1001 Movies, Part 6. Men Behaving Badly.

There’s no end of movies in the 1001 book of men behaving like big fat jerks. Here are seven of them that we “enjoyed” throughout pandemic house arrest.

Mean Streets – Harvey Keitel is a conflicted catholic/gangster, who places upon himself the penance of looking after his best friend, Robert de Niro, who is practising for his next role in the Godfather.

Heat – This time, Robert de Niro is a bank robber, and Al Pacino is looking to take him down. De Niro and his gang kill a bunch of people, including a number of cops during a shoot out which doesn’t seem to trigger the rage-vengeance you might expect. Meanwhile, an ex-gang member is making trouble, while murdering prostitutes on the side (which also fails to trigger any rage-vengeance). Eventually the good guys win, the bad guys lose, and all the women get abandoned. Much the better for them, frankly.

Scarface: The Shame of the Nation – In the original 1932 movie, Paul Muni becomes second in command of a Chicago crime syndicate but prefers the role of first. He kills a bunch of potential competitors, wants to date his sister, and steals his boss’s girlfriend instead. This is rumoured to be one of Al Capone’s favourite movies, which tracks, since it barely conceals the fact that it’s basically about him.

Paths of Glory – A glory-seeking general orders his army on a suicide mission, but the companies fail in their mission and fall-back after suffering major casualties. The general is angry about this loss of his anticipated glory and orders 3 soldiers chosen at random to be charged with cowardice and executed. Kirk Douglas steps in to defend them while Richard Anderson (of “gentlemen, we can rebuild him” fame) pretends to prosecute in a sham trial that has already been decided. ASIDE: Despite the badly behaved men, this movie is actually quite fantastic, a stirring war-opic, and well worth watching.

Peeping Tom – Karlheinz Bohm plays sociopath Mark Lewis, photographer by day and serial killer of women by night. In one memorable scene, he stuffs the body of a victim into a trunk and then does a photo shoot using the trunk as a prop. No mental problems there. Released in 1960, it is considered to be one of the first slasher films in horror movie history.

Double Indemnity – Straight-laced insurance salesman Fred MacMurray (My Three Sons) falls for the breathtaking Barbara Stanwyck and joins her in a plot to murder her husband. He convinces her to make the murder look like a train accident so that she can claim twice the payout on a life insurance double indemnity clause. Three guesses if their get-rich-quick scheme works.

Marnie – Sean Connery meets a feisty Tippi Hedren (Marnie), a small-time thief and defrauder. He falls for her immediately and, sensing hesitation due to a troubled past, quickly forces her to marry him. When he then discovers that she refuses to let any man touch her, he forces her to let him do so anyway, and then rapes her because, well, they’re married. When she tries to kill herself, he steps in to rescue her, perhaps forgetting that he is the cause of her current despair. Finally, in case his heroism is still in doubt, he forces her to confront her troubled past and magically fixes her. What a swell guy!

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1 Response to 1001 Movies, Part 6. Men Behaving Badly.

  1. CP says:

    Okay, one to watch, four to skip.

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