An interesting year for me. No Best Picture films in my picks once again, but there's one film in here that retrospectively would be one. Probably considered the best film from this year, it was viewed as a disappointment during this time. My list for 1958 features some drive-in goodies, cult classics anda musical.
WINNER - Gigi
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
The Defiant Ones
This might be the ultimate drive-in movie. Maybe like the king of the kingdom. This original rendition provides plenty of campy fun and (now thanks to Blu-ray where we see it as it was intended to be seen) glorious color. Steven McQueen also goes on the long list of big stars that have their roots and big breaks in horror.
Many will point at Cronenberg's film as superior (it is) and sort of leave the original as an afterthought. This is still a really good film. It may have more of the old school scares and such, but like the praised remake, its still depressing, mysterious and dour. Vincent Price is in an interesting role in this one and its sequel where he's a star but not the fly-guy in either. I wrote a little more on this one HERE.
The Hidden Fortress
My love of Star Wars eventually led me to this movie. In turn, it led me to the films of Akira Kurosawa. The Hidden Fortress served as inspiration for George Lucas for aspects of the original Star Wars. Kurosawa's films served as a big inspiration for a lot of the filmmakers taking the scene in the 70s, not just Lucas. Besides the link to a galaxy far far away, this film is great in its own right and is one that everyone should check out. Kurosawa's themes and stories aren't just the only influential thing, there's a lot of technique and skill being crafted and started here (and others of his films) as well.
Horror Of Dracula
A nice, swift, action-focused take on the Bram Stoker tale. I guess this is the slim, cut the fat version, as it features less characters and quickly gets to it. Christopher Lee is terrific as the Count (who doesn't speak much), but its Peter Cushing who runs this show and he's damn good. The pairing of these two Hammer stars is really something special and to behold. This is one of their many great showdowns. Check out more about this one and the others by clicking the Hammer Dracula thumbnail to the right.
Okay, so I was once in a production of South Pacific in high school and that's where I gained my soft spot for it. It does feature some really good and catchy song. This film version did trick me however. I was cast as Lieutenant Buzz Adams and I went to check out this movie to get an idea of the part. Buzz Adams is a pretty big player and all over this film. When I got the script for the play, the guy didn't show up til Act II and only had 2 scenes. Buzz-kill Adams more like it!
I'm not here to debate whether this is the greatest film of all time or not. I have a rule that whenever ranking lists come, its more important whats ON the list rather than what order they are in. Vertigo is an interesting specimen. It was originally considered a failure or critical flop upon release. But, there's something with the film. You kinda have to watch it more than once. The film starts sucking you in and its a fascinating movie to study. There is so much going on in this film that I don't think you can truly pick up on or appreciate with just one or two views. Featuring some of Hitchcock's best photography and framing, the film also has focused and vivid use of color. This is a much deeper, layered film than it appears on the surface. I'm always drawn to seeing and listening to people discuss this film.