Two More Gems

Here are two more good old movie classics you can watch on youtube. This, by the way, is how I have a vacation.

Sullivan’s Travels (1941) is Preston Sturges‘ tale of a Hollywood film director (Joel McRae) who wants to make a serious movie about poverty, after becoming rich and famous by making musical comedies. Because Sullivan doesn’t know anything about poverty and hard times, he decides to find out, first-hand, by hitting the road as a hobo.

Now I hate musicals. All that singing and dancing–I mean, what would happen if you were out on a date, and you started singing to her instead of talking? But Serious Mainstream Films are worse. A high school pal of mine once said, “You only watch movies, but Wild Strawberries is a film!” It turned out he’d never seen the blasted thing.

Hey, if you want to produce great art, tell a great story… and the art will take care of itself.

Which is exactly what Preston Sturges succeeded in doing with Sullivan’s Travels. Oh, it’s a comedy, all right. But prepare to be surprised, big-time.

In An Inspector Calls (1954), Alistair Sim (Scrooge!) is a police inspector who shows up unexpectedly at an engagement dinner at a rich family’s house, to ask these posh individuals what they know about the horrible suicide of a certain young woman. It turns out they each had a connection with her that doesn’t do them credit. And then–

But you gotta see it for yourself. Really. I guarantee the ending will surprise you right out of your socks.


5 comments on “Two More Gems

    1. We aims t’ please, June! I’ve got a few more quickie reviews to write, too–Theater of Blood with Vincent Price, The Blue Dahlia with Alan Ladd and Howard DaSilva (somehow he always winds up playing a gangster) for starters.

      I just can’t believe how good some of these old movies are, compared to what we’ve got today.

    1. That is good news from Mosul, Linda, and I wonder why nothing like this happened while President *Batteries Not Included was playing golf and charging expensive dinners to the taxpayers.

      Oddly, when I read books about the Middle East written in the 1950s, by Europeans or Americans who were there for one reason or another (archeologists, for instance), I don’t get an impression of Islam as a mad dog foaming at the mouth and looking for Christians and Jews–and other Muslims!–to bite.

      In “Looking for Dilmun,” for instance, Danish archeologists exploring Bahrain stayed with Arab hosts in Qatar, Iraq, and elsewhere, and found the people to be friendly and rather easy-going. You wouldn’t think so if you went there now!

      As a former Middle Eastern Studies major in collidge, I can tell you that every couple hundred years or so, Islam seems to go berserk. We seem to be living in one of those bad periods now. I have no idea what set it off this time; but something did.

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