Thursday, March 7, 2019

Thursday Movie Picks-The Cold War


The Cold War...and I'm not talking about how cold it is outside and how some people are waging war with the cold but the actual cold war that many of us can remember quite well. I recall watching Bugs Bunny only to have the test of the Emergency Broadcast Network come on and state it is only a test...yadda yadda. The best way I know is the actual wall that separated East and West Berlin and the number of people who died trying to cross that wall to get to freedom. It could be a real stand off between the East and West border guards if someone tried to escape. I remember a mother, father and their baby who successfully crossed the Spree river and made it! It was very daring for them to do since most died trying to use that method of escape. I am actually choosing 3 films that have nothing to do with the wall but still fit the theme. The brainchild for this series, Wandering Through The Shelves, has a different theme for each week. Now, on with the show...

1. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE-1962


This is the far better film than the remake with Denzel Washington (sorry Denzel), about a group of men taken prisoner by the Chinese and brainwashed to kill the enemy in their own country. In fact, this film was not shown for many years(either due to Sinatra buying up the rights or lack of interest) which is a shame because it is brilliantly acted. Laurence Harvey is at his best (usually he is quite wooden) as the sad sack hero from the Korean War, who has been brainwashed to assassinate a political rival so the Chinese Communist government can gain more control. Frank Sinatra plays a fellow soldier who has memories of his time as a hostage and slowly realizes what is ready to happen. A brilliant script  that hinted at taboos, placed fear in the public and a brilliant performance by Angela Landsbury as one of the worst mothers ever filmed make this film a must see.

2. FAIL SAFE-1964


Another film made the year I was born and, yes, a depressing one but a brilliant film. It stars Henry Fonda as the President who finds out that, due to a computer error, planes have been sent to bomb Moscow. Attempts are made to stop the bombs but attempts fail. We see how everyone in the Oval office and the Military do what they can to prevent a nuclear fallout with great sacrifices made. Yes, it is bleak but it is a great film and worth seeing.

3. THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD-1965


Another black and white film with shadows, cigarette smoke and sadness all around but I just can't help myself. I almost want to call these kitchen sink movies although they are not-that is for more depressing dramas of this time period. Anyhoo, this stars Richard Burton as a retired spy who comes back for one last mission-to play a drunken ex spy who decides to give info to the East German police. He does not count on all the double crosses and intrigues plus falling in love with Claire Bloom. A brilliant telling of a famous novel that I need to read one day.

Which 3 would you choose?

50 comments:

  1. Hi Birgit - I haven't seen any of these ... and I really should. Loved the Laurence Harvey clip ... thanks for reminding us of them. Also re the book 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold' - I should read, let alone see the film - Cheers Hilary

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    1. I think all of these came from books originally although I’m not 100% sure. I think you would love these movies to be honest

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    2. i am ERIC BRUNT by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my wife after three(3) years of marriage just because another Man had a spell on her and she left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a man had a spell on my wife and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my wife back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my wife. Thanks for helping me Dr Akhere contact him on email: AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com
      or
      call/whatsapp:+2349057261346










      i am ERIC BRUNT by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my wife after three(3) years of marriage just because another Man had a spell on her and she left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a man had a spell on my wife and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my wife back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my wife. Thanks for helping me Dr Akhere contact him on email: AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com
      or
      call/whatsapp:+2349057261346

      Delete
  2. Hi, Birgit!

    I studied The Manchurian Candidate in my film course at college. Laurence Harvey was a brilliant actor too few people remember today, perhaps because he died so young, at age 45, of stomach cancer. I will always remember Harvey in one of his last roles, an episode of Columbo that aired the same year he died. Harvey played a chess champion who tried to commit the perfect murder and kill off a rival player. Columbo figured it out.

    I have also seen Fail Safe, a tense thriller without the happy Hollywood ending audiences seem to expect today. The doomsday scenario still sends chills up and down my spine. Fail Safe performed poorly at the box office because of its similarity to the satire film Dr. Strangelove which had been released 8 months earlier.

    I have not seen the Richard Burton film. I agree there were many sobering black and white films released in the early and mid 60s. No wonder many movie goers chose instead to escape to the beach with Frankie and Annette in living color.

    Thank you, dear friend BB, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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    1. You are so right about Frankie and Annette and I would add Elvis and Doris Day too. The films I mentioned here are so great and you must know so much about The Manchuria Candidate. I’d love to pick your brain about that film.

