Best Boy (1979)

“At age 52, Philly began to go to school.” Synopsis: Filmmaker Ira Wohl helps his aging aunt and uncle find a secure home for their retarded 52-year-old son, Philly. Genres: Documentary Grown Children Mentally Retarded Survival Response to Peary’s Review: As Peary notes, this “glowing documentary” — full of “many moving scenes” — is unique […]

9 1/2 Weeks (1986)

“How did you know I’d respond to you the way I have?” Synopsis: A woman (Kim Basinger) gets involved in a steamy affair with a mysterious, kinky broker (Mickey Rourke). Genres: Literature Adaptation S&M Sexuality Response to Peary’s Review: In his review of this infamous softcore sexual drama — based on an autobiographical novel by […]

2000 Maniacs (1964)

“Something is very wrong with this town.” Synopsis: Six Yankee tourists driving through the Deep South are “invited” to Pleasant Valley for a centennial celebration of the town’s decimation by Union soldiers. Genres: Civil War Deep South Herschell Gordon Lewis Films Horror Revenge Response to Peary’s Review: I love the opening sentence of Peary’s review […]

Scream of Fear / Taste of Fear (1961)

“You say my mind is affecting my legs. You’re wrong: it’s my legs that are affecting my mind.” Synopsis: Wheelchair-bound Penny (Susan Strasberg) returns to her wealthy father’s house for the first time in ten years, only to be told by his new wife Jane (Ann Todd) that he has gone away suddenly on a […]

Bullfighter and the Lady, The (1951)

“Blood. Caste. Besides, we always have breeding records to go by. Sometimes we guess. We always pray. You will pray, too.” Synopsis: An American (Robert Stack) studies bullfighting in Mexico under the tutelage of a famed matador (Gilbert Roland), while trying to win the heart of a beautiful woman (Joy Page). Genres: Budd Boetticher Films […]

Big Red One, The (1980)

“We don’t murder; we kill.” Synopsis: Veteran sergeant Lee Marvin leads four soldiers (Robert Carradine, Mark Hamill, Bobbi Di Ciccio, and Kelly Ward) through the European theatre of WWII, while death and chaos surround them. Genres: Lee Marvin Films Sam Fuller Films Soldiers Survival World War II Response to Peary’s Review: As noted by Peary […]

Princess Yang Kwei Fei / Yang Kwei Fei / Princess Yang, The (1955)

“What madness to have hidden such a jewel!” Synopsis: A beautiful scullery maid (Machiko Kyo) becomes the wife of the Emperor (Masayuki Mori) in 8th century Japan, and must sacrifice herself for the sake of his honor. Genres: Cross-Class Romance Japanese Films Mizoguchi Films Royalty and Nobility Response to Peary’s Review: This “rare color film […]

Life of Oharu, The / Life of a Woman By Saikaku, The (1952)

“I am nothing but a spectacle of an ill-fated woman…” Synopsis: A lady-in-waiting (Kinuyo Tanaka) has an affair with a lower-ranking page (Toshiro Mifune), leading to the exile of her entire family. As she struggles to help make ends meet, Oharu is eventually reduced to prostitution and begging. Genres: Downward Spiral Feminism and Women’s Issues […]

Solaris (1972)

“You mean more to me than any scientific truth.” Synopsis: When a psychologist (Donatas Banionis) is sent to space station Solaris to investigate the mysterious mental breakdowns of the men on board, he’s visited by visions of his deceased wife (Nathalya Bondarchuk), and finds himself confronting his guilt over her death. Genres: Guilt Literature Adaptation […]

Closely Watched Trains / Closely Observed Trains (1967)

“Because that’s what the Fuhrer wants. But we must like each other, because we are all in the same boat.” Synopsis: In Czechoslovakia during WWII, a shy, bumbling railroad dispatcher (Vaclav Neckar) is more concerned with losing his virginity than with spotting espionage on passing trains. Genres: Black Comedy Coming-of-Age Eastern European Films Trains and […]