Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfus, and Robert Shaw star in Steven Spielberg’s summer blockbuster

Last Chance: ‘Jaws’ – the original summer blockbuster on Netflix

Jaws (1995), Steven Spielberg’s meticulously-directed, tension-filled, career-redefining thrill machine, has been pegged as the original modern summer blockbuster. And while that is true, this pop-culture masterpiece is more than simply a well-tooled thriller. Spielberg brings a sense of community, family, and humanity to the supermarket thriller from Peter Benchley, a book more designed than written. […]

Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell star in the Howard Hawks comedy

Howard Hawks’s ‘His Girl Friday’ on Amazon Prime and FilmStruck

His Girl Friday (1940) is based on the rapid-fire newspaper comedy The Front Page, originally a snappy, cynical, double-barrel Broadway hit by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur (themselves veteran reporters) and then a 1931 film directed by Lewis Milestone, with Pat O’Brien and Adolph Menjou in the lead roles. Barely a decade later, Howard Hawks […]

Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster in Alexander Mackendrick's great Broadway noir

‘Sweet Smell of Success’ – Broadway noir on FilmStruck

“I love this dirty town.” The first and only time that Burt Lancaster’s J.J. Hunsecker drops the cynical twist from his clenched smile and allows genuine appreciation cross his face in Sweet Smell of Success (1957) is when he drops that line while strolling down the nighttime streets of Broadway. It’s not a proclamation or […]

Sidney Poitier and Bobby Darin star in the psychological drama directed by Hubert Cornfield

Sidney Poitier finds his ‘Pressure Point’ on Amazon Prime

Pressure Point (1962) stars Sidney Poitier is a veteran psychiatrist who talks a frustrated younger colleague (played with animated gusto by Peter Falk) through a difficult patient by sharing a story from his past. As a young psychiatrist working in a federal penitentiary in 1942, he’s assigned the case of an angry young white supremacist […]

Marlon Brando stars in the Oscar-winning film by Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ trilogy on Netflix

“It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s bestseller remains the great American epic of the immigrant dream turned family business. Al Pacino stars as Michael Corleone, the clean-cut white sheep and patriotic soldier boy son of New York Godfather Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando in an Oscar–winning performance), and this […]

‘History is Made at Night’ on FilmStruck and Shout! Factory TV

Andrew Sarris, the grand old man of American movie criticism, wrote: “History is Made at Night is not only the most romantic title in the history of cinema but also a profound expression of [Frank] Borzage’s commitment to love over probability.” Though not as well known to even film buffs as Alfred Hitchcock or Michael […]

Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, and Gort, directed by Robert Wise.

The original ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The original The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) remains the most thoughtful of the first contact films. Michael Rennie makes a striking American film debut as Klaatu, the well-spoken stranger from outer space who lands his saucer in Washington D.C. to speak to the world’s leaders. They shoot first, of course, and Klaatu escapes […]

Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Carol Reed’s continental film noir The Third Man (1949), written by Graham Greene and starring Joseph Cotten as a cynical American pulp novelist playing detective in the rubble-strewn underworld of post-war Vienna and Orson Welles as a charming but ruthless black marketeer, is one of the true classics. The film is directed by Reed but […]

Anna Magnani stars in Jean Renoir's adaptation of the Prosper Merimee play

Jean Renoir’s ‘The Golden Coach’ on Amazon Prime and FilmStruck

Anna Magnani stars as the earthy, vivacious diva of The Golden Coach (France/Italy, 1952), an adaptation of a Prosper Merimee play about a traveling troupe of Italian commedia dell’arte players in a Peruvian backwater where three men (a viceroy, a bullfighter, and a fellow performer) vie for the affections of the company’s leading lady. An […]

Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, and Claudia Cardinale star in Luchino Visconti's adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel

Burt Lancaster is ‘The Leopard’ in Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece on FilmStruck

The Leopard (Italy, 1963), Luchino Visconti’s adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel (said to be a national touchstone for Italy), is his masterpiece. Burt Lancaster (his voice is dubbed by a deep-voiced Italian) may seem an unusual choice to play Prince Don Fabrizio Salina, an idealistic 19th century Sicilian prince (Visconti favored Laurence Olivier, a […]