Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wait a Minute, What's This Movie About?

Jonathan here again. Just recently Nathaniel asked about what movies you've walked out on. Well, maybe it was because you thought it was something else. Hey, it happens. Here are 10 movies, in alphabetical order, from the twenties to the seventies that aren't horror movies, but you wouldn't know it from the title. And one recent one as a bonus, just because.

1. All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960) Watch out Hannibal here comes... Natalie Wood?

2. The Beast of the City (1932) Walter Huston and Jean Harlow. Amazingly they don't do battle with even one oversized sea serpent.

3. Captain Blood (1935) Turns out Blood's his actual last name, he's a doctor and he does in fact become a Captain. Oh well.

4. The Masks of the Devil (1928) John Gilbert as a charming Viennese aristocrat, not the anti-christ. *

5. The Mayor of Hell (1933) Reform school drama with Jimmy Cagney that does not once involve anyone running for office in the netherworld.

6. Roar of the Dragon (1932) Tartan bandits on a remote island with Richard Dix. Where's Draco?

7. Sorcerer (1977) Oh boy, now this is gonna be good! There is no way this title is misleading! It's from the director of The Exorcist after all and it's name is Sorcerer! Yes! I can hardly... wha? Trucks? Who's the French guy with the watch?

8. Up Pops the Devil (1931) Complicated relationships with Carole Lombard. Again no Lucifer.

9. The Valley of the Giants (1927) No giants anywhere! Not one!

10. Wake of the Red Witch (1948) The Red Witch is a boat? It's a boat!?!!?

BONUS from the 21st Century:

Monster's Ball (2001) I know what you're thinking: Frankenstein, the Mummy, Dracula and the Wolfman all whooping it up together. Think again.


* The Masks of the Devils was directed by Victor Seastrom, the pseudonym for Victor Sjöström, the actor who gave such a remarkable performance in Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries.

17 comments:

JS said...

The clip of Werewolf Bar Mitzvah is a good representation of what I now imagine of a "Monster's Ball."

Peter Nellhaus said...

I remember when I was walking by the marquee of a theater and someone was baffled by the title of the action film Shout at the Devil.

Brian said...

The Mayor of Hell, Sorcerer and Valley of the Giants are quite good movies anyway. On the other hand, I wish I'd have walked out on Monster's Ball, even if I wasn't expecting a live-action update of a Rankin-Bass concept.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Werewolf Bar Mitzvah, spooky, scary, boys becoming men, men becoming wolves. Yeah, that's definitely going to be Monster's Ball in my head now.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Peter - Why's it always the Devil in these titles? And since you mention Shout at the Devil, come to think of it, I would've loved to have seen a movie where Lee Marvin took on Satan. That would've been a sight to see (and Satan wouldn't have stood a chance).

Jonathan Lapper said...

Brian - Yeah, I hope no one thinks I'm actually dismissing these films. I think Friedkin's Sorcerer is a masterpiece of sustained tension and storytelling. Discussing the movie again after Roy Scheider died I remembered just how much of a sense of desperation is built into that movie.

I wasn't crazy about Monster's Ball but I didn't hate it either. I saw it on DVD so I had a lot less invested than had I seen it in the theater. Maybe my reaction would have much different if thirty dollars of tickets, popcorn, drinks and candy had been involved.

Chris Na Taraja said...

Were there any crouching tigers and hidden dragons in "Crouching Tigers Hidden Dragon" Ok, i guess the dragons were hiding, but I don't remember a single tiger!

Kamikaze Camel said...

The Centre of the World always sounds like a sci-fi movie until you realise it stars Peter Sarsgaard and is an arty romance drama.

NATHANIEL R said...

A Beautiful Mind. ;)

it's not brainy and even if it's pretty it sure ain't beautiful since it's so generic.

i love this post Jonathan. if my brain weren't totally gone with the hours i've been working i would try to add to it more significantly right now but every title I think of does make sense once i start to think of it.

squid and the whale?
wasn't a cry in the dark (with meryl streep) called "evil angels" elsewhere?

Jonathan Lapper said...

Chris - The dragon was indeed hiding and the tiger was crouching in the tall grass so he too was invisible.

Jonathan Lapper said...

The Centre of the World - How did I miss that one?

Jonathan Lapper said...

Nathaniel - The Squid and The Whale. I thought it was going to be the Milo and Otis of the ocean. Boy was I in for a letdown.

Glenn said...

Nat, I know it was called Evil Angels in Australia (where it was made) at least.

Also, I think it's fun to reimagine What's Eating Gilbert Grape? as a horror flick. GIANT ANTS! That's what's eating him. etc.

Chris Na Taraja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Na Taraja said...

The Devil Wears Prada wasn't about Satanist in Milan.

Gods and Monsters could have been a Japanese horror flick, but no.

Flight of the Condor had no bird, neither did The Bird on the Wire.

The Sting had no giant bees or wasps.

And did I miss the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?

NATHANIEL R said...

cat on a hot tin roof... well, at least it's there in the dialogue and what a great title that.

there are moments where i feel sure that it's maybe the best play ever written... or at least the most fascinatingly structured.

what were we talking about?

VP81955 said...

"Up Pops The Devil" is a line from the song "Shout, Sister, Shout," popularized by the Boswell Sisters about 1930. I'm almost certain that's where the title of the Lombard film derived from.

And I always imagined some drunk person enters a video store, sees "Valley Of The Giants," rents or buys it, then goes home and discovers to his dismay it has no 30-foot-tall Joy Harmon dancing with a normal-sized guy close to her colossal cleavage. (That's "Village Of The Giants," a dopey teen film from 1965.)