it was extremely well done. He liked it. I did tell him that the movie is not going to teach you anything about the battle of Waterloo if you didn't already know it.
At some point it becomes one group of men on horses attacking another group of men on horses with cannons and infantry men, and so on. If you want to know what is actually happening watch any number of documentaries about the bare bones of the battle before you watch this movie. Youtube does have a good in depth documentary about Waterloo.
That very well may have been the ultimate trouble this movie had with the public. If you didn't have an understanding at the time of the battle you may have been left flat. I don't know.
In any event, here you go. With this one make the popcorn first, put the cat out, tuck the kids in bed, and turn off your phone.
Now if you could care less about that I have one more offering. My last entry is a BBC documentary about Beethoven. The BBC did a series about some of the great composers, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky etc. The best one is this mini-series on Beethoven. Mainly because the actor playing Beethoven gives a hands down career performance in this series. He blows a lot of great actors out of the water with his portrayal.
This is a 2005 BBC docudrama starring Paul Rhys as Beethoven and the conductor Charles Hazelwood narrator.
This is a three part docudrama yes Youtube has all of them
Keep the kids awake for this one, but make the popcorn first.
The first part is called The Genius of Beethoven The Rebel 1/3
The second part is called The Genius of Beethoven Love and Loss 2/3
The third part is called The Genius of Beethoven Faith and Fury 3/3
If for some reason those don't work for you, or there are episodes missing you can go here and see all three.
I would like to give an honorable mention to two more quirky, funny and entertaining movies. One is The Big Clock starring Ray Milland. I quite enjoyed it. And there is a marvelous cameo performance by the great Elsa Lanchester.
Youtube doesn't have that one now.
Another one is called Phone Call From a Stranger. A great performance by Shelly Winters. And in the last act Betty Davis steals the movie right out from everybody. Youtube does have it.
I've tried to give something to everyone. If I've missed you, I'm sorry, I'll see what I can do next time.
So what are some of your guilty pleasures, or movies you reserve for when you are recovering from the flu, or movies you only watch when you break your leg? Or movies you simply like but fly under the radar?