Film Team Recommendations: April 8, 2020

“Films that are ripe for discovery - or rediscovery” -GCIFF Film Team

The Train, 1964 (Available on Amazon Prime) 

Burt Lancaster stars as the leader of a WWII French resistance group whose mission is to sabotage the transport of valuable French art to Germany. Director John Frankenheimer crafts a taut thriller of manipulated switches, pulled spikes, collisions, and Lancaster doing his best to keep ahead of the train, which is the real star of the film. With the great Jeanne Moreau in a supporting role.


The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, 1970 (Available on Amazon Prime)

Many now consider this late Billy Wilder film, which bombed at the box office, an overlooked masterpiece. Wilder looks at the vulnerable side of the great detective (Robert Stephens), frailties and all, as he and Watson (Colin Blakely) explore different mysteries. The witty dialogue (co-written with his longtime writing partner I.A.L. Diamond) is there but set in a more somber, melancholy tone. Great sets evocating Victorian era England, and featuring Christopher Lee as Holmes’ brother.


Atlantic City, 1980 (Available on Amazon Prime)

Burt Lancaster is perfection as a small-time gangster out of place in the rebooted Atlantic City (which had recently legalized gambling) and who accidentally pairs up with the wife (Susan Sarandon, also very good) of a wayward pot dealer to encounter drugs, crime, money and love. French director Louis Malle brings a European sensibility to the story, told with a lot of humor and with memorable supporting characters. Nominated for five Oscars.


The Parallax View, 1975 (Available on HBO & Amazon Prime)

A box office flop when it came out, this political thriller from Alan J. Pakula (All the President’s Men, Sophie’s Choice, Klute) has steadily gained in reputation. Warren Beatty stars as a reporter who gets in over his head while investigating the assassination of a presidential candidate. Eventually he discovers the mother of all conspiracies in this taut, well-crafted drama, with great cinematography by Gordon Willis and a cynical 70s mindset.


Bad Company, 1972 (Available on Amazon Prime)

Drew Dixon (Barry Brown) heads west from Ohio to avoid fighting in the Civil War. He gets as far as St. Joseph, Missouri where he falls under the spell of con man Jeff Bridges. They eventually head further west as part of a ragtag group of young men who con and squabble their way toward the Rockies. As original a redux Western as McCabe and Mrs. Miller or Little Big Man, with sharp dialogue by director-writer Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer) who, along with co-writer David Newman, also wrote the script for Bonnie and Clyde.


On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969 (Available on Amazon Prime)

Perhaps a more known entity, but with Daniel Craig basking in the current Bond spotlight, the ongoing debate about who the best Bond is and those who feel Sean Connery is the only Bond, let’s not overlook the first post-Connery effort which is an action-filled story where George Lazenby plays 007 for the only time, and with the help of Diana Rigg, looks into what’s really going on with archvillain Blofield’s alleged allergy research in the Swiss Alps. Lots of fun with Telly Savalas as a nasty guy, and watch out for the snow removal machine! Directed by Peter Hunt, who edited Dr. No, Goldfinger and From Russia with Love.