some favorite movies

some favorite movies

“It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” – Lao Tzu (founder of Taoism, contemporary of the Buddha)

(Please note that this essay, originally published on Sunday, July 8, did not post to the tag topic pages successfully at that time, as intended, due to issues that have now been resolved.  We are publishing this essay, today, in slightly different form, so that you have an opportunity to read it on the various tag topic pages that it has been assigned to.  Thank you.)

A totally random essay for today! (This took some effort.)

My wife loved this very short clip of a very young weightlifter.  Check it out!

Here are some of my favorite movies and a brief explanation of why they are.

Good plot development is important.  A theme, or moral to the story, helps but is not critically important.  Good acting is a must.

(Please note that some of the movies not available for watching (streaming) online do, from time to time, show up on various cable TV networks such as AMC, Turner Movie Classics and others.)

Barabbas (1961) Anthony Quinn, Jack Palance, Ernest Borgnine.  Quinn plays the role of Barabbas, the criminal acquitted at the behest of the crowd in Jerusalem while Jesus was condemned to crucifixion.  But Barabbas does not enjoy freedom for very long.  Great acting, and good dialogue and exchanges between Barabbas and the Romans and with early Christians. Worth watching at least once.

Here is the link for the full movie (2 hours, 17 minutes, in English, subtitled in Spanish):

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)  This movie is great simply for its zingers throughout. Zeus declares that “no man calls upon the gods unless he wants something.”  Phineas laments that he did not sin every day, yet Zeus punishes him every day.  Also, pretty good acting, and some humor and action along the way.

For the full movie (in 11 parts, a bit less than two hours if you continue through all parts) click here for part 1:

HUD (1963, black and white) Paul Newman plays a Texas “heel” of a renegade man.  Good acting.  Available for streaming (online watching) thru Amazon for a rental fee.  (Again, these old movies do show up on the cable movie channels from time to time.)

The Hill (1965, black and white) stars Sean Connery and Ossie Davis.  This is available in its entirety on YouTube and is worth watching.  Set in a British prison camp for British army soldiers who have screwed up during World War II, it deals with sadistic camp officers and racial stereotypes.  Davis gives a stellar performance as he panders to the racist stereotypes of the camp’s officers, but shows he is one of the more humane and civilized individuals in the entire camp.  Great acting also by Connery and the others in the film.

You can see it here in nine sequential parts:

You Only Live Twice (1967) my favorite James Bond movie for its exotic setting in Japan.  Bond always gets the pretty girl.

The full movie is not currently available online for streaming.

For the theme song sung by Nancy Sinatra click here:

Here are some highlights from this movie:

Hombre (1967) Paul Newman, Richard Boone, Cameron Mitchell, Martin Balsam.  In this western saga, Newman, as John Russell, a white man raised by the Apaches, confronts bigotry as he tries to both save several whites from murderous outlaws and return money to the Apaches on the reservation who have been cheated out of it.  Newman is great partly because he always has a ready answer to all verbal shots taken at him.  (Hombre is not currently available online for streaming.)

Planet of the Apes (1968) Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, Roddy McDowall, Maurice Evans.  Evans really ought to have won some kind of award, if not an Oscar, for his convincing portrayal of an intelligent ourangatang (Dr. Zaius) in this Sci-fi classic.  A cautionary tale for humans not to destroy themselves, it features great acting and great dialogue and exchanges. (The full movie is available for streaming through Netflix for a rental fee.)

You can quickly watch one of the best parts of the film, for free, at YouTube by clicking here:

The Magus (1968) Anthony Quinn, Michael Caine, Candice Bergen.  This one is somewhat of an enigma.  No clear cut answers.  But, good acting by all 3 above.  Unusual movie and worth seeing once in your life.  This hard to find movie has recently been uploaded on YouTube.  So, you might want to watch the movie before it unexpectedly is pulled from YouTube as so many other films are.  (Anne, the French stewardess, is actually a Danish actress.)

Here it is in 2 parts, if you are interested.

Part 1 (59 minutes) is here:

Part 2 (57 minutes) is here:

Patton (1970) stars George C. Scott.  I am not a war monger by any stretch, but Scott’s acting is superb and that is why I like this movie.  Currently, unavailable online for streaming, but does appear on the cable TV networks from time to time.

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) stars Eric Braeden, Susan Clark.  The United States turns over the management of its nuclear missile national defense to a super computer which eventually tries to take over and rule the world.

The full movie ( I hour, 40 minutes) is here:

What’s Up Doc (1972) Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal.  A funny comedy!  (Could not find the complete movie online.)

One funny scene:

Siddhartha (1972, made in India, in English).  This is a movie adaptation of the 1922 book of the same name by Hermann Hesse.  The full movie had been on YouTube for a while, but has been removed.  It was done very well, and hopefully someone else will upload it in the future.  It does not appear to be available for watching online any where else at present.

Skyjacked (1972) Charlton Heston, Yvette Mimieux, Walter Pidgeon, Rosey Greer, James Brolin, Leslie Uggams, Claude Akins.

What a cast, too bad the full movie is not on YouTube.  But, you can get a hint of what it is like here:

Skyjacked- Entering Soviet Airspace (10 minutes long)

Hijack (1973, made for TV movie) stars David Janssen, Keenan Wynn.  Good acting and good action in big rig trucking film.

Complete movie, 1 hour and 13 minutes here:

Westworld (1973) stars Yul Brynner, James Brolin.  Set in a futuristic amusement park/resort for the wealthy, Brynner plays a robotic character in human form that defies its programming and runs amok.  He is also unstoppable much like the terminator in the 1984 film, Terminator.  Good action and suspense.  Regrettably, not currently available for watching online.

Rollerball (1975) stars, James Caan, Maud Adams, John Houseman, Moses Gunn.  On the surface, one might think that the movie is being critical of excessive violence in sports for entertainment value.  But, the theme really is about the suppressing or squashing of individuality in people, so that the corporations that run the world have an easier time of ruling and exercising (or abusing) their authority.

Here is the link for the full movie (2 hours, 5 minutes):

Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) Burt Lancaster, Michael York, Barbara Carrera.  Good acting in a beautiful tropical setting (the Virgin Islands of the Caribbean).  Based on the sci-fi novel by H. G. Wells.  Lancaster was one of the best actors of all time in my opinion.  (So was Anthony Quinn.)

The entire movie (1 hour, 38 minutes) is here:

Twilight’s Last Gleaming (1977) Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark and others.  Great acting and suspense.

Another great acting performance by Lancaster but currently unavailable online.  Lancaster’s character, a former Air Force general, takes over a US missile silo in Montana, and demands that the president reveal to the American people the real reasons the US went to war in Indochina.

This had been available on YouTube for a short time last fall and winter, but has since been removed without explanation. That is a shame.

Gandhi (1982) Ben Kingsley

As a special bonus for those of you who have read this far, here is the theme song with video for “It Takes a Thief”, the late 1960s TV show starring Robert Wagner.  Enjoy.


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