Tag Archives: Alfred Hitchcock

Best Split Personality Films Ever Made (10+1list)

Best Split Personality Films ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Split Personality Films: On June 11, 1990, in the U.S. State of Wisconsin, a man (29) and a woman (26) had consensual sex in the man’s car. But a few days later the man was arrested for sexual
assault! Unfortunately the woman was suffering from multiple personality disorder, she had 21 different personalities and 2 of Split-Personality-Filmsthem (personalities aged 20 and 6) did not give consent to that physical act! (The trail of Mark Peterson)

Well, there are many such unusual cases recorded of people who suffer from multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder, and are commonly known as split personalities. The person affected from such a neurosis has his/her personality dissociated into two or more distinct parts each of which becomes dominant and controls behavior from time to time to the exclusion of the other parts.

Many movies have been made to highlight this special medical condition, some based on actual cases while others are conjured out of pure fiction. Here are some other Best Split Personality Films are listed below. Have a look!

Note: I have not included the imaginary character’s world dramas/thrillers in this list, the likes of Fight Club (1999), A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), Identity (2003) and Shutter Island (2010).

10. Psycho (1960)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz719b9QUqY

As the famous quote says Split-Personality-Films‘A boy’s best friend is his mother.’

The infamous Bates motel is the residence of Mr.Norman (Anthony Perkins) and his jealous Mother and anybody who wants to get involved with them are at risk!

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, undoubtedly the most popular and thrilling split personality movie ever made!

9. Split (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84TouqfIsiI

Split-Personality-FilmsThree girls are kidnapped by a man with multiple personalities, 23 different personas to be precise. And still counting!

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, one of his latest mediocre movies, though I personally think it is the acting of James McAvoy that makes the movie worth a watch.

unfortunately the movie aims more for thrills than authentically portraying  the disorder.

8. Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssx_riw1Y9Y

Split-Personality-FilmsA funny take on a man’s extremely contrast split personalities and twisting his state of dissociative identity disorder into some hilarious comic effect.

Directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly, and starring none other than Jim Carrey as two personas – the polite cop and his maniacal alter-ego!

Entertainment at its best!

7. Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase (1990)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR9o_UZ3GRg

Split-Personality-FilmsBased on true events, adopted from the autobiographical account written by Truddi Chase, in the book named When Rabbit Howls, the Troops for Truddi Chase. 

Directed by Lamont Johnson and brilliantly performed by Shelley Long, her character being haunted by the sexual and psychological abuse afflicted on her as a child by her stepfather, tends to develop multiple personalities as a kind of defence mechanism to shut down the past horrible memories.

A highly underrated TV movie that perfectly portrays the torment and suffering of a person having dissociative identity disorder.

6. Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0DopZosR84

Split-Personality-FilmsA remake of the 1993 Malayalam film Manichithrathazhu.

A newly married man returns to his ancestral palace along with his wife, ignoring the various ghost stories rumored about the place. But then can there be any truth in these stories or is it the work of one disturbed mind?

Directed by Priyadarshan, a very entertaining film that intelligently delves with the split personality aspect of human mind and how to take control over it.  

5. Frankie & Alice (2010)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y10yyl_MJ4Q

Split-Personality-FilmsDirected by Geoffrey Sax, Stellan Skarsgård as the doctor and Halle Berry‘s best performance till date, portraying the character of a go-go dancer suffering from mood swings and sudden black outs which reveals to the fact that she is having multiple personalities.

An underrated film that succeeds in depicting the tragic life of a person with dissociative identity disorder with a certain degree of honesty.

4. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqqZ0yFqY04

Split-Personality-FilmsBased on the famous novel ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ written by Robert Louis Stevenson – this is the tale of a unique scientific experiment, a magic potion that effectively splits a person into two different personalities  – the sober and gentle Dr Jekyll  and his alter ego Mr Hyde!

Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, and performed by Fredric March who won an Oscar for his superb acting – this is one of the earliest movie that gave us a glimpse of a person suffering from split personality.

3. David and Lisa (1962)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox39j2wwhy0

Split-Personality-FilmsA love-story blooming inside a mental asylum between two teenage patients – the boy David (Keir Dullea) suffering from the fear of death while the girl Lisa (Janet Margolin) who has a split personality disorder.

Directed by Frank Perry, a brilliant film that goes deep into the psyche of such emotionally disturbed teenagers and delves in the process of medically treating them along with enough love and patience.

2. The Three Faces of Eve (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-B0_m6fW94

Split-Personality-Films‘I’m Eve’ written by Christine Costner Sizemore is the autobiographical book on which this movie is based on.

Directed by Nunnally Johnson, and performed by Joanne Woodward who won an oscar for her part playing a woman who has three prominent personalities that come out at regular intervals and each of these personas are aware of the other two! 

  1. Sybil (1976)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kPIDt3yu1M

Split-Personality-FilmsChild abuse has been the prime factor in such cases, and in an unconscious urge to block away the painful memories of childhood a person deliberately creates the other personalities. And that is exactly what happened to Shirley Ardell Mason on whose real life the novel/ movie is based on.

Directed by Daniel Petrie, and exceptionally well performed by Sally Field this mini series is the best and most authentic case study of a person suffering from multiple personality disorder. Sybil, the central character developed sixteen different personalities and was treated by a doctor named Dr. Cornelia Wilbur.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Primal Fear (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnmTi7hSjrA

Split-Personality-FilmsA priest murdered and all the evidence points to an alter-boy as the murderer but then the defense lawyer finds that the accused is suffering from multiple personality disorder!

