DVDs In My Collection [H - Z]

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Tags: 
  • HAMLET [1980. The benchmark BBC version starring Derek Jacobi. The best Hamlet I've ever seen.]
  • HANNIBAL [2001. Ridley Scott should have had the guts to be true to the book. The ending is entirely different, and one important character was excised. These are the two most offensive things about the movie. Scott, unfortunately, is a director who cares little for anything other than the visual qualities of his movies. I would rather the filming of Harris's book had been Scott free.]
  • A HARD DAY'S NIGHT [1964. The Beatles first movie was very well served by Richard Lester, whose style in this work was hugely influential.]
  • HATARI! [1961. I plead not guilty. My mother wanted this.]
  • THE HAUNTING [1963. Dir. Robert Wise.]
  • HENRY V [1989. Kenneth Branagh's version of this great historical play rivals, perhaps surpasses, that made in the 40s by Laurence Olivier. In any case, we are lucky to have both.]
  • HIS GIRL FRIDAY [1940.]
  • HORSE FEATHERS [1932. The Marx Bros. go to college.]
  • HOW THE WEST WAS WON [1962. All star cast, and the story gave new meaning to the term 'epic'. Filmed in a process that used three parallel cameras and joined the three resulting images to make one big one. Amusingly, the joins are often very visible with colour differences between the three parts of the image.]
  • THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST [1952. I haven't seen the recent remake and I have no desire to. I can't imagine it's in any way better than this utterly delicious original.]
  • INHERIT THE WIND [1960. Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, and especially Fredric March, give very vivid performances in this courtroom drama based on the actual 'Scopes Monkey Trial' of 1925, in which a school teacher was put on trial for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution.]
  • INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE [1994. My second favorite vampire movie after Bram Stoker's Dracula.]
  • INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS [1998. Good remake of the 1956 original (the star of which, Kevin McCarthy, has a small role here). Effective blend of sf and horror.]
  • IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE [1946. An undeniable classic of the sentimental fantasy genre. Surprisingly long running time of over two hours, but never dull.]
  • THE INVISIBLE MAN [1933. James Whale, who gave us Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, also gave us this very amusing version of the H.G.Wells novel.]
  • IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD [1963. A sentimental favorite. I can clearly remember seeing this at the cinema when it was first released, even though I was *very* young at the time. It was dazzling in Cinerama on the big screen. As for the humor, well, some of it still works. But what a line-up of comedy stars from the old days - one of the most amazing casts ever assembled.]
  • JAWS [1975.]
  • JFK [1991.]
  • THE KILLING [1956. One of Stanley Kubrick's earliest films. I had never seen it before buying the DVD - if you can't buy Kubrick on spec, who can you buy on spec? But unfortunately the thing is spoiled for me by something utterly unexpected and utterly ridiculous. The actress playing the bad-girl role sports a truly laughable hair-do that must surely have been laughable even back in the 50s. In any case, the dopey do unfailingly distracts me and I can't take the movie seriously because of it. Straight up.]
  • KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS [1949. Perhaps the best of the several excellent comedies to come out of Ealing Studios. Alec Guinness plays eight members of the one family, but the acting kudos must be shared with Dennis Price who gives probably the best performance of his career.]
  • KING LEAR [1982. The BBC version starring Michael Hordern. Not yet seen.]
  • THE LADYKILLERS [1955. Another Ealing Studios comedy starring Alec Guinness. For my taste, not as funny as Kind Hearts and Coronets, but it does have the advantage of colour photography. I'll be interested to see the new American version starring Tom Hanks.]
  • LAST ACTION HERO [1993. Perhaps Big Arnie's most under-rated movie. Much more fun than True Lies, for example.]
  • THE LAST EMPEROR [1987. The story of the last emperor of China. Fascinating historical epic.]
