Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Science Fiction, Double Feature

I am slowly building a DVD collection and the other day I watched one episode of the TV series Dragnet (1953) followed by an episode from the TV series Decoy (1957). Both are in black and white, both are from the 1950's, and both are cops shows. They just seemed to go together. That got me thinking. What movies would be perfect "at home" double features? The first two I thought of were both science fiction movies from the nineteen-fifties. When I reached 16 pairs I stopped but could have gone on.

The list and the reason why I put the two movies I picked together.

1. Them (1954) and The Thing From Another World (1951)

It's the early nineteen-fifties and Americans are worried about...???
The Atomic bomb and invasion by the Russians. But we don't want to talk about it so instead we scare the heck out of ourselves by making great little movies like these two.

2. Bird (1988) and Ray (2004)

Drugs are bad, MMMMMKAY? But you can make beautiful music when you're on them.

3. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and The Bonnie Parker Story (1958)

Movie Tagline for Bonnie and Clyde:
They're young, they're in love, and they kill people

Movie Tagline for The Bonnie Parker Story:
Cigar Smoking Hellcat of the Roaring Thirties!

Uh, excuse me, but it was the Roaring Twenties, not the Roaring Thirties.

The Bonnie Parker Story
is Bonnie and Clyde produced on a very tiny budget. It's B-movie all the way. The good news is it is only 79 minutes long and Dorothy Provine is great as Bonnie.

4. Paths Of Glory (1957) and The Execution of Private Slovik (1974)

Plot of Paths of Glory from IMDb: When soldiers in WWI refuse to continue with an impossible attack, their superiors decide to make an example of them.

Plot of The Execution of Private Slovik: A WWII soldier is executed for desertion as an example to other soldiers.

Two great anti-war movies. Execution is based on the real story of Private Eddie Slovik; the only American soldier executed for desertion during WWII and the only American soldier executed since the Civil War.

5. Dr. Strangelove: or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb (1964) and Fail-Safe (1964)

Worries about "The Bomb" continue and in 1964 two movies address that fear. One makes fun of it and the other makes that fear very real.

6. Fail-Safe (1964) and Fail-Safe (2000)

In 2000 George Clooney produced a live television performance of Fail-Safe. How different is it from the original movie production? Watch and find out.

7. La Femme Nikita (1990) and Point of No Return (1993)

Hollywood loves to remake foreign films and water them down for American consumption. La Femme is a perfect example of this. In the original Nikita deliberately kills someone and is picked for a secret government assassin group. In Point Of No Return the killing is accidental and done while Nikita is high on drugs. By the time this movie was made into a TV series, again called La Femme Nikita (1997), Nikita stumbles on a dead body and is falsely accused of murder. The movie also loses its visual style in its tumble down the Hollywood rabbit hole.

8. The Big Heat (1953) and Experiment In Terror (1962)

The only two movies with Glen Ford that I like and it's not because of him. It's because of the stories.

9. The Lady Eve (1941) and Ball Of Fire (1941)

Nineteen-forty-one was a great year for Barbara Stanwyck. These are two of her best movies. And it's not just because of the stories. It's mostly because of her.

10. All The President's Men (1976) and Dick (1999)

Got to see the first one to understand and really enjoy the humor in the second one.

11. In Cold Blood (1967) and Capote (2005)

I'm not sure in which order to watch these two movies. Do I watch the movie In Cold Blood which is based on the book In Cold Blood first? Or do I watch the movie that shows the author of the book researching the true story that the book is based on before it was made into the movie? Decisions, decisions.

12. The Apartment (1960) and Glengarry Glen Ross (AKA 'Death of a
F'ing Salesman') (1992)

See what would have happened to 'Bud' Baxter 30 years later if he hadn't found Fran Kubelik.

13. The Haunting (1963) and The Others (2001)

Proof that you do not have to be shown anything to be scared out of your wits.

14. Jailhouse Rock (1957) and Cry Baby (1990)

Well it's a one for the money,
Two for the show,
Three to get ready now go cat go and don't cha,
Step on my blue suede shoes.
You can do anything but stay off of my blue suede shoes.

15. Animal House (1978) and The Blues Brothers (1980)

The best of John Belushi. Sadly, two years after the making of Blues Brothers Belushi was dead from a drug overdose at the age of thirty-three.

16. Frida (2002) and Lust For Life (1956)

Two wonderfully visual movies about two passionate artist. The colors are so rich they almost drip off the screen.

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