Directed by Gregory Hoblit, this one is a superb drama with some pretty unexpected twists. Richard Gere and Laura Linney give great performances but the one to look for in this film is Edward Norton, a star was born!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com.

The Wrong Man and Ek Ruka Hua Faisla: Two most important films we should watch right now!

With ‘The Wrong Man’ Alfred Hitchcock had tried to serve a different dish to his audiences. Sadly, he failed. The king of suspense was expected to tell only mysteries and thriller through his films. The film has suddenly come into relevance for me. While watching the whole JNU episode in which the police picked Kanhaiya Kumar from JNU campus and people engulfed by nationalism called him a traitor without a single question springing in their mind, I began to picture some scenes from ‘The Wrong Man’. Those scenes in which Manny played by the legendary Henry Fonda is picked up by the police mistakingly.

Henry Fonda and Vera Miles in "The wrong Man"- Bollywoodirect

Henry Fonda and Vera Miles in “The wrong Man”

It happens when Manny goes to his bank to apply for a loan and the bank employee finds Manny’s face and dressing matching with a criminal who attacked her some months back. In fear, she yells at him. All the other employees come to her and the police is called. The next moment, Manny finds himself in a jail.

He tries to convince the police, the woman bank employee who had put the blame and the other employees of the bank that he is not a criminal. But nobody tries to believe him. In everyone’s perspective, he is a villain, a criminal.

Perspective! Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Wrong Man’ was all about perspective. The film questions on yours and mine perspective in looking at things. Was it your perspective which believed that Manny was a criminal or was it someone else’s? That someone else could be anyone. It could be a gang on social media, your neighbour or may be the news anchor who is shouting enormously on the screen.

One woman finds Manny a criminal and Manny becomes a criminal the next second. Without any second thought, any rethinking, everyone has reached the conclusion.

At JNU, they picked up the wrong man. In spite of getting after those who are alleged defaulters, police picked up Kanhaiya Kumar- the man who wanted to stop his loved university from getting defamed unnecessarily. Nationalism was at work over there but in the wrong direction.

The only difference between the ‘The Wrong Man’ and the present JNU scenario is the intention behind putting the blame. In the film, the woman mistakingly sends Manny to jail. At JNU, it was not a mistake but an intentional game plan. But let’s not get into it. The bigger questions are – why are we in so much hurry in declaring judgements? Do we know that because of our impulsiveness, someone is taking advantage for their politics?

Are we ready debate on an issue before reaching a conclusion? And this question brings me to other favorite film – Basu Chatterjee’s Ek Ruka Hua Faisala. This film was a copy of Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men. The tagline of the film in itself is a lesson. It says ‘Life in their hands, death in their minds’. Relate the tagline with the present scenario where everyone is after Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid (even if he is a traitor, let’s prove he is the one and not be depended upon some video clips and media to prove his guilt). Relate the tagline to the group of lawyers who attacked the journalists inside Patiala House Court. Relate the line with the plethora of social media comments which read ‘Kill the traitors’.

A scene from Ek Ruka Hua Faisla

A scene from Ek Ruka Hua Faisla

Now let’s come back to the film. Ek Ruka Hua Faisla involves the greats of the hindi film industry- KK Raina, Annu Kapoor, Pankaj Kapoor coming together in one film. The film is about a boy who allegedly has killed his father. The court has left the right to take the final call of the case on 12 men only after discussing all the aspects of the case. The 12 men are locked in a room to discuss.

Even before the start of the discussion, 11 of them have already made their mind – the kid is guilty. He should be sent to jail. All the witnesses are against him. There is a strong list of evidences against him. There is no question why he should be set free. The kid is a danger to the society, they said. All the men in the room share the same opinion except one.

Juror No. 8 played by KK Raina, stands and says, “I want to debate. I am not saying the Kid is not guilty but I dare to disagree that he is guilty. The court has given us the responsibility to take a very important decision and we ought to take it seriously.”

Juror No 8 is what all we need to be. Debate. Think. Rethink. Because even the truth needs a debate.

Written By – Shubham Pandey

Featured article from Bollywoodirect.

Best Classic Silent Films – the power of visuals (10+1list)

Best Classic Silent Films – the power of visuals

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Best Classic Silent Films – the power of visuals: In the midst of the endless dialogues, song sequences and background music we shouldn’t forget that Cinema is primarily a visual medium of story telling.  

As Alfred Hitchcock once pointed out:

‘If it’s a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.’

Alfonso Cuarón in an interview for his film Gravity did mention:

‘I think much of mainstream cinema are films that you can watch with your eyes closed. You enter the cinema, buy your popcorn, sit down, close your eyes, start eating your popcorn the movie begins and the movie ends you didn’t miss one thing because they told you everything. As opposed to you experiencing the film and seeing visual information.’

But believe it or not, in the earlier days of Cinema the directors had no choice but to tell their stories visually (sound wasn’t available due to some unavoidable technological deficiencies).

And yet, what marvelous films they made; the content and the visuals were so empowering that dialogues seemed redundant and pointless.

Well, here is a list of some of the best classic silent films ever made in the history of Cinema.

1. Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)

FIlm trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzNL5JRTI6I

Intolerance-posterObviously D.W. Griffith is more famous for his film The Birth of a Nation but this particular film is probably his best work.