  • THE LAST MAN ON EARTH [1964. For sci-fi buffs, this is the first movie version of Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend; the second was THE OMEGA MAN. There were plans to make a third starring, perhaps, Big Arnie, but the project seems to have drifted back into pre-production limbo. This old black-and-whiter stars Vincent Price, ex-king of schlock horror, and is surprisingly interesting. Reminds me a bit of Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.]
  • THE LAVENDER HILL MOB [1951. Ealing Studios comedy starring Alec Guinness. Makes fun of both the crooks and the cops. A man with the opportunity to steal gold bullion meets a man with the means of smuggling it out of the country. They recruit a couple of experienced assistants and, voila! But one little schoolgirl lands them in prison.]
  • LES MISERABLES [1978.]
  • LICENCE TO KILL [1989. One of my favorite James Bond adventures.]
  • THE LONGEST DAY [1962. The longest cast list, too. More than 40 International and Hollywood stars. Would make an interesting (but very long) double bill with Saving Private Ryan]
  • LOST IN SPACE [1998. Cool menu. I lived for the TV series when I was a pre-adolescent. And most of the old Robinson Family have cameo parts.]
  • LORD OF THE RINGS - THE TWO TOWERS [2004. Found it. 2 disk edition. Good price.]
  • LORD OF THE RINGS - THE RETURN OF THE KING [2004. My brother has 'Fellowship' but we waited too long to get 'Two Towers' which now seems to be temporarily unavailable.]
  • MACBETH [1983. The BBC version starring Nicol Williams. Not yet seen.]
  • MACKENNA'S GOLD [Unusual western stars Gregory Peck but is stolen by Omar Sharif with a bravura performance. Gregory learns the location of a lost valley of gold from a old indian, but bad guy Omar wants it in the worst way.]
  • MAD MAX 2 - THE ROAD WARRIOR [1981. Driving stunts galore. And how could you not love a movie that has a Feral Kid whose weapon of choice is a razor sharp boomarang.]
  • THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE [1962. It's easy to see how this could have seemed plausible, even worrying, in the early 60s, but the fact is it greatly over-estimates the power of applied behavioural psychology. Still, very well made and remains worth watching.]
  • A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS [1966. Wonderfully acted true story of how Sir Thomas More, author of Utopia, was tried for treason and beheaded when he refused to okay Henry VIII's decision to remove England from the Catholic Church.]
  • MANHATTAN [1979. One of Woody Allen's best.]
  • THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK [1988. Strong cast, classic story. Entertaining.]
  • THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT [1951. Ealing Studios comedy starring Alec Guinness. Funny science fiction about a chemical genius who throws the textile industry into chaos by inventing a fabric that is self-cleaning and never wears out.]
  • THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING [Story by Rudyard Kipling (Old joke: He: Do you like Kipling? She: I don't know, I've never kippled), acting by Michael Caine and Sean Connery.]
  • MARS ATTACKS! [1996. "When I'm calling you...ooo...ooo, ooo, ooo...ooo, ooo, ooo!"]
  • MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN [1994. A magnificent failure. Good ingredients but the broth is spoiled. Not without interest - fascinating in the way of many disasters.]
  • MEMOIRS OF AN INVISIBLE MAN [1992. Underrated variant on the Invisble Man idea. Worth seeing, not least for seeing the very see-worthy Daryl Hannah who remains visible throughout and very easy on the eyes.]
  • METROPOLIS [1927. Fully restored digitally remastered version. With the musical score originally composed for it and newly recorded (Dolby 5.1 or 2.0). Commentary by a film historian, plus a heap of extras on a second disk. And very reasonably priced. Hog Heaven for serious sf and movie fans.]
  • A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM [1981. BBC production.]
  • MILLER'S CROSSING [1990. Terrific gangster flick.]
  • MIMIC [1997. This is the giant cockroach movie you've been praying for. Do not eat while watching - in fact, have a bucket within reach. If slime and excrement and subterranean filth and dismembered bug parts gross you out, don't watch. Otherwise, enjoy!]
