“Borderstan Movie Fan” Tells You What to Rent

by Borderstan.com September 16, 2009 at 5:00 am 1,214 8 Comments

We welcome a new weekly contributor to Borderstan. Mary Burgan is the Borderstan Movie Fan and she will offer up her “totally subjective advice” about what movies you should rent. Burgan is a retired association executive and professor of English. She and her husband live in Borderstan.mattyillini

By Mary Burgan

Stumped at Blockbuster? At the end of your queue on Netflix? Not sure which classics to watch on cable?

As a movie reviewer for Borderstan, I’ll make some totally subjective suggestions for you about movies that are not playing in the theater–classics and movies that have already left the theaters.

You can find plenty of reviews of new releases, so you don’t need help there. Not that I don’t have opinions, but I wanted to offer something a little different to Borderstan readers.

Joan Crawford and Zachary Scott Movies. For example, what would I choose when the AMC channel is running a Joan Crawford series? Well, I’ll suggest that you skip Mildred Pierce (1945), especially if you’ve already seen it three times. Instead, spend your time with Crawford’s 1949 movie, Flamingo Road, which features not only Mommie Dearest in her prime, but also the juicy villainy of Sydney Greenstreet and the now forgotten Zachery Scott at his cowardly custard best.

And later you might browse Netflix queue and check out The Southerner (1945) with a noble Zachery Scott playing the struggling share cropper. The Southerner was the best of the American films directed by Jean Renoir when he was taking refuge in the U.S. during the Second World War.

Moreover, if you haven’t seen his great French films, Grand Illusion (1937) and The Rules of the Game (1939), then order them immediately. Myself? I would see Grand Illusion first.

P.S.-If there are some movies that you’d like to know about, please post a comment and I will see what I can do.

  • mattyillini

    Note: Next week Mary will review several “sexy movies,” as she calls them. No, not pornography!

  • This is a great addition to the blog, thx for the new fun feature.

    For absolutely stunning and hypnotic cinematography, I’d suggest anything by the late great director Andrei Tarkovsky: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Tarkovsky

    Another movie thought: DC is one of the best cities, worldwide, for watching great films, on the big screen, for absolutely free. For example, we watched a restored and luminous copy of “Last Year at Marienbad” at a packed house at the Nat’l Gallery of Art recently. The Freer/Sackler’s film sched is amazing too, offering minifests of Hong Kong action flicks, Iranian cinema, Korean titles, and of course lots of documentaries along the way.

  • ccbean

    I love Mildred Pierce, so I’ll be sure to check into Flamingo Road. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Reader

    I’m in the mood for a good foreign film. Not so into action or horror right now. Any suggestions?

    • mattyillini

      Karen – Thanks, but can you be more specific? Subtitles? Any particular countries?

  • Reader

    French and Spanish are my typical choices, but I’m looking to expand my horizons. Drama and suspense are good. Loved the Danish film “After the Wedding.” Thanks!

  • BackfromBoulder

    Dear Mary,

    Love the column! I’ve never had a bot of interest in Joan Crawford movies (even though she and I are both natives of San Antonio, Texas!), so I appreciate the spark of interest you have ignited.

    You seem well-informed on the classics. Do you have any recommendations on the two or three of the better Alec Guinness movies?

    Look forward to next weeks column!

  • Allyson McGill

    My mind is buzzing with the hundreds of classic movies I’ve watched in my lifetime — with gratitude to my mother, who taught my sister and me to love old movies (lots of midnight movies on Channel 5 in Queens, NY back in the pre-video days!).

    In keeping with this legacy, my daughter and I just watched “His Gal Friday,” which she has now added to her list of screwball comedies (To quote her, “I LOVE ‘Bringing Up Baby’!”

    Seeing the Alec Guinness query makes me happy. I love his films! I hope you’ve seen “The Man in the White Suit,” as well as his “The Ladykillers.”


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