With every round of expirations, Netflix brings in a host of new titles, some “new new,” some repeats (titles that had previously expired, now returning to the fold). As usual, I keep up with new stuff on Netflix by visiting this fine site. Here are a few noteworthy films that became available today:
Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) – Needs no introduction – hands down, the best-loved black-hearted noir of all time, and a powerful love story in more ways than one.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Terence Fisher, 1959) – One of Fisher’s best-known films, as well as the best-known Sherlock movie from between the period between Rathbone and Brett.
The Paper Chase (James Bridges, 1973) – It’s been ages since I first watched this Oscar-winning dramedy, but I recall it fondly, especially as its low-key humor contrasted well against the awful Love Story, which squandered a very similar milieu. And yes, it’s legendary Welles compadre/nemesis John Houseman who steals the show.
Monkey Business (Howard Hawks, 1952) – Confession time: with the exception of His Girl Friday and (although it’s more of an adventure-comedy) Hatari!, I have a tough time loving Hawks’ straight-up comedies. And this one’s no exception. Nevertheless, Monkey Business, his fifth and final collaboration with Cary Grant, is considered major by enough Hawksians that it’s impossible to ignore. So go for it – scientist Grant and his wife (Ginger Rogers) accidentally ingest a youth serum, resulting in hijinks that prefigure Star Trek‘s “The Naked Time” by over 15 years. Game cast, impeccable construction, and Marilyn. (And a monkey!)
Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann, 1992) – Not just a terrific romantic epic but a key film in the evolution of Mann’s aesthetic. Thrilling and essential.
People Will Talk (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1951) – If you didn’t know any better, you might guess that People Will Talk is one of Grant’s screwball comedies. The reality is far stranger – Grant’s at his most serious, and the plot, more of a moral fable than a comedy, is short on laughs. People Will Talk is a key film in understanding Mankiewicz, who created verbal spaces that were often as elaborate as anyone else’s visual ones. With Jeanne Crain and that magnificent hulk, Finlay Currie.
Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh, 2008) – Sally Hawkins was robbed of an Oscar nomination (not to mention the prize itself) for her breakout role in Mike Leigh’s unusual “comedy”; as was Eddie Marsan. When you see Happy-Go-Lucky, which, as Joey LaMotta once said to Jake, you most definitely should do, you’ll find out why. A one-of-a-kind film with terrific acting all around.
Bully (Larry Clark, 2001) – Arguably Clark’s greatest film, a disturbing tale that places its inciting incident (the murder, by multiple perpetrators, of a sadistic bully) towards the final third of its running time. Absolutely essential.
Also worth a look:
Beat (Gary Walkow, 2000); Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer, 2000), Young Adult (Jason Reitman, 2011); Corpo Celeste (Alice Rohrwacher, 2011); and, what the heck, it’s my favorite utterly tasteless Hollywood schlockbuster of all time, Bad Boys II (Michael Bay, 2003)