Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Thrillers - Lindsey D. ""

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Underrated Thrillers - Lindsey D.

Lindsey runs and can be found on Twitter here:
Mad Love (1935)
Though fairly popular with classic film fans, Mad Love is underrated in the sense that it rarely appears on mainstream "best of" lists despite the fact that it matches (and in some cases, exceeds) the quality of more popular thriller titles. Falling under the medical thriller subgenre, Mad Love follows a surgeon who becomes obsessed with an opera singer. When the singer's husband gets his hands crushed in a train accident, the couple turns to the surgeon for help... only to have him replace the husband's hands with those of a killer. Though no longer attached to a murderer, the hands aren't quite done carrying out evil deeds. With a stellar lead performance by Peter Lorre and a plot that just gets crazier as it moves along, Mad Love is a must-watch.

Night Train to Munich (1940)
Yet another high-quality film that is somehow often ignored, Night Train to Munich is a British wartime thriller. (As a testament to its quality, this film has been released by Criterion.) It tells the story of Anna Bomasch. Along with her father Anna is captured by Germans during World War II and they attempt to sway her into working for the German cause. This is a film that blends thrills, music, romance and even a bit of comedy to tell a suspenseful and highly entertaining story. While not a straightforward thriller, it is certainly one of my favorites.

House by the River (1950)
Like Night Train to MunichHouse by the River is not exactly a straightforward thriller. It mixes mystery, noir, and a bit of courtroom drama with its thrills. Directed by the great Fritz Lang, House by the Riverhas slipped through the cracks in favor of some of Lang's other works -- Metropolis and Scarlet Street, for example. The lack of attention it gets is undeserved, for it is a very suspenseful, well-written and well-performed film. Louis Hayward stars as Stephen, an unsuccessful writer who accidentally kills his maid and then convinces his brother to help him hide the body.

Stage Fright (1950)
It may seem odd to include a Hitchcock film on an "underrated" list since he's such a well-known and well-loved director. However, this one fits because many Hitch enthusiasts and self-proclaimed experts consider it to be one of his least remarkable efforts. I have to disagree: I love this film. Jane Wyman stars as an aspiring actress who investigates a murder in attempt to clear a friend's name.Stage Fright is a film that plays many tricks on the viewer, and those surprises - in addition to strong performances by Marlene Dietrich and Jane Wyman - make it well worth a watch.

Kill Baby Kill (1966)
Mario Bava is best-known as a contributor to the creation of the "giallo" genre in Italian film -- in essence, pulpy thrillers. Kill Baby Killis regarded highly by fans of Bava but only seems to be appreciated by a small niche of classic film fans who enjoy Italian horror flicks. The film tells the story of a village in which murder victims keep turning up with silver coins embedded in their hearts. After a doctor who comes to investigate the case becomes the next victim, the town witch, Ruth, must attempt to solve the mystery herself. It's an appropriately eerie supernatural thriller. Kill Baby Kill also boasts remarkable cinematography, a collaboration between Bava and Antonio Rinaldi.

1 comment:

Jerry E said...

My type of choices, Lindsey D. The only film I do not know is "KILL BABY KILL".
"NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH" is a rollicking good ride, with much tension and excitement, offset nicely by Charters & Caldicot in their second filmic outing - those deliciously bumbling cricket-mad Englishmen!