Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)

“Is there anybody out there?” Synopsis: An alienated rock star (Bob Geldof) descends into madness and toxic grandiosity while reflecting on his fatherless childhood and faithless marriage. Genres: Alan Parker Films Mental Breakdown Musicals Rock ‘n Roll Review: Peary argues that this “midnight cult hit” — “director Alan Parker’s visual interpretation of the rock opera […]

Beauty and the Beast (1946)

“I disgust you. You find me repulsive.” Synopsis: When a man (Marcel Andre) is sentenced to death by a beast (Jean Marais) after plucking a rose in his garden, his loyal daughter (Josette Day) — who has refused to marry a local suitor (also Jean Marais) — agrees to go and live with the beast […]

Force of Evil (1948)

“All that Cain did to Abel was murder him.” Synopsis: A lawyer (John Garfield) working for a high-level racketeer (Roy Roberts) tries unsuccessfully to convince his brother (Thomas Gomez) to merge his small-time numbers operation with others before he’s wiped out by corruption on the fourth of July. Meanwhile, Garfield falls for Gomez’s secretary (Beatrice […]

Knife in the Water (1962)

“On the water, you need to have reflexes.” Synopsis: An aggressive sports writer (Leon Niemczyk) and his wife (Jolanta Umecka) pick up a young hitchhiker (Zygmunt Malanoqwicz) on their way to a weekly boating trip, and invite him to accompany them — but tensions and rivalries continue to mount as the two men show off […]

Salt of the Earth (1954)

“I want to arise, and push everything up with me as I go.” Synopsis: Along with others in her community, the wife (Rosaria Revueltas) of a zinc mine worker (Juan Chacon) resists traditional gender norms in supporting the men in their strike for better working and living conditions. Genres: Feminism and Women’s Issues Labor Movement […]

Deliverance (1972)

“Sometimes you have to lose yourself before you can find anything.” Synopsis: When four friends (Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox) go on a canoeing vacation in the backwoods of Georgia, they quickly find themselves endangered by both extreme rapids and brutal local denizens. Genres: Burt Reynolds Films Class Relations Deep South […]

Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (1939)

“I’m not a man and I’m not a beast. I’m as shapeless as a man on the moon!” Synopsis: In medieval Paris, a hunch-backed bell-ringer (Charles Laughton) at Notre Dame Cathedral provides sanctuary for a young gypsy woman (Maureen O’Hara) falsely accused of murder by an insanely jealous chief justice (Cedric Hardwicke) who lusts after […]

Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (1923)

“All Quasimodo knew was that this girl had once been kind to him.” Synopsis: A deformed bell-ringer (Lon Chaney, Sr.) in Notre Dame Cathedral provides sanctuary to a young gypsy woman (Patsy Ruth Miller) falsely accused of killing a nobleman (Norman Kerry) who was actually stabbed by the jealous and unscrupulous brother (Brandon Hurst) of […]

Conqueror Worm, The / Witchfinder General, The (1968)

“Men sometimes have strange motives for the things they do.” Synopsis: When a cavalry soldier (Ian Ogilvy) in 17th century England learns that infamous witchfinder Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price) and his sadistic assistant John Stearne (Robert Russell) have descended upon the household of his fiancee (Hilary Dwyer) and her uncle (Rupert Davies), he vows revenge […]

Strange Cargo (1940)

“There’s nothing a man can’t get through to be free!” Synopsis: A convict (Clark Gable) escapes from a French penal colony with a small group of fellow prisoners — including a calm, Christ-like figure (Ian Hunter) — accompanied by a prostitite (Joan Crawford) eager to get away from a weaselly informer (Peter Lorre). Genres: Clark […]