A Man for All Seasons

  • Directors: Fred Zinnemann
  • Producers: Fred Zinnemann
  • Writers: Robert Bolt
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, Orson Welles, Robert Shaw, Susannah York, John Hurt, Nigel Davenport

Sir Thomas More was the 16th-century Lord Chancellor of England who refused to sign a letter asking the Pope to annul the King’s marriage and resigned rather than take an Oath of Supremacy declaring the King the Supreme Head of the Church of England. The King is Henry VIII of England and his wife is Catherine of Aragon, the first of an eventual six wives. Both the play and the film portray More as a man of principle, motivated by his devout Roman Catholic faith and envied by rivals such as Thomas Cromwell. He is also deeply loved by the common people and by his family.

The Transformers The Movie

  • Directors: Nelson Shin
  • Producers: Joe Bacal, Tom Griffith, Nelson Shin, Margaret Loesch, Lee Gunther
  • Writers: Ron Friedman
  • Genres: Animation, Action, Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Peter Cullen, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Orson Welles, Robert Stack, Frank Welker

Unicron, a space-roaming artificial planet, destroys and eats robot planet Lithone, along with its population. A few of the inhabitants attempt to flee the planet in spaceships but only one gets away.

It is revealed that the evil Decepticons have gained control of the Transformers’ homeworld, Cybertron at some point in the intervening twenty years since the beginning of the struggle between the robotic warriors on Earth (The exact means by which this victory was attained was never revealed). The heroic Autobots are readying themselves on two of Cybertron’s moons for a strike against the Decepticons, preparing a supply shuttle for launch to Autobot City on Earth. Their transmission is intercepted by the Decepticons, who ambush the shuttle and kill its crew, consisting of Ironhide, Ratchet, Prowl, and Brawn. The Decepticons then attempt to use the ship to infiltrate Autobot City on Earth without being detected.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Daniel Witwicky and Hot Rod fish in a lake nearby Autobot City, discussing Daniel’s loneliness, as his father Spike is on one of the Autobot moon bases. They pick up the shuttle’s signature, and race up to Lookout Mountain to see it land, irritating the old Autobot Kup in the process. They notice its damaged exterior and spot Decepticons, upon which Hot Rod fires at the stowaways. After a brief battle pitting Hot Rod and Kup against the Decepticons Blitzwing and Shrapnel, the Decepticons begin their attack on Autobot City. The outnumbered Autobots, including Autobot City Commander Ultra Magnus, Blurr, Springer, Perceptor, and female Autobot Arcee, transform Autobot City into a battle fortress and both sides settle down for a long siege that lasts the rest of the day and all of the following night. Early in the battle, Ultra Magnus sends orders to alert Blaster to radio for assistance from their commander Optimus Prime. An attempt to thwart the transmission by Soundwave and his cassette Decepticons fails, and the next morning Optimus and the Dinobots arrive to successfully repel the Decepticon invaders, including the here far more competent Devastator, who is displayed as being far more effective and brutal when compared to his depictions in the Television series prior to the release of the film.

The movie was produced by Sunbow/Marvel simultaneous to G.I. Joe: The Movie. The writers of the G.I. Joe film asked for permission from Hasbro to kill a character, Duke. Hasbro not only approved the request but “insisted” that the writers of Transformers: The Movie adopt the same fate for Optimus Prime.[3] However, Optimus Prime’s death sparked much controversy and incurred so much backlash that it caused the writers to make changes so that Duke simply ended up in a coma (and eventually woke up from the coma).[4]

The Lady from Shanghai

  • Directors: Orson Welles
  • Producers: Orson Welles
  • Writers: Novel, Sherwood King, Screenplay, Orson Welles, Uncredited, William Castle, Charles Lederer, Fletcher Markle
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery
  • Actors: Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane

The story begins with Michael O’Hara (Welles) meeting the beautiful blonde Elsa (Hayworth) as she rides a horse-drawn coach in Central Park. Shortly thereafter, three hooligans waylay the coach. Michael is able to rescue her, after which he escorts her home. Michael reveals he is a seaman, and learns Elsa and her husband, the famous, handicapped criminal defense attorney Arthur Bannister (Sloane), are newly arrived in New York City from Shanghai. They are on their way to San Francisco via the Panama Canal. Michael, who is attracted to Elsa, despite misgivings, is persuaded to sign on as an able seaman aboard Bannister’s yacht.

