Opinion: Piedmont student’s top ten movies, part one

by BOB CAREY, Contributing Writer

My wife and I used to be “movie buffs,” but we aren’t anymore. What started us on our retreat from the silver screen was the movie “Pulp Fiction.” It received every award possible, and we could hardly wait to see it.

What we saw was a movie with “the f-word” in almost every spoken line and meaningless violence from end to end. If there was a dramatic moment in that movie, we missed it. We have been picky ever since.

Different Hollywood groups come out with their list of “the greatest movies” every once in a while. They seem to think “Citizen Kane” is the greatest movie ever made. Granted, Orson Welles is a superb actor (he made the people of New Jersey think the Martians had actually landed, didn’t he?) but he can’t carry a movie that’s so gloomy.

I have watched “Citizen Kane” several times trying to see what they saw, but it just doesn’t “rattle my bones,” so I decided to make my own list of “The Ten Greatest Movies Ever Made.”

Two movies are tied for first place.

With  Franklin J. Schnaffer’s “Patton,” a group of liberals in Hollywood set out to teach us that “war is hell” and “make love not war,” but the deal backfired on them. What they did instead was show that General George Smith Patton was one of the greatest Americans that ever lived.

There are no words to describe George C. Scott’s portrayal of the general. Scott’s wife was quoted as saying “I’m glad the movie is over; I was tired of living with General Patton.” Scott threw everything he had into his performance, and it shows.

Next is a movie that makes you feel like you’re in it: “The French Connection.”

When “Popeye” Doyle is standing at a bar in a nightclub, chewing gum, drinking a cocktail and studying a group of hoodlums at a far table, you really feel like you are standing right next to him. When he is careening a car through the streets of New York City, how can you explain that camera work? You are in it!

Third in my list is “Bullitt,” featuring one of our greatest actors, Steve McQueen. He could say a whole paragraph with a facial expression, and he plies his trade in this film.

This is another movie that makes you feel like you are in it. Both “Bullitt” and “The French Connection” have superb car chases and masterful musical interludes in the first half. I wondered why, because they each have a different director, but then I saw that the producer was the same: Philip D’Antoni. What does that tell you?

Fourth on my list is “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” a masterful production. Alec Guiness’s portrayal of a “stiff-upper-lip” British officer is beyond reproach. The whole movie is an absolute miraculous offering of the movie industry.

Fifth is “On the Waterfront,” with so many stars you lose count. If this isn’t a real-life portrayal of what goes on in the Stevedore industry, nothing is. From it came the great Marlon Brando quote: “I coulda been a contenda. Now look at me. I’m nothin’ but a bum. That’s what I am – a bum.”

Look for part two in our next issue!