Although the great Burt Lancaster has been dead for over twenty six years his movies hold a special place in my heart as one of the true film legends of the screen, an iconic presence, cheeky smile and steely eyes that could melt or pierce a heart at a thousand paces : starting his career back in the late 40s in Robert Siodmak’s fantastic noir film The Killers Burt Lancaster went on to have a glorious movie career acting with Hollywood legends such as Kirk Douglas, Gary Cooper, Deborah Kerr, Lee Marvin, Claudia Cardinale and so many more : my absolute top four is a small sample in the excellence of his work and in truth I could name so many more movie gems that I consider bonafide classics, films such as The Professionals with the great Lee Marvin, 1968’s The Swimmer, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral alongside Kirk Douglas, Sweet Smell of Success with Tony Curtis, Sydney Pollack’s wonderful Castle Keep and John Frankenheimer’s The Train : my absolute favorite and it’s a Burt Lancaster film I’ve watched more than any other is 1960’s Elmer Gantry directed by Richard Brooks, the film went on to win 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Burt taking home the Best Actor that year : so if you’ve not seen many of his movies and fancy a trip back to time when acting legends were truly that then take a peek at some of the films mentioned : Hope you enjoyed another of my Absolute Top Four till the next one….
Kirk Douglas was born on the 9th December 1916 in New York, he may no longer be with us but his work has brought so much joy to my screen over the years and will continue to do so : to name four of his best movies is near impossible as like most great actors he has numerous films to choose from dependent on the mood you find yourself in…. for example if your looking for a bit of fun the Douglas way then look no further than Tough Guys a 1986 gem that sees two gangsters released from prison into a world that has vastly changed since they were put away, Burt Lancaster and Eli Wallach share the screen in this sweet, emotional and hilarious turn by the maestro, or if your looking for something more sombre, a bit more dramatic then take a peek at the 1951 Billy Wilder movie Ace in the Hole, one of his very best and a good old fashioned nail biter, that sees Chuck Tatum a reporter who slows down a rescue attempt of a man trapped in a cave so his career can flourish, it’s one of my favorites and Kirk is dynamite but if you want a night in and your after excitement, gun fights and the old west then jump onboard The War Wagon that sees Kirk team up with John Wayne in one of my favorite guilty pleasure westerns directed by Burt Kennedy : so if over the next few weeks you find yourself looking for some movie inspiration, you fancy a revisit or maybe you’ve never seen the likes of Lust for Life, The Vikings or The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral well take it from me there’s a Kirk Douglas movie for each & every mood, let that chin dimple, enormous heart and big smile fill your screen, you’ll thank me later…..
One of my favorite Kirk Douglas quotes : I was not a tough guy. I just acted like one.
Sad News : the wonderful New Yorker JOHN SAXON has died : as an actor John worked in the movies since the mid 50’s and is mostly know for starring in Westerns and Horror Movies, he will always be remembered for playing small but significant roles in the likes of Black Christmas, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, alongside Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon, opposite Clint Eastwood in Joe Kidd and Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece Tenebrae : John’s birth name was Carmine Orrico, he could speak Italian and had a black belt in Karate that became pretty useful for his tough guy movie roles – he died in Tennessee aged 83
Trying to pick 15 Movies that have stood out, excited & impressed the hell out of me in 2015 has been a difficult task and one that I started compiling over two weeks back – when making a Best of List it’s important to view the movie multiple times and for me personally I never choose any movie on pure sentiment, take the Star Wars movie for example, I’m a huge geek when it comes to them movies but it would be unfair of me to name it as one of my favorite movies purely on past glories, the movie has to be better than that and deserve a place by merit – everybody has their own personal favorites, whether it be at home or at the cinema movies are there to be enjoyed – don’t take my Top 15 as gospel and certainly don’t let friends or film critics decide what you watch, the beauty is we are all movie critics and we all have our own opinions – so if you’ve not seen some of these movies, give them a try and then compile your own list of Your Favorite Movies of 2015….