David Bradley stars in the 1969 drama by Ken Loach

Ken Loach’s ‘Kes’ on Amazon Prime Video

The story of a boy and his bird, Kes (1969) is something of a small cinematic treasure in Britain. Set and shot in the North of England and cast overwhelming with non-professional locals from the area, it cast its lens on the dreary life and hopeless future of a scrawny, fatherless teenager, Billy Casper (David […]

Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in John Huston's 'The African Queen'

‘The African Queen’ – Bogie and Hepburn on FilmStruck

The African Queen (1951) – Humphrey Bogart is Charlie Allnut, the hard-drinking captain of a sputtering steam-powered boat that gives the film its title. Katharine Hepburn is Rose Sayer, a spirited missionary spinster serving the Lord in German East Africa with her brother (Robert Morley). It’s September 1914, the early days of World War I, […]

‘People on Sunday’ on Amazon Prime Video

People on Sunday (Germany, 1920) is a delightful, effervescent rarity from the late silent era with irresistible bona fides. Not only did this low-budget 1930 German film influence a generation of filmmakers, it launched the careers of some mighty impressive talents who, as hungry young filmmakers, collaborated on this buoyant little portrait of a lazy […]

Gary Cooper, Julie London, and Lee J. Cobb star in the 1958 western directed by Anthony Mann

Gary Cooper is a ‘Man of the West’ on Amazon Prime Video

The great western director Anthony Mann and aging western icon Gary Cooper teamed up for the first and only time in Man of the West (1958), a stark frontier drama of a trio of train passengers stranded in the desert after a railway holdup. Taking responsibility for his helpless compatriots (Julia London as a sad-eyed […]

Simone Simon and Kent Smith star in Jacques Tourneur's classic horror film for producer Val Lewton

The original ‘Cat People’ on FilmStruck

The original Cat People (1942) was made on a low budget for RKO’s B-movie unit, the first in an amazing series of B-horror films from producer Val Lewton that transcended its origins. It’s a masterpiece of mood and psychological ambiguity masquerading as a cheap exploitation knock-off. Cheap it is, but Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur […]

Fay Wray in the ape's paw in the original 1933 classic

The original ‘King Kong’ on FilmStruck

King Kong (1933) is the king of the jungle of giant creature features. The acting and the dialogue verges on kitsch, but the production from explorers, adventurers, and real-life adventure filmmaking pioneers Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack is still awe-inspiring and the special effects of Willis O’Brien, groundbreaking in their day, are beautifully […]

John Wayne and Montgomery Clift in the 1948 western classic by Howard Hawks

‘Red River’ – the great cattle drive epic on Amazon Prime Video

Howard Hawks reworks Mutiny on the Bounty as a frontier epic in Red River (1948), the sweeping tale of a journey that can’t be made and the story of a son forced to battle the father he loves and adores. Montgomery Clift made his film debut opposite grand old icon John Wayne, playing Matthew Garth, […]

Constance Bennett and Lowell Sherman in the original pre-code 'Star is Born' from George Cukor

‘What Price Hollywood?’ – the pre-code ‘A Star is Born’ on FilmStruck

What Price Hollywood? (1932) is one of the wittiest and most interesting Hollywood movies about Hollywood culture ever made. It’s a shame it’s not better known. This pre-code comedy stars Constance Bennett as an aspiring actress waiting tables at The Brown Derby who gets her big break when a drunken film director (Lowell Sherman) invites […]

Arch Oboler's 1951 nuclear holocaust classic

‘Five’ – the last people on Earth on Amazon Prime Video

Arch Oboler’s Five (1951) is not the first end-of-the-world film, but it is the first to end it by nuclear holocaust: it opens on the familiar mushroom cloud and Oboler proceeds to scrubs the wonders of the world and the landmarks of civilization free of human habitation with a few simple visual effects and the […]

Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on Netflix

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 […]