A blend of four stories, set in four different historical eras – French, Babylonian, Judean and Modern; tied together thematically by the subject of “intolerance”. 

At the time, it was the most expensive film but unfortunately not a commercial success.

Other notable silent films made by the same director: The Birth of a Nation (1915), Way Down East (1920) and Orphans of the Storm (1921).

2. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAtpxqajFak

Directed by cabinet-of-dr-caligari-posterRobert Wiene, probably the first ever horror film (made before “horror” was a designated genre).  

The sets were made out of paper and the shadows were painted on the walls – German expressionism at it’s best.

If you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘somnambulist’ and if you are a fan of serial killer mysteries – this is a must watch for you.

Other notable silent films made by the same director: Crime and Punishment (1923) and The Hands of Orlac (1924).

3. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS5kzTbNKjs

Potemkin-poster

Voted as the 11th greatest film of all time in 2012 Sight & Sound critic’s poll.

The sailors revolt against injustice which leads to a brutal police massacre (the famous Odessa steps sequence).

The genius of Russian director Sergei M. Eisenstein is best showcased in this particular film – a true masterpiece.

Other notable silent films made by the same director: Strike (1925), October (Ten Days that Shook the World) (1928) and Old and New (1929).

4. The Big Parade (1925)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_-BvxzdOr4

Big-parade-poster

The highest grossing silent film of all time, it made $22 million during its worldwide release!

The first ever ‘war film’ of such epic scale, King Vidor directed this unique film portraying the horrors of war and the effect it caused on young soldiers.

And then there was the love story between an American soldier and a French girl – a perfect blend of war, romance and a bit of comedy too.

Other notable silent films made by the same director: Wild Oranges (1924), Show People (1928) and The Crowd (1928).

5. The General (1926)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99TdN8W6EAA

general-poster

More of an action film with good doses of Buster Keaton’s straight faced comedy.

A man almost single-handedly spoils a train-highjack plan and saves his girlfriend too!

Directed by Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton, the film is a fast paced powerhouse of entertainment, physical comedy at it’s best. 

Other notable silent films made by the Buster Keaton: Sherlock Jr. (1924)The Navigator (1924), Seven Chances (1925) and Go West (1925).

6. Metropolis (1927)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSExdX0tds4

metropolis-poster

The film takes place in 2026 – the first ever SIFi movie and an inspiration to all the futuristic films yet to be made.

Most expensive film of the time, Fritz Lang took a year and a half to shoot and due to it’s commercial failure the production house UFA (Universum Film) went bankrupt.   

A cinematic brilliance, the best of German expressionism.

Other notable silent films made by the same director: Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild’s Revenge (1924), Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) and Spies (1928).

7. Sunrise (1927)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTID4ZVy6OE

sunrise-poster

‘Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans’ is voted as the 5th greatest film of all time in 2012 Sight & Sound critic’s poll.

An unique love story and a perfect cinematic experience – often regarded as the best silent film ever.

Directed by the famous German director F.W. Murnau the film is indeed the most emotional and captivating films i have ever seen. 

Other notable silent films made by the same director: Nosferatu (1922), The Last Laugh (1924) and Faust (1926).

8. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQj_3AY-E1g

passion-of-joan-of-arc-poster1

Voted as the 9th greatest film of all time in 2012 Sight & Sound critic’s poll.

This film directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer is a bible for portraying emotions and expressions with Close-Up shots.

Maria Falconetti, her performance as Joan od Arc is considered by many critics as the single greatest performance ever put on film.

Other notable silent films made by the same director: Leaves Out of the Book of Satan (1920), Master of the House (1925) and Vampyr (1932).

9. The Wind (1928)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8Un8SBnjY4

wind-poster

A young girl comes to stay with her cousin in the west but the weather and the people were too rough for her to handle.

Directed by Victor Sjöström and superb performance by Lillian Gish, this one is undoubtedly the best silent western film ever.

The high-velocity wind was created by the propellers of eight aircraft stationed on location at Mojave Desert (where the film was shot).

Other notable silent films made by the same director: The Outlaw and His Wife (1918), The Phantom Carriage (1921) and He Who Gets Slapped (1924).

10. City Lights (1931)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_W1tOngo-w

city-lights-poster

A tramp who falls in love with a blind flower-girl – The ultimate Romantic Comedy ever.

Favorite film of Orson Welles, Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley KubrickWoody Allen, and even Charles Chaplin himself considered this film to be his best. 

It was a silent film made during the sound era and still was a huge success.

Other notable silent films made by the same director: The Kid (1921), The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1926) and Modern Times (1936).

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. Nanook of the North (1922)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN1qwowbXR4

Nanook-of-the-North-poster

Voted as the 7th greatest documentary of all time in 2014 Sight & Sound critic’s poll.

Probably the first proper documentary shot, director Robert J. Flaherty followed Nanook and his family in the freezing Arctics for a year to achieve this feat.  

A silent documentary made with great aesthetics and intimacy – an inspiration to all the travel/cultural documentaries made till date.

Other notable silent films made by the same director: Man of Aran (1934) and Louisiana Story (1948).

And now a few other legendary silent films that are definitely worth mentioning:

Director Louis Bunuel‘s surrealistic short film Un Chien Andalou (1929), Edward Sedgwick‘s epic comedy The Cameraman (1928), Henry King‘s revenge saga Tol’able David (1921), Clarence Brown‘s film about love and friendship Flesh and the Devil (1926), Georg Wilhelm Pabst‘s take on lust and erotism Pandora’s Box (1929) and a perfect love triangle Wings (1927) directed by William A. Wellman.

