Last week, on Out of Theaters, we focused on “Fight Club.” The week before, “Seven.” And this week, it’s “Glengarry Glen Ross.” And you could argue that, of the three movies, “Glengarry Glen Ross” is the most violent of them all. It’s not physical violence, like in “Fight Club” or “Seven.” There are no punches thrown, and no one’s body is left bloody and shattered on the floor of the sales office. But on an emotional level? It’s one of the most brutal movies ever made.
There are hundreds of serial killer movies, but none of them is quite like “Seven.” It’s not the first, (Fritz Lang’s 1931 thriller “M” predates “Seven” by more than six decades, but even it wasn’t the first). It’s not the most acclaimed. (“The Silence of the Lambs,” which arrived four years earlier, took home five Oscars, including Best Picture, Actor and Actress). It’s not even the most realistic. (“Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” made almost a decade earlier, is so true-to-life that it’s almost unwatchable at times.) But “Seven” is arguably the best of the bunch.
“The Maltese Falcon” was a movie of important firsts. It was the first film directed by John Huston, meaning it was Step One of a legendary career behind the camera that stretched from the early 1940s to the late 1980s. It was also the first movie to apply what’s become the standard private eye template to a Hollywood film — cynical hero, femme fatale, plenty of plot twists, dark ending — a formula that continues today. It was the film debut of beloved character actor Syndey Greenstreet, who was more than 60 years old but just making the jump from stage to screen. And, most famously, it was the first movie to really treat Humphrey Bogart like a star, launching him into one of the most icon careers in Hollywood history.
“Citizen Kane” is one of the greatest movies ever made. It won the international Sight and Sound film poll decade after decade. It tops dozens of “best of” lists and is taught in Cinema 101 classes all over the world. In other words, “Citizen Kane” can seem a little intimidating.
What if the great private eye thrillers of the past — movies like “The Maltese Falcon” or “Murder, My Sweet,” hadn’t been made under the restrictive eye of Hollywood’s production code? What if all the sex, sleaze and violence lurking just under the surface had been allowed onscreen? What if all that adult content had actually been made for adult audiences? You’d get a movie like “Chinatown.”
Stanley Kubrick’s futuristic film, which takes place 14 years in the past, is the subject of today’s podcast: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick made this highly influential film in 1968, a year before he faked the moon landing. (This is something people actually believe.) The plot covers the entire advancement of mankind in what feels like real time. Note, when something has “odyssey” in the title it’s not going to be short.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho stands the test of time as the quintessential psychological thriller for any generation. Considered by many as one of the greatest films of all time, Psycho is set in motion when Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) embezzles $40,000 ($322,483.78 in today’s dollars) so she can start a new life with her boyfriend (John Gavin). Crane is driving through the night to meet her beau, but an onslaught of rain forces her to pull over and spend the night at the Bates Motel. It’s there where she encounters Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), the sometimes kind and sometimes creepy SPOILER ALERT villain in the film.
The tea party is the most destructive piece of brainwashing in American political history. The tea party is a malicious plot to subvert the American political process. The tea party is out to kill the president of the United States. The preceding sentences aren’t some Leftist rant against the Tea Party, the modern-day conservative political group. It’s just three facts about the tea party in 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate. In the John Frankenheimer (not to be confused with Frankenheimer’s monster) Cold War era thriller, American soldiers are brainwashed by Chinese operatives who program them to think they’re actually at a ladies’ tea party.