Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks #151: Tall Buildings

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of "Thursday Movie Picks", the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's theme is tall buildings, and being a fan of older films, I've picked a couple of older movies once again:

Skyscraper Souls (1932). Warren William plays a businessman who owns the tallest building in New York, and is trying to keep control over it. Meanwhile, he's also trying to balance a love life against his business interests. That's the main plot thread; there are several sub-plots involving people who work in the building. Maureen O'Sullivan plays one of the love interests.

Baby Face (1933). Barbara Stanwyck plays a woman who, having been pimped out by her own father, is told by a fan of Nietsche, "Use men to get the things you want. Stanwyck then proceeds to go to the big city and sleep her way to the top, discarding one man after another along the way. (John Wayne, early in his career, is one of those men.) Every time she sets off on a new conquest, there's an establishing shot of the façade of the building where she works, panning up a few more stories, to show that yes, she really is working her way to the top.

An Affair to Remember (1957). Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr meet on board a transatlantic cruise and fall in love although each is already engaged to another outside person. They agree to meet six months later on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Grant makes it, but Kerr gets hit by a car and winds up in a wheelchair, leaving Cary to wonder if Kerr remembered or not. It's a sappy love story, but I didn't want to use King Kong for the Empire State Building.


Daniel said...

I can't believe I haven't seen An Affair to Remember yet. Baby Face sounds REALLY good. Gotta find that one!

joel65913 said...

Great choices! I've only seen Skyscraper Souls the one time but enjoyed it. I'm a huge fan of Warren William-he's terribly unappreciated.

Stanwyck is amazing in Baby Face and even for a pre-code it is startlingly frank. Love those shots of her working her way to the top floor by floor.

I don't love An Affair to Remember as much as many seem to but it's well acted and shiny and the ending packs an emotional, if manipulative, wallop.

I went with one of the classics of the disaster genre, a much better version of the recent Man on a Ledge and a witty Neil Simon adaptation.

The Towering Inferno (1974)-It’s the grand dedication ceremony for the world’s tallest building, The Glass Tower a 138 story skyscraper in San Francisco and the party is being held on the top floor loaded with movie stars, politicians and the building team in attendance. But trouble’s abrewing when architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) arrives back in town to find that corners have cut and the wiring for the building is substandard. He’s right to be worried since when a small fire breaks out on the 81st floor it spreads quickly trapping the guests while the fire department works feverishly to save them. One of the big three Irwin Allen disaster films of the 70’s, along with Airport and The Poseidon Adventure, this was an enormous hit on release with an amazing cast of some of the biggest stars of the time-Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Robert Wagner, Robert Vaughn and Jennifer Jones (in her final film) plus dozens of recognizable performers in smaller roles.

Plaza Suite (1971)-Three act Neil Simon comedy based on his stage success all takes place in Suite 719 of New York’s Plaza Hotel. Each vignette stars Walter Matthau in different roles with three different leading ladies, Maureen Stapleton, Barbara Harris and Lee Grant in tales of a marriage in crisis, an assignation and a long married couple whose daughter has locked herself in the bathroom moments before her wedding downstairs. None are bad but the first and third are the strongest.

Fourteen Hours (1951)-Robert Cosick (Richard Basehart) is at the end of his rope and has decided to commit suicide by jumping from the ledge of the 15th floor of the Roosevelt Hotel high above the city. As police officer Charlie Dunnigan (Paul Douglas) tries to reason with him calling in both his girlfriend (Barbara Bel Geddes) and his mother (Agnes Moorehead) the event turns into a sideshow lasting 14 hours. Quite similar to the recent Man on a Ledge but a better film this was Grace Kelly’s screen debut in a small role.

Wendell Ottley said...

Sadly, I haven't seen any of these.

Birgit said...

I don't even know the first one but want to see it now and it's on my list. I know of the second film and want to see it. I have seen the third film and one could have done all of these films from the original...Love Affair to Sleepless in Seattle. It is all romantic and blah blah

Ted S. (Just a Cineast) said...

"It is all romantic and blah blah" is an apt description of An Affair to Remember.

Katie Hogan said...

Hmmm Baby Face sounds....a bit off. I've heard/read about An Affair to Remember but not tthe first film.