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  3. I've seen the first one although it was a long time ago.
    The only film I can think of offhand is Dr. Strangelove.

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    1. Dr. Strangelove is one film I still need to see

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  4. Three great movies. I think Manchurian Candidate is the reason I never liked Angela Lansbury and never watched her TV show. What a BIT--!
    And I too need to put the novel on my TBR list.

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    1. She was evil wasn’t she? Frank Sinatra wanted Lucille Ball but the director wanted Landsbury

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  5. This week stumped me. I haven't seen any of these.

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    1. There were tons of movies made but most when the Cold War was still on so movies today just don’t deal with this part of history

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  6. Hi Birgit...just the last one for me this week....just got La la land to watch this week.....it’s cold and wet here today so taking a break and watching tv...naughty me ....
    Hugs xxxx

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    1. Love to know what you think of La La Land. I’m glad you are resting and I hope to make more cards this weekend

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  7. Seen the original and the remake of the Manchurian Candidate. The original was the better version indeed.

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  8. I've got to admit, Manchurian Candidate creeped me out.
    Hope you are having a productive, pain free day:)

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    1. It’s very creepy and actually a horror film. No pain free day but a good one nevertheless

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  9. Angela Lansbury is a real treasure -she can do _anything_ well and is still active at 93- and she was priceless in Manchurian Candidate.

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    1. She was great in this film and can do anything.

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  10. Good picks and I believe I've seen all three. I know I watched Fail Safe not all that long ago and read the book when I was in high school. I thought the most recent version of Manchurian Candidate was pretty bad while the original was pretty good.

    I know I've seen several films set during the Cold War including a few specifically about life in East Berlin and trying to cross over to the other side, but I don't remember any of their names.

    I might suggest any of the James Bond films which I believe were directly inspired by the Cold War and the spy intrigue that went along with it.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Glad you saw these picks and I have seen films on the Berlin Wall with one starring Richard Thomas about the tunnels that saved many people. It was a TV film but an excellent one. Most James Bond films centre on this and they are all great

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  11. I haven't seen any of these, but I would LOVE to see Angela Landsbury, who I love. It would make my day.

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  12. I would really like to see these. One of my favorites was a Cold War Navy (surprise, surprise) film called "The Bedford Incident" with Sidney Poitier and Richard Widmark. Pretty chilling.

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    1. I don’t know this film but it sounds excellent. I will have to look this up

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    2. It really is. It's about a Navy destroyer (USS Bedford) playing cat and mouse with a Soviet nuclear submarine. No spoilers here, but you'd like it.

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  13. Great picks!!

    Fail-Safe is very bleak and nothing that I return with any frequency but a definite essential.

    Spy Who Came in from the Cold is an intricate and tense film that really showed that when Burton was on his toes he was a very talented actor.

    We match!!! LOVE The Manchurian Candidate (and that ill advised remake is best forgotten) Frankenheimer really understood the story and the proper elements to highlight. He's helped immeasurably by a great cast, even Sinatra who if he wasn't engaged by the material could give very indifferent performances.

    I had so many 50's Cold War movies I considered-Security Risk, My Son John, Man on a Tightrope and Night People among others-but decided to go a little more current.

    Bridge of Spies (2015)-During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Powers' only hope is New York lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Donovan boards a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man's freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all goes well, the Russians would get Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), the convicted spy who Donovan defended in court. Excellent performances by all and strong direction by Steven Spielberg keep this involving throughout.

    Good Luck, and Good Night (2005)-Senator Joseph McCarthy begins a vicious witch hunt to root out Communists in America destroying lives and careers without concern. Powerful CBS News reporter Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) dedicates himself to exposing the atrocities being committed by McCarthy's Senate "investigation." Murrow is supported by a news team that includes long-time friend and producer Fred Friendly (George Clooney). The CBS team does its best to point out the senator's lies and excesses, despite pressure from CBS' corporate sponsors to desist. Directed by Clooney in stark black and white to evoke the period this has a stacked cast, Patricia Clarkson, Robert Downey, Jr. and Jeff Daniels among others, all working at top speed but it’s Strathairn’s Oscar nominated turn that makes the film run.

    The Manchurian Candidate (1962)-Near the end of the Korean War, a platoon of U.S. soldiers are captured by communists and brainwashed. Following the war, the platoon returns home, and Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) is lauded as a hero by the rest of his platoon. However, the platoon commander, Captain Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra), finds himself plagued by strange nightmares and, together with fellow soldier Allen Melvin (James Edwards), races to uncover a terrible plot leading to the top tiers of power. John Frankenheimer directs with laser point precision guiding the story without wasting a frame. Angela Lansbury is flat out amazing in a portrait of coiled evil hidden behind a placid veneer.

