Thursday Movie Picks: Affairs.

This week’s theme of Wandering through the Shelves weekly blogathon is ‘affairs’. An affair can, and most likely will; tear a family apart; drive one (or all) member(s) of the affair to extreme lengths to enact love or revenge or create the right amount of drama and tension to make for an exciting watch. So let’s kick off this week’s Thursday Movie Picks.

American Beauty (1999): Sam Mendes’ drama follows Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) in his struggle with depression/mid-life crisis. The film documents his unhappy marriage, with his wife, Carolyn, having an affair with her business rival and Lester fantasising about his 16 year old daughter’s friend, Angela, the film explores how Lester’s state of mind pushes his family away and leaves him longing for a piece of his youth through wanting sex with Angela. A number of themes fly around the infidelity and lying and as one of Mendes’ best, this film certainly shows the effect that cheating and suspicion can have on a family.

american beauty

Image from IMBD.

Double Idemnity (1944): When insurance salesman Walter Neff  falls for femme fatale, Phyllis Dietrichson, the two come hatch a plan to kill her husband and make it look like freak accident to activate the Double Indemnity Clause and inherit his money. This classic film noir has all the wonderful things about the genre that made me fall in love with it in the first place; a femme fatale, a sorted affair and a cunning twist. This film shows how an affair can turn deadly.

double indem

Image from IMDB

Alfie (1966): Michael Cain stars as the womanising, wheeler dealer who doesn’t fancy the life settling down. With affair after affair, Alfie doesn’t much care for the trouble he leaves behind. The novelty of his first born child doesn’t last long, causing his girlfriend to leave him and raise the child with another man. However, this doesn’t matter much to Alfie who quickly moves on to the next woman. However, as Alfie ages he soon realises that his charm and looks aren’t as powerful as when he was younger. Alfie’s unfaithful ways have him in a number of situations that range from mildly comedic to completely disastrous, however, none of them compare to a quite harrowing back room abortion scene that shows the horrors of Alfie’s lustful lifestyle.

alfie

Image from here

That wraps up this weeks Thursday Movie Picks, once again, I’ve loved taking part and can’t wait to read everyone else’s picks.

Thanks for reading,

all the best,

Andrew.

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22 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks: Affairs.

  1. Wendell says:

    American Beauty is a wonderful film, but Double Indemnity is one of my all-time faves. I’ve the remake of Alfie with Jude Law, but not the original. Guess I need to fix that.

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  2. joelnox says:

    Wonderfully varied picks.

    American Beauty is such a dark night of the soul type movie and Spacey and Annette Bening are just amazing in it.

    Speaking of dark night of the soul very few movies have as black a heart as Double Indemnity. Wilder’s direction and John Seitz cinematography are major reasons for that but without the three lead performances of Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson it wouldn’t mean anything. Amusing that Wilder convinced Stanwyck and MacMurray, both were reluctant to take on such vile people, to do it by telling each the other wanted to do it but only with them.

    I never quite got the appeal of young Michael Caine until I saw Alfie but afterwards I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing justice to the role. He’s disarming, charming and charismatic while being a total shitheel the whole time. I can’t bring myself to see the remake which I’ve heard is crap.

    There is a huge variety of choices for this week’s theme so it was easy to make picks. These are three of my favorites.

    Second Skin (2000)-Madrid housewife Elena (Ariadna Gil) suspects her husband Alberto (Jordi Molla) of having an affair, threatening their seemingly happy life with their son. Devastated when she discovers not only that her suspicions were correct but that the person he is involved with is a man, surgeon Diego (Javier Bardem) she confronts Alberto. At first he insists that it was a momentary lapse but eventually confesses that he is genuinely in love with Diego and torn between his two lives.

    They Won’t Believe Me (1947)-Larry Ballentine (Robert Young) is on trial for murder and as he takes the stand in his defense the film explores the story of how he’s found himself there. Indifferent to his wealthy wife Gretta (Rita Johnson) who loves him deeply Larry is a cad involved in a quadrangle with her, his mistress Janice (Jane Greer) and a secretary at his insurance office, Verna (Susan Hayward). A reprobate who is never satisfied with what he has he makes a series of selfish decisions that lead to tragedy. Even if he’s innocent of the crime accused is he indeed blameless. Nifty noir with a super, out of character performance from the usually good guy Young and a great ending.

    The Macomber Affair (1947)-Francis Macomber (Robert Preston) and his wife Margaret (Joan Bennett) arrive in Kenya for a safari and hire experienced hunter Robert Wilson (Gregory Peck) as their guide. Their marriage is a troubled one and Margaret becomes openly interested in Wilson with disastrous consequences. A three person chamber piece with both Peck and Preston doing good work but the standout is the under-appreciated Joan Bennett as a woman turned into a hard article by a bad marriage. Though subtle gestures and sly looks she gives the film a tough grounded center and has rarely looked so beautiful. A solid adventure film with noir elements and a Hemingway feel. The film is an adaptation of one of his short stories.

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    • actualandrew says:

      Yeah American Beauty is quite dark but I find it oddly funny at times too. Double Indemnity is a classic for me and really sums up what I love about film noir. I’ve never seen the Alfie remake either and don’t intend to. I read the synopsis and that was enough to put me off. I’ve not seen any of your picks but they sound great. Especially They Won’t Believe Me. That one really appeals to me, I’ll be sure to check it out! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Daniel Bayer says:

    Love that you went with American Beauty. I think it’s a really underrated film these days. I loved it in 1999 and I love it still. Double Indemnity is a stone cold classic though. How Stanwyck missed an Oscar for it I’ll never know.

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    • actualandrew says:

      I know very few people that have actually seen American Beauty around me. I think they’re really missing out on a great piece of film. And of course, Stanwyck is fantastic on DI but we all know how the Oscars can be

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  4. Birgit says:

    Love Double Indemnity and their horrible destructive love affair is just icky. American Beauty is dark yet quite funny especially when he is serving his wife and her lover at the drive through. Allie is one film I still have to see and it has been on my list for a long time..

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    • actualandrew says:

      I agree with you about American Beauty. The whole thing is a mixture of emotions and feelings but it can be quite comical at times. Alfie is great, you should definitely give it a watch!

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