Bill and Ted discuss Fritz Lang’s 1927 landmark silent science-fiction drama “Metropolis” where utopia collides with dystopia and the head of the planner desperately needs a mediator for the hand of the worker. Gustav Fröhlich stars as Freder, the privileged son of Johann Fredersen (Alfred Abel), the technocratic designer and overlord of the futuristic city Metropolis who falls in the love with Maria (Brigitte Helm), a kind-hearted woman and the spiritual leader of the workers. Maria and Freder’s dream of a better tomorrow for the whole of Metropolis meets resistance in the face of a mad-scientist bent on revenge. Metropolis is a kind of masterclass blueprint for nearly a century of epic world-building cinema. At every turn there is some archetypical concept, theme, character, visual image, or moment that viewers will recognize from a multitude of films. With its mix of politics, religion, science-fiction, action, futurism, and romance, Lang’s Metropolis is a highly influential film that has left an indelible imprint on generations of film makers.
Bill and Ted discuss Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 darkly satirical “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” a film that invites viewers to question their general safety and sanity, and maybe even their precious bodily fluids. It’s a movie about geopolitics, atomic bombs, loyalty, patriotism, fluoridation, and fear … not your usual topics for a comedy but if you can’t laugh you might have to cry. Dr Strangelove is as fresh today as it was at the height of Cold War nuclear proliferation.
Bill and Ted discuss John Huston’s 1948 film “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” featuring Humphrey Bogart as an out of work American Fred C. Dobbs who convinces an old prospector (Walter Huston) to help him and a buddy (Tim Holt) mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains of 1920’s Mexico. Huston provides a rich character study of the three central characters as they deal with the dangers of greed and the length people will go to get material riches.
Bill and Ted discuss Frank Capra’s 1944 film “Arsenic and Old Lace” featuring Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster, a theatre critic who finds unexpected drama of his own tucked away in his aunts’ window seat on Oct 31st in Brooklyn New York when he and his bride come to tell the family the good news of their sudden nuptials. Hoping to quickly skip town for a honeymoon in Niagra Falls, Mortimer and his new wife Elaine (Priscilla Lane) become embroiled in a macabre comedy of errors as Mortimer struggles to contain the situation. This is broad, physical, and at times gallows humour filled with some great performances, even if Grant was unhappy with his own. If you find Capra to be sentimental and overly serious, have no fear; this film is far less sappy and much more on the silly side.
Bill and Ted discuss Lee Thompson’s 1962 suspense thriller “Cape Fear,” featuring Robert Mitchum as Max Cady a hardened convict seeking revenge on prosecutor Sam Bowden, played by Gregory Peck, who helped send him away to prison for 8 eight years. Tension in this black and white film noir inspired pulp-fiction thriller mounts as Cady threatens Bowden’s wife and teenage daughter as the prosecutor is faced with the prospect of having to take the law into his own hands.
Bill and Ted discuss Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” a film that has become something of a holiday classic. Yet all is not Christmas carols and lighted trees as Capra’s film delves into some probing self-evaluation on the question “What is one life worth to others in a marriage, family, and community.” If you enjoyed this film you may also like these; here are Ted’s Picks: Scrooged (1988), Always (1989), The Family Man (2000)
Bill and Ted discuss the Michael Curtiz classic WWII film “Casablanca,” known for its film noir cinematic style, iconic romantic performances by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman and the classic song, “As Time Goes By.” If you enjoyed this film you may also like these; here are Ted’s Picks: The Maltese Falcon (1941), Notorious (1946), Citizen Kane (1941)