Today in Movie History: October 3

The Maltese Falcon belongs in that rarefied air of movies that exist solely to be loved by everyone who sees them. Besides signaling the rise of film noir in the 1940s, it made Humphrey Bogart an icon, launched the brilliant career of director John Huston, and turned its titular “dingus” into one of the most recognizable images in cinema. Small wonder it’s considered  one of the greatest films ever made. It opened today in 1941.

Somewhere in Time, Jeannot Szwarc’s time-traveling romance based on a story by Richard Matheson, was roundly panned upon first release. The intervening years have turned it into a cult hit… to the point where fans gather every year at the hotel on Mackinac Island, MI where it was filmed to get their geek on. While technically science fiction, the romance is what sells it, making the fervor and dedication among its fans fairly unique for movies of this sort. And I confess: the romance works quite well, aided by a gorgeous score from John Barry and stars Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, who found the fragility and tragedy in their characters. Somewhere in Time opened today in 1980.

If you just read the basic description of The Trouble With Harry — a black comedy about a corpse that won’t stay buried — then saw director Alfred Hitchcock’s name attached to it, you’d think it was a masterpiece. Sadly, it never plays quite as smartly or as amusingly as it should: a meandering affair the ultimately stands far lower on the canon than one would hope. That said, Hitchcock is Hitchcock, and we’re giving it a shout-out here on those merits alone. It opened today in 1955.


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