Similar Interest: Best Hollywood Classic Romantic Films

Similar Interest: Best Classic Silent Films – the power of visuals

Similar Interest: Best Classic Short films ever made

Similar Interest: Best Classic Christmas Films of all time

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Classics

Similar Interest: Best of Film Noir

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.comwww.impawards.com.

Serial Killer films – based on true stories (10+1list)

Serial Killer films – based on true stories.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Serial killers are extremely intelligent individuals, most often masked by a superficial friendly and charming personality but deep inside they are sadistic psychopaths who murders randomly without any personal motives.

Cold blooded killers who simply cannot resist the urge to take someone’s life.

But these serial murderers have always been given enough media coverage and some of the most spine chilling films are made, based on their deranged lives (fictions, nonfictions and docu-dramas).

Here is a list of films dramatized on the real lives of some of the most notorious serial killers ever existed!

1. Jack the Ripper (1988)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJSpZT8IjE0

jack-the-ripper-poster

Direccted by David Wickes, in this film Michael Caine is in search of the infamous Jack the ripper

In 1888, in the Whitechapel district of London several prostitutes were ripped open by a vicious serial killer, their throats cut open and internal organs removed.

One of the most gruesome killers of all time, never been caught!

Some other films based on Jack the ripper are From Hell (2001) starring Johnny DeppThe Lodger (1927), Murder by Decree (1979).

2. To Catch a Killer (1992)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv-j1K4n-4Q

To-Catch-a-Killer-Poster

Directed by Eric TillBrian Dennehy plays the notorious American killer John Wayne Gacy.

He would either lure his victims or kidnap them by force into his Chicago home, then would rape/sexually assault and murder them.

Convicted of 33 murders (all teenage boys and young men) in between a period of 6 years.

3. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU3P6WXzvXU

Henryportrait-poster

Michael Rooker plays the ruthless serial killer Henry Lee Lucas in this film directed by John McNaughton.

Regarded as one of America’s most prolific murderer, Henry was finally convicted of killing 11 people but it was believe that he killed many others.

At a very young age he murdered his own Mom and went on killing whenever he felt like it!

4. The Stoneman Murders (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNj4SxVqdag

The-Stoneman-Murders-poster

In the year 1985 (Mumbai) and then in1989 (Kolkata) some unidentified Indian serial killer(s) murdered at least 13 homeless people in their sleep.

The killer would crush the head of his victim with a stone weighing as much as 30 kg!

Directed by Manish Gupta, starring Kay Kay Menon and Arbaaz Khan the film dramatizes these killings.

5. Zodiac (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6q_MfcDEEE

zodiac-posterJake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo starring in this tensed mystery-drama directed by David Fincher.

A serial killer from California who named himself ‘zodiac’ and boasted to have killed 37 people in his open letters written to the newspapers!

Confirmed to kill 4 men and 3 women, the killer’s identity still remains unknown.

6. Citizen X (1995)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYtvCXrVsrM

Citizen-X-poster

The infamous Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, who committed sexual assault, mutilation and murder of 56 women (mostly under the age of 17)! 

Probably the most vicious killer who was convicted to 52 murders.

Directed by Chris Gerolmo, playing Stephen ReaDonald Sutherland and Max von Sydow the film depicts the difficulties of catching a murderer in the-then communist Russia.  

7. Summer of Sam (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a-E4Q9CHSk

summer-of-sam-poster

David Richard Berkowitz also nown as the ‘Son of Sam’ and the ‘.44 Caliber Killer’ who began a shooting spree in New York on the summer of 1977.

He killed 6 victims and wounded 7 and also used to sent mocking letters to the police boasting about his misdeeds. 

Spike Lee‘s thriller is a superb dramatization of that era.

8. M (1931)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIj3Bk0bhL8

M-poster

Fritz Lang directed film starring Peter Lorre as the notorious child murderer (probably the first film shot on such a sensitive topic).

The film is based on the 1920’s German serial killer named Peter Kürten (also known as ‘The Vampire of Düsseldorf’) who molested and murdered young children.

Confessed of 79 offenses, Kürten also admitted to drinking blood of at least one of his victims!

9. The Deliberate Stranger (1986)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaoBDMyo98M

deliberate-stranger-poster

Ted Bundy, the most charismatic serial killer ever! A kidnapper, rapist, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered more than 30 young women in America. 

He would gain trust of his young female victims, trick them to his car and then kidnap them for his sadistic motives.

Directed by Marvin J. ChomskyMark Harmon plays the deceptive Bundy in the film. 

10. Vengeance is Mine (1979)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk81j7Sm5IY

Vengeance-is-Mine-poster

Directed by Shôhei Imamura, the film is based on the life of Akira Nishiguchi, the legendary Japanese serial killer played by Ken Ogata.

A middle-aged man who was a clever con artist and a cold blooded murderer.

He killed 2 people and became the most wanted criminal, then he murdered another 3 while escaping from the police!

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique one. A must watch).

+1. Psycho (1960)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG3-GlvKPcg

psycho-posterAlfred Hitchcock‘s most talked-about film starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh was developed on serial killer Ed Gein‘s mysterious life.

The secluded man who not only murdered woman but also kept their skulls, bones and skins as trophies and made bowls, lamp-sheds, belts, baskets and masks out of them.