  • MISERY [1990. They say it doesn't do justice to the book, but I haven't read the book, so I can enjoy it on its own terms. Cathy Bates and James Caan are both great.]
  • MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL [1974. You thought I was going to quote, didn't you. Ni!]
  • MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN [1979. Blasphemy was never so funny. Not blasphemy? Irreligion then.]
  • THE MUMMY RETURNS [2001. And we have this to thank for The Scorpion King.]
  • MURPHY'S WAR [1971. Little-known WW2 actioner that steals several of its plot elements from the much superior The African Queen. Worth seeing for Peter O'Toole's performance and the flying sequences.]
  • MY DARLING CLEMENTINE [1946. Great version of the Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, OK Corral story. Henry Fonda as Earp, Victor Mature as Holliday.]
  • NETWORK [1976. Still great. Great stars, scipt, direction. Still timely, too.]
  • NEWSFRONT [1978. It's about the movie crews that used to go around filming the news stories that used to be shown in cinemas before the main movie came on. Contains much actual footage set within a mainly fictional context. Set in Australia in the 50s. One of the stories is about the flood that devastated the next town up the valley from where I live.]
  • NICK OF TIME [1995. Nice neat little suspenser with Johnny Depp and Christopher Walken.]
  • NIGHT OF THE HUNTER [1955. Visually striking, unusual, in some ways ahead of its time. About a serial murderer posing as a wandering preacher. Outstanding performance by Robert Mitchum. The only film to be directed by the highly regarded actor Charles Laughton.]
  • NINE TO FIVE [1980. Another one I got to please my mother, but it's okay.]
  • NORTH BY NORTHWEST [1959. One of Hitchcock's best. Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.]
  • NOTHING TO LOSE [1997. Not a great comedy, but the laughs keep coming.]
  • NOTORIOUS! [1946. Another of Hitchcock's best. Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.]
  • O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? [2000. Very funny, based on a truly classic plot (you could hardly get more classic), and with some very enjoyable music.]
  • THE ODD COUPLE [1967. Not as good as I expected, what with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in the lead roles.]
  • OLIVER! [1968]
  • THE OMEGA MAN [1971. Probably my favorite apocalyptic sf movie, though it isn't really true to the novel.]
  • ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA [1984. Sergio Leone, director of the best spagetti westerns, tries his hand at a gangster movie. This is undeniably a great gangster movie, but not the greatest.]
  • ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST [1968. Sergio Leone gave us this, the acme of spagetti westerns. Great cast, and also boasts a masterpiece musical score by Ennio Morricone.]
  • ON THE WATERFRONT [1954. One of the movies that made the reputation of Marlon Brando.]
  • OPERATION PACIFIC [1951. John Wayne plays the skipper in this typical WW2 submarine movie.]
  • OTHELLO [1995. Laurence Fishburne as Othello (the first black man to play the role on screen) and Kenneth Branagh as Iago.]
  • PAINT YOUR WAGON [1969. I admit this is not among the greatest movie musicals, but something about it appeals to me - perhaps it's the anarchy.]
  • PANIC ROOM [2002. Not a bad thriller, though the ending is a bit lame.]
  • A PASSAGE TO INDIA [1984. Some of those involved, including David Lean the director, were too old to do a first class job, but, even so, this is a good movie.]
  • PATHS OF GLORY [1957. This will always be a powerful indictment of war, particularly WW1. The title comes from a once-famous poem, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard", by Thomas Gray, which I also strongly recommend.]
  • PATTON [1969. Perhaps George C.Scott's strongest performance after his amazingly great one in Dr Strangelove.]
  • THE PEACEMAKER [1997. George Clooney (mucho macho gung-ho) tames Nicole Kidman (determined to show a blonde can do a man's job) and the bad guys in this often unintentionally amusing actioner.]
