Today in Movie History: July 30

The big film today from an artistic perspective is Mister Roberts, John Ford’s tale of of lieutenant (Henry Fonda) on broken-down WWII cargo ship who longs for combat, but finds himself thwarted by the ship’s captain (James Cagney). Frankly speaking, it’s not among Ford’s best, but the cast is in fine form and the film picked up a slew of Academy Awards, including one for Jack Lemmon as Fonda’s bunkmate. It opened today in 1955.

On an entirely different level, we find Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, an amiable stoner comedy that proved surprisingly resilient. Intended as the simple story of two best buds (Kal Penn and John Cho) and their epic quest for a sackful of burgers from the titular fast-food chain, it spawned a loyal cult following as well as a pair of surprisingly good sequels. Its greatest gift, however, may be the stunning reboot of Neil Patrick Harris’s career: turning him from sitcom has-been to stunningly cool in-joke master within the space of a few short minutes. He — and we — will be forever grateful. The film opened today in 2004.



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