Monday, December 31, 2012

Cliff's in the news

Er, not that cliff, but the so-called "fiscal cliff" that's supposedly going to come if our worses in Washington can't come up with an agreement on something or other before January 1. I don't want to go into politics here, but if we're going to go over that cliff, I almost wish some of those people we're expected to treat as solons simply because they won an election could be in the car like in Thelma and Louise.

I wonder if TCM should have programmed some cliff-themed movies for tonight, although at the time the December schedule was drawn up, they couldn't have known whether the issue was going to be resolved. I suppose "cliff-themed" isn't the right word, but movies where a cliff is an integral part of the plot. It's been a while since I've watched The White Cliffs of Dover, but I think the cliffs there, while existing, aren't really part of the plot. Maybe they should have executed traitors by throwing them off the cliffs. It would have made the movie more interesting.

The Uninvited definitely has a cliff which is important to the plot: will the ghost that may or may not exist drive somebody to walk off the cliff near the house.

A movie about a trial involving somebody who died by falling over a cliff is Perfect Strangers. I knew there was another movie from the 1930s set in the UK in which the prosecutor's wife witnesses somebody innocently falling over a cliff, and her witnessing the crime is the only thing that can save the defendant -- but the only problem is that she was there paying off a blackmailer and would get herself in legal hot water and possibly scupper her husband's career by coming forward. Oddly enough, I wasn't searching on the right terms, since in my post I didn't use the word "trial". Well, thinking it starred Joan Crawford didn't help either. It turns out the movie is The Unguarded Hour, starring Loretta Young and Franchot Tone. Since Young is Star of the Month in January for the centenary of her birth, it'll be airing at the end of January.

There are also a lot of movies with cars going over cliffs, winding up in fiery crashes somewhere at the bottom. Well, technically I think a lot of them aren't as sheer as cliffs, but they're close enough. John Garfield and Lana Turner kill poor Cecil Kellaway by pushing his car over the side of a mountain in The Postman Always Rings Twice, while I think Kent Smith pushes his own car over a real, no-foolin' cliff to fake his own death in Nora Prentiss.

Finally, spare a thought for the poor Scotsman who falls off the side of a cliff to his death in The Edge of the World.

What's your favorite movie with a cliff?

1 comment:

Tom said...

I would choose For Your Eyes Only, for the scene where James Bond climbs up the side of a cliff.

Ironically, the character actor Cliff Osmond (best known for appearing in 1960s Billy Wilder films) passed away in recent weeks.