June 20, 2016
When I compiled the list of “The Twenty Greatest Underrated Films”, I felt that I had left off a few good ones. And, since I am a lover of the cinema, I decided to dig up a few more gems to include on “Twenty More Underrated Films”.
In no particular order…
- “Badlands” (1973) Terrence Malick. Malick’s first feature is filmed in a cold, detached manner to resemble the affect of the main characters.
- “Force of Evil” (1948) Abraham Polonsky. Just about everyone was blacklisted on this tale of capitalism and corruption.
- “The Shining” (1980) Stanley Kubrick. Many people were disappointed with this version of King’s novel, but I see it as a marital black comedy, complete with ghosts.
- “Murder at the Vanities” (1934) Martin Leisen. Pre-code murder mystery musical is a whole lotta fun and a little naughty, too.
- “Dante’s Inferno” (1935) Harry Lachman. Imaginative venture from MGM, featuring one amazing scene set in Hell.
- “Up the Down Staircase” (1967) Robert Mulligan. The best of all films about teaching. It makes the public school system in a big city look like a battle zone.
- “The Landlord” (1970) Hal Ashby. Ashby’s first feature is a freewheeling satire on race relations. However, it does contain some moments of real insight.
- “If I Had a Million” (1932) Ernest Lubitsch, Norman Z. McLeod, and others. One of the best of all the anthology films. I particularly like the W.C. Field’s sequence.
- “The Gypsy Moths” (1969) John Frankenheimer. Existential to say the least. Frankenheimer’s moody meditation on risktakers is subtle yet powerful.
- “Alice in Wonderland” (1933) Norman Z. McLeod. Unfairly neglected, this all star Paramount feature is surprisingly close in tone to the Lewis Carroll classic.
- “The Wind” (1928) Victor Sjostrom. The elements enhance the metaphor in this silent film masterwork.
- “King of the Ants” (2002) Stuart Gordon. Skin-crawling tale of man’s ability to reduce himself to something less than human.
- “West of Zanzibar” (1929) Tod Browning. Exotic, bizarre, and quite politically incorrect; one of the best Chaney/Browning collaborations.
- “It’s a Gift” (1934) Norman McLeod. At 73 minutes, it’s uproarious; a real unsung gem of the genre.
- “Carnal Knowledge” (1971) Mike Nichols. Jules Feiffer’s disturbing depiction f a generation of men who were afraid of women.
- “California Split” (1974) Robert Altman. Sobering account of two gamblers’ reckless weekend spree.
- “Death Becomes Her” (1992) Robert Zemeckis. Uneven, but at times an eye-opening satire of narcissism taken to a whole new level.
- “Lilith” (1964) Robert Rossen. Strange film which has gained a cult following over the years.
- “The Birds” (1963) Alfred Hitchcock. Although it was popular with audiences in its day, it received mixed reviews. This highly influential film belies its own facade to show a crumbling world.
- “The Candidate” (1972) Michael Ritchie. This smart film leaves you feeling rather helpless towards the political process.