Vera Clouzot in Henri-Georges Clouzot's Hitchcockian thriller with Simone Signoret

The original ‘Diabolique’ on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

Henri-Georges Clouzot was called the Hitchcock of France for his shadowy thrillers and the atmosphere of distrust and suspicion that ran through so many of his films. Diabolique (France, 1955, not rated, with subtitles), his 1955 thriller about a plot to commit a perfect murder and the wrenching tension when the corpse disappears, plays like […]

Kevin McCarthy stars in Don Siegel's 1956 'Invasion of the Body Snatcher'

‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ – the original pod people on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – The original version of the oft-filmed science fiction horror is still the most insidious alien invasion film ever made. This is an invasion from within. Small town family doctor Kevin McCarthy returns to his small California coastal community from an out-of-town trip to find everything just a bit […]

Harold Russell, Dana Andrews, and Fredric March in William Wyler's 1946 drama

‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ – Coming home on FilmStruck

By all rights, the homecoming drama The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) should have been another well intentioned film left to the dated dustbins of history, but World War II vet William Wyler (working from an original Robert Sherwood script) put more soul into this picture than anything else in his career. Clocking in […]

Joan Crawford stars in the film noir directed by David Miller

Joan Crawford in ‘Sudden Fear’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Joan Crawford took charge of her career as she aged out of the ingénue roles that propelled her to stardom, developing stories and pursuing properties that offered strong characters for a mature woman. She gave herself a second act when she fought hard for Mildred Pierce (1945) at Warner Bros. and seven years later, as […]

Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino star in the film noir by Nicholas Ray

Nicholas Ray’s ‘On Dangerous Ground’ on FilmStruck

On Dangerous Ground (1952), directed by Nicholas Ray from a script he developed with A.I. Bezzerides and producer John Houseman, opens on the urgent yet fractured dramatic score by Bernard Herrmann, a theme that rushes forward anxiously, pauses with quieter instruments, then jumps again as we watch the nocturnal city streets in the rain through […]

Rod Steiger and Marlon Brandon in the Oscar-winning film by Elia Kazan

Marlon Brando in ‘On the Waterfront’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

On the Waterfront (1954) –”I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Marlon Brando won his first Academy Award as Terry Malloy, the former prize fighter turned longshoreman on the mob-dominated docks of New York. Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, […]

‘The Red Shoes’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger’s The Red Shoes (1948) has been called the greatest ballet film ever made. To girls of a certain age and a predisposition to the romance and beauty of ballet, this film is a touchstone that remains an impassioned favorite long after their invitation to the dance is over. To me, […]

Alain Delon stars in the Jean-Pierre Melville French crime film classic

Jean-Pierre Melville’s ‘Le Samourai’ on Kanopy

Alain Delon is the coolest killer hit the screen, a film noir loner for the modern era, in Jean-Pierre Melville’s austere 1967 French crime classic Le Samourai (France, 1967). Delon’s impassive hitman Jeff Costello is a professional’s professional, an assassin with a face of stone, nerves of ice, and the patience of a monk. He […]

Joan Crawford in Nicholas Ray's cult western Johnny Guitar

Frontier women rule in ‘Johnny Guitar’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

In Johnny Guitar (1954), Joan Crawford’s Vienna is the most masculine of women western heroes. A former saloon girl who earned her way to owning her own gambling house, she’s a mature woman with a history and she’s not ashamed of what she did to carve out her claim for a future. Directed by Nicholas […]