The 1001 Movies Podcast

Greta Garbo has long been in the American cultural zeitgeist as the actress who "wanted to be alone", as her early retirement from Hollywood precluded her from a long career as an actress.  Ninotchka was her penultimate film, and it was billed as "Garbo Laughs!", as it was her first comedy, a fact that she had quite an issue with, particularly the scene in which she appeared drunk.

Garbo was in the good hands of Ernst Lubitsch, a German-born director who had made a string of successful comedies before and after Ninotchka.  The film became a critical and box office success, and remains surprisingly witty even today.  It is readily available on DVD and Amazon Instant Video.

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Direct download: Episode_6_Ninotchka_1939.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CST

Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder were pretty much a staple in my home growing up; at an early age I was indoctrinated with History of the World, Part 1 and Young Frankenstein, but never really got around to watching Blazing Saddles until years later.

This is the one that really put Mel Brooks on the map and, as I explain in the podcast, it paved the way for future comedies like Airplane!  Blazing Saddles was also, in a way, the last of a dying genre: since the 1980's comedies have seen box office success but, like horror movies, are often shunned by critics.  This film stands out as a testament both to Brooks the writer and director, and also to the time it was made.  It was recently released in a special edition on Blu Ray to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Direct download: Episode_5_Blazing_Saddles_1974.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CST

The French new wave movement of the 1950's and 1960's may not appeal to the majority of audiences today, but the genre is required viewing for any film fanatic.  Jean-Luc Godard's Week End came at the tail end of the movement, which may not make it an ideal introduction to the genre, but it's nevertheless a spectacle that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

Week End is currently available on Blu Ray and DVD via the Criterion Collection as well as on Hulu (don't confuse it with the 2011 Andrew Haigh film of the same name), and the transfer has probably never looked better since its initial release.

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Direct download: Episode_4_Week_End_1967.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CST

Long before he began churning out Hollywood fare featuring Johnny Depp, Tim Burton had been known for directing two movies, Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice, before he took the helm to direct Batman.  Those that were familiar with the kitschy 1960's television show likely didn't expect Burton to add such a dark twist to the material, and it became an instant hit, securing Burton on the map as filmmaker.

Despite its three sequels (some of which cause intense eye-rolling among film buffs) and an even darker reboot, Burton's Batman remains a classic spectacle, with wonderful performs and gothic set pieces.  It went on to win an Academy Award for Best Art Direction.

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Direct download: Episode_3_Batman_1989.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CST