#49: Sunrise: 1927
A movie directed by the famous FW Murnau, tells a story of a farmer who falls in love with a woman from the city. The woman persuades a vindictive idea for the farmers to sell his farm and kill his wife so that they can live the good life in the city. Within lies the dilemma of the farmer.
This is one of my favorite Murnau films. It was creative for the era came out and the use of picture within picture. For example when the farmer is thinking about killing his wife, and the images of how he would do it was innovate for its time and the sets to make the background look real.
Not only the technical enhancement laid the way for the future in filmmaking, the fact that it is a silent picture shows the creativity before they brought talkies to the screen. Also because of it being a silent film, it brought more emotion and the tension one sees while watching the film. I love to see the transformation of the farmer falling in love with his wife again. The film showed simple ways he had to show his love and affection. The story line became complete like a Greek tragedy but made the film one of the most solid and ground breaking stories in the film industry to follow generations to come.
#48: It happened in One Night: 1934
A low budget film in the 30’s starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert and directed by Frank Capra called ‘It happened in One Night.’ The movie is about an heiress named Ellie who is smothered by her father who is trying to have her annul her marriage to King Westly. In her last attempt to rebel against her father, she decides to run away. Andrews the father, is a powerful man decides sends police, detectives and a huge reward to find his daughter. While Ellie is trying to travel in secret from Miami to New York, she is discovered by a man named Peter, who is a washed up News reporter. They make a pact where he would help her in exchange for the exclusive. With that, the adventure begins.
This is not your typical Clark Gable movie. In fact it took me some time to recognize him because of his wit and jabber. This is the ground breaking film for all romantic comedies in the slapstick genre of the 30’s. It became overly popular in its time and did very well in the Oscars. It was one of the first films expected to be a bust and end up one of the best films and most profitable of all time.
#47: The Thin Red Line: 1998
Terrance Malick directs a World War 2 film taking place in the Pacific against the Japanese. The battle is staged to take over Guadalcanal from the Japanese. As the battle goes on in Guadalcanal the viewers witness the horrors of battle. The movie captures the perspectives of soldiers and a Private that went AWOL.
One of the most remarkable things about Terrance Malick and his film making is the way he illustrates and uses cinematography to tell a story. Malick brings the art from back into the film process to express his views and the ideals that needs to reignite in film quality.
#46: Shane: 1953
Shane is a gunfighter who decides to ride west. He ends up staying with a settler’s family. His main goal is to get away from his past. However a man named Ryker wants the land this family is living on. After Shane reacts by protecting the family by beating up one of Ryker’s men, he has to return to his past roots as the famous gunslinger to save the family and their land.
Shane is one of the most underrated westerns in film. It is a simple story but is blueprint for films to take a weary old gunslinger and then return to his roots to do what he does best. With him fighting his personal demons, but now for the love of the family rather than money, Shane shows a side of west we haven’ seen on film before.
#45: Unforgiven: 1992
Clint Eastwood stars and directs in Unforgiven, one of the most realistic Westerns on screen. The film is about an old man Bill Munny who tries to be a farmer because of his wife’s wishes. However he is a lousy farmer and struggles to do anything right.
In the town of Big Whiskey, the whores in the brothel are fed up with the sheriff Little Bill Daggett who didn’t do any punishment to a man that cut up one of their own. So they put a bounty on the cowboy that hurt her. A new up and coming bounty hunter recruits Bill Munny and his best friend Ned Logan for one last job.
Unforgiven to me was one of the most realistic Westerns ever made. It showed the actual human emotion of what happens when one kills or the psychological consequences of living in the West. Brilliantly directed by Clint Eastwood, we see that the storyline of doing what you are good at versus doing what you think is right. It illustrates a lot of deeper meaning and will be a masterpiece of one of Eastwoods best films.