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Ten Best Doomed and Desperate Lovers of the Pre-Seventies Movies
Cast Your Vote:
"for the most doomed and desperate lovers of the Pre-Seventies Hollywood movies" --
Would you vote for my No.10 -- Casablanca (1942)?
"Kiss me, kiss me as if it were the last time," Ilsa Lund Laszlo (Ingrid Bergman) asks of Richard "Rick" Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in this movie considered an all-time classic.
It is rated the No.2 Four-Star movie of all-time (all genres) by Four-Star Movies The 101 Greatest Movies of All Time, published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, New York, and catalogued by Gail Kinn & Jim Piazza.
Casablanca is my No.10 choice for its emotional tension between doomed lovers Bogart and Bergman. I agree with Bogart's line: "The problems of three little people in this crazy world don't amount to a hill of beans".
Their desperation: They are impossibly in love, still recalling better times in Paris when they met, and Rick didn't know she was married. When they meet again, he's helping the anti-Nazi forces in his part of the world, and she's married to a top anti-Nazi organizer. No chance!
Academy Awards -- Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay.
Would you vote for my No.9 -- King Kong (1933)?
"Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast", Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) tells the gathered throng as the fallen King Kong lies dead at the foot of the Empire State Building.
Four-Star 101 rates King Kong No.51.
The emotional desperation versus public conception in King Kong rates No.9 on my list of 10 Pre-Seventies movies of doomed and desperate lovers.
Their desperation: A giant gorilla and Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) become strangely, and yet believably attracted to one another. Public opinion shoved aside, could there have been a chance of beauty at least taming the beast?
No Academy Awards.
Would you vote for my No.8 -- The Graduate (1967)?
"Benjamin, would this be easier for you in the dark?", Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) asks her much younger college lover, Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman).
Four-Star 101 ranks The Graduate No.18.
Their desperation: Mrs. Robinson is desperate for love; Benjamin is susceptible to her charms, but then falls in love with Mrs. Robinson's daughter when introduced to her by his parents. That was very emotionally thick in 1967!
Academy Awards -- Best Director.
Would you vote for my No.7 -- Dr. Zhivago (1965)?
"I don't really know who I am. Quite possibly, I do not exist at all," states the gentle, anti-war, and very poetic Dr. Yevgraf (Yuri) Zhivago (Omar Sharif).
Dr. Zhivago is ranked by Four-Star 101 as No.58.
Their desperation: If ever there was an emotionally desperate person, it was Dr. Zhivago. He marries Moscow socialite Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin) while practicing medicine, but falls for the abused Lara Antipova (Julie Christie), who has shot her abuser. Throughout his entire life, Dr. Zhivago sadly doesn't solve his desperation in loving two different women.
Academy Awards -- Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Music.
Would you vote for my No.6 -- Laura (1944)?
It becomes obvious that a police detective played by Dana Andrews eerily is falling in love with the supposed murder victim, Laura (Gene Tierney), he is investigating.
This movie didn't make Four-Star 101's list, but it is rated a Four-Star flick by Rating the Movies for Home Video, TV, and Cable, published (1986 Edition) by Publications International, Ltd., and edited by The Editors of "Consumer Guide" and Jay A. Brown.
Their desperation: Murder gone wrong is the result of jealousy on the part of Laura's husband, played by Clifton Webb. Andrews is coming apart, but who is the victim?
Academy Awards -- Best Cinematography.
Would you vote for my No.5 -- Niagra (1953)?
Joseph Cotton was one of the most respected and talented actors of his day. He could play it bad, or he could play it good, and in Niagra he played it desperately bad to his faithless wife's (Marilyn Monroe) constant teasing and nagging.
Rating the Movies rated Niagra a Three-Star.
Their desperation: On vacation at Niagra Falls, Cotton and Monroe act out the desperately disintegating relationship with murderous intent. Monroe is a sinister tease, and Cotton is on the brink. Murder lurks in every corner.
No Academy Awards.
Would you vote for my No.4 -- Phantom of the Opera (1943)?
Phantom of the Opera first appeared in 1925 as silent film fare with Lon Chaney in the Phantom's mask. Claude Rains reincarnated the role of the Phantom in 1943 and convinced audiences of his blackness with a chillingly desperate portrayal.
The movie has a Three-Star ranking with Rating the Movies.
Their desperation: The Phantom is a forced Muse to an opera star played by Susannah Foster. Living in the sewer underneath the Paris Opera House, he appears before his victim, desperate to love her and to live her success. She is desperate to disavow him. There only can be a disastrous ending to this non-union.
Academy Awards -- Best Cinematography.
Would you vote for my No.3 -- Vertigo (1958)?
"If I let you change me, will you love me?" asks Judy Barton (Kim Novak, who also plays Madeleine Elster) of John "Scottie" Ferguson (James Stewart).
Vertigo, an Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, ranks No.24 on Four-Star 101's list.
Their desperation: Stewart is a former police detective who suffers from vertigo hired by a friend to follow Madeleine, the friend's wife. Stewart falls desperately in love with Madeleine, only to see her fall to her death. Or does he? Then he meets Judy, Madeleine's look-a-like. Or does he? This tangled web desperately seeks a murderous conclusion.
Academy Awards -- Best Sound, Best Art Direction.
Would you vote for my No.2 -- Double Indemnity (1944)?
"I killed him for money and for a woman. I didn't get the money. And I didn't get the woman," confesses insurance agent Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray). MacMurray had a successful Hollywood career playing befuddled fellows, but he is scintillatingly bad in Double Indemnity.
Double Indemnity is a Four-Star 101 star, ranked No.22.
Their desperation: It's understood from their first meeting that Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) and Neff are wildly attracted to one another. Neff, happily single, gives up everything moral and right to acquire the favors of Dietrichson, unhappily married and desperate to get rid of her husband. It's a woopa-pa-looza ending.
Academy Awards -- It was nominated for just about everything, but a little feel good story called Going My Way won the day. Nevertheless, Double Indemnity remains today as the pitch-perfect example of early film noir.
Would you vote for my No.1 -- Mildred Pierce (1945)?
Double Indemnity has no edge on the classic women's picture Mildred Pierce, the female who showed all those who came after how to grap hold of an opportunity. Joan Crawford plays the lead role as fiercely as James Cain wrote it in his novel of the same name. Zachary Scott is extremely effective as Crawford's lover.
Four-Star 101 couldn't name every noir triumph in a list limited to 101 entries, so Double Indemnity apparently got the heads-up. Mildred Pierce is a Four-Star-rated filly in Rating the Movies, however.
Their desperation: Crawford leaves her marriage, and falls for Scott as she builds a business in restaurant ownership, partially financed by Scott, who marries her and proceeds to be unfaithful to her with Crawford's winsome daughter. That sets up an inevitable shooting scene, which is where this masterful film actually begins. But who remains faithful to whom?
Academy Awards -- Best Actress.
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