After setting sail, they are joined on the boat by Bannister’s law partner, George Grisby (Anders), who proposes that Michael “murder” him in a plot to fake his own death and collect the insurance money for himself. He promises Michael $5,000 and explains that since he wouldn’t really be dead and thus there would be no corpse, Michael couldn’t be convicted of murder. Michael agrees to this, intending to use the money to run away with Elsa, with whom he’s begun a relationship. Grisby has Michael sign a pre-typed confession.

The film features a surreal climactic shootout in a hall of mirrors, in which Elsa is mortally wounded and Bannister is killed. Heartbroken, Michael leaves, presuming the events that have transpired since the trial will clear him of any crimes.

The Magnificent Ambersons

  • Directors: Orson Welles
  • Producers: Orson Welles
  • Writers: Booth Tarkington, Orson Welles
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter, Tim Holt, Agnes Moorehead, Ray Collins

The film, set in the early 1900s, tells the story of the Ambersons, an Indianapolis upper-class family, focusing on Major Amberson’s grandson, George. In the beginning of the film, George is home on a break from college, and his mother and grandfather (Richard Bennett) hold a reception in his honor. Among the guests is the widowed Eugene Morgan, who is a prosperous automobile manufacturer who has just returned to town after a twenty-year absence. He brings his daughter Lucy (Anne Baxter) with him. George takes to the beautiful and charming Lucy right away, but seems to instantly scorn and dislike Eugene, almost instinctively.

In a flashback, the prior relationship between George’s mother, Isabel, and Eugene is revealed. Twenty years ago, Major Amberson’s daughter Isabel (Dolores Costello), is unintentionally humiliated in public by her high-spirited beau – Eugene Morgan (Joseph Cotten) – who, with a group of other men, serenades her after having had a few drinks. Eugene drunkenly falls and breaks his instrument. Following the high attention of the era to decorum and the reputation of members of “high society,” Isabel breaks off their relationship and decides to marry the bland Wilbur Minafer (Donald Dillaway) instead. They have one child, George Minafer (Tim Holt), whom she spoils. As George grows up, he bullies and dominates children and adults alike, and many in the town long for the day when the superior, arrogant, immature mama’s boy will get his “comeuppance.”

Additional underlying plotlines include the slow decline of the financial worth of Major Amberson and other family members, again ironically strongly related to the development of the automobile. For example, their mansion and expansive grounds decline in value as the automobile makes it possible, even desirable, to live further from the center of town. Parallel societal changes are briefly highlighted, such as the decline of the city’s center as commerce becomes more widespread and freed from the geographic limitations imposed by only having horses and buggies as means of transportation. As the Amberson’s fortunes gradually decline, those of the Morgan family, linked to the inexorable rise of the 20th century automobile culture, flourish, until the Ambersons are brought low at the end and the now-wealthy and powerful Morgans become the rescuers of the family.

Touch of Evil

  • Directors: Orson Welles
  • Producers: Albert Zugsmith, Rick Schmidlin
  • Writers: Whit Masterson, Orson Welles, Paul Monash, Franklin Coen
  • Genres: Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller
  • Actors: Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Marlene Dietrich

The movie opens with a three-minute, thirty second continuous tracking shot considered to be one of the greatest long takes in cinematic history.[citation needed] Beginning on the Mexico/US border, the shot shows a man placing a bomb in a car and then the journey of the car into the United States. The shot ends with newlyweds Miguel “Mike” (Charlton Heston) and Susie Vargas (Janet Leigh) kissing. The scene then cuts to the car, containing a man and a woman, exploding.

Vargas, a drug enforcement official within the Mexican government, realizes the implications of a Mexican bomb exploding on American soil and begins to investigate. Police Chief Pete Gould (Harry Shannon) and District Attorney Adair (Ray Collins) arrive shortly on the scene, as well as police Captain Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) and Quinlan’s friend and partner, Pete Menzies (Joseph Calleia).

While Quinlan and Menzies interrogate their prime suspect, a young Mexican named Sanchez who was secretly married to the daughter of the victim, Vargas visits the restroom and knocks a shoebox into the empty bathtub. He places the box back in its place. Moments later, Menzies announces that two sticks of dynamite were found in the shoebox in the bathroom. Vargas, aghast at the duplicity of the two men, determines that Quinlan may have been habitually planting evidence to help win convictions for years.

