Seven forgotten films to audiences should remember
Today, many people pass the time at home by watching movies. But it can get old to see the same films over and over. That’s why, on my cinema search while sheltered at home, I am looking for forgotten treasures.
Here are seven more of my favorite “forgotten films” that are accessible to stream. They may be just what you are looking for!
Absence of Malice (1981)
I love movies about journalists, just as I love movies about politics. When a movie has both, it’s a daily double. This movie from director Sidney Pollack explores a journalist pursuing a possible criminal. Seen through today’s lens, its portrayal of women, relationships and ethics feels dated. But, through the lens of 1981, Pollack captures the challenge of the soul that journalism experienced in the post-Watergate era. Paul Newman again demonstrates a mastery of subtle acting as he initiated a resurgence in his distinguished career. Sally Field costars.
The Americanization of Emily (1964)
Truth can be challenging to define when it’s convenient to fabricate. Back in 1964, few people knew what to think about this movie. After all, it dared to make fun of one of the most heroic days in military history, the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. And screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, who later wrote “Network”, does not hold back in his commentary on artificial heroes. Starring James Garner, the movie actually belongs to Julie Andrews who, the same year as “Mary Poppins”, demonstrates she is an actress who can take on any part.
Eight Men Out (1988)
Of the many lessons that sport can teach, fair play may be the most essential. This forgotten gem from director John Sayles reveals how one team’s darkest hour teaches a nation about fair play when men on a baseball team discover how giving into the temptations of greed and dishonesty can tarnish people and a sport. Sayles’ exploration of “The Black Sox” and the 1919 World Series tells us as much about greed as it does about the game. But the director refuses to judge the situations or the characters. He simply reveals what happened. John Cusack stars.
Some films are so surprisingly creative they reach beyond expectations. Even when we have seen them before, and we are familiar with what they offer, we are overwhelmed each time we view. The first time I saw this Disney classic, I was eight. I was immediately taken by the animated sequences set to classical music. Nothing in my abbreviated movie memory could compare to the how this film stimulated the senses. It was if my imagination had been set free by the images and music on the screen. Today, your children may feel the same way.
High Noon (1952)
Of all the legends of America, few endure as the tales of the Old West. We all grew up hearing and reading stories of lawmen and outlaws; there is always a one-street town in the middle of the prairie just waiting for the outlaws to arrive. On its surface, “High Noon” looks like any other western of the early 1950s. But director Fred Zinnemann starts the clock on the screen and the theater at the same time and follows the action for 90 minutes in real and reel time. This gives the film an edge and frames Gary Cooper’s Oscar-winning performance.
In America (2002)
America is a land of immigrants. Since our nation began, we have welcomed people from all lands to consider this country home. But the warmth of a welcome may not always extend to arrival. “In America” connects us with a family — newly arrived in New York from Ireland — who make the journey to the U.S. in recent years. We live with these people — headed by a stubborn, independent and at times impractical father — who simply do what they can to get from one day to the next. The result is a meaningful look at what it can take for people to persevere.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
We seek, as a nation, heroes in the politicians we elect. And, with each election cycle, we are often disappointed in what we observe and experience. In this forgotten classic from director Frank Capra, a young newspaperman believes he can make a difference for the people he represents when he is appointed to serve in the U.S. Senate. But he is brutally surprised when he quickly learns that the government he believes in doesn’t always behave in a way to make anyone proud. James Stewart shines as the reporter who becomes a victim of his own optimism.
At times like these, we remember many things. And taking a fresh look at forgotten films can bring back some of our best memories. Enjoy.