THE WOLF MAN
1941, Universal, 70 min, USA, Dir: George Waggner

Lon Chaney Jr. achieves cinematic immortality in the title role, one of Universal’s great movie monsters. Bitten by a werewolf (Bela Lugosi, in a wonderful cameo) while visiting a gypsy camp, Larry Talbot (Chaney) is cursed to become a hairy beast “when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” Noted horror scribe Curt Siodmak penned the original screenplay for this eerie classic, which costars Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy and Maria Ouspenskaya, whose portrayal of an old gypsy fortuneteller is unforgettable.


THE PROFESSIONALS
1966, Sony Repertory, 117 min, USA, Dir: Richard Brooks

Writer-director Richard Brooks earned a pair of Oscar nominations for this vastly underrated film. A Texas rancher enlists a team of mercenaries to rescue his wife, who has been kidnapped by a Mexican bandit. But the hired guns - Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan and Woody Strode – soon learn that their employer hasn’t told them the whole story (the outstanding cast also includes Ralph Bellamy, Claudia Cardinale and Jack Palance). Beautifully shot by Conrad Hall, THE PROFESSIONALS is an irresistible mix of action, intrigue and humor that ranks among the very best Westerns of the 1960s.


THE AWFUL TRUTH
1937, Sony Repertory, 92 min, USA, Dir: Leo McCarey

Leo McCarey won a Best Director Oscar for this side-splitting masterpiece in which Irene Dunne and Cary Grant decide to divorce - but darn it, it just doesn’t seem to take. With Ralph Bellamy (in his defining "other man" role), Alex D’Arcy, (Miss) Cecil Cunningham and Joyce Compton, who steals the show with her unique rendition of "Gone With the Wind."


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