My Top Ten Movie Choices

By Marni Johnson

 

two-for-the-roadThe article in the September Ojo by David Harper entitled “My Top Ten Movies of All Time” listed three crime genre choices, two war stories, two westerns, one swashbuckler, one comedy, one drama, and one romantic comedy. That’s right—oneromance. Male choices, yes? Here’s a list from the distaff side, based on the same criterion: films so enjoyable they can be watched over and over again.

My list is headed up by the 1967 Stanley Donen film, Two for the Road, starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney at the height of their attractiveness. The film is a romantic comedy-drama about the ups and downs of courtship and marriage and Audrey’s onlyconvincingfilm portrayal of a sophisticated adult.

FrancoisTruffaut’s Jules and Jim (1961-France), one of the all-time greats, starring Jeanne Moreau as an almost unbearably appealing gamine with an unusual code of ethics loved by two men who happen to be best friends. The film’s last frame is a shocker.

Romancing the Stone (1984), a throwback tothe Saturday afternoon daysserials a la Spielberg’s Indiana Jones movies, this “Perils of Pauline”-type film stars Kathleen Turner as a romance novelist in the jungles of Colombia with Michael Douglas as her unwilling protector--until he discovers the treasure map she is hiding.      

Out of Africa, (1985), Sydney Pollack’s rendition of Isak Dineson’s book based on her years in Kenya as “Karen Blixen” and starring Meryl Streep as Karen/Isak and Robert Redford as her lover. Dazzling panoramic views of the Kenyan landscape combined with a great love story make this an exceptional film.

Under Fire, (1983), starring Nick Nolte, Gene Hackman, and Joanne Cassidy as a love triangle and as journalists in the midst of a revolutionary war in 1979 Nicaragua. This realistic drama is enhanced by haunting pan-pipe music plus the dilemma of whether or not a journalist should sacrifice his/her integrity to help win a war.

Although most film critics cite eitherSingin’ in the Rain or My Fair Lady as the best musical of all time, my preference is for the 1958 Vincente Minnelli film Gigi, starring Leslie Caron and Louis Jourdan. Gigi, set in turn-of-the-century Paris, features gorgeous costuming, an intriguing plot, great music, and two love stories.

The Year of Living Dangerously (1983), directed by Peter Weir, co-starring Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver, is a political drama set in Southeast Asia during the reign of Sukarno. Linda Hunt won a well-deserved supporting actor Oscar for her portrayal of a male photographer. The film begins with a shadow puppet display backed by mesmerizing gamelan music.

Hitchcock’s films are usually well-plotted masterpieces of suspense. My favorite Hitchcock film is fluffy. Entitled To Catch a Thief (1955) and set on the French Riviera, this film stars Cary Grant as an ex-cat burglar evading the police, and Grace Kelly as an almost irresistible beauty out to do the ‘catching.’

I’m very fond of film noir, my favorite being Robert Altman’s underrated 1973 film, The Long Goodbye, based on a Raymond Chandler novel, with Elliot Gould playing Philip Marlowe and also starring Sterling Hayden as a Hemingway-like writer. Gould plays a cat-loving, scruffy, gumshoe who winds up solving the mystery.

Last but not least, The African Queen, John Huston’s 1951 tour-de-force depicting two losers (Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart) thrown together due to adverse circumstances on a trip down an unpredictable river (based on C. S. Forester’s novel). How can anyone not love this film?

With the recent availability of Net-flix in Mexico, the above films should be easy to access.

 

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