Stanley Kramer

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Stanley Kramer Centennial Screenings

Laine Kazan and Karen Sharpe Kramer - Stanley Kramer Centennial Screenings - High Noon at the Billy WilderTheater - Los Angeles, CA, United States - Sunday 29th September 2013

Stanley Kramer, Laine Kazan and Karen Sharpe Kramer
Stanley Kramer and Karen Sharpe Kramer
Stanley Kramer and Laine Kazan
Stanley Kramer, Laine Kazan and Karen Sharpe Kramer
Stanley Kramer, Laine Kazan and Karen Sharpe Kramer

Champion: The Stanley Kramer Centennial

Guest - Champion: The Stanley Kramer Centennial at UCLA Film & Television Archive - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 10th August 2013

Stanley Kramer and Karen Sharpe Kramer
Stanley Kramer and Guest

On the Beach Review


Excellent
Never mind the unfortunate title, this ain't Frankie and Annette. On the Beach is a movie that begins with the apocalypse: Nuclear war has wiped out the entire world except for Australia. (They were making movies like this in 1959???) It's here we find a U.S. submarine hanging out amidst Aussies living their lives, pretty much as normal only with less booze. The catch: Everyone knows the end is coming, as nuclear fallout makes its way across the Oceans, due to arrive in a month or two. But what's this Morse code signal coming from San Diego? Could someone be alive and transmitting? The sub's off on a recon mission to the wasteland, and meanwhile the Australians come to grips with certain death in a matter of weeks. While heartbreaking and touching, it's hard to imagine that riots aren't rampant and that martial law isn't required, but hey, it's a movie, and quite a good -- if overlong -- one, at that.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Review


Good
It's also long, long, long... well, you get the picture. Mad, Mad World is the brainchild of director Stanley Kramer, best known for films like Inherit the Wind and Judgment at Nuremburg, who figured he really ought to take a shot at directing a comedy, and what the hell if it's over 3 hours long (his first cut was 5 1/2 hours, actually). Kramer hired every comedian in Hollywood -- counting cameos represents Mad, Mad World's special thrill -- and sent them on a chase across southern California in search of $350,000 that a dying Jimmy Durante alludes to after a car wreck. The ensuing adventures stretch the definition of the word madcap.

Of course, this is what we owe movies like Cannonball Run to. But the original will always reign as the only two-tape comedy on the rental rack. Enjoy.

Continue reading: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Review

The Men Review


Good
The death of Marlon Brando in July 2004 sent film fans scurrying to the video store to check out early Brando performances they may have missed. It's a worthwhile exercise. If you go all the way back to the beginning, you'll find The Men, Brando's 1950 screen debut, a dated oddity that's nevertheless a must-see for anyone curious about Brando's artistic trajectory.

Always the Method actor, Brando was rumored to have spent a month in a veteran's hospital to prepare for the role of Ken Wilcheck, a World War II vet paralyzed from the waist down by a gunshot wound. But before we get to meet Ken, we have to sit through an amazing lecture by the stern yet concerned Dr. Brock (Everett Sloan), who addresses a roomful of mothers and wives of paraplegic vets about the grim realities of paraplegia. After listening to long explanations about bowel and bladder control (it can be achieved) and the possibility of a paraplegic starting a family (not bloody likely), the women, who regard the doctor as a god, tentatively ask questions to which the doctor basically responds, "You're screwed. Accept it and move on." Then he lights a cigarette.

Continue reading: The Men Review

Judgment at Nuremberg Review


Excellent
In the grand tradition of courtroom dramas, Judgment at Nuremberg has the distinction of being probably the most "important" of them all -- even if it's not the most blatantly entertaining.

The three-hour film concerns the trial of four Nazi-era German judges accused of killing millions as part of the regime. The trial circumstances are tricky: The four accused didn't pull any triggers, nor were they in the upper echelons of power. They were middlemen, just signing off on the whims of Hitler. How guilty are they of murder? And so it is that American Judge Dan Hawood is flown in to lead a tribunal to determine their fate.

Continue reading: Judgment at Nuremberg Review

The Wild One Review


OK
When rival motorcycle gangs descend upon a small town, chaos ensues. A great look at how two-wheelers got demonized in the 1950s, featuring what now looks like a cutesy performance by Marlon Brando, before his career went belly up. While it's a reluctant classic and was edgy in its time (and banned for 12 years in Finland), on the whole, The Wild One is now mostly silly.

Inherit the Wind Review


Excellent
Stanley Kramer produced and directed one of the masterworks of the legal drama by bringing to the screen this story of one of the landmark lawsuits of history -- the 1925 Scopes "monkey trial." The names have all been changed (unfortunately so), but that takes only a little away from the proceedings. (Odd note -- the descriptions on the cover of the new DVD release refer to the actors playing the characters by their historical names, not the character names from the movie. We'll follow suit in this review.)

And so, for the historically uninterested, we find ourselves in a small town in 1925 Tennessee, where a highschool teacher named John Scopes (Dick York) has done the unthinkable: He has brought Darwin's theory of evolution into the classroom, casting doubt upon the literal interpretation of the Bible in the process. The state arrests him, and his trial became one of the first "celebrity" lawsuits ever. The prosecution was led by Fundamentalist and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan (Fredric March). The defense (hired by the ACLU -- in the movie, by a Boston newspaper) was led by Clarence Darrow (Spencer Tracy), a wild agnostic and verteran lawyer, nearly 70 years old.

Continue reading: Inherit the Wind Review

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Review


Good
By now everyone knows who's coming to dinner... it's a 37-year-old Sidney Poitier (and his parents), on the arm of a very white 23-year-old girl (Katherine Houghton) who returns home with him to introduce her to the 'rents. Oh, and they're getting married.

Continue reading: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Review

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