Written by NICK DESCALZI
Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Director: Frank Capra
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore
It is Christmas Eve, 1946, and George Bailey (the always amazing, James Stewart) is contemplating suicide. All of his life George had dreamed of escaping the constraints of Bedford Falls and seeing the world, but circumstances have forced him to stay. During this dark time, he is visited by his guardian angel and shown what the world would have been like if he was never born. Frank Capra’s masterpiece, It’s a Wonderful Life, is not just the greatest Christmas movie of all time, but one of the greatest films to ever grace the silver screen. Joyous, uplifting, heart-warming and endearing, It’s a Wonderful Life it is the quintessential holiday classic that has shaped all holiday films that have come since.
For cinema, the first half of the 20th century was the most innovative and exciting time. From D.W Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915), the first film to have a three-act structure. With the advent of the big Hollywood studios, and the introduction of the talkies came the Warner Bros 1927 musical, The Jazz Singer. The 1930s saw the beginning of ‘The Golden Age of Hollywood’, colour movies, and in 1939, came the first true Hollywood epic, Gone with the Wind. By the time the 1940s came around, cinema was out of its infancy and great filmmakers like Hitchcock, Huston and Welles were able to flex their muscles. No other period in cinema history has produced more stars, these included: James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, Judy Garland and Cary Grant. Without a doubt, the biggest two of them all, Humphrey Bogart, the greatest icon Hollywood has ever seen, and Katharine Hepburn, the four time Academy Award winning legend.
Written by CONNIE BATES
Movie: The Graduate
Rated: M 15+
Director: Mike Nichols
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katherine Ross
There are only a handful films that adequately encompass the spirit, ready detachment and anti-establishment culture of the 1960s. The Graduate, directed by Mike Nichols (The Birdcage), is one of the few that handle the task with ease. Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) finds himself an unwilling participant in his own mundane, middle class existence. Seduced by an older woman (Anne Bancroft), but ultimately falling in love with her beautiful daughter (Katherine Ross), the film is a satirical study of rebellious youth and their complacent elders, perfectly accompanied by the melodic tones of 60s music duo Simon & Garfunkel.
Best known for his roles in Easy Rider and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Jack Nicholson is the very definition of a fearless actor. Changing from a charismatic joker to a haunted eccentric with characteristic flair, he epitomised the chaotic recklessness and intrinsic hope of the 70s.
One of the few actresses to transition from the golden age of Hollywood to the gritty realism of the 60s filmmaking, Elizabeth Taylor was a survivor. Her famed beauty and turbulent love life could not eclipse her incomparable talent and brilliantly controlled performances in Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Written by WADE STEPHENS
Movie: Back to the Future (1985)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson
Despite superior films in terms of style and cinematography, no film encapsulates the 80s and 90s “youthful” vibe more than Back to the Future. The first of a three-part series, Back to the Future follows the time-travelling escapades of schoolboy Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) as he travels back to 1955 to rescue his scientist friend Doc (Christopher Lloyd). The greatest instalment of a timeless (no pun intended), witty and heart-warming trilogy, Back to the Future is a nostalgic gem that will transport viewers young and old as close to the 80s as is possible without a time-travelling Delorean.
The 80s and 90s were always going to be a challenging transitional period in the world of cinema. These were the years when the greats were being questioned – who is going to replace Hitchcock? How long will Kubrick last? With the rise of surrealist, exploitation films in the late 70s where is cinema leading?
It is safe to say that the 80s and 90s delivered. Films took us in bold new directions, and created a prominence of youth-centric and sci-fi films. Movies with either Rick Moranis or Sigourney Weaver are all excellent examples, and show off this transition at its best.
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