Today in Movie History: March 24

There’s no question which film rules the roost today. The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola’s epic tale of the rise and fall of the Corleone crime family, remains the final word on gangster movies, family dramas and the corrosive power of the American dream. However you approach it, its power cannot be denied, and though the medium continues to produce its masterpieces, nothing quite measures up to this one: quite possibly the greatest movie of any kind ever made. It opened today in 1972.

You don’t hear much about Dolores Claiborne when people talk about Stephen King adaptations, but in fact it’s one of the very best, with Kathy Bates taking on a very different role than the one that won her an Oscar for Misery. She plays a hard-as-nails New England housekeeper accused of murdering her longtime employer. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays her estranged daughter who returns home to help her mother, only to confront the truth about the death of her father… which may have been Mom’s doing as well. It opened today in 1995.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, check out Quicksand, a brilliant little piece of noir starring Mickey Rooney of all people in one of the better performances of his career. He plays a mechanic who takes $20 out of his boss’s till to take his girl out. It’s not even theft because he fully intends to return the money once payday hits. From that little acorn grows a hideous oak, and one of the film’s evil little joys is watching how much one small moral mistake can go so wrong. It opened today in 1950.


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