Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #213: A Siege

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 "A Siege". Well, technically, three sieges since we're supposed to select three different movies that fit the theme. I had to think for a bit, but I came up with three movies, each rather different from each other, that I think all fit the theme:

Drums Along the Mohawk (1939). Henry Fonda plays a man in the early 1770s who marries Claudette Colbert (!) and moves west, to what is now western New York. The Revolutionary War comes, and the British attack the settlers, climaxing in the Battle of Oriskany and the siege of Fort Stanwix. It's shot in lovely Technicolor, and earned Edna May Oliver a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, although she's about as much a 1770s settler as Claudette Colbert.

The Big Lift (1950). After Germany was defeated in World War II, Germany was divided into four sectors, as was Berlin. The Soviet sector of Germany surrounded Berlin, so in 1948 they decided they would try to starve the western allies into submission by blockading the land routes to Berlin, which is after all a form of siege. The Americans got the brilliant idea to airlift supplies to Berlin. Montgomery Clift and Paul Douglas play a pair of Americans flying supplies to the city, finding out that not all the Germans are as they seem. A lot of real-life US military officers were also used in the filming.

Night of the Living Dead (1968). Something is causing recently deceased people to turn into zombies that need to eat human brains to survive, and a motley group of humans hole up in an isolated house while a bunch of zombies besiege the house trying to get in and eat the brains of the healthy people in the house. The success of this movie spawned the modern zombie film genre we've had since.


joel65913 said...

I like Drums Along the Mohawk, a lot of care obviously went into it but it does have some weaknesses. I can buy Edna May Oliver as a settler to an extant as I can with Fonda but Colbert! Please! She was one of those Golden Age actresses, Joan Crawford was another, who weren't believable in the least in early American settings though Lord knows both tried. They could have cast Betty Hutton and she wouldn't have been any more out of place than Claudette.

The Big Lift is a solidly entertaining film without being a great one. Clift and Paul Douglas make an interesting silk and sandpaper pairing.

Night of the Living Dead for all its reputation is one I've never been in the least tempted to see.

Because of their titles my second and third were a snap but I had to poke around a bit for my first.

55 Days at Peking (1963)-In 1900 during China’s Boxer Rebellion Dowager Empress Tzu-Hsi (Flora Robson) orders The Boxers, a group of Chinese secret societies to massacre foreigners within China. In the diplomatic compound a group of ambassadors, their families and staff hole up to resist the siege. Marine Corps Major Matt Lewis (Charlton Heston) aided by British Consul Sir Arthur Robertson (David Niven), devise a strategy to keep the rebels at bay until an international military relief force arrives while Lewis romances Russian baroness Natalie Ivanoff (Ava Gardner). A bit inflated but told on an epic scale.

Under Siege (1992)-Stop me if you’ve heard this before. A man of action (Steven Seagal) finds himself trapped in an enclosed space-in this case a nuclear battleship-when terrorists (Tommy Lee Jones & Gary Busey) take the vessel hostage and it’s up to him and an innocent bystander (Erika Eleniak) to save the day! That’s right it’s Die Hard on the open seas!! The thing that separates this from the dozens and dozens of rip-offs that followed the release of the first classic is that it’s genuinely entertaining because director Andrew Davis knows how to shoot action and make it compelling for the audience.

The Siege (1998)-After the US military abduction of an Islamic religious leader New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks. The FBI's Counter-Terrorism Task Force chief Anthony Hubbard (Denzel Washington) teams up with CIA operative Elise Kraft (Annette Bening) to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks. As the bombings continue the government declares martial law sending troops, led by Gen. Devereaux (a deeply nuts Bruce Willis), into the streets of New York City where he starts rounding up Arab-Americans into detention centers. Appalled Hubbard & Kraft race the clock to defuse the situation as it escalates to a fever pitch.

Birgit said...

I have not seen Drums yet but I am just picturing Claudette with her fake eyelashes looking like a proper gal from that time..hahahaa. I enjoyed The Big Lift even if it is not a great film, it’s a good one and the lift was not only helping out the German population but helped prevent the Russians from taking over Germany. My mom’s best friend was one of those kids who ran for the candy since she was starving. She was already an orphan and was living in The Prussian area when they had to leave and went on the death march in winter with many going to Berlin. As for the last film, I just have no desire to see it.