Thursday, February 1, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #146: Story Within a Story

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 "Story Within a Story", and after some thought, I suddenly had a flash of inspiration that enabled me to come up with three movies:

Titanic (1953). Barbara Stanwyck plays American Julia Sturges, who's trapped in a loveless marriage in the UK to Richard (Clifton Webb). So she packs up and takes her two children with her to the States. Richard follows to try to reconcile the marriage about transatlantic liner RMS Titanic. Everybody's plans get screwed up, however, when the ship impudently runs into an iceberg.

The Cassandra Crossing (1976). Ava Gardner is having an affair with boy toy Martin Sheen on a train across Europe; OJ Simpson suspects Sheen of dealing heroin. However, a terrorist who may be carrying pneumonic plague has boarded the train, and public health official Ingrid Thulin and military liaison Burt Lancaster shunt the train to Poland where it will collapse a bridge, killing everybody and solving Lancaster's problem. At least, that's what he hopes. The passengers aren't so keen on being killed like that.

The Swarm (1978). Small town mayor Fred MacMurray has decided to pursue a romance with schoolteacher Olivia de Havilland. However, he has a romantic rival in Ben Johnson. Plans for all three of them are bollixed by an invasion of African killer bees that threatens to kill all of Texas. Michael Caine, Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, and a bunch of others lead the science and military types trying to defeat the bees.


Sonia Cerca said...

I haven't seen the version you picked of Titanic but it's a great pick. I would have never thought of it for this week.

joel65913 said...

Like the all disaster theme within the theme.

Love, love, LOVE this version of Titanic! It's probably my favorite though its neck and neck with the British A Night to Remember. The strength of this version is that the story is believable and could and probably did happen in 1912 unlike that ridiculous casual strolling they did between classes in the Cameron film-though of course technically speaking that is the superior film.

I also love The Cassandra Crossing though it's loaded with errors and preposterous situations but what a cast! I has some exciting parts as well.

No matter how good the cast is however The Swarm is bottom of the barrel junk wherein that great cast manage to go down with the ship quality-wise.

This week's theme was a challenge but with some searching around and the fortuitous viewing of my first choice a scant two weeks ago I was able to come up with three.

Hellzapoppin’ (1941)- Projectionist Shemp Howard (ya one of the Three Stooges) is running a filmed dance number that turns into a funhouse ride collapsing into Hell where the dancers are tortured by demons until comics Olsen & Johnson arrive in a taxi and disrupt the scene. They call the scriptwriter in and we discover we’re in Miracle Pictures Studios (their slogan “If it’s a good picture, it’s a Miracle!”) where the boys are attempting to translate their Broadway hit show into a movie. Crazy patchwork quilt of a film throws everything, including a kitchen sink! into the mix and comes up with unrestrained lunacy that might make little linear sense since it bounces back and forth between stories but adds up to a very enjoyable viewing experience. Good cast with a standout Martha Raye. The source play was the longest running musical in history up to that point.

The Locket (1946) - Because of a false accusation of theft as a young girl a woman (Laraine Day) sets out for revenge on the world becoming a kleptomaniac, chronic liar, and eventually a murderess. The story is told in layered flashbacks (flashbacks within flashbacks) from different points of view. Complex thriller has many noirish touches and a good cast including a young Robert Mitchum.

The Fall (2006)-In a hospital ward in 20’s Los Angeles a young girl with a broken arm meets a seriously injured stunt man (Lee Pace) who as their friendship grows weaves elaborate stories in extravagant settings of different men who share a mission. As each story ends he asks her to forage in the hospital infirmary for morphine to help him endure his pain. Cryptic and challenging.

Wendell Ottley said...

Haven't seen any of these. That said, Cameron's version of Titanic qualifies, too.

Birgit said...

I like this version of Titanic but my favourite is the 1958 version with Kenneth More. My least favourite is the love boat sinking with Leo and Kate. I still need to see The Cassandra Crossing but r call the trailers and so wanted to see it. Love that you picked The Swarm! Love those 70s version disaster flicks and there were so many about Killer Bees. This was a fun one along with the tv version with Gloria Swanson and Kate Jackson