The Third Man

The Third Man (1949)
The Third Man is a British thriller of the post-war era, a clever and original mystery tale and I love it. Based on Graham Greene's script, it stars Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins, a naive American trying to track down an old college friend named Harry Lime (Orson Welles) in post World War II Vienna. Two aspects of this film make a must see: its dramatic photography of a divided Vienna, ravaged by war, and the film's musical score – provided by a solo instrument – a zither. The jaunty but haunting musical score stays with you long after the film's viewing.

It was recently voted the best British film of all time.

Duplicity

Duplicity (2009) PG-13
Starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, Duplicity can be confusing to follow because it alternates between past and present. It’s an interesting movie, building up to the best part of the film – the last 20 minutes. The ending bolsters the whole movie.

Roberts and Owen are former CIA and MI-6 operatives who work for rival beauty care companies. They plan to con their companies to make millions.

Check out the Washington Post review of the film. Visit The Huffington Post to see what other newspapers and magazines said about the movie.
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Gaslight

Gaslight (1944)
Gaslight is a superb example of a woman-in-peril suspense film. It is a psychological thriller, perfectly atmospheric, set in a foggy, dark London of the Victorian period.

Ingrid Bergman’s performance as a woman slowly losing her mind is great – she received an Oscar for it. She is the victim of games being played to make her doubt her sanity. (The term to gaslight someone to make them doubt themself comes from the movie’s title. It refers to the frequent dimming of the gas lights she sees.)

Charles Boyer is the devil trying to destroy his wife’s mind, and Joseph Cotten the dashing, intelligent inspector whose suspicions save the day. Angela Lansbury, at 18 years old, makes her screen debut in this very enjoyable, albeit old film.

Niagara

Niagara (1953)
Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten star in this dark story about love and murder set at Niagara Falls. Though not the best film ever made, Niagara helped cement Monroe's status as a box office draw. It afforded her the chance to play a cold-blooded and conniving role. Joseph Cotten turns in another of his intense, dark and disturbed portrayals.

There is an interesting noir feeling to this Technicolor film with the stalking sequence in the clock tower and the finale. The film makes great use of the falls themselves, both in a "travelogue" sense and in terms of using the location to create and maintain atmosphere. Released in 1953, it's still good to watch again!

Charade

Charade (1963)
Charade, a film written by Peter Stone and Marc Behm, tells the tale of a woman (Audrey Hepburn) pursued by several men, including Cary Grant, who want the fortune her murdered husband has stolen. Directed by Stanley Donen, it also features Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy and an Oscar nominated score by Henry Mancini.

It spans three genres: suspense/thriller, romance, and comedy, and is both charming and amusing. The interaction between Hepburn and Grant is the best part of this 1963 film shot in Paris. Check out About.com for more about the plot, cast, backstory, and more.

Suddenly

Suddenly (1954)
Starring Sterling Hayden and Frank Sinatra, Suddenly is set in a small town (also called Suddenly) out west. Sheriff Tod Shaw (Hayden) gets word that the president of the United States is coming into town on the train. John Baron (Sinatra) and his cohorts are planning to assassinate the president. They take over a widow’s house. It’s very tense. I strongly recommend Suddenly – it keeps you on your toes throughout the whole movie.

An interesting side note: Suddenly came out about eight years before The Manchurian Candidate where Frank Sinatra is trying to prevent an assassination.

Cassandra’s Dream

Cassandra’s Dream (2007) PG-13
Cassandra’s Dream is similar to Hitchcock films, with a lot of twists and turns. It’s about two brothers (Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell) who are trying to get ahead but become too greedy. The consequences they have to pay are surprising. It’s a Woody Allen film, but it’s unlike any of his other films.

Check out the New York Times review.
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The Night of the Hunter

The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Starring Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters, The Night of the Hunter is the only film ever directed by Charles Laughton. The mood of the film is unusual; Laughton features unique photography and haunting music. Harry Powell (Mitchum) is a preacher with the habit of murdering his wives. When Harry’s cellmate tells him about money he hid, Harry goes after the man’s family. Lillian Gish gives a great performance as a mother figure who helps out the children.

This fascinating movie didn’t get much play when it came out in the 1950s – and it still isn’t widely known. Roger Ebert’s explanation? Its “lack of the proper trappings.” I very strongly endorse The Night of the Hunter – not a lot of people know about it, but those who do are really impressed by it.

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007) R
The cast -- Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney and Marisa Tomei -- rise to the occasion in this recent film by director Sidney Lumet. Like an ancient tragedy, it is a melodrama told in out-of-sequence episodes (with captions so you know where you are) of the botched robbery of a mom-and-pop jewelry store. Lumet's tale seems rooted in the new middle-class money hunger and its deeply emotional consequences.

See what The New York Times said about the movie.

The Thin Man Goes Home

The Thin Man Goes Home (1944)
In the 1930s and 40s, William Powell and Myrna Loy made a series of six mysteries in which they starred as Private Eye Nick Charles and his wife Nora. In The Thin Man Goes Home, fifth in the series, Nick and Nora and their dog Asta take a train loaded with wartime travelers to Nick’s hometown. Once there, Nora is determined to show Nick’s father that Nick’s a success, even if she has to make up a crime for him to solve. Lots of site gags and slapstick, including Nora trying to put up a folding deck chair (an exercise I find equally perplexing) and Nora starting a riot in the local pool hall. The movie is full, too, of great 1940s suits and dresses.

The Trouble with Harry

The Trouble with Harry (1955)
When young mother Shirley MacLaine's troublesome husband Harry shows up in the small New England town where she is living, trouble isn't the word for it. Harry was a bad husband and an even worse corpse. When he is found dead (of natural causes, it turns out), everyone thinks that he (or she) somehow accidentally murdered him—and tries to dispose of the body. The absolutely gorgeous autumn scenery is nearly another character.

Directed--with much humor--by Alfred Hitchcock and also starring John Forsythe and Jerry Mathers (of Leave it to Beaver). See it at the library on October 3 at 7:00.

Malice

Malice (1993) R

If you like a good mystery with a lot of twists and turns, this is one for you! Bill Pullman, Alec Baldwin, and Nicole Kidman are a great cast. Very enjoyable!

Watch the trailer at IMDB.com.

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5ive Days to Midnight

5ive Days to Midnight (2004)

A sharp mystery! A physicist receives a file about his murder in the future. He has five days to solve his own murder before it becomes reality. Fast paced and very suspenseful, fans of The X-Files will enjoy this miniseries.

The Interpreter

The Interpreter (2005) PG-13

Directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, this movie of political intrigue is set at the U.N. and is a thriller. The acting is superb and this “whodunit” has many twists and turns.

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