(1) STRICTLY BALLROOM-1992-I had to buy this one! Great dancing by Paul Mercurio & Tara Morice with excellent writing/ directing/ editing and a terrific supporting cast. (Bill Hunter, Barry Otto, Pat Thompson, Gia Carides, Peter Whitford, John Hannan)
(2) THE KRAYS-1990-I like this one because it equates glamour with fear & because its study of a rich thug's wife is so on target. Spandau Ballet's Kemp brothers are surprisingly good as two of the most notorious underworld characters of the swinging sixties. Some of the cast members actually knew the Krays. Billie Whitelaw does yet another spellbinding job as their mother.
(3) SCANDAL-1989-As with S/B above, endless repeat value! Bridget Fonda's best work to date. John Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Ian McKellen, Leslie Phillips, Britt Ekland, Daniel Massey, Roland Gift, & Jeroen Krabbe are the best possible cast for the hottest British political sex scandal of 1963. (JFK couldn't get enough of it.)
(4) THE DREAM TEAM-1989-Just fun: Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Boyle, Stephen Furst, Dennis Boutsikaris-w. beard! & Lorraine Bracco, Milo O'Shea, Philip Bosco, James Remar. Perfect escapist fare & a wonderful vehicle for its versatile cast.
(5) A CHORUS OF DISAPPROVAL-1988-Jeremy Irons & Anthony Hopkins in the same movie: who could resist this on the shelf? The rest of the cast includes Prunella Scales, Sylvia Syms, Lionel Jeffries, Gareth Hunt, Patsy Kensit, Alexandra Pigg & Jenny Seagrove. This affectionate look at a small theatrical troupe is immensely better than 1995's "An Awfully Big Adventure".
(6) LADY IN WHITE-l988-I got chills from this one. It really nails down the terror of childhood & is actually the first movie that realistically shows some of my worst childhood nightmares. Beautifully shot, with gifted Lucas Haas outacting all the adults.
(7) THE WHISTLE BLOWER-1986-Another great Michael Caine thriller with James Fox, Nigel Havers, Felicity Dean, John Gielgud, Gordon Jackson, David Langton & Barry Foster. Quintessential critique of British duplicity at the highest levels. (Can't get enough of it!)
(8) DANCE WITH A STRANGER-1985-Poor Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in Great Britain for a 1955 crime of passion. Miranda Richardson is so good as Ruth that you can almost forgive the fact that Rupert Everett plays her lover so obviously gay. And it's wrenching to see Ian Holm's study of unrequited longing.
(9) JUST THE WAY YOU ARE-1984-Kristy McNichol stood a reasonable chance of becoming a major adult star when she made this one. Co-star Michael Ontkean's career was in the same boat at the same time. Nice chemistry between the romantic leads/good writing/direction.
(10) ANOTHER COUNTRY-1984-Rupert Everett is supposed to be gay in this, so it makes more sense to see him with Cary Elwes than with Miranda Richardson. (8) Anna Massey is his mother & Colin Firth is crisply effective as a straight young Communist who befriends Everett's character. Based on the real-life Burgess-Maclean spy scandal. (Are we beginning to see a pattern here?)
(11) THE RAILWAY CHILDREN-1972-A kid's movie, one of my all-time favourites. Jenny Agutter is adorable as the oldest kid and Dinah Sheridan is everyone's idea of the perfect mother. Actor Lionel Jeffries took a lot of care directing what is obviously one of his favourite childhood stories. Gorgeous English scenery.
(12) ENTER LAUGHING-1967-Reni Santoni, Jose Ferrer, Shelley Winters, Elaine May, Jack Gilford, Janet Margolin, David Opatashu, Michael J. Pollard, Don Rickles, Nancy Kovack, Rob Reiner. A light satirical look at a struggling actor in a sleazy repertory company. Well worth watching for the range of acting styles.
(13) THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT-l964-Even though the focus is on two teenage girls, this bittersweet comedy also examines the pain of obsessing on an unworthy idol, (Peter Sellers) & the confusion that accompanies the realisation that a parent (Angela Lansbury) can be treacherous and dishonest for reasons of her own. The off-the-wall humour here is supplied with a razor's edge. Love it!
(14) GENEVIEVE-1953-Absolutely delightful movie with the funniest comedienne of the fifties, Kay Kendall. Dinah Sheridan, John Gregson, dear Arthur Wontner & even dearer Joyce Grenfel are also in the magical movie that many have tried but failed to duplicate ever since. Can't count how many times I've seen it!
(15) MY MAN GODFREY-1936-I can't imagine anyone watching this & remaining depressed. William Powell & Carol Lombard are the most elegant comedy team ever. The mean sister is Gail Patrick, the ditzy mother is Alice Brady, the gravelly father is Eugene Pallette. Alan Mowbray, Mischa Auer & Franklin Pangborn are in it, too. The ultimate screwball comedy of the Depression era.
Copyright 1995 Monica Sullivan
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