Arsenic and Old Lace
American black comedy (1944)
Cary Grant plays a drama critic and writer, well known for his criticism of marriage, who marries the girl next door. Before they’re off for their honeymoon they pop by his two aunts’ house, and there he finds out that they murder elderly men and bury them in the cellar. You know, just as a nice little pastime. I read somewhere that Cary Grant hated his performance in this film because he’s overacting, but in my opinion he’s brilliant for that very reason. It should be obvious from the name of my blog that I adore this film.
American psychological thriller (1964)
Tippi Hedren plays a compulsive liar and thief. She works as a secretary for a few months at different big companies before stealing a large amount of money, running off, and creating a new identity only to do it all again. That is, until a slightly sadistic employer played by Sean Connery realises what she’s up to and gives her the option to turn herself in or to marry him. A twisted Freudian little Hitchcock film.
French psychological thriller (1955)
The wife and the mistress of a sadistic headmaster conspire to kill him. They dump the body in the school’s swimming pool figuring that the students will find it. But of course the body disappears and strange things start to happen. This was one of my favourite films as a child. It’s dark high-quality suspense bliss.
British supernatural gothic horror (1961)
Based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. In Victorian times, a newly employed young governess of two peculiar orphaned children becomes convinced that the mansion and grounds are haunted. This is not only a brilliant ghost story but also an excellent psychological study of repressed fears and sexuality.
British thriller (1960)
A lonely young photographer murders women with his tripod while filming their dying expressions of fear. This obsession with studying the effects of fear stems from his abusive psychologist father who tormented him throughout his childhood while filming the results. The colour palette in this film is beautiful. Lots of cold blue and deep red. This is one of my all-time favourite films.
American thriller (1961)
The story of a psychotic killer. The blonde bombshell Joan Marshall is an absolute delight to watch. The opening of this film is amazing, as is the whole film despite the fact that you can see the twist ending coming from miles away. I love William Castle and his silly gimmicks.
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg)
French musical (1964)
A teenager gets herself pregnant right before her boyfriend is shipped off to do military service in Algeria for 2 years. Her mother who doesn’t approve of the relationship sets the girl up to marry an older man. This film is gorgeous. The colours, the costumes, the entirely sung dialogue, the songs, Catherine Deneuve, everything.