It’s all Jerry Coyne’s fault. He put together a list of his 20 favorite movies and invited everyone to join in . So here are the second group of five that are favorites of mine.
Kiss Me Deadly
Very probably the best noir and Mike Hammer movie ever mad. Ralph Meeker plays Mike Hammer as a sleazball private eye with no morals whatsoever. His only redeeming virtue is his loyalty to his friends. Capturing Los Angeles in its fifties seediest best this movie defines noir.
Touch of Evil (Restored to Orson Welles' Vision)
Orson Wells had a contract to fulfill so he made this noir masterpiece. Despite the questionable casting of Charlton Heston as a Mexican narcotics cop this movie when it’s good is simply brilliant. Wells not only directed and wrote the film he also stars as the corrupt detective at the hart of the plot. Shot in Venice California mostly at night as befits a true noir this is a magnificently shot movie. A true must see film.
The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
A great and badly underrated gangster film by Roger Corman that deserves recogniton as a classic of the genre. In this film Corman shows his rather considerable directorial clients telling the largely accurate story of the events leading up to the bloody massacre at the Chicago garage. Shooting his first movie for a major studio with a great cast Corman delivers a crisp, riveting gangster thriller.
Frankenstein (Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection) and The Bride of Frankenstein (Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection)
Two films made four years apart but they work as one. James Whale, Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and makeup artist Jack Pierce combine to create two of the greatest horror films ever made. What are now clichés of the genre were created here. Whale and his cast go far beyond the demands of the genre however and create characters with a depth that still resonates today.
The Maltese Falcon (Three-Disc Special Edition)
Yes this is a predictable film to list but it so deserves to be on everyone’s top whatever list. The third time the book had been filmed this one became the definitive version. In Sam Spade Humphery Bogart created the quintessential Private Eye.