Wednesday, February 14, 2007

viewer's choice

I saw a gem of a movie today; one that I'd heard of but never before seen. The impetus for seeing this was Alan Arkin's third Oscar nomination. I knew he had been nominated twice before in the lead actor category so I decided to check out the two movies he was previously nominated for. I watched The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!, a 1966 movie (the same year Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and A Man For All Seasons came out) is a funny tale of how one town copes with "invasion." A Soviet submarine hits a sandbar and nine men disembark to find a boat to push themselves free. The hit a small Massachusetts coastal community and what starts out as men looking for a boat turns into a town going into a tizzy. This movie is funny, entertaining, and features a great cast (you have to remember this was 1966; way before Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt or George Clooney) including Eva Marie Saint, a thinner Jonathan "we have to get organized" Winters, Brian Keith, a thin Carl Reiner and Alan Arkin as Lt. Rozanov.

As the townspeople start running around trying to figure out how to stop the Russians and the Russians create more and more havoc, the movie builds to a showdown between the townspeople and the Russians. Just as the tension is the highest something remarkable happens.

This movie was directed by Norman Jewison who also directed The Hurricane, Moonstruck, Agnes Of God, and Fiddler On The Roof. It's also an adaptation of Nathaniel Benchley's novel The Off-Islanders. I've read there are some differences in the book; the book sounds a bit darker than the movie, although the movie does have an undertone of darkness (and one character uses the word raping, in 1966).

A fun movie and a highly recommended one.

Another cool thing was seeing the trailer for the film and seeing just how different movie trailers used to be. The trailers today seem to be designed for the short attention span crowd. The trailers back then were more involved, cleverer, and longer.



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