“Round up the usual suspects.” by
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(10 Stories)

Prompted By Rewatchable Movies

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There are so many films worth periodic rewatching, but one perennial favorite is Casablanca where Rick repeatedly reveals his character by his generous actions that contradict his professed, exclusive self interest.  Its many classic lines include: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” “Here’s looking at you, kid,” and “We’ll always have Paris.”

No matter how many times I’ve watched it, I am still left wondering who did what when in Rashomon.

For drama with outstanding acting and a soundtrack that matches the interpersonal tensions, no film can surpass Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.  Marlon Brando, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint continue to amaze me on repeat viewings of On the Waterfront.  Even knowing the eventual resolution of the mysteries, the original The Manchurian Candidate, Chinatown, and Charade continue to be entertaining.  No matter how many times I’ve watched it, I am still left wondering who did what when in Rashomon.

For romantic comedies, the acting and zany The Philadelphia Story and When Harry Met Sally top my list.  “What hump?.” “Werewolf?…There wolf,” and “Put the candle back,” are some of the precious lines in Young Frankenstein.  City Slickers celebrates the resolution of adult male adult ennui.  And for westerns, the atmospheric authenticity of McCabe and Mrs. Miller is captivating.  Hook portrays both the cynicism of adulthood and the magic of childhood in a clever updating of Peter Pan.  As a child, after seeing Prince Valiant, I immersed myself in tales of the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and re-enacted the scenes over and over.

 

 

Profile photo of Lou Moffett Lou Moffett
I was born in 1946 and raised in the Bywater district of New Orleans.
I attended Jesuit High School and then Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, graduating in 1968 with a major in psychology and a minor in philosophy. In 1968-69, I did graduate study in personality at the University of California, Berkeley, I returned to LSU to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology although my dissertation was on the psychology of sculpture. I completed my internship at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Palo Alto, California, and then became a staff psychologist there specializing in the treatment of men with severe substance use disorders. During those years I also taught at Stanford's School of Education and was a clinical educator in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Medical School.
I also taught at Palo Alto University, and, in 2008 I retired from the VA and became a full-time professor at PAU and then retired from there in 2013.


Tags: films, comedies, mysteries
Characterizations: right on!, well written

Comments

  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Interesting list, Lou and good reasons for each movie you chose. Your first movies are certainly great classics.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    You mentioned some of my favorite movies, Lou. I think it’s time to rewatch some of these. Did see Chinatown again recently for on online film class I’m taking. Still great.

  3. Dave Ventre says:

    “Casablanca” is definitely high on my re-watch list. I’ve seen it several times. I also think that no human being ever has looked more beautiful than Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca.”

  4. Marian says:

    Glad to read your story on Retrospect, Lou. I really like the variety of movies you listed, and some of my favorites are there, such as Chinatown for drama and Young Frankenstein for comedy. Can’t go wrong with your list.

  5. Oh, Lou, you brought up a couple old favorites I’d all but forgotten about but will definitely revisit…Charade, and McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

    I sometimes get the feeling we’re living an ongoing present-day version of Rashomon…but who knows.

  6. Suzy says:

    Lou, how wonderful that this prompt brought you back after a hiatus of almost three years! Hope you will keep writing!

    I have seen, and loved, and rewatched all the movies you discuss except for Prince Valiant. Should I put the prince on my list? Rotten Tomatoes only gave it a 34% rating, but they aren’t always right. Chinatown was one that took me a few viewings to understand. Of course, moving to California and learning about the water wars helped in that regard.

    • Lou Moffett says:

      Prince Valiant has lame acting by everyone except James Mason.
      Robert Wagner and Sterling Hayden are forgettable, but, as an 8-year old I feel in love with Janet Leigh and the all the medieval paraphernalia: castles, knights in armor, jousting, Vikings, etc.

  7. Welcome back to Retrospect, Lou! Casablanca is #1 on my list too, and I love most of the others you list. I don’t think anyone has mentioned the brilliant dancing in Singin’ in the Rain.

    Lou, do you know my dear friends Naomi and Bob Mindelzun?

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