Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: #162: Rescue

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 rescues, and there's a theme within a theme for me this time around. As is generally the case, I've picked three older movies:

Kameradschaft (1931). German film about a mining area that straddles the German-French border in the years after World War I. The French and Germans don't let each other work in the other country, and have even blocked off an parts of the mines that would cross the border underground. And then there's an explosion on the French side, and the German miners go in to help despite their management not being happy about it.

The Clairvoyant (1935). Claude Rains plays a phony mentalist who when he meets one particular woman, finds that he becomes a real, no fooling clairvoyant, and not just making it up. Unsurprisingly, this causes all sorts of problems, especially when he predicts that a disaster will befall the site where a tunnel is being constructed.

Ace in the Hole (1952). Kirk Douglas plays a disgraced big-city reporter who winds up in a smaller city, Albuquerque. While working his new job at the paper there, he runs across a guy who's gotten trapped in an abandoned mine. Douglas decides to milk the story for all it's worth, even though there are easier and probably quicker ways to rescue the poor trapped guy. But those wouldn't make news.


joel65913 said...

I haven't seen your first but I'm very intrigued and will go on the hunt for it.

The Clairvoyant was an interesting film and of course Claude Rains makes everything better. When I watched it I was reminded of the Edward G. Robinson/Gail Russell film Night Has a Thousand Eyes which I liked more but both were worthwhile films.

We match! Ace in the Hole is such a dark examination of the unpleasant side of human nature but Wilder presents it masterfully.

This was a pretty easy week since rescue films aren't uncommon and perhaps because of the subject tend to be involving.

Apollo 13 (1995)-Astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) has been bumped up to command the Apollo 13 mission to the moon along with Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise). Days away from launch Mattingly is pulled due to the risk of an infection and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) takes his place and the launch proceeds. Everything seems to be going according to schedule until there is a sudden explosion and the three astronauts are suddenly facing a life and death situation in deep space with the only hope of rescue Mission Control back at NASA. The bulk of the film is taken up with those efforts lead by Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) while Lovell’s wife (Kathleen Quinlan), the other’s family members and the world watch anxiously. Despite the known outcome incredibly gripping film was justly nominated for a slew of Oscars.

Outrageous Fortune (1987)-Two struggling actresses-the hoity toity Lauren (Shelley Long) and brassy Sandy (Bette Midler) receive scholarships to a prestigious acting class conducted by a legendary Russian teacher Stanislav Korzenowski (Robert Prosky) and despise each other on sight. At the same time they both become involved with a handsome laconic teacher Michael Santers (Peter Coyote) unbeknownst to each other. When it appears that Michael has been killed the pair realize that’s not so and surmise he’s in trouble and needs rescuing. They reluctantly team up to save him, sniping at each other all the way. It does NOT go as expected but they are off on a merry chase across the country aided at times by the stoned out Frank (a hilarious George Carlin). Boisterous comedy with sensational silk and sandpaper chemistry between odd couple Long and Midler.

Ace in the Hole (1951)-Once successful reporter Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) has landed at a small Albuquerque newspaper due both to his drinking and bad abrasive attitude. Sent on a nothing assignment he stumbles across what he senses is a headline story that could return him to the big leagues, a man has become trapped in a cave-in. Opportunistically manipulating the situation, with the collusion of the sheriff and the man’s greedy wife Lorraine (Jan Sterling) for their advantage more than the safety of the trapped man they find ways to delay the rescue without appearing to do just that. As the news spreads the quiet remote area begins to resemble a carnival atmosphere (the reissue title of the film was The Big Carnival) and the delaying tactics start to endanger the trapped man’s life. Awesome performances but this terribly cynical film is a disturbingly prescient example of the news reporting ethos “If it bleeds, it leads” culture. May be Wilder’s darkest film, that’s saying something for someone who directed Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd.

Birgit said...

I have not seen any of the. 3 you chose and always wanted to see Ace In The Hole but now I must see the other 2! They sound like excellent films and the first one really intrigues me.