After his mother’s death, Gein began to create a ‘woman suit’ (stitching dead woman’s skin) so that he could become his mother!

Some other films based on Ed Gein are The Silence of the Lambs (1991), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Ed Gein (2000) and Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974).

Best of Film Noir (Black Cinema)

Best of Film Noir

Written by Souranath Banerjee.

Best of Film Noir: Around 1946 Nino Frank, a French film critic first coined the term ‘Film Noir’ to define the series of stylized, high contrast black and white American films of that particular era.

Dark shadows, flickering neon signs, cheap urban settings, dingy alleys and backdoors, claustrophobic interiors, cynical looking men (mostly private detectives or street smart hustlers) wearing long overcoats drinking away, treacherous foxy women (femme fatales)  wearing a mask of innocence seducing away, corruption and betrayal, guns and murders, the certainty of unhappy endings and of course lots and lots of cigarettes. 

Enter the world of Film Noir (literal meaning ‘Black Cinema‘).

And here is a list of some of the best and most popular Film Noirs Hollywood ever produced.

1. The Maltese Falcon (1941).

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phUxnXGhEiI

Maltese-Falcon-posterThis particular film directed by John Huston (his debut) is said to have started the trend and set the mood for the innumerable Film Noirs that dominated Hollywood for the next two decades.

A perfectly twisted murder mystery.

Humphrey Bogart with his crooked handsome looks and the trademark nasal tone soon became the most popular Film Noir star of that era. 

2. Double Indemnity (1944).

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3wjJcuGsVE

double-indemnity-posterDirected by one of my favorite director Billy Wilder, this film is remembered to be the ultimate Film Noir that ever existed!

Brilliant script with superbly corrupted characters full of lust and deceit. Fred MacMurrayBarbara StanwyckEdward G. Robinson at their best.

The film was nominated at the Oscars in se7en categories!

3. Laura (1944)

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6f8jRplej8

laura-posterWith lots of flashbacks and surprise twists in the plot this film tells the mysterious story of a detective falling for the woman whose murder he is investigating!

Directed by Otto Preminger and superb performances by Gene TierneyClifton Webb and stunning Dana Andrews.

The film won Oscar in the best Cinematography category.

4. Mildred Pierce (1945)

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjK97CqVqWA

mildred-pierce-posterGreat storytelling, brilliant acting, chilling suspense and also an unexpected twist in the end. Yes, it has all of these and much more.

Class performances by Joan CrawfordJack CarsonZachary ScottAnn Blyth.

Directed by Michael Curtiz, one of the best emotional Hollywood classics and of course a super cool Film Noir.

5. Notorious (1946).

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8f4UOtLf5Q

notorious-posterAlfred Hitchcock joins the Film Noir wagon and gives us one of the best of this genre.

This film is a classic tale of love and betrayal – of trust and deceit; a dangerous spy game with the risk of frightening consequences if ever get caught.

Starring Cary Grant and beautiful Ingrid Bergman, very romantic and probably the best spy film ever.

6. The Big Sleep (1946)

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjJlBnfyiI4

big-sleep-posterOne of Humphrey Bogart‘s most famous performance and also a most prominent example of Film Noir.

Directed by the master director Howard Hawks this film plunges us into a whirlpool of darkness where blackmail and murder goes hand in hand. 

Lauren Bacall and Martha Vickers all at their best in this gripping thriller.

7. The Third Man (1949)

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjMDg1Z9_gA

The-Third-Man-posterWhen Joseph Cotten learns of his friend’s mysterious death he suspects foul play and is in search of the mysterious third man who might be present at the time of death.

One of the most popular member of this genre, the film is a perfect thriller with Orson Welles in one of his notorious performances.

Directed by Carol Reed the film is a classic by it’s own right.

8. The Big Heat (1953)

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3XA5FEKIx4

big-heat-poster

With vengeance in his mind a cop goes after the city’s most dangerous crime syndicate.

A dirty game of politics and power  challenged by one man’s passion and a thirst for revenge; a film as brutal and vicious as it gets.

Directed by Fritz Lang (who specialized in such dark stories), with Glenn FordGloria Grahame and Jocelyn Brando playing their parts. 

9. The Night Of the Hunter (1955)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8dX6ZKJe2o

night-of-the-hunter-posterRobert Mitchum is determined to get his hands on some hidden money but the children won’t share their secret.

Directed by Charles Laughton this dark film has chilling moments of suspense.

Playing with shadows and silhouettes (the chiaroscuro
lighting technique) has always been an integral part of Film Noir but this one takes it to a different level.

10. The Killing (1956)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAe1CJWH_B8

killing-posterOne of Stanley Kubrick‘s earlier films and a perfect example of Film Noir.

Sterling HaydenColeen GrayVince Edwards playing their parts.

Classic drama full of tension and thrill, edited in a non-linear fashion.

This film is considered to be a huge influence on future non-linear films – the likes of Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994).

11. Touch of Evil (1958)

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-Oqn2hMp1M

touch-of-evil-posterPerformances by Charlton HestonJanet Leigh and Orson Welles – a thriller that is said to be the last of Hollywood’s favorite genre.

Directed by Orson Welles himself, it has kidnapping, corruption, murder and revenge. As the poster says – it is the story of the strangest vengeance that was ever planned!

A true classic to end the golden era of Film Noirs.

