Thursday, May 17, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #201: Twisty Thrillers

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week, the theme is "Twisty Thrillers". It's easy enough to think of thrillers, although the question of just how twisty they are is a good one. Still, I came up with three movies that I think fit the theme, more or less:

The 39 Steps (1935). Robert Donat plays a Canadian in England who is followed home from a music hall by a woman who, it turns out, is a spy in fear of her life. She warns him about "the 39 steps" before getting stabbed overnight. Donat, realizing nobody will believe his story, has to set off to find the murderers himself, and figure out what those 39 steps refer to. The twists take him to Scotland, a political campaign, handcuffed to Madeleine Carroll, and back to London.

The Liquidator (1965). Rod Taylor plays a man who saved Trevor Howard's life in World War II by killing a couple of Nazis, so when Howard needs somebody to do some secret killings of some double agents in the current day, he calls on Taylor. The only thing is, Taylor never considered himself a hero, and frankly has little competence at killing people. But he keeps up the ruse and gets himself involved in a big spy case.

The Eiger Sanction (1975). Clint Eastwood plays an art professor who used to be a killer for a secret government agency, and is "asked" out of retirement to kill two men who killed a fellow agent. There are two twists. The first of which is that finding the second killer is going to involve making a dangerous ascent up the north face of the famous Swiss mountan the Eiger. The second twist is how the second killer is identified and ultimately dealt with. I won't give away more.


Katie Hogan said...

Do love The 39 Steps - great film. Not seen or heard of the other two.

joel65913 said...

Interesting choices.

The Liquidator is a bit cheesy but entertaining in that B movie way. The Eiger Sanction is a step up from that without being really a top flight film but a decent view. While I like The 39 Steps well enough it's not one of my favored Hitchcock's. I do have a certain fondness for it because my father met Madeleine Carroll during the war when he was injured and she was working as a nurse. He always spoke very highly of her.

I did pick a Hitchcock film that I'm a much bigger fan of and two that I found intriguing.

North by Northwest (1959)-Poor Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is having a hell of a bad day. The mild mannered (but impeccably dressed) ad exec has been mistaken for a government agent and kidnapped by international spies from whom he manages to escape leading to a chase across the country amid many complications. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s best thrillers with turns and twists aplenty performed by a top flight cast including besides Grant-Eva Marie Saint, James Mason and Martin Landau.

The Tenant (1976)-Polish émigré (Roman Polanski who also directed) arrives in Paris and moves into an apartment in a rundown building whose previous resident attempted suicide by jumping out one of the windows. As his sanity begins to crack he is shunned by the other residents (including Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas and Shelley Winters) as he starts to assume personality traits of the previous tenant. Strange and unsettling.

Phone Booth (2002)-Cocky married publicist Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell) has a girl, Pam (Katie Holmes) on the side. Not wanting his wife to discover his duplicity he calls Pam on one of the few remaining public telephones in New York City. Just as he completes his latest call the phone rings, Stu answers and The Caller tells him he has a gun pointed at him and if he attempts to leave or alert anyone he will be killed. As he tries to figure out an escape the situation twists and turns as it escalates in danger.

Sonia Cerca said...

I haven't seen any of these.

Birgit said...

Gosh...I need to catch up. I really like The 39 Steps and always like Madeleine Carroll. I haven't seen the 2nd film but would like to. I love The Eiger Sanction and found it quite entertaining especially when Jack Cassidy had his moment of fun in the film.