S.O.B. (1981)

Blake Edwards was mad at Hollywood. He’d gone through some things, man, and now he had a whole lot of beef with the entire cynical, money-grubbing, back-stabbing lot. In 1981, after making a comeback with mega-hits The Pink Panther and 10, he started on a nasty little poison pen letter to Tinseltown called S.O.B., short for “standard operational bullshit,” otherwise known as the way Hollywood always works.

Flamingo Road (1949)

Joan Crawford is Lane Bellamy, a hoochie dancer with a heart of gold, who runs the gamut from fallen woman to girl trying to make good to rich society dame, with all the requisite melodrama that entails.

Torch Song (1953)

If you had to pick one best thing about the camp classic Torch Song (1953) — as if it’s even possible to do so, but let’s pretend — it’s that Joan Crawford’s Broadway diva Jenny Stewart is a stone cold monster.

Demon Seed (1977)

Demon Seed, previously available only on DVD, is now also available in Blu-ray from Warner Archive. It’s a heady mix of frightening and campy, the kind of film that would do equally well in a double feature with Alien or with Terrorvision (go go Gerrit Graham film marathon!)

Finian’s Rainbow (1968)

Finian’s Rainbow wasn’t a box office smash, but it’s a fun film, family friendly, the songs are unabashed standards, and it’s part of Hollywood history.

The Yakuza (1974)

The Yakuza is a strange little mash-up of neo-noir and yakuza-eiga. It didn’t do well at the box office, but has become a cult classic in the years since.

Love in the Afternoon (1957)

Love in the Afternoon is a lesser Billy Wilder film, certainly, but its high points make up for its lulls. Chevalier is fantastic as Claude Chavasse, and in his scenes with Cooper or Hepburn, he elevates their performances noticeably. McGiver is astonishingly good as M. X, and Lisa Bourdin as his wife isn’t given much to do but just exudes charisma. The film is gorgeous to look at and a whole lot of light, fun entertainment.

Bells Are Ringing (1960)

Even if Holliday wasn’t sure about Martin’s work ethic, it’s undeniable that they made an adorable couple on screen. Martin is pitch perfect as the playboy on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the kind of guy who knows every famous person on stage and screen and yet manages to be the kind of wide-eyed naïf who believes in fairy tales and guardian angels. And Judy Holliday is, well Judy Holliday. She’s amazing.

Battleground (1949)

This print may be gorgeous, but Battleground is grimy. This is a film that is down in the dirt and the snow, eye-level with the foxholes (and, presumably, latrines) as they’re being dug. Everyone is caked in dirt and lord knows what else — in Kinnie’s (James Whitmore’s) case, it’s post-chewed tobacco and saliva. They’re underfed, under-informed, used and abused and forced to wear boots that don’t fit while marching about a thousand miles a day. This may sound strange to say to the uninitiated, but it’s the filth that makes Battleground so great.

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Bad Day is mostly known as being an allegory for McCarthyism as well as a statement against the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, but it’s also a taut thriller based on good old-fashioned persecution fantasy, especially considering the quiet, amiable Macreedy is such a cipher that the bad guys can’t dig up even one detail on him that he doesn’t tell them himself. It’s also one of the quintessential examples of the overlap between film noir and western genres that produced such great films in the 1950s; listen to the “patriotic drunk” speech and tell me that couldn’t be picked up and plonked right down into a late-40s black and white noir starring Robert Mitchum.