Tag Archives: Sterling Hayden

The Set of 400: #1 – My Favorite Combination Russian Phrasebook and Bible

Today! Because you can’t fight in here, this is the war room –

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick (x7)

Starring Peter Sellers (x5), George C. Scott (x3), Sterling Hayden (x3), Slim Pickens (x3), Keenan Wynn (x2), Peter Bull (x2), James Earl Jones (x8), Shane Rimmer (x3), Tracy Reed

Folks, you may have never expected us to reach the end of this journey – God knows, I didn’t – but nonetheless, here we are! 400 posts, 265,000 words, and a lot more praise for Teen Wolf than the average person could muster, and we’ve finally come to the grand conclusion! My favorite movie of all-time, at least 70% of the time, Stanley Kubrick’s darkly comedic apocalyptic global thermonuclear satire, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Featuring a triple performance from the unparalleled Peter Sellers and an unhinged, over-the-top turn from George C. Scott as war monger Buck Turgidson (the role that kicked off my long affection for Scott’s work), Strangelove shares a fair number of similarities with my other favorite movie, yesterday’s Duck Soup, as they both poke fun at international politics, jingoistic armed conflict negotiation, and gloriously inflated government egos. The difference, obviously, is that the fate of the entire world is at stake in Strangelove, due to one rogue lunatic, where nuclear weapons were still some years away when Duck Soup went before the cameras in 1933.

And this is not even the rogue lunatic in question

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The Set of 400: #24 – My Favorite Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Today! Because I believe in America –

The Godfather (1972)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola (x3)

Starring Marlon Brando (x2), Al Pacino (x5), James Caan (x4), Robert Duvall (x3), Diane Keaton (x5), Talia Shire (x5), John Cazale (x3), Richard Castellano, Abe Vigoda (x3), Sterling Hayden (x2), John Marley, Richard Conte, Al Lettieri, Gianni Russo (x2), Al Martino, Morgana King (x2), Lenny Montana, John Martino, Alex Rocco (x2), Julie Gregg, Simonetta Stefanelli, Franco Citti

As mentioned at some length back in #82, The Godfather was my dad’s favorite movie. While I often saw it growing up bookended by the past and future sequences from II, the original movie would run intact and in order, and so didn’t require any mental gymnastics to track. And no, this is not a kid’s movie any way you look at it, but that didn’t stop me from seeing this film from as far back as I can remember. I don’t have the slightest guess the first time I watched The Godfather, which seems weird in retrospect.

What did child Joe make of Sonny’s excessive demise?

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The Set of 400: #178 – My Favorite Shoddy Luggage

Today! Because you’d be killing a horse, that’s not first degree murder. In fact it’s not murder at all, in fact I don’t know what it is –

The Killing (1956)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick (x2)

Starring Sterling Hayden, Elisha Cook Jr. (x2), Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Marie Windsor, Joe Sawyer, Timothy Carey, Jay C. Flippen, Ted de Corsia, Kola Kwariani, James Edwards

The first great Stanley Kubrick movie, The Killing came directly on the heels of the slight, interestingly photographed Killer’s Kiss (1955) and Fear and Desire (1953), but represented such a massive uptick in quality as to render these early films obsolete in the canon. For the longest time, this was also the earliest Kubrick film you could find – the other two having fallen out circulation to an extreme degree, so The Killing is sometimes even now still referred to (or maybe just thought of) as his first film.

Such an avant garde filmmaker was Kubrick that it’s interesting to watch his good 1950’s films – this and Paths of Glory – to see how he operates in the technical limitations of the time. Lolita and Strangelove still have some of this going on, too, but it’s more pronounced here, pre-Spartacus, when Kubrick didn’t yet have free reign to make movies however he liked. The Killing is a touch hindered by the overbearing narration that, while probably keeping the run time down, doesn’t feel 100% necessary (Kubrick was apparently forced to include it by the studio). Some of the acting in the early going is a little jangly, too – Hayden and Cook do most of the heavy lifting throughout, but especially in the run up to the heist.

Hayden accurately diagnoses everyone

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