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Picks from movies shown on TVOntario's Saturday Night at the Movies

Entries in Burt Lancaster (3)

Local Hero (1983)

Local Hero” (1983) is an offbeat film about an offbeat oil magnate (Burt Lancaster) who sends his lackey boy (Peter Riegert) to buy a sleepy little fishing village on the coast of Scotland in order to accommodate some of his latest industrial projects. What with the aurora borealis, a pretty biologist named Marina, a canny lawyer slash innkeeper, a roving Russian songster and an odd assortment of townspeople, things get quite off track in short order. Amongst my favourites from the cast of local characters was the right Reverend MacPherson, a pillar of the community who happens to be a black man from Africa. Equally unexpected is the colourful character of Ben Knox, the eccentric beachcomber whose wise words and unflappable tenacity get the whole show moving in a completely different direction. Thanks to old Ben, it turns out that we see that there might just be something more important in life than money after all.

This film was screened with "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", also reviewed on Midnight Oil.

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See the video trailer for "Local Hero" (1983)

The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)

“The List of Adrian Messenger” (1963) a film directed by John Ford, produces an interesting mystery and an even more interesting list of cameo character appearances by famous Hollywood stars of the day. The premise of the film has a semi-retired MI6 officer, George C. Scott, investigating the whereabouts of a puzzling list of men who appear to have all gone missing. Kirk Douglas pops up throughout the film, eventually revealing himself to be one George Brougham, a long lost son who re-emerges from the Colonies (a.k.a Canada).

A fox hunt and a manhunt ensue. Will the fox be caught? Will the innocent young heir to the family fortune be spared a gruesome fate? Will his attractive widowed mother end up with the right suitor? All is set right in the end and the villain is “unmasked”.

But what really kept my interest the first time I saw the film on SNAM in the wee hours of the morning many moons ago was the hunt for the Hollywood stars. I just couldn’t figure out how you could manage to get Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum and Burt Lancaster into this odd little production. The joke was on the audience of course. The ending reveals all!

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Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

“ Sweet Smell of Success” (1957) IMDb starring Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster reveals a side of life in the big city that is anything but sweet and sunshiney. Lancaster’s unsavory character, J.J. Hunsecker, is said to be based on real life New York columnist, Walter Winchell. Throughout the film, Lancaster and Curtis as the sycophantic Sydney Falco perform a dangerous dance reminiscent of the mating ritual of the black widow spider. The machinations of the corrupt columnist and equally despicable publicist are accompanied by the cool jazz numbers of the Chico Hamilton Quintet and the rapid-fire dialogue of screenplay writers Lehman and Odets. This kind of film-noir might not be everyone’s cup of tea making it worth staying up for the late show, but I sure thought it was a film worth seeing again. It was just as smooth and searing hot on the way down this time around.

View the SNAM preview of “ Sweet Smell of Success”(1957)

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Catch the video trailer of "the cat in the bag scene" for “Sweet Smell of Success”