This week's Monday Movie Meme from the Bumbles is all about those classic Black & White movies. When you think of these films, you automatically think of the ones made back prior to the 1950's. But not so fast. Some of the best in this class are actually modern films that took the road less traveled, adding authenticity to their story. Here are some of my favorites, new and old:
Raging Bull - made in 1980 about a tortured boxer in the 1940's, this movie has atmosphere to spare. I will stick my neck out there and proclaim it to be Robert deNiro's best work ever (and that is saying something from a Godfather-lover like me.) It is dark, it will turn your stomach, but you will never forget it.
Schindler's List - another stomach-turner, but an amazing work of art and labor of love by Spielberg. What made such an impression on me was that everything in the story was black & white but a little girl's doll, which you only see a couple times throughout the film. Devastating.
To Kill a Mockingbird - believe it or not, I only saw this movie for the first time this year, but I knew going into it what I was in for. In my mind, nobody but Gregory Peck could have played the ever-moral, ever-admirable Atticus Finch. Most intriguing though was the bit part of Boo Radley played by Robert Duvall. It just made me want to cry.
On the Waterfront - not everyone may be in my camp, but I am a huge fan of Marlon Brando. He often played unsavory, detestable human beings, but he did so with heart and gusto, and a spark of insanity. (Only a true fan can watch Last Tango in Paris and still call themselves a fan!). In this star-studded film, you get drawn into the Mob and their informers, unions, selling out, regret, and doing the right thing.
The Bicycle Thief - a poignant story of class and poverty and the importance of a bicycle in the life of a struggling peasant, this movie is so simple but powerful. It is routinely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.
The Best Years of Our Lives - C.B. James originally described this as the movie that drives him to tears at every viewing. It is a nostalgic tribute to servicemen returning to their homes after fighting in WWII, and trying to adjust to normal lives. With seven Academy Awards to back it up, including best picture, this film will move you.
Citizen Kane - another one that has been touted as the best film of all time, Orson Wells plays a character that was blatantly modeled after the American newspaper magnate William Hurst. The opening of the film shows a pathetic, lonely Kane, holding a snowglobe with the word "Rosebud" on his dying lips. You can't help but stay around to witness Kane's rise and fall, and solve the mystery of what the hell Rosebud really is.
I'm starting to feel like a broken record when I say that I KNOW I've missed some good ones. But that is the fun in playing. So tell me...which masterpieces have I missed?