“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century 50 Fav Films (#36, #35)…

Posted on June 24, 2021 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`And we are back to the countdown of my personal fifty favorite films of the twentieth century. Most lists of this kind provided by repositories (such as the Library of Congress or American Film Institute), film historians, and critics almost always include seldom-seen work created by foreign production companies, or deemed avant garde.  I marvel at how selections made by these revered individuals remain unfamiliar to me, and I watch a lot of cinema! That said, one of today’s choices falls into this deep-dish category of indie films that should be experienced.

“`Let the countdown continue…


~ #36 – DARKEST HOUR (2017)

“`Like Jojo Rabbit (#42), The Grand Budapest Hotel (#43), Woman in Gold (#45), and The Reader (#49), Darkest Hour has themes tied to World War II. It stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill.  This account recalls his early days as prime minister during the May 1940 War Cabinet Crisis, while the Nazi Wehrmacht swept through Western Europe and threatened to defeat the United Kingdom. The blitz led to friction at the highest levels of the government between those who would make peace with Adolf Hitler, and Churchill, who refused.

`Gary Oldman’s electrifying performance brings Churchill to life and he earned a Best Actor Oscar for the effort. Nominated for six statuettes, it also earned an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. This is the first of two productions for which Oldman appears in my countdown.

“`History reflects that Churchill was not alone in wanting to defy Nazi aggression, though he was clearly the leader of the cause. His predecessor, Neville Chamberlain, followed a foreign policy of appeasement. His signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 conceded the German-speaking Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia to Germany and then hailed peace in our time. It was Churchill’s scoff at the folly of the agreement that is a precursor to this absorbing tale.


~ #35 – COLD WAR (2018)

“`One of two spectacular foreign movies on my countdown, Cold War is an international co-production from Poland, France and the United Kingdom.  The language spoken is Polish; the cinematography is globally dramatic, maybe the most pristine ever presented in the genre of black-and-white films. Had epochal cinematographer Gregg Toland been alive, he might have been mesmerized by the results on screen. Cold War also presents an evocative music score and an impeccable production design. This gorgeous piece of cinema would make my list just for its technical values and I could watch this film with the volume turned down.

“`Set in Poland and France during the Cold War from the late 1940s until the 1960s, the tale follows a musical director who discovers a young singer and explores their fateful love story. This is a well-worn narrative (Dr. Zhivago comes to mind). My only issue: The scenes could have been fleshed out a bit more since the characters are so interesting. The movie clocks in at a brief eighty-eight minutes.

“`If $100 million is the bellwether for a successful run in the United States, Cold War grossed $4.6 million, domestically and an underwhelming twenty million, globally. Yet, it received three Academy Award nods; for Best Director (Paweł Pawlikowski), Best Foreign Language Film, and of course, Best Cinematography.  All three Oscars went to the remarkable Roma. 2018 was a prodigious year for immaculate productions from foreign countries.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2021 at 10:55 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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