Some delights for a movie fan

My Nikkel’s Worth column

As a lover of movies, one of the positive aspects of this pandemic (and there really aren’t that many) is the rediscovery of classic movies, movies I loved from a past time, and the discovery of movies that I have never seen before.

One of the best sources of movies we have found is TCM, or Turner Classic Movies, which specializes in showing great movies from the past that no one else shows.

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As just a recent example, they have a Saturday night show called “Essentials”, where guest host director Brad Bird shows a movie he deems as an essential motion picture that any movie fan should see. This week featured “Dr. Strangelove”, which is a classic by Stanley Kubrick, featuring George C. Scott, Slim Pickens and Peter Sellers in three different roles. (Sellers was actually offered a fourth role, the one that Pickens played, but he felt he had enough on his plate with three roles.)

As the host explained, this started out as a serious film about the Cold War, but as they developed the story it just became so ludicrous that it became a comedy, and the comedic genius of Sellers sealed the deal as a classic.

The weekend also featured a longtime favourite of our family, “Harvey” with Jimmy Stewart.

I know most of the lines, but it’s still funny and it’s fun to see again.

This was followed by a Bob Hope movie from the year of my birth, with co-star Lana Turner, a little film called “Bachelor in Paradise” with Henry Mancini providing the music. I had never seen this movie before, but it was worth it hearing Hope toss in one-liners all over the place.

The other favourite source of movies, Netflix, offered one I had never seen but was definitely worth viewing, a Sergio Leone “spaghetti Western” called “Once Upon a Time in the West”.

Charles Bronson was one of stars opposite the legendary Henry Fonda as the villain. Fonda is such a consummate professional, he was absolutely perfect as the steely-eyed unflinching bad guy who was as evil as any villain you’ve ever seen in a Western. If you are a fan of Westerns, you need to check this one out.

Most recently, I came across a favourite from over 20 years ago of my kids, “Anastasia”, the animated version with Meg Ryan, John Cusack and Christopher Lloyd as the evil Rasputin. It’s not exactly history, but it was fun to see again.