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    1. Yeah! We match with a brilliant film. Bridge of Spies is one I saw but on TV and I want to rent it..or buy it as it was quite good. I love Good Night and Good Luck and felt David should have won the Oscar. It really delves into the nasty witch hunts of the 50’s that destroyed so many lives.

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  14. I haven't seen any of these.

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  15. Hi Birgit; I've seen the first and third movies, but not the second one. Lawrence Harvey was one of my favourite actors and I think, largely underrated by the public. My choice for this subject would be "FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE" (1963) James Bond willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by SPECTRE. ☺ Have a good weekend!

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    1. James Bond dealt with the Cold War so many times and this is a great film to showcase the Cold War. Lotte Lenye as the #2 of SPECTRE with her knife wielding foot is brilliant

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    2. I loved her character and agree, her portrayal was brilliant. One of the best Bonds, in my opinion. ☺

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  16. Replies
    1. Hope you will one day as love to read your reviews

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  17. Birgit,

    I'm not sure if we've seen the newer version of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE but I know we wanted to. It's on Amazon Prime but the older flick is not. I checked with Netflix but they don't have either the old or new movie. :( Your other two movie picks sound familiar but I know I haven't seen either. They sound good, though. I have to be in the right frame of mind to watch war-related films because they are so dark. I'll keep an eye open for these titles. Thanks for the share!

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  18. What a topic this week. It is an interesting choice. And I am in full agreement about the Manchurian Candidate. The other 2 films aren't bad either. I haven't seen either of those in ages. But it is funny about the Manchurian C-I recently brought that out to watch. Hope you have a fabulous weekend. And happy Friday. Hugs-Erika

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  19. Intresting to read your personal expirence. I was born after the fall of the Soviet Union so i never lived through the Cold War.

    I've actually seen all your picks, and even picked the same film. Fail Safe is indeed a depressing film

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  20. BIRGIT ~
    Yep, the original 'The Manchurian Candidate' is a good choice! (I never even bothered to see the remake. I refuse to watch remakes of movies that I think did not need to be remade at all.)

    DR. STRANGELOVE is the first one that popped into my mind. Great satire and a genuine classic.

    THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER is another one that came to me right away.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS

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  21. I think most of the James Bond films would qualify, right? Not that I'd necessarily pick those. This is a great theme. I don't know if I'd heard of Fail Safe, although it sounds familiar, but I am aware of the other two. Haven't seen any of them, though.

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  22. You need to stop by and read my Saturday Afternoon at the Movies each Saturday. I always reference you each time I review a movie!

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  23. I don't think I've ever watched a movie about the Cold War, which is fine by me. It was such a scary time. I was a child, but I remember how scared everyone was, and the little American girl who wrote to Gorbachev, begging him not to start a nuclear war.

    Can't say I'm a fan of war movies in general, cold or oozing.

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  24. Fail Safe sounds really scary. You just never know.
    Henry Fonda was an all time great wasn't he?
    Hope you are healthy, happy and having a productive week.
    Hugs

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  25. I've seen bits and pieces of each film, especially that first one. I thought the mom was a horrible woman. Normally I stay away from these movies because they depress me, but, as always, your reviews having me want to see them.

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  26. I think all 3 are exciting to watch.
    have a great day

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  27. Just found out about your amazing blog from the lovely Elizabeth, and as a movie fan, I truly love it! I loved the Spy Who Came in From the Cold, and just recently picked up an old edition of the book. These are my kind of stories! Hugs and Happy Wednesday! RO

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  28. I too have yet to read Spy Who Came in From the Cold.
    Have a healthy one;)

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  29. i am ERIC BRUNT by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my wife after three(3) years of marriage just because another Man had a spell on her and she left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a man had a spell on my wife and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my wife back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my wife. Thanks for helping me Dr Akhere contact him on email: AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com
    or
    call/whatsapp:+2349057261346










    i am ERIC BRUNT by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my wife after three(3) years of marriage just because another Man had a spell on her and she left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a man had a spell on my wife and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my wife back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my wife. Thanks for helping me Dr Akhere contact him on email: AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com
    or
    call/whatsapp:+2349057261346

    ReplyDelete