(All DVDs are available on Netflix.)
Man of La Mancha, 1972
Director: Arthur Hiller; Writer: Dale Wasserman
Starring: Peter O’Toole, Sophia Loren, James Coco
If you like musicals, profundity and history – in that order
See Man of La Mancha dream an impossible dream during the Spanish Inquisition
Because under consideration is illusion as a sanguine choice of reality
(Peter O’Toole embodies quixotic as Don Quixote like Picasso drawing a bullfight.)
The Lady from Shanghai, 1947
Writer: Orson Welles (screenplay); Sherwood King (novel)
Starring: Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth
If you can hear Orson Welles’ voice in your mind’s ear saying “When I start out to make a fool of myself, there’s very little can stop me. If I’d known where it would end, I’d never let anything start… if I’d been in my right mind, that is. But once I’d seen her, I was not in my right mind for some time.”
See The Lady from Shanghai for a spectacular voyage of film noir intrigue
Because buried motives are to die for, literally.
(The quotes in this film are keepers from start to finish.)
Olympia: Festival of Nations, 1938
Written and Directed by Leni Riefenstahl
If you liken athletic to aesthetic and like your poetry in motion
See Olympia capture mankind’s lightness of being just before the worst of times
Because a sports documentary celebrates ideals of timeless accomplishment.
(Though the III Reich funded the project, the world owns the rights. Don’t miss actual footage of Jesse Owens winning four gold medals to Hitler’s astonishment. )
Cincinnati Kid, 1965
Directed by Norman Jewison
Written by Ring Lardner, Jr., and Terry Southern
With A Big Hollywood Cast: Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson, Karl Malden, Ann-Margret, Rip Torn, Tuesday Weld
If you’re drawn to the luck of the draw — and even if poker’s not your game,
See Cincinnati Kid take “The Man to Beat” to the edge of defeat while you lean over his shoulder on the edge of your seat and place your own bet.
Because good times roll in colorful New Orleans where gambling played by the best are won by the best and physical violence – for once – doesn’t take center stage.
((Steve McQueen was on his way up, a star in the making, looks at you like you are there. Edward G. Robinson just does his great thing. The camera loves them both.)
To Kill A Mockingbird, 1962
Director: Robert Mulligan
Writers: Harper Lee (novel), Horton Foot (screenplay)
Starring Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Brock Peters, Robert Duvall
If you like finding something new in a film, live or die by it.
See To Kill A Mockingbird, a black and white classic, attack black and white prejudice with black and white laws, differently.
Because a man at ease with good changes the playing field, absolutely.
(Gregory Peck was 47, thought past his time when he won the Oscar and knighted civil rights with the simple dignity of fair-mindedness.)
What’s that mean, “To Kill A Mockingbird”?
Atticus Finch: “He said I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted, if I could hit ’em, but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird…I reckon because mockingbirds don’t do anything but sing for our enjoyment. They don’t eat people’s gardens, don’t nest in the corncribs. They don’t do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.”
All the President’s Men, 1976
Director — Alan J. Pakula
Writers – Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodward (book), William Goldman (screenplay)
Starring – Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman
If you link the noise of typewriters and deadlines to historically momentous instances of investigative reporting,
See All The President’s Men commemorate character, instinct for truth and hard work just two years after Nixon resigned in 1974.
Because the voices of America Walt Whitman hears singing by day and by night reflect an idealization forged by clashes of conscience.
(Even with all the facts out in the open and typewriters the fastest moving vehicles in the film, All the President’s Men rips along like a murder mystery thriller.)
One From the Heart, 1982
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writers: Armyan Bernstein, Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Teri Garr, Frederic Forrest, Raul Julia
If you want to see the inventive imagination of a genius flipping digital pancakes
See One From The Heart turn the fireworks of a fight into a Las Vegas circus act
Because love is deeper than a dream girl’s eyes, more alluring than a dream guy with a ticket to paradise in his pocket
(But what I loved is the dance sequence with Raul Julia and Teri Garr; dancing with the stars worth every misstep in the movie. Don’t miss it.)
Director: Malgorzata Szumowska
Writers: Malgorzata Szumowska, Tine Byrckel
Starring: Juliet Binoche
If you want to see an excellent woman director at work.
See Elles unwrap a magazine writer’s psyche while investigating young women supporting themselves going to college with fairly benign prostitution.
Because what we take in through our rapt attention will, in fact, disrupt our lives.
(I hesitate. This performance by Juliet Binoche is so extraordinary that I do not wish it to get lost in the distraction of explicit sex (NC-17rating). Sex is not nothing but it doesn’t define who these women are.)
Written by Dr. Jane Alexander Stewart
Newtopia staff writer Jane Alexander Stewart, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who writes essays about mythic themes in film, creates “Myth in Film; Myth in Your Life” seminars for self-exploration and travels a lot. Her film reviews have been published in theSan Francisco C.G. Jung Library Journal, Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture and Los Angeles Journal of Psychological Perspectives. Jane’s popular essay on “The Feminine Hero in The Silence of the Lambs” appears in the anthology, The Soul of Popular Culture, and in The Presence of the Feminine in Film as one of its authors. She’s also presented myth in film programs at Los Angeles County Museum, University of Alabama and C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. A collection of her reviews and other writing can be found at www.CinemaShrink.com.