Koko: A Talking Gorilla (1978)

“Who is to say that only human beings are persons? Isn’t this gorilla demonstrably a person?” Synopsis: A graduate student (Penny Patterson) teaches a female gorilla (Koko) to communicate using American Sign Language. Genres: Documentary Friendship Talking Animals Teachers Review: It’s impossible to watch Barbet Schroeder’s “accidental” documentary (he originally meant to use the footage […]

Seven Year Itch, The (1955)

“I think it’s wonderful that you’re married! I think it’s just elegant!” Synopsis: A married advertising executive (Tom Ewell) whose wife (Evelyn Keyes) and son (Butch Bernard) are away for the summer lusts after his voluptuous, seemingly available neighbor (Marilyn Monroe). Genres: Billy Wilder Films Comedy Dumb Blondes Marilyn Monroe Films Marital Problems Play Adaptations […]

Code of Silence (1985)

“You want to take on the whole world by yourself? Now you’re gonna get your chance, Cusack!” Synopsis: An honest Chicago cop (Chuck Norris) tries to protect a teenage girl (Molly Hagan) who is caught in the middle of her Italian family’s gang warfare with Colombian drugpins. In the meantime, Norris breaks the “code of […]

Assassination Bureau, The (1969)

“It’s the greatest story of the decade — and covered by a woman!” Synopsis: An aspiring journalist (Diana Riggs) hires the underground Assassination Bureau to kill its own chairperson (Oliver Reed). Genres: Black Comedy Journalists Oliver Reed Films Plot to Murder Review: Although it’s based on a clever premise, this British farce is a disappointment […]

Escape From Alcatraz (1979)

“No one has ever escaped from Alcatraz — and no one ever will!” Synopsis: Four prisoners (Clint Eastwood, Jack Thibeau, Fred Ward, and Larry Hankin) plot their escape from the island of Alcatraz. Genres: Clint Eastwood Films Don Siegel Films Escape Prisoners Review: As noted in Vincent Canby’s review for the New York Times, Don […]

Alice in the Cities (1974)

“You really are out of touch.” Synopsis: A journalist (Rudiger Vogler) with writer’s block tries to help an abandoned girl (Yella Rottlander) find her grandmother’s home in Germany. Genres: Friendship German Films Road Trip Search Writers Wim Wenders Films Review: A cross-Atlantic road trip with metaphorical underpinnings, Wim Wenders’ Alice in the Cities is a […]

Bonnie Parker Story, The (1958)

“We got ourselves a one way ticket, [and] there’s nothing you can do once you get on but ride right to the end of the line.” Synopsis: Blonde gunslinger Bonnie Parker (Dorothy Provine) goes on a shooting spree across the nation with her boyfriend, Guy Darrow (Jack Hogan). Genres: Biopics Criminal Couples On the Run […]

Bad Seed, The (1956)

“She can fool some people with that innocent look she can put on and put off — but not me!” Synopsis: The mother (Nancy Kelly) of a psychopathic child (Patty McCormack) is horrified to learn that her daughter feels no remorse about having killed her classmate. Genres: Evil Kids Mervyn LeRoy Films Play Adaptations Psychological […]

Ladykillers, The (1955)

“I am shocked by this revelation. Shocked and appalled!” Synopsis: A group of bumbling thieves unsuccessfully try to kill an elderly woman (Katie Johnson) who has learned about their latest heist. Genres: Black Comedy Elderly People Heists Peter Sellers Films Plot to Murder Thieves and Criminals Review: This classic heist-gone-wrong flick showcases the inimitable Alec […]