Notorious (1946)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 


PROS –
1) A daughter of a convicted Nazi spy is sent to spy on a group of Nazis in Brazil. Things got complicated when she fell in love with her contact, the US Secret Service agent. (Cary Grant).
2) Claude Rains’ performance as Alexander Sebastian stands out. His climactic slow walk to his fellow German spies where he knew his fate is sealed is one fearful scene.
3) There is a Uranium/Nuclear plot. It’s interesting to note that the movie is released in 1946 when the Nazi plot was quite fresh.

 

 


CONS –
1) The first act is slow and boring. For the first 45 minutes, it appears like a rom-com.

 

 


QUOTE –
Madame Sebastian: What is it? Mr. Devlin?
Alexander Sebastian: No. I am married to an American agent.

The Trouble with Harry (1955)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 

 

PROS –
1) Four nice folks of a scenic village trying to get rid of a corpse who died under mysterious circumstances.
2) The movie’s most memorable aspect is its distinctly beautiful & vividly colorful location, and bright cinematography shot in VistaVision.
3) A lighthearted black-comedy surrounding a dead-body.

 

 

CONS –
N/A

 

 

QUOTE –
Sam Marlowe: You’re not supposed to bury bodies whenever you find them. It makes people suspicious.

Rebecca (1940)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 
PROS –
1) The story of a timid working-class young woman struggling to adjust to her new elite life as the wife of a rich widower, whose first wife (Rebecca) died under mysterious circumstances.
2) Judith Anderson’s intimidating presence as the despicable bitch of a housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers stands out. Audiences will loathe this character of an overly attached housekeeper to her dead employer.
3) While the first half appears as a generic family drama, multiple plot revelations in the third act of the movie will keep audiences at the edge of their seats.
4) Interestingly we never came to know the first or the maiden name of the 2nd Mrs. de Winter played by Joan Fontaine

 
CONS –
N/A

 

 
QUOTE –
Maxim: Either you go to America with Mrs. Van Hopper, or you come home to Manderley with me.
Woman: You mean you want a secretary or something?
Maxim: I’m asking you to marry me, you little fool.

The 39 Steps (1935)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 
PROS –
1) An unwilling man accused of murder, trying to stop foreign spies from taking British military secret. In his run from London to Scotland, he is entangled between assassins, the police, and a woman.
2) It’s a classic prototype Hitchcock plot which can later be seen in many of his future movies including North by Northwest (1959).
3) An extremely influential movie in the spy-movie genre.
4) The astonishing twist of Mr. Memory being the medium of smuggling. The secrets are not being smuggled from a document, letter, a CD, or a flash drive. It’s the brilliant mind of Mr. Memory.

 

 

CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
Heckler in Audience: When did Chelsea win it?
Mr. Memory: 63BC in the presence of Emperor Nero!

Strangers on a Train (1951)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 
PROS –
1) Robert Walker as Bruno Antony: A lunatic with a theory of criss-cross murders.
2) The tension built-up during Guy’s tennis match and Bruno trying to pick the lighter from the storm drain.
3) The climax on the out of control carousel.

 

CONS –
1) The greatest flaw of this movie is the absence of mystery. The audiences are only waiting for the culprit for getting caught.

 
QUOTE –
Bruno Anthony: Don’t worry, I’m not going to shoot you, Mr. Haines. It might disturb Mother.

Rope (1948)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

Verdict – 4/5

 

Pros –
1) A single location thriller with long takes like Dial M for Murder (1954).The real background of the Manhattan skyline from daylight to night adding authenticity to the entire plot.
2) John Dall as Brandon Shaw – a suave supervillain. His spineless accomplice Phillip got him caught which otherwise was a perfect murder.
3) The macabre plot of a dinner party over a dead body and handing over the murder weapon to the victim’s father as a gift. The whole discussion of murder being an art was fascinating.

 

Cons –
N/A

 

Quote –
Rupert: You were right, Phillip. Those books were tied clumsily.

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 1
CULT – 1

Verdict – 5/5

 
Pros –
1) Another gem from the master of suspense – a gripping cross-continental spy-thriller.
2) “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)”  by Doris Day – not just a good song but an important part of the plot.
3) Cinematography By Technicolor

 

Cons –
N/A

 

Quote –
“Dr. Ben McKenna: Sorry we were gone so long, but we had to pick up Hank!”

The Birds (1963)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 1
CULT – 1

 

Verdict – 5/5

 

Pros –

 

1) A perfect example of a mediocre story and superior execution.
2) CGI – way ahead of its time.
3) Eerie climactic scene – will never be able to envisage birds the same way again!
4) The build-up.The first half pretend to be a Rock Hudson rom-com but in the second-half, the movie turns upside down.The events in the first half actually jostle the viewer toward a cozy setting and when everyone is in their comfort zone – the ferity begins.

 

Cons –

 

N/A

 

Quote –

 

Cathy Brenner: Can I bring the lovebirds, Mitch? they haven’t harmed anyone.

Dial M for Murder (1954)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

Verdict – 4/5

 

Pros –

1) A reverse thriller with multiple plot-twists
2) Great cast especially Ray Milland as Tony Wendice
3) It’s perfect “stage” thriller.

 
Cons –

 

n/a

Quote –
“Mark Halliday: In stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always.”