Stalag 17 (1953) "The first week I was in this joint, somebody stole my Red Cross package, my blanket, and my left shoe. Well, since then I've wised up. This ain't no Salvation Army - this is everybody for himself, dog eat dog." A typical witty Billy Wilder film: dark subject matter treated humorously. It's part black comedy and part drama, about American POW's in a Nazi prison camp during WWII who suspect that there is a spy in their midst, and have to find out who it is before they plot the escape of a condemned American saboteur. Bill Holden won an Oscar for the main anti-hero role in this, and boy, did he deserve it.
Rear Window (1954) "That's a secret, private world your looking into out there. People do a lot of things in private they couldn't possibly explain in public." A thriller from famous suspense-director Alfred Hitchcock; for years it was my favorite film of all time. A photographer (James Stewart, excellent as always) holed up in his apartment with a broken leg begins spying on his neighbors, at first for fun--until he suspects one man of having murdered his wife. It raises a serious moral question: Is voyeurism ethical if by doing it you prove or even prevent a crime? It raises this question--but doesn't answer it. A great movie, all the same.
It Happened One Night (1934) "I never did like the idea of sitting on newspapers. I did it once, and all the headlines came off on my white pants. On the level! It actually happened. Nobody bought a paper that day. They just followed me around over town and read the news on the seat of my pants." One of the original and best romantic comedies ever made; along the lines of "Bringing up Baby," though less screwball. Claudette Colbert plays a spoiled brat heiress who runs away when her father won't let her marry the shallow aristocrat she thinks she's in love with. She falls in with self-sufficient, plebeian newspaperman Clark Gable who offers to help her on her cross-country trek in return for exclusive newspaper rights to her story. But of course, you can imagine what happens instead. This is very witty and lots of fun; Colbert and Gable are quite comfortable and even easygoing when they are playing off one another's personalities on screen, so that they work very well together and are able to somehow make this highly improbably romance believable.