Even in the recent past a few films successfully managed to capture the nostalgia of the classic Film Noirs.

A few examples of such Neo-Noirs are The French Connection (1971), Chinatown (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), Blood Simple (1984), L.A.Confidential (1997), Blade Runner (1982), Memento (2000), Mulholland Drive (2001), A History of Violence (2005), Sin City (2005).

Similar Interest: Best Hollywood Classic Romantic Films

Similar Interest: Best Classic Silent Films – the power of visuals

Similar Interest: Best Classic Short films ever made

Similar Interest: Best Classic Christmas Films of all time

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Classics

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.comwww.impawards.com.

Birdman (2014)

My Ratings: 4/5.

Alejandro González Iñárritu is a name associated with some of the best cinemas made in the last two decades; a director responsible for such unique films like Amores Perros21 GramsBabelBiutiful and now his latest accomplishment – Birdman.

Already won several awards including Golden Globe and BAFTA, Birdman is being nominated in 9 categories for this year’s Oscars!

birdman-poster3The film is based on this once-famous actor Riggan (Michael Keaton) who is still remembered as the popular superhero character ‘Birdman’ he played in the past. Now on one hand he is desperately trying to find his stand as an actor in the broadways, and on the other he is having a tough time controlling his ego and maintaining his family ties.

Clever casting as Michael Keaton in his real life has played such an iconic superhero character himself (in the films Batman and Batman Returns). And his acting in Birdman is truly superlative – i think it’s his performance of a life time.

Even the supporting cast Edward NortonNaomi WattsZach GalifianakisEmma Stone and others are magical in front of the camera.

But then, the speciality of Birdman lies in how the film is shot and executed.  

The whole film is edited to look like one continuous shot. Hats off to the director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki who made the camera move such effortlessly and make it invisible even in the mirrors!

An effort to make a film look continuous (almost in real time), I doubt if any body has attempted such a tremendous feat since after the year 1948 when Alfred Hitchcock made history with his film Rope where he ingeniously cut the whole film in only 10 shots!

birdman-poster1Another special mention is the music of Birdman, the drum score by Antonio Sanchez is simply inseparable from the film; the rhythm and pace of the drum beats perfectly sync with the movements and emotions of the characters. A masterpiece indeed. 

Iñárritu through his dark comedy has managed to explore many important issues of our present age – the values of family bondings, the necessity to control our ego, the importance of propaganda in social media, the role of critics and also the eternal question of our human existence and the true meaning behind it.

After watching Birdman one has to admit that beyond the superficial good/bad remarks the film has a certain deeper impact on the audience – an exclusive experience completely different from any other films recently seen.

So as a quote says in the film Birdman – “Have a real experience!” . Please go watch it.

Best Psychological Thrillers of all times (20+1list)

Best Psychological Thrillers of all times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Before we hunt down the Best Psychological Thrillers of our times, let’s find out what exactly do we mean by a psychological thriller? And how is it different from a regular suspense thriller?

Well, in any ordinary thriller, you either have to guess the killer or Psychological-Thrillersexperience a tense cat and mouse chase sequence, or reveal a conspiracy – but whatever excitement happens, it happen in real time, with real people in real situations.

But in case of the twisted genre of psychological thrillers, these films maneuver the facts in such a way that they make you believe into something/someone that/who actually may not exist at all! These movies deliberately play tricks with the audience’s imagination and successfully blurs their perception of reality.

And finally, here are some of the Best Psychological Thrillers ever made in the history of Cinema.

Let the countdown begin!

20. Frailty (2001)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW6TlPMHXgk

Psychological-ThrillersThis film is all about a man’s confession of a series of murders that his religious fanatic father forced him and his brother to be a part of.

Directed by Bill Paxton, a thriller at its best, with a few unexpected plot twists.

Superb performances, specially by the child actors, Bill Paxton himself and Matthew McConaughey.

19. The Skin I Live In (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EolQSTTTpI4

Psychological-ThrillersA weird tale of a plastic surgeon and his muse, a scientist and his experiment, an inventor and his creation.

Brilliant performances by Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya and a twisted tale of passion and revenge.

Directed by renowned Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, this is one of the best psychological thrillers that will keep you guessing till the end.

18. Goodnight Mommy (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hisSd7qyY40

Psychological-ThrillersIn an isolated countryside, nine-year-old twins wait for their mother’s return, but when she finally comes back she seems to be a completely different person.

Her face bandaged due to some surgery, it’s hard to tell if she is indeed their mother or are they both really her children!

Directed by Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, this is one disturbing thriller for sure.

17. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG9AGf66tXM

Psychological-ThrillersA child psychologist (Bruce Willis) meets a boy (Haley Joel Osment) who has a sixth sense, who can communicate with spirits and claims to ‘see dead people’ all around him!

A film that is as impressive as the twist in the plot.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, a film that successfully fools the audience from the very beginning!

16. Lost Highway (1997) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nKjO9QCSic

Psychological-ThrillersA world owned by David Lynch, who is the master of psychological thrillers.

Framed for the murder of his wife a man mysteriously escapes from the jail being morphed into another person – yes, one of the most weird story plot ever in film history.

And the best part is that the film (according to me) has no specific ending that explains it all!

15. Angel Heart (1987)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp0LXxkx7yA

Psychological-Thrillers

Alan Parker directed this intense thriller starring Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro.

A private investigator is hired by a mysterious man who wants him to track down a particular singer.