  • PEEPING TOM [1960. Ahead of its time serial killer movie that caused such a scandal in Britain that the career of its maker was ruined. Now recognised as an excellent example of the genre.]
  • PETER PAN [1953. When I was a very young kid I had a Little Golden Book that was gorgeously illustrated with images from this movie. So when, decades later, it was re-released on DVD I snapped it up soonest. Ah, nostalgia!]
  • PITCH BLACK [2000. Pretty good sf, with an interesting moral/ethical theme I might write about some time.]
  • PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES [1987. The movie I prefer to remember John Candy by, and a great one for Steve Martin, too. Sure, it's a 'feel good' pic, but sometimes you need to feel good.]
  • PLANET OF THE APES [1967. The superior original that, after a slow opening 15 or 20 minutes, still entertains.]
  • PREDATOR 2 [1990. My brother has P1.]
  • THE PRINCESS BRIDE [1987. I wonder how many people who haven't seen this would love it, if only they could get past the title.]
  • PSYCHO [1960. The original, of course.]
  • PULP FICTION [1994. Certainly one of the most notable films of the 90s.]
  • THE PUPPET MASTERS [1994. Usually underrated and compared unfavorably to sf movies that are only vaguely similar.]
  • RAGING BULL [1980. Boxing movies usually do nothing for me, but this one is special. Great performances by Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, great direction by Martin Scorsese. Based on the boxer's autobiography. Warning! contains the strongest foul language of any movie I've ever seen.]
  • RAT RACE [2001.Funny movie ripped off somewhat from It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.]
  • REAR WINDOW [1954. Hitchcock had more best than any other director. This is another of his best.]
  • REBECCA [1940. See Rear Window.]
  • RED DRAGON [2002. Don't listen to anyone who says Manhunter is better; it isn't.]
  • RED HEAT [1988. I like this for the comedy. James Belushi gives great deadpan. "That suit ain't gonna explode, is it?"]
  • RED RIVER [1948. A very rare case of John Wayne playing the unsypathetic character (against Monty Clift). Easily the best 'cattle drive' western.]
  • THE REMAINS OF THE DAY [1993. A great and under-appreciated film. Very re-watchable.]
  • RICHARD III [1995. This is Sir Ian McKellan's version (he played Gandalf the Wizard in LOTR). Set in an alternate-history 30s Britain.]
  • THE RIGHT STUFF [1983. Wonderful movie, and the soundtrack is one of the best I've heard.]
  • ROBOCOP [1987. Terrifically entertaining sf from the director who was to give us Starship Troopers. "Your move, creep!"]
  • ROB ROY [1995. Peppered with good scenes, e.g., the tavern confrontation, the bridge escape, the dead cow, the raped wife's revenge. And the climactic sword fight is one of the best ever put on film.]
  • ROCKETSHIP X-M [1950.]
  • ROLLERBALL [1975. Back in the 70s, team roller-skating on banked tracks was a very popular and televised sport. It seems to have died, for all I can tell. This sf movie is set in a dystopia in which the masses are kept in check by addiction to a deadly form of the game. It is actually much better than it sounds.]
  • ROMEO AND JULIET [1968.]
  • ROPE [1948. An amazing experiment by director Hitchcock: the movie is made up of unedited scenes that are each a reel long. The 'making of' is fascinating. And, of course, the movie's good too.]
  • ROSEMARY'S BABY [1968. Is she the victim of witchcraft or her own insanity? Either way, a classic horror movie.]
  • RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP [1958. Excellent submarine movie starring Burt Lancaster and Clark Gable.]
  • SALVADOR 1985.]
  • SCREAMERS [1996. "Can I go with you?"]
  • THE SEARCHERS [1956. Star John Wayne + director John Ford = classic western.]
  • SEVEN SAMURAI [1954. Original full length version restored and remastered.]
  • SHADOW OF A DOUBT [1942. A girl finds out that her favorite uncle murders rich widows for a living. Second-rate Hitchcock, but not bad.]
  • SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE [1998. Can be enjoyed by fans of The Bard who don't take themselves too seriously.]
  • SHANE [1952. Classic western.]
  • THE SHINING [1980. I've re-assessed this movie. I used to think the acting was unbearably hammy, but now I see there is a consistent progression in Jack Nicholson's performance. Kubrick achieves some truly disturbing scenes.]
  • SHINING THROUGH [1992. For my mother. Chick flick WW2 movie. Our heroine spies against the Nazis in a thoroughly unbelievable way. Good parts and bad parts, some so bad they're funny.]
  • SHREK [2001. If you buy only one animated feature on DVD, make it this one. But make sure you buy Toy Story too :-]
  • THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS [1990. Superb color definition really improves the look of the film.]
  • SINGIN' IN THE RAIN [1951.]
  • SLEEPY HOLLOW [1999. Oscar for Art Direction very well deserved.]
  • SOME LIKE IT HOT [1959. Classic comedy. Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe.]
  • THE SOUND OF MUSIC [1965. For my mother.]
  • SOYLENT GREEN [1973. The sort of sf movie that pisses off lots of people. Not as bad as it's painted. Very much an artifact of its time.]
  • SPELLBOUND [1945. Second-rate Hitchcock is still close to first-rate.]
  • STAND BY ME [1986. One of the better movies based on Stephen King's work; in this case his novella or longish story 'The Body'. Cast of youngsters who had careers ahead of them.]
  • STAR MAN [1984. E.T. for adults.]
  • STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT [1996.]
  • STAR TREK: GENERATIONS [1994. Great to see the old and new crews in the same movie.]
  • STAR TREK: INSURRECTION [1998.]
  • STEPHEN KING'S IT [1990. A tv mini-series based on my favorite Stephen King novel. And the commentary is worth listening to.]
  • STEPHEN KING'S ROSE RED [2001. King's attempt at the definitive haunted house movie (mini-series).]
  • STEPHEN KING'S THE SHINING [1997. Mini-series version. Truer to the book (e.g., does not omit the really scary topiary).]
  • THE STING [1973. The best movie about con men?]
  • STONE [1974. An Australian biker movie. Pretty bad, but it has historical importance in Aussie cinema.]
  • STRANGERS ON A TRAIN [1951. One of Hitchcock's best. (You just have to keep saying that.) Bruno Antony is a very memorable character. A two-sided disc with two cuts of the movie: the British (raunchier) and the American]
  • SUPERMAN [1978. Special edition. I'd almost forgotten how good this is; and this edition has extra scenes, plus lots of other extras.]
  • SUPERMAN II [1980. Same great cast, and the story is a continuation, so it's virtually Part 2 of one big mega-super movie. After viewing: Unfortunately this isn't even half as good a movie as the first. I'm seriously thinking of looking for a sucker to offload this to.]
  • SUPERNOVA [1999.]
  • SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS [1957. Hard-as-nails story of the influence of newspaper columnists on show-biz. Stars Bert Lancaster and Tony Curtis (in perhaps his best dramatic role).]
  • THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE [1974. Still a very entertaining movie. Walter Matthau is fabulous in this.]
  • THE THING [1982. John Carpenter's version. Interesting commentary by Carpenter and Kurt Russell.]
  • THE THIRD MAN [1949.]
  • THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS [1935. One of the best from the early stage of Hitchcock's long career.]
  • THE TIME MACHINE [1960. A childhood favorite of mine. I must have seen this at least a dozen times on TV over the years. I haven't played the DVD yet, but it's supposed to have a commentary by Rod Taylor, which I am eagerly looking forward to. Later: Not a commentary by Taylor, but a 'Making of' which is hosted by him. We get the checkered history of the machine, the prop, after its use in the movie. We get a rundown on pre-computer special effects. And, best of all, we get a mini-sequel; a scene starring Taylor and Alan Young (played the Time Traveller's best friend) in which the TT returns when they are both old (of course), and it's quite well done.]
