On DVD, pay-per-view and streaming July 7 – Classic Summer Crime Movies
In the Heat of the Night (not rated, 1967) –The Best Picture of 1967 is still a solid murder story and a vivid look at the Jim Crow South. Both Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier were nominated for Best Actor Oscars. Steiger won; Poitier shoulda.
Rear Window (not rated, 1954) – Did Raymond Burr murder his wife in the apartment across the way? Or is housebound photographer Jimmy Stewart imagining things? With Grace Kelly, a scene-stealing Thelma Ritter, and a sweaty evocation of an un-air-conditioned New York summer. One of my favorite Hitchcocks.
Cool Hand Luke (not rated, 1967) – Somewhere in a segregated South, Paul Newman is sentenced to the chain gang for cutting the heads off of parking meters. George Kennedy won a Best Supporting Oscar. “What we’ve got here… is failure to communicate.”
In theaters July 9
No new releases
On DVD, pay-per-view and streaming July 14
No new releases
Streaming suggestions – Movies They Could Not Make Today
In years past, filmmakers and studios were not as sensitive to social, racial, and sexual matters as they are today. These films are available for streaming, but I do not believe any of them could be produced or released now without a massive public outcry of indignation.
Tropic Thunder (R and unrated, 2008) – For openers, Robert Downey, Jr., appears in blackface throughout this wild satire. Then he discusses the mistake actors make when they attempt to go “full tard.”
M*A*S*H (R, 1970) – The basis for the long-running TV series has a black character named “Spearchunker,” a priest named “Dago Red,” and it explicitly endorses the sexual mistreatment of a nurse.
Heathers (R, 1989) – This bleak, black comedy is based on teen suicide and then attacks teachers, grief counselors, conservatives and new-agers
Pretty Baby (R, 1978) – In an ornate 19th century brothel, the languorous Susan Sarandon sells her prepubescent daughter Brooke Shields to the highest bidder.
Leon the Professional (R and unrated, 1994) – Brooklyn hitman Jean Reno takes in young Natalie Portman after her family is massacred. He teaches her the tricks of the trade and though their relationship is not sexual, it is unconventional.