Though at first it all seemed like regular business but soon things turn nasty and people keep dying in strange circumstances. A mystery that holds up till the end.

14. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anF5XiN8QY8

Psychological-Thrillers

As the title suggests, it’s the story of two sisters who returns home from the mental institution and desperately struggles to cope up with their lives.

A superbly intense film by Kim Jee-woon – suspense, horror or simply a nail-biting thriller, this one serves all your cravings.

This South Korean film will creep you out for sure.

13. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PewtQsgN5uo

Psychological-Thrillers

Be aware: a new apartment always comes with mysterious neighbors.

A young couple moves to a new place and soon the wife becomes pregnant. Though the neighbors seem to be too caring, but the mother (Mia Farrow) fears about the safety of her unborn child.

Extreme paranoia that only a director of Roman Polanski‘s calibre can deliver!

12. Hour of the Wolf (1968)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7PWFiLkKG4

Psychological-ThrillersIngmar Bergman‘s one and only psychological horror film, and undoubtedly a classic.

An artist shares his deepest desires and the most painful nightmares with his wife at the darkest hours of the night – ‘the hour of the wolf’.

His life turns out to be drowning in the very brink of dreams and reality, a state so surreal and dangerous and bizarre. A must watch.

11. The Shining (1980)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Cb3ik6zP2I

Psychological-Thrillers

Welcome Stanley Kubrick and that too on the first spot!

A film that set new bar in this genre, the chilling transformation of a hotel-caretaker (Jack Nicholson‘s character), the haunting isolation of the palatial hotel and the eerie never-ending maze. And also a kid who has the special talent of ‘Shining’!

Unique and scary, psychotic and intense, a film you will never forget.

10. Videodrome (1983)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFHey3utk0I

Psychological-Thrillers

A sleazy cable-TV programmer (James Woods) discovers a sick TV show and soon enough his life turns upside down.

He soon finds out that the show may look like an ordinary one but it is a clue to some sinister global conspiracy.

Director David Cronenberg is the master of psychologically twisted films but this particular one really takes the cake!

9. The Wicker Man (1973)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FdV-O8o7ok

Psychological-Thrillers

The story revolves around a police sergeant (Edward Woodward) who lands on a Scottish Island village in search of a missing girl.

He soon realizes that the village people doesn’t want him to investigate and more to his surprise they deny the very existence of such a missing girl!

Directed by Robin Hardy, a superb psychological thriller.

8. The Machinist (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRoYCwUvBPc

Psychological-ThrillersArguably Christian Bale‘s best performance and undoubtedly his best physical transformation for a role till date.

A film so twisted and insane that I bet you won’t sleep for a year, well, the super-slim version of Bale convinces you that it is possible!

Gripping, disturbing and mind boggling; director Brad Anderson‘s brilliant thriller is a must watch!

7. Don’t Look Now (1973)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUWB-Kw4FiM

Psychological-Thrillers

Nicolas Roeg‘s innovative, nerve wrecking film, this one is considered as one of the most horrifying thrillers made till date.

A grieving couple (Julie Christie  and Donald Sutherland), visits Venice for a change of mood but soon things get more complicated than they could ever imagined!

Chilling suspense and exceptional plot twists that makes the film so special.

6. The Tenant (1976)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmhIMbdecEU

Psychological-ThrillersRoman Polanski and his endless list of psychological thrillers grabs the attention of every film buff.

And in this particular one, he himself is THE tenant who shifts to a new apartment that earlier belonged to a girl who died.

In Polanski’s apartment trilogy this one is my favorite; psychotic paranoias, obsessions and delusions get a new definition in this film.

5. Open Your Eyes (1997)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBtnPuB0x3U

Psychological-Thrillers

A handsome man finds love in his life but soon disfigures his face in a tragic accident. He tries surgery in a quest to rebuilt his face but soon finds out that he has lost his sanity too.

Brilliant performance by Eduardo Noriega, and Penélope Cruz is simply gorgeous! 

A Spanish film from director Alejandro Amenábar that will trip your mind for sure.

4. Black Swan (2010)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jaI1XOB-bs

Psychological-Thrillers

One of the best thrillers of recent times, which won Natalie Portman an Oscar in the ‘Actress in a Leading Role’ category.

Master director Darren Aronofsky creates this disturbing psychological drama based on the famous play ‘The Black Swan’.

What is real and what’s not – the whole film has a bizarre feel that keeps you guessing till the end!

3. Memento (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vS0E9bBSL0

Psychological-Thrillers

We can never complete this list without mentioning Christopher Nolan‘s Memento.

A guy (Guy Pearce) in search of the murderer of his wife but short-term memory-loss makes him doubt everybody and everything around him.

Never sure whom to trust other than a few notes and some polaroids, and of course his unique tattoos!

2. Fight Club (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUXWAEX2jlg

Psychological-Thrillers

Brad Pitt and Edward Norton and their infamous creation of a ‘fight club’.

An underground club that channels primal male aggression but it soon grows and evolves into something much more than its original purpose.

David Fincher‘s most unique film, probably the most popular psychological thriller ever made.

1. Psycho (1960)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG3-GlvKPcg

Psychological-Thrillers

Alfred Hitchcock demands the first position on this list.

His other films Vertigo, Rebecca, Rear Window, Rope also could have been included here but then it would be a separate Hitchcock list altogether!

