Friday, March 29, 2013

Classic films for the holiday weekend

Eagle Has Landed

Michael Caine , Donald Sutherland 
John Sturges  
MPAA Rating - PG
Genres - Drama, War, Action/Adventure
Run Time - 2 hours 15 minutes

Synopsis –

John Sturges's adaptation of Jack Higgins's best-selling suspense novel stars Michael Caine as Nazi Col. Kurt Steiner. When the Nazi high command learns in late 1943 that Winston Churchill will be spending time at a country estate in Norfolk, it hatches an audacious scheme to kidnap the prime minister and spirit him to Germany for enforced negotiations with Der Führer. Heinrich Himmler (Donald Pleasence) assigns Col. Max Radl (Robert Duvall) to mastermind the operaton. He enlists the aid of Steiner, who has been imprisoned for subordination and is awaiting sentence, by offering him a chance to save his life. Liam Devlin (Donald Sutherland), an IRA lifer who hates the British, also signs on for the mission. Steiner and his commando team parachute into the small village of Sudley disguised as Polish soldiers and appear to the populace to be paratroopers running through exercises. As they await the arrival of Churchill, one of the commandos rescues a boy from drowning in a nearby river, inadvertently revealing his Nazi colors in the process. Steiner realizes that some changes will have to made in his timetable. THE EAGLE HAS LANDED is an enjoyable Alistair MacLean-like mission impossible, ably served by Sturges and a stellar cast.

Night Train to Munich

Margaret Lockwood , Rex Harrison 
Carol Reed
MPAA Rating - Unrated
Genres - Drama
Run Time - 1 hour 30 minutes

Synopsis –

Taking his cue from Hitchcock's recent success THE LADY VANISHES, Carol Reed borrowed both that film's writers (Sidney Gilliat, Frank Launder) and its low-key comic duo (Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne) to concoct this witty, vastly entertaining spy thriller. As a result of the imminent threat of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Nazi troops, Dr. Axel Bomasch (James Harcourt), the inventor of a new technique for armor-plating artillery, escapes to England while his daughter Anna (Margaret Lockwood) is captured and sent to a concentration camp. Although she escapes from the camp and rejoins her father, the Nazis kidnap the Czech pair and take them back to Germany. British agent Gus Bennett (Rex Harrison), who has already displayed an amusing gift for disguise, now makes use of it by infiltrating the German high-command in an effort to save the Bomasches. The film barrels to its finish in a dizzying array of twists and turns, with a still-astonishing cable-car escape in the Swiss Alps. Between the pre-Bond insouciance of the young Harrison, the deadpan exchanges of Radford and Wayne, the overall intelligence of the script, and the steady hand of Carol Reed, this film raises the genre to a very high level.

Royal Wedding/Belle of New York

Royal Wedding

Fred Astaire , Jane Powell 
MPAA Rating - Unrated
Genres - Musical/Performing Arts
Run Time - 1 hour 30 minutes

Synopsis –

Dancing and romance collide in ROYAL WEDDING as a brother-sister dance team (Fred Astaire and Jane Powell) open their musical show in London shortly before the English royal wedding and find love of their own. Showcasing some of Astaire's most memorable dance scenes in film history--Astaire's hat-rack partner and his dancing on the ceiling (impressive even to those jaded by special effects)--this tale of finding true love when it's least expected, and least wanted, has delighted audiences since the movie's release in 1951. 

Flirty Ellen and dance-focused Tom have escaped the clutches of many marriage-minded partners, keeping their joint entertainment careers their first priority. When they leave New York to sail for London to open a new musical show, Ellen leaves behind many besotted men but no regrets. But when a ladies' man (and lord) falls hard for Ellen, and a British girl in the dance chorus needs Tom's help to locate her fiancé, both brother and sister realize that this time love must come first.

Belle of New York

Fred Astaire , Vera-Ellen
MPAA Rating - Unrated
Genres - Musical/Performing Arts
Run Time - 1 hour 21 minutes

Synopsis –

urn-of-the-century New York City. Astaire is Charlie Hill, a playboy who falls head-over-heels in love with Angela Bonfils (Vera-Ellen), a mission worker, and attempts to woo her with his charm, dancing ability, and singing voice. Songs include: "I Wanna Be a Dancin' Man", "Let a Little Love Come In", "Baby Doll", "Oops", "Seeing's Believing", "Naughty but Nice", and "Bachelor's Dinner Song."

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