SUDDEN FEAR
1952, Cohen Film, 110 min, USA, Dir: David Miller

Joan Crawford gives an Oscar-nominated performance as a San Francisco playwright who marries a virile actor (Jack Palance) she’d rejected for one of her plays. Little does she know, he plans to drop the final curtain on her. Stylish and suspenseful, this is one of Crawford’s very best movies. With Gloria Grahame.


SHANE
1953, Paramount, 118 min, USA, Dir: George Stevens

George Stevens infuses the Western genre with mythic grandeur in this timeless classic. Alan Ladd is at his most iconic as the title character, an ex-gunfighter forced out of retirement when a family of homesteaders (Van Heflin, Jean Arthur, Brandon de Wilde) comes under attack by a vicious rancher’s hired guns. Jack Palance is one of the most threatening villains in movie history, and the film itself is both a summing up of the Western genre and a sign of things to come in later masterworks such as UNFORGIVEN. One of the most influential films ever made - and one of the most entertaining. Loyal Griggs won an Oscar for Best Cinematography.


THE PROFESSIONALS
1966, Sony Repertory, 117 min, USA, Dir: Richard Brooks

Writer-director Richard Brooks earned a pair of Oscar nominations for this vastly underrated film. A Texas rancher enlists a team of mercenaries to rescue his wife, who has been kidnapped by a Mexican bandit. But the hired guns - Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan and Woody Strode – soon learn that their employer hasn’t told them the whole story (the outstanding cast also includes Ralph Bellamy, Claudia Cardinale and Jack Palance). Beautifully shot by Conrad Hall, THE PROFESSIONALS is an irresistible mix of action, intrigue and humor that ranks among the very best Westerns of the 1960s.


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