As Quinlan is readying to kill Vargas, Menzies fatally shoots Quinlan. It is then reported that the suspect that he framed has confessed and really did commit the crime. The movie ends with Vargas leaving town with Susie.

The Third Man

  • Directors: Carol Reed
  • Producers: Alexander Korda, David O Selznick
  • Writers: Graham Greene
  • Genres: Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard

In Austria’s capital city, Vienna, just after the Second World War, when the city is divided into separate zones controlled by the victorious Allied powers – Great Britain, France, the United States, and the Soviet Union – American pulp western author Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives seeking an old friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles), who has offered him the opportunity to work with him in Vienna.

When he arrives at Lime’s apartment, Martins learns that Lime has been recently killed by a lorry while crossing the street. Shocked, he heads to the cemetery to attend Lime’s funeral, where he meets two British military police officers, Sergeant Paine (Bernard Lee), who is an enormous fan of Martins’ books, and his superior, Major Calloway (Trevor Howard). After the services, Calloway gives Martins a lift to his hotel and advises the American to leave Vienna as he can do nothing more than get himself into trouble.

At the hotel, Martins agrees to speak to the members of the local book club at the request of a British cultural official, Crabbin (Wilfrid Hyde-White). He also arranges a meeting with a friend of Lime’s, Baron Kurtz (Ernst Deutsch). Martins meets the man in the Mozart CafГ© to discuss Lime’s death. Kurtz relates that he and Popescu (Siegfried Breuer), another friend of Lime’s, had picked him up and brought him over to the side of the street, where he had asked them to take care of Martins and Anna (Alida Valli), Lime’s actress girlfriend. Kurtz tells Martins which theatre Anna works in, but advises against investigating.

During the shooting of the film, the final scene was the subject of a dispute between Greene, who wanted the happy ending of the novella, and Selznick and Reed, who stubbornly refused to end the film on what they felt was an artificially happy note. This is one of the few areas where Reed and Selznick did not clash during the production.[citation needed]

Citizen Kane

  • Directors: Orson Welles
  • Producers: Orson Welles
  • Writers: Herman J Mankiewicz, Orson Welles
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery
  • Actors: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Dorothy Comingore, Ruth Warrick, Everett Sloane, George Coulouris, Ray Collins

The film opens in a night setting on a vast palatial estate on which the sign “No Trespassing” is posted. Gradually the camera comes to rest in a bedroom on which an elderly man is lying, holding a snow globe. He utters the word “Rosebud” and lets go of the snow globe which drops and smashes on the floor. A nurse enters and covers the man in a way that indicates he has died. The scene fades out.

An abrupt cut leads to a newsreel obituary in which we find out that the estate was Xanadu and the man who owned it and died there was the enormously wealthy media magnate Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles). The newsreel reveals details of his life – how his childhood was spent in poverty, then changed when the “world’s third largest gold mine” was discovered on a property his mother had inherited, how he built up his empire of newspapers, how both his marriages were unsuccessful, his conflicting pronouncements, and how the power he once obtained disappeared.

After its preview, the producer of the newsreel feels that it lacks something and asks a reporter, Jerry Thompson (William Alland), to find out about Kane’s private life and personality, in particular to discover the meaning behind his last word. The reporter interviews the great man’s friends and associates, and Kane’s story unfolds as a series of flashbacks, some of which present the same incidents portrayed in the newsreel, but from different recollections.

Despite Thompson’s interviews, he is unable to solve the mystery and concludes that “Rosebud” will forever remain an enigma. At that point, the camera pans over workers burning some of Kane’s many possessions. One throws an old sled into the furnace – the same sled that Kane was riding as a child the day his mother sent him away. The word “Rosebud” painted on the sled burns as the camera closes in on it in the furnace. There is a shot of a chimney with black smoke coming out. For the viewer this solves the “Rosebud” mystery, the sled is a token of the only time in his life when he was poor; more than this, however, it represents the only time in his life when he was truly happy and wanted for nothing. After this twist ending, the film ends as it began, with the “No Trespassing” sign at the gates of Kane’s estate, Xanadu, an indication that sometimes we can never know the truth behind people.