  • THE TIME MACHINE [2002. Nowhere near as good as the 60s version, but I couldn't resist buying it.]
  • TIMESCAPE [1992. a.k.a. Grand Tour: Disaster in Time. Excellent little sf movie about time travel as a tourist activity.]
  • TO CATCH A THIEF [1954. Not one of Hitchcock's best, but it stars Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (and it's spooky to see them driving the roads on which GK was later to meet her death.]
  • TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD [1962. Good right up the the final scenes, which I don't buy.
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    Would you let a guy with a reputation for weirdness and who has just killed someone play freely with your kids?
    ]
  • TOM JONES [1963. Academy Award winner for Best Picture, but time has not treated it well, imo.]
  • TOP SECRET! [1984. Not as funny as Airplane, but pretty funny - and oddball. With commentary by Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers.]
  • TOPSY TURVY [1999.]
  • TOUCH OF EVIL [1958. This version re-edited in 1986 to accord with written instructions left by director Orson Welles (who died in '85). So it's virtually a director's cut. Visually interesting b&w movie. I need to watch it again.]
  • TOY STORY [1995. Okay, it's an animated movie for kids; but it and its sequel are of the very highest quality, and quality this high is rare and to be treasured.]
  • TOY STORY 2 [1999. As good as, perhaps better than, Toy Story.]
  • TREMORS [1989. Giant carnivorous worms, anyone?]
  • TWELVE ANGRY MEN [1957. A recent remake was quite good, but this original is probably superior. A jury-room drama rather than a courtroom drama.]
  • UNFORGIVEN [1992. The best western of the 90s, not that it had a lot of competition. I have the 10th Anniversary Edition, with lots of extras.]
  • VERTIGO [1958. Yet another of Hitchcock's best.]
  • VICTOR/VICTORIA [1982.]
  • THE VIKINGS [1958. I bought this by mistake. I thought it was a chilhood fave of mine (vaguely remebered, obviously), The Long Ships. But it's not bad. It may even be better than the movie I thought it was. Stars Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine, and Janet Leigh (who was, or was to become Tony Cutis's wife and the mother of Jamie lee Curtis).]
  • VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED [1995.]
  • THE WAGES OF FEAR [1953. A movie that made a huge impression on me when I saw it as a youngster. Still works well as a thriller.]
  • WALKABOUT [1971.]
  • WAR GAMES [1983.]
  • WEST SIDE STORY [1961.]
  • THE WICKER MAN [1973. Unusual British horror story. A straight-laced Christian policeman is called to a small island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. He is appalled to find the islanders are pagan nature-worshippers.]
  • THE WILD BUNCH [1969. The Director's Cut.]
  • WILD THINGS [1998.]
  • WONDER BOYS [2000. Very funny, and a rare example of realistic (= believable) comedy.]
  • YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN [1974. To fully appreciate Mel Brooks's masterpiece you need to watch the two Frankenstein movies directed by James Whale in the 30s.]
  • ZARDOZ [1974. Embarrassingly bad but interesting movie from a usually reliable director, John Boorman.]
  • ZULU [1964. True story of the Battle of Rorke's Drift in which 139 British (Welsh) soldiers held off a force of Zulu warriors estimated to be in excess of 4000. Several posthumous Victoria Crosses were awarded.]
Author Comments: 

Why do I buy so many DVDs? Well, they are getting cheaper; and have you tried to watch a movie on commercial television lately? - I can't bear to do it any more.

Yes, okay, so my division of this list into # - G and H - Z is a bit lopsided. I'll just have to buy more titles from the early part of the alphabet.

I agree that Scott was a horrible choice to direct HANNIBAL. Oh, and I agree (again) that MANHUNTER was absolutely dreadful.