But the sinister Bates Motel, the iconic shower scene, the stuffed birds, the final confrontation with ‘mother’ – yes, that’s enough for this movie to become the best psychological thriller of all times. Please nod if you agree with me.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Mulholland Drive (2001)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2_a5_BlM5k

Psychological-Thrillers

Hollywood being the backdrop, this one is a spooky tale of two women (Naomi Watts and Laura Harring) who tries to solve the weird mysteries in their lives.

Director David Lynch in his unique way blurs the lines between dreams and reality, often entering the world of surreal.

A complex film to comprehend, here are at least ten ways to interpret the film. Take a pick!

Similar InterestBest Spanish Thrillers of Recent Times

Similar Interest: Best South Korean Thrillers of recent times

Similar Interest: Best French Thrillers of Recent Times

Similar Interest: Best French Suspense Thrillers of all time

Similar Interest: Best Italian Erotic Thrillers

Similar Interest: Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made

Similar Interest: Best Thrillers of 2016

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Thrillers of recent times

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com,www.imdb.com.

My Favorites Of Alfred Hitchcock !! (10 + 1)

Best of Alfred Hitchcock.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Hitchcock is the only director whose two films ‘Rebecca’ and ‘Foreign Correspondent’ were both nominated in the same year (1940) for the Oscars ‘Best Film’ category  – and of course ‘Rebecca’ won the award!

He himself at the 1967 Oscars delivered the shortest speech in the oscar history – he only said ‘Thank you’!

Directed more than 50 feature films, he is renowned as the ‘The Master of Suspense’.

Personally i am a huge fan and yes this time i have managed to list my favorites of Alfred Hitchcock films. If you enjoy murder-mystrey and thrillers – well, just stick to this list.

10. North by North West (1959)

north by northwest_poster

The ‘baap’ of all thrillers; speed, pace, tension gets a new meaning – a Hitchcock classic in every sense.

Cary Grant playing an advertising man is mistakenly kidnapped and framed for murder which he didn’t commit.

Before watching this film people had no clue that the crop-dusters in the lonely highways can be so effectively dangerous .

9. Strangers on a train (1951)

strangers on a train posterTwo complete strangers meet on a train and they soon cook up an unique idea to help each other by offering to – murder.

Crazy as it sounds the film is a stunner – brilliant performances, superb camera and the famous uneasy suspense for which Hitchcock is so renowned of.

Probably the most sinister plot ever filmed and made into such a successful thriller. Do watch the original classic version.

 

8. The Birds (1963)
The birds posterWhat happens if one fine morning the birds plan an attack on us?

They fly in flocks and strike viciously with the sole intent to kill the vulnerable humans.

A nightmare that Hitchcock managed to capture successfully and make a spine chilling film out of it. Scary is a too little word to define the experience of watching this classic.

 

7. The Lady Vanishes (1938)

the lady vanishes posterOne of Hitchcock’s best early works – a perfect mystery blended with a touch of romance in it.

An ordinary train journey where an old lady simply vanishes from her seat. The girl who happens to notice this strange disappearance finds it difficult to convince others – it seems  like she is the only one who misses the old woman. Mystery lovers – don’t miss it.

 

6. Psycho (1960)

pyscho poster The film Hitchcock is best known for – an ultimate psychotic story of a lonely man and his commanding mother.

Murder gets a new definition when you enter the insane world of Norman Bates – the frail looking guy who runs a roadside motel and  stuffs birds for a hobby.

If you haven’t seen this film yet – what can i say – go watch it man.

5. Rear Window (1954)

rear window posterVoyeurism at it’s best – a leg broken James Stewart plays the peeping tom watching his neighbors through his rear window.

An innocent habit which comes with it’s own side effects.

Pretty soon he watches something that he shouldn’t have and gets involved in a murder mystery which ends in a tense dramatic way that only Hitchcock can give justice to.

4. Vertigo (1958)

vertigo posterJames Stewart  joined by the mysterious Kim Novak gives (probably) his best performance in this mind boggling drama -according to me the most beautifully shot Hitchcock film ever.

Vertigo as the name suggests is the fear of heights and such a phobia can dangerously handicap a person from saving another’s life. Hmmm ….

A film with a perfect twist in the tail.

3. Rebecca (1940)

rebecca poster The only Hitchcock film that won an oscar – a true deserving master piece indeed.

The black and white elegance of the film comes out brilliantly through the awesome performances of Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson.

Splendid story telling and the haunting scores by Franz Waxman make it all the more a chilling experience.  

2. Notorious (1946)

notorious poster Suspense and tension levels shoot up as Carry Grant and Ingrid Bergman teams up in a dangerous spy game in this Hitchcock flick.

Heart racing tense sequences masterfully constructed with the sole intension to playfully torture the audience.

Many spy films are made but this one  deserves the recognition it gets. Something special.

1. Lifeboat (1944)

lifeboat posterOne of the most underrated Hitchcock films ever – the whole film is masterfully shot inside a lifeboat (probably the smallest location ever used).

Survivors from a ship wreck (torpedoed) clusters in a lifeboat and it is the story of their survival.

A unique tale of human behavior, conflicting characters and their relations in the time of crisis.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most crazy one. A must watch).

+1. Rope (1948)

Rope-poster Imagine the trill of a perfect murder!

The body is kept inside a table and food is kept on top of it – and served to the victims parents and fiance.

A party where the only missing person is dead. Entirely filmed in-studio this one is shot in total ten long takes!

Hitchcock’s first color film and of course a must watch.