Classic Movie Musts

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Ep. 42 w/ special guest Myke Emal

In this episode we welcome Myke Emal from the CineMusts Podcast to help breakdown the historical context and artistic excellence of The Manchurian Candidate (1962).  Starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Angela Lansbury, this is a timeless political thriller, filled with paranoia and deception.  

Red River (1948) Ep. 41

In this episode we discuss Howard Hawks's Red River (1948), starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, and dissect the evolution of the male persona in postwar America, as well as a subverting of western genre myths.

Sunset Boulevard (1950) Ep. 40

In this episode we discuss Billy Wilder's infamous, Sunset Boulevard (1950), starring Gloria Swanson and William Holden, and breakdown Wilder's scathing criticism of Hollywood.  

Sunset Boulevard is currently #12 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) Ep. 39

In this episode, we break down the swashbuckling adventure, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Claude Rains.  We discuss how director Michael Curtiz enhanced the excitement and tension of the film thanks to dynamic editing techniques that would influence Hollywood action movies for generations.

The Shining (1980) Ep. 38

In this episode, we dissect the Stanley Kubrick horror classic, The Shining (1980), starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd.  The Shining is a deceptively simple horror narrative that works largely beneath the surface to reveal psychological breakdown, and the collapse of the American family.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) Ep. 37

In this episode, we discuss the holiday classic, It's A Wonderful Life (1946).  Directed by Frank Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, and Henry Travers, this film wrestles with themes of individual vs. community like only Capra can.

It's A Wonderful Life is currently #20 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

Casablanca (1942) Ep. 36 w/ special guest Ted Walch

In this episode, we're joined again by Ted Walch to discuss a film of legendary stature, Casablanca (1942), starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, and Dooley Wilson. 

Cabaret (1972) Ep. 35

In this episode, we discuss Bob Fosse's modernist film musical, Cabaret (1972), starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York, and Joel Grey.


Cabaret is currently #63 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

How Green Was My Valley (1941) Ep. 34

During this episode, we discuss how John Ford uses cinematography, editing, and production design to evoke the power of memory in the family melodrama, How Green Was My Valley (1941), starring Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Donald Crisp, and Roddy McDowell.  Join us as we discuss the film that beat Citizen Kane to the Best Picture Oscar.

The Kid (1921) Ep. 33 w/ special guest Ted Walch

In this episode, we're joined by teacher and film historian Ted Walch to discuss Charlie Chaplin's first feature length film, The Kid (1921), starring himself and Jackie Coogan.

The Wild Bunch (1969) Ep. 32

In this episode, we discuss Sam Peckinpah's modernist western, The Wild Bunch (1969).  Surrounding a ruthless, violent group of outlaws, starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Robert Ryan, The Wild Bunch redefined violence in American movies.

The Wild Bunch is currently #79 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

Pillow Talk (1959) Ep. 31

In this episode, we're discussing the Doris Day, Rock Hudson romantic comedy, Pillow Talk (1959).  This influential film's success is reflective of equal parts innovation for the genre going forward and inspiration from the screwball comedy that came before.

A Star is Born (1954) Ep. 30

In this episode, we dive into the musical drama A Star is Born (1954), directed by George Cukor and starring Judy Garland and James Mason.  We'll examine how this powerful film leverages Garland's performance and persona to devastating effect.

Psycho (1960) Ep. 29

In this episode, we close out Alfred Hitchcock month with his legendary film Psycho (1960), starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins.  We discuss how Psycho represented the final undoing of Hitchcock's emblematic style, and acts as the ideal capstone to his storied career.

Rear Window (1954) Ep. 28

In this episode we discuss the iconic Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Rear Window (1954), starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly.  We'll breakdown how Hitchcock ramped up the suspense by centering the film on an everyday scenario and we'll continue to examine the importance of romance and trust to Hitchcock's films. 

Rear Window is currently #48 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

Notorious (1946) Ep. 27

In this episode, we discuss Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious (1946).  Starring Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Claude Rains, this film is a trademark example of Hitchcock's ability to balance suspense, romance, and trust to tremendous effect.  Join us for this unforgettable film.

The 39 Steps (1935) Ep. 26

In this episode, we kick off Alfred Hitchcock month on Classic Movie Musts with a look at Hitchcock's first undisputed masterpiece The 39 Steps (1935).  Starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll, this "wrong-man" thriller established Hitchcock's directorial style.

Amadeus (1984) Ep. 25

In this episode, we discuss Milos Foreman's Amadeus (1984), starring F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce. Despite having the pretensions of a biopic, Amadeus is really a subjective instrospection on the nature of genius.  Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, Amadeus is #53 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movie of All Time.

Stage Door (1937) Ep. 24

In this episode we breakdown the classic dramedy Stage Door (1937).  Directed by Gregory LaCava and starring Katherine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers, amongst many other familiar faces, this film is determined by its historical context.  We'll examine how this movie bends the conventions of the screwball comedy, balances comedy and cynicism surrounding the Great Depression, and skirts the Hollywood production code.

The Long Goodbye (1973) Ep. 23

This is part two of our look at the evolution of the film noir detective genre.  Today's episode will focus on the modernist film The Long Goodbye (1973), starring Elliott Gould, and examine how director Robert Altman exaggerates genre myths and conventions to appeal to a more analytical audience.

Murder, My Sweet (1944) Ep. 22

This episode kicks off a two part look into the film noir detective mystery genre.  This week's episode will explore the classical myths, conventions, and iconography associated with this genre as seen in Murder, My Sweet (1944).  Murder, My Sweet was directed by Edward Dmytryk and stars Dick Powell and Claire Trevor.

Dr. Strangelove (1964) w/ Special Guest Ian Herrin Ep. 21

In this episode, Max is joined by comedian Ian Herrin to discuss the Stanley Kubrick poltical satire, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.  Starring Peter Sellers in a triumverate of rolls, along with George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, and Slim Pickens, Dr. Strangelove perfectly captures Cold War fears and takes them to their extreme conclusion.

Dr. Strangelove is #26 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

The African Queen (1951) Ep. 20

In this episode, we go down river on The African Queen (1951).  Directed by John Huston, and starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, this movie deftly balances adventure, romance, and comedy.

The African Queen is #17 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

Malcolm X (1992) Ep. 19

In this episode, we discuss the Spike Lee classic biopic, Malcolm X (1992).  Starring Denzel Washington, this movie foregrounds all the classical elements that define the biopic genre.  In doing so, it makes a controversial activist appealing to mainstream audiences.  

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) Ep. 18

In this episode, we explore the film noir western, The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), starring Henry Fonda.  This movie is a haunting introspection on the nature of masculinity.  It's also a fascinating glimpse into the pschye of America on the eve of World War II.  This film beautifully and hauntingly combines the themes of the film noir and the icons of the western.