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?