FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Norman Jewison |||
Norman Jewison

Yes, he directed “Moonstruck” and two unforgettable musicals, but Jewison is also responsible for a trilogy of films focusing on racial-injustice, a whacky Cold War comedy and a signature film of Steve McQueen’s showing that he is one of the most versatile directors since Robert Wise.

This blueprint for good investigation dramas tells the story of a black Philadelphia detective investigating a murder in Mississippi who matches wits with a redneck sheriff. Groundbreaking for it’s time, this Oscar winning film is still relevant today and offers a gripping mystery with terrific dramatic performances by a complete cast of fully realized characters.

This is an amazingly funny and entertaining irreverent "Cold War" comedy about a Russian submarine stranded outside an isolated New England town, which throws the locals into a panic. Jewison does a delightful job of utilizing his all-star cast to their fullest, deftly mixing Capra-esq characters with Mel Brooks’s type situations (and vise-versa).

A bored millionaire (Steve McQueen in his prime) masterminds a flawless bank job as Faye Dunaway (an insurance investigator out to get him) identifies him as the mastermind and falls in love along the way. This is the original and the best, with all the arch stylized movie techniques of the ‘60s (including split-screen and fuzzy shallow focus) and the most erotic chess game ever captured on screen.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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TCM Classic Film Festival Day 3: Good Old Classics

By CarrieSpecht

April 27th, 2010

I started the day off at Grauman's Chinese Theatre and a new print of John Huston's "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Both Angelica and Danny Huston were there to talk about the film, their father, and even their grandfather Walter, who received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this film. Even better than that... Robert Osborne moderated the discussion.

TCM Classic Film Festival Day 3: Good Old Classics

The print itself was simply gorgeous, luscious even. It was so nice to see a film in Black and White with such clarity and detail I actually found myself discovering new details previously missed on a TV screen with an over worked print. If “Treasure” shows again anywhere, I encourage you to go see it. It’s worth it. Later I stopped in at the Roosevelt to catch a piece of the panel, “The Greatest Movies Ever Sold”. However I didn’t stay long. Although it was full of some very informative and experienced people it reminded me too much of my film school days. And I decided my time was better spent watching Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last” with a live orchestra at the Egyptian, introduced by Leonard Maltin and Lloyd’s granddaughter.

Not only was it great to see a silent film presented the way it was originally intended, but I also had a great conversation with some enthusiastic film students from USC and Santa Monica’s Art Institute in line on the way in. At my seat I was flanked by a local couple that had come into Hollywood just for that screening, and on my right was a lady from Pennsylvania (my dad’s home state!) spending her vacation days with TCM. It’s true what they say; Lloyd really was just as good as Chaplin and Keaton, and a victim of his own refusal to allow his films to be shown on TV until the early 70’s. As his granddaughter said, “He didn’t like commercials and that was many years before TCM. Thank goodness we now have TCM”.

The last show of the day for me was the presentation of Banned Cartoons hosted by Donald Bogle. Bogle is an engaging speaker who is the authority on African American images in film (he co-hosted TCM’s special focus on the topic a while back). I have to say it was an enlightening evening to see what depictions were considered acceptable by the entertainment world in another day and age. If TCM ever re-airs “Race & Hollywood: Black Images on Film” you should try and catch it. Or check out Bogle in person should he come to speak in your area.

The best highlight of my day was running into Tony Curtis and his wife at the Bar at the Roosevelt. He’s just such a doll up close and in person. The discussion before “The Sweet Smell of Success” just didn’t do him justice. So if you have the time be sure to stop by Curtis’ book signing Sunday, or any time he has one anywhere. You won’t be disappointed.