I was asked to pick ten of my favourite films from Universal Pictures’ canon, and it was not easy. Now, these ten films are not my faves of all time, but just a taste of the films I love and the great work Universal have achieved. So we begin with…
Mr Hitchcock really was one of the most gifted film makers. Rear Window I feel is his best work (and the best film every made), but I do have a spot for this one. The use and lack of sound really adds to the already taut story. The film builds up slowly then explodes birds everywhere and telephone box damage.
ICONIC SCENE – Melanie (Tippi Hedren) waiting outside the school. At each cut back, a few more crows would perch on the climbing frame. The sight of them freaks people out to this day. Subtle and chilling.
Stanley Kubrick’s last Hollywood picture is epic. Full of scope, imagination and quality. You can see Kubrick’s legendary attention to detail in every frame. Each shot looks beautiful. For it’s time Spartacus is very violent and bloody especially for such a mainstream blockbuster. And what a cast - Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons,Peter Ustinov, Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton.
ICONIC SCENE – I am Spartacus! I am Spartacus! I am Spartacus! (and repeat…)
Richard Dreyfuss is awesome as the smart kid, ready for college, but wondering if he’s doing the right thing. Add Ron Howard and Cindy Williams predating Happy Days and a young Harrison Ford in the mix For 1960′s fun! Directed by George Lucas – could it be the best thing he’s done…?
FAVE SONG - ”Heart and Soul” by The Cleftones.
To Kill A Mockingbird
This film isn’t about the director or even the actors; it is about the power to change people. Gregory Peck’s performance fits the intent of the film, dignified and strong. A great example of film reflecting the source material.
ICONIC SCENE – That speech…
Do The Right Thing
A modern classic. Set on the hottest day of the year in Brooklyn, the film follows several individuals throughout the day as racial tensions become increasingly strained. A very strong cast and a Oscar nom’d script provide a film that packs a punch. Track this one down.
FAVE SONG - ”Fight The Power” by Public Enemy. ICONIC SCENE – Rosie Perez dancing!
Time travel. Bruce Willis. Thought provoking story. Gilliam. What else do you need? Loosely based on a short film (La Jetee).
ICONIC SCENE – Any bit with Brad Pitt in!
Classic film noir,unparalleled style. It starts with the hero admitting he’s the whodunit! Crazy!
The story of how and why he dunit make this a classic – Go rent!
ICONIC SCENE – The innuendo riddled scene…
Frank Langella & Michael Sheen are incredible as the title characters. And the supporting cast are too. Kevin Bacon plus Gould, Platt and Rockwell all add something to the film. Rebecca Hall is elegant and demure as always.
ICONIC SCENE – The interview.
National Lampoon’s Animal House
Tasteless, politically incorrect and hilarious, with a cast of comedy greats, including the late great John Belushi.
ICONIC SCENE – Pinto’s Good & Bad Consciences battling over his date…
The Thing (1982)
Wow. When this was released Universal sent a note along with all prints of the film. They suggested to theatre owners that they play the film in an auditorium near the rest rooms. They were afraid that people would be so sickened by the violence that they’d have to be close to a facility to throw up! Nothing else to say!
ICONIC SCENE – “You’ve got to be fucking kidding?!”
Ten films I love – hope you do too.