Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
The Dark Past (1948): There are a couple of versions of this film noir, and I think this is the better one. It’s from the subgenre I call pop psychology noir. A college professor and family man (Lee J. Cobb) is taken hostage by a dangerous escaped convict (William Holden). While the hood’s girlfriend (a naughty and glamorous Nina Foch) watches over the family and guests, Cobb tries his best to head-shrink the near-deranged Holden. It’s corny and predictable, but fun to watch the doctor whittle down the criminal’s defenses and even interpret his dreams. It’s pretty much a one-location film, which I like, and also makes it reminiscent of The Petrified Forest.
Now streaming on The Criterion Channel.
Brian Banks (2019): Director Tom Shadyac (The Nutty Professor, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) returns with his first film in nearly a decade. It’s a big change of pace for him after his large-scale star-driven comedies. This is the true story of a young high school football player whose life is upended when he’s falsely accused of rape. I was afraid this would be just another “White Savior” movie (Greg Kinnear plays the attorney trying to get Banks exonerated), but it’s really not. Banks is a young man determined to save himself. This story is horrifying but ultimately inspiring.
Now streaming on Hulu and Kanopy.
When Ladies Meet (1941): In this remake of the 1933 melodrama of the same name, Joan Crawford and Greer Garson take on the roles previously played by Ann Harding and Myrna Loy. The men are played by Robert Taylor and Herbert Marshall. Marshall is an unfaithful husband who’s helping Crawford with her upcoming novel about a love triangle. Oh, the complications that ensue!
Rentable on iTunes, YouTube, Amazon Video, Vudu and Google Play.
In Bruges (2008): This was one of the best movies of 2008, and hardly anyone saw it. It’s a pitch-black comedy drama about two hit men (Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell) who, after a job goes very badly, have been sent to cool their jets in the medieval Belgian tourist town of Bruges by their boss (Ralph Fiennes). What ensues is profane, violent, but also touching and often very funny. It’s an unusual movie that I think you’ll be glad to discover. The three leads give award-worthy performances. Plus it’s one of those films that simply gets better and better the more you think about it.
Now streaming on HBO / HBO GO.