Film Critic Kenneth Turan Picks 54 Films That Are 'Not To Be Missed'
You normally hear Los Angeles Times and Morning Edition film critic Kenneth Turan reviewing new movies, but this week, we’re talking about old films with him instead. That’s because he’s written a new book called Not to Be Missed: Fifty-Four Favorites from a Lifetime of Film. In it, he offers up tidbits of Hollywood history and behind-the-scenes drama, as well as his critical analysis of some of the world’s greatest movies — some familiar, some obscure.
Turan tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep that these films are like friends and are worth watching and rewatching. Like friends, these movies speak to him, he says. “They move me in ways that almost are beyond language, that go into you so deeply, that it almost feels like when a film really works, it changes your life.”
On Sunset Boulevard, 1950, which begins with the narrator dead in a swimming pool (Picture Above)
This is a very unusual choice for an opening, and it’s still kind of shocking when you see it. I like inside Hollywood films, and Sunset Boulevard I think is the bleakest one of these. It stars Gloria Swanson as a silent film star who can’t make her peace with that fact that she’s not a big star anymore. And the thing about the film, the more I watched it: Gloria Swanson’s performance — it’s fascinated me how sympathetic she makes this character. This is a very desperate character; this is in many ways an unpleasant character. … You shouldn’t really like her, but … your heart goes out to her as crazed as she is. … This is the performance that holds the film together.
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