Classic Films

What's Your Take on Cassavetes? Four Films

Faces by John Cassavetes

For someone who loves independent movies, it sure took me a heck of a long time to watch anything directed by John Cassavetes.

Maybe that is because I had heard how emotionally intense his films were, tapping into a vein of real life and forgoing any sense of escapism that most movies offer. Despite that hesitation, I am deeply satisfied that I took the time to watch four great films by this stalwart of early independent film, who took many menial acting jobs so he could make something great.

Shadows, Cassevetes' first film, is a defiant statement against mainstream culture, both in terms of cinema and society. It follows three African American siblings living in New York City, two of whom are trying to pass as white. The film was shot without a script, and its black and white, 16-millimeter film stock lacks the gloss of Hollywood pictures of the same year (North by Northwest or Ben-Hur for example). With its jazz score by Charles Mingus and its focus on urban youth in 1950's, Shadows is a must see for any fans of Beat writers or early independent film.

5 Classic Films with Zombies

Bela Lugosi in White Zombie

With the success of the TV series The Walking Dead, zombies are now considered one of the most popular monsters in pop culture. People who just recently became interested in zombie-related works may be surprised to learn how long zombies have existed in the public’s imagination. The following films provide plenty of thrills and chills featuring the undead:

5 Classic Monster Films in Our Library’s Collection

Gojira

During the summer’s excitement over the massive, new blockbusters, many older and more unusual films are neglected and ignored. These older monster films, though they lack the digital effects and huge budgets of more modern releases, are classics of their genre, with clever performances and intriguing plots. One day this summer, you may feel compelled to take a trip back in time and see some of these legendary movies for yourself.

Italian Neorealism: The Bicycle Thieves - Monday 10/24 at England Run

The Bicycle Thieves

Come join the England Run Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library for the second film in the Italian Neorealism film series, "The Bicycle Thieves" (1948) directred by Vittoria De Sica on Monday, October 24th at 7pm.

In postwar, poverty-stricken Rome, a man, hoping to support his desperate family with a new job, loses his bicycle, his main means of transportation for work. With his wide-eyed young son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief.

In the provided clip, Academy award winning director Martin Scorsese explains in his documentary "My Voyage to Italy,"  why "The Bicycle Thieves" was an influential film for him.

Italian with English subtitles.

Italian Neorealism: Rome, Open City

Rome, Open City by Roberto Rossellini

Come join the England Run Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library for the first film in the Italian Neorealism film series, "Rome, Open City" (1945) directed by Roberto Rossellini at 7pm on Monday, September 26th.

Roberto Rossellini’s revelation, a harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it.

Rossellini's "Rome, Open City" along with other Italian Neorealist films of the 1940s and 1950s had a major impact on Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese, who talked about their impact on his life in the video clip provided.

Italian with English Subtitles

To Catch a Thief

By Cary Grant, Grace Kelly

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Hitchcock cast his two favorite stars in this thriller. A retired American jewel thief living on the French Riviera seeks to prove his innocence by exposing the burglar who has been imitating his technique. Grace Kelly is the American heiress who wants to catch him--first as the burglar, and then as a husband.

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The Philadelphia Story

By Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart

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A sophisticated screwball comedy, rife with smart dialogue, The Philadelphia Story centers on the society event of the season: the second marriage of icy, judgmental, moneyed socialite Tracy Lord to nouveau riche George Kittredge. Her first husband, suave and devilish C.K. Dexter Haven, complicates matters by finagling wedding invitations for incognito reporter Mike Connor and his photographer Liz Imbrie, to do a tell-all exposé. But Haven's motives for giving the tabloid access to Tracy's big day may not be as mercenary and mean-spirited as they first appear.

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The Bishop's Wife

By Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven

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Cary Grant stars as an angel who materializes in answer to the prayers of a harried young bishop, David Niven. Niven's efforts to raise money for a new cathedral have endangered his marriage to beautiful Loretta Young. Grant enters the bishop's household hoping to end the problems plaguing the family, but instead the bishop's negelected wife becomes infatuated with him.

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Notorious

By Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains

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A beautiful woman with a tainted past is enlisted by American agent Devlin to spy on a ring of Nazis in post-war Rio. Her espionage work becomes life-threatening after she marries the most debonair of the Nazi ring, Alex. Only Devlin can rescue her, but to do so he must face his role in her desperate situation and acknowledge that he has loved her all along.

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North by Northwest

By Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason

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Advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill is mistaken for a government agent by a gang of spies. He gets involved in a series of misadventures and is pursued across the States by both the spies and the government as he is being helped by a mysterious blonde. This Hitchcock thriller is on the American Film Institute's Best 100 Films list.

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