Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Underrated Dramas - Angela from Hollywood Revue ""

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Favorite Underrated Dramas - Angela from Hollywood Revue

Angela is a classic film aficionado from Detroit. She writes about her love of classic films over at The Hollywood Revue:
http://hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com/

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1. A Woman of Paris (1923)
In my book, A Woman of Paris is by far the most underrated movie Charlie Chaplin ever made. When it was released in 1923, audiences didn’t take to it since it isn’t a comedy and Chaplin doesn’t star in it. Instead, it was a vehicle for his first great leading lady, Edna Purviance. It’s too bad audiences in 1923 didn’t give it a chance because they missed out on one lavish and sophisticated drama. Plus I love seeing Edna as the star of a movie. She’s my favorite of Chaplin’s leading ladies; I wish she had been able to become a star in her own right.

2. In Name Only (1939)
I’ve got to hand it to a movie that takes what would have been one of the finest comedic casts ever assembled (Carole Lombard, Cary Grant, Kay Francis, and Charles Coburn) and then puts them in a drama. That is one bold casting move. But luckily, the cast is as good at drama as they are at comedy. A bit melodramatic at times, but the cast makes it very much worth watching.

3. East Side, West Side (1949)
East Side, West Side is one of my favorite movie discoveries of the past year. I’m very surprised that it isn’t a more remembered movie if only for its cast. It’s got Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason, Ava Gardner, Van Heflin, plus Cyd Charisse in a supporting role. Stanwyck, Mason, and Heflin were all great in it and Ava Gardner was so perfect as the conniving homewrecker. This movie easily could have been turned into pure melodrama, but its solid cast and direction from Mervyn LeRoy keep it engaging and smart rather than soapy.

4. Kings Row (1942)
I’d never really cared much about Ronald Reagan as an actor, but Kings Row really made me take notice of him. He was excellent in it and he’s the main reason why I like this movie so much. And if you want to see Charles Coburn playing against type, this is the movie to see. When I think of Charles Coburn, I tend to think of lighthearted comedies like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The More the Merrier. But in Kings Row, Coburn plays a downright sinister character and I sort of loved it.

5. Four Daughters (1938)
For being a Best Picture nominee, I’m surprised by how little attention Four Daughters seems to get nowadays. This movie made it very easy to care about a fictional family. The writing is great; even though it is primarily a drama, it also has just the right amount of comedy. The cast is outstanding and adds so much charm to the movie. Claude Rains is a perfect family patriarch and Priscilla Lane (a rather underrated actress, in my opinion) really gets a chance to shine. And you can’t talk about Four Daughters without mentioning John Garfield, who not only made his film debut in it, he also earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his performance.

1 comment:

Gravy Bread said...

I think some critics in mid-century considered A Woman of Paris a great classic but them its reputation vanished, much to my bafflement because I agree completely with you. I think it is not only one of the greatest silent movies but one of the finest movies ever, period.