“I finished HDA. I really really enjoyed it. It was an original concept with undertones of Sam Spade and Q’s gadgetry. Where’s “The Dream Killers”? I want more!”
Thanks, Tony! Appreciate the comments. There will be more. I promise.
Palm Sunday. Who’d have guessed that this particular part of the human anatomy would get its very own holiday? Admit it, Ravagers, the greeting card companies have gone way too far. Oh, well, since everyone is doing it, give yourself a hand. And, in honor of the high, holy holiday, Turner Classic Movies will be showing, “Ben Hur,” both versions, “King of Kings,” both versions, “Greatest Story Ever Told,’ thankfully only one version, “Quo Vadis,” “The Robe,” “Demetrius and the Gladiator,” “Easter Parade,” and holiday perennial, “Star 80.”
Since we’re talking film, it might be fun to go over my Top Ten Films of right now. Of course, all this nonsense is subjective. My rating is pretty much based on how many times I have watched the movie and, if I happen to stumble upon it on the tube, do I waste a few precious moments of my day, jumping back into it. These are in no particular order, but their addition means they made quite the impression.
“Grapes of Wrath.” Based on John Steinbeck’s prize-winning novel, this John Ford classic pulls no punches on the depression-era trials and tribulations of the down trodden Joad family as they make their way to California. I have seen it so many times, I’ve lost count.
“Double Indemnity.” Billy Wilder. A noir classic. See it for the performance of Barbara Stanwick alone. Politics aside, Edward G Robinson is damn good and creative bantamweight Fred McMurray holds his own as the Insurance Broker with an extremely dark sales pitch, Walter Neff. This is another film I can’t get enough of.
“Out of the Past.” Classic Noir. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? The hard-boiled detective, Robert Mitchum, the seductive femme fatale, Jane Greer and, of course, Kirk Douglas as the gangster Whit. How can this little film be so great? “Baby, I don’t care.”
“The Professionals.” Richard Brooks epic saga of four adventurers hired to find a kidnapped wife. The story takes place in turn of the century Mexico and features great chemistry between the leads, Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Woody Strode and Robert Ryan. I must have seen this movie a thousand times and have never, ever gotten tired or bored with it. It also contains one of my favorite retorts to “You bastard” of all time. “Yes, Sir. In my case an accident of birth. But you, Sir, you're a self-made man.”
“The Great Escape.” Directed by the legendary John Sturges at the zenith of his career. The only reason that The Magnificent 7 is not on my list, is because this prison camp escape film is. An ensemble in the true sense of the word. “Hold onto yourself, Bartlett. You’re twenty feet short.”
“Being There.” Peter Sellers as Chance the Gardner is simply one of the greatest performances of all time. “I like to watch” became a catch phrase of a generation and in one broad swoop, Sellers was able to remove the bad taste from the last three Pink Panther Movies.
“West Side Story.” The concept of dancing and singing hoods is not altogether new. But, the seriousness of subject matter, paired with the music of Bernstein and choreography of Jerome Robbins, made this the biggest Oscar winning musical of all time. So great, it makes me worry what Steven Spielberg is going to do with his version.
“To Be or Not to Be” directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Jack Benny and Carol Lombard. If it weren’t for a mediocre remake, I would have never heard of the original. By the director of the equally great, “The Shop Around the Corner,” this film wins because of the smart comedic dialogue, intertwined seamlessly with a rather complicated plot. Benny and Lombard are brilliant foils, playing masterly off each other. There is also a cynical dark side to this movie that is sometime missed.
Okay, that’s my list. I’ve shown you mine, show me yours. Post your thoughts in the comment section. It can’t hurt and, as an added benefit, you’ll be thrown in the contest for an autographed copy of “Son of Ravage.”
In 1981, J.P. Linde co-wrote and appeared in a one-man comedy show titled “Casually Insane.” Shortly after, he joined the ranks of stand-up comedy and performed in clubs and colleges throughout the United States and Canada. In 1989, he made his national television debut on “Showtime’s Comedy Club Network.” He wrote the libretto for the musical comedy “Wild Space A Go Go” and co-wrote and co-produced the feature motion picture, “Axe to Grind.” “Son of Ravage” is his second novel.