This movie is based on Lillian Hellman’s play, a prequel to The Little Foxes. It stars Fredric March and his real-life wife Florence Eldridge as the heads of the wealthy, ruthless Hubbard family and details their rise to prominence. Time magazine wrote, “Under Michael Gordon’s direction it is a nearly perfect example of how to film a play.” So this is really good, if not much fun. I’d prefer fun and not good, but the IMDb voters and Maltin think differently, so there you are.
Category: IA Top 100 Films
The Internet Archive is an amazing resource with thousands of freely available videos. I wanted to help moderate some of these treasures, so I compiled the Top 100 IA Feature Films list. Every few days, I count down another title that isn’t just pretty good for a free movie, it’s just plain good.
For this list, I confined myself to items in the IA Feature Films collection that were scripted, full-length, spoken English-language films. I’m already compiling lists of great silent films and documentaries, and I’ll run those after the Top 100 is complete.
The rankings are strongly informed by IMDB user ratings but also include consideration from Leonard Maltin’s ratings and a few nudges from me. When you disagree, please leave a comment with some reasons why.
Except for just one thing, this list, this site and I have no official connection to the Internet Archive. That one thing is donations. I support the Archive and maybe you should too.
This southern drama, originally titled The Intruder, stars William Shatner as a racist who arrives in a small town to stir up resistance to its high school’s desegregation. The resistance soon turns into a mob that drifts outside his control.
This movie was directed and produced by the legendary Roger Corman, who believed in the story enough to partially bankroll filming. Because of distribution problems, for years it was the only Corman movie ever to lose money. Critical reception through the years made it the only Corman movie to land on the Internet Archive Top 100.
Indiscreet is a pre-Code comedy starring Gloria Swanson, one of just a handful of films she made in the 1930s. It involves a fashion designer who takes up with a novelist after leaving her former boyfriend because of his many indiscretions with other women. She keeps the old relationship a secret from the novelist until her younger sister arrives and announces she’s engaged to the old boyfriend. Madcap antics ensue.
Leonard Maltin hated this movie, rating it just 1½ (of 4) stars and writing, “Art deco sets, and Gloria’s rendition of two … songs, aren’t compensation enough for sitting through this one.” Good thing IMDb users really loved Indiscreet, keeping it pushed pretty high up the Internet Archive Top 100.
Little Lord Fauntleroy was the first film produced by Selznick International Pictures, created by David O. Selznick when he left Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It’s about an American boy who is the long-lost heir of an English fortune. He is sent to live with a cold and unsentimental earl who refuses to allow the boy’s mother to live with him in his castle. Don’t worry, things get better.
Mary Pickford had performed in the silent version of this story in 1921, and Selznick bought the rights from her before filming. It’s just another iconic tale in the Internet Archive Top 100.
Rhythm and Blues Revue is just that – a musical variety show filmed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. And what a cast of greats! Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Nipsey Russell, Big Joe Turner, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Mantan Moreland, Cab Calloway, and many more.
The chance to see all these performers in their prime, (particularly Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher” at the 62½-minute mark), and to get a glimpse of what a really good night at the Apollo must have been like, those are great reasons to put this time capsule in the Internet Archive Top 100.