Nida Faraz Looks at Interesting Movie Portrayals
It is with a sleight of technique that movies condense days and weeks, sometimes years and decades, into an average length of around two hours. The best movies obscure the audience’s sense of the actual time going by while they sit in a dark theater or watch at home. Great short movies, under 100 minutes are especially terrific at making every frame and minute count. Some of the biggest franchise launchers of all time like “The Lion King” and “Toy Story” are short movies. Despite the short duration such movies contain original plot twists, dizzying suspense, and hypnotic intrigue and keep audiences glued to their seats.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
The running time of this movie is 91 minutes. Bright colors adorn the French city of Cherbourg, the boutique umbrellas of the title, and the costumes and sets in this romantic musical. Catherine Deneuve stars as a teenage shop worker entangled with a man who ships off to war in Algiers. Every word occurs in the song as Deneuve and other actors are dubbed in a bittersweet story that asks how love can survive social pressures.
The Awful Truth (1937)
The running time of this film is 90 minutes and it is a screwball comedy about a jealous couple who divorce because they are so suspicious of one another. They are each desperate to destroy the other’s romantic prospects as their love-hate antics go down to the wire until their divorce decree becomes final. Cary Grant stars with Irene Dunne, who received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as the sassy heroine.
The Invisible Man (1933)
Running just 71 minutes the remarkably ghoulish special effects portray the missing anti-hero in Universal’s classic horror hit. Claude Rains, in his debut sound film role, stars as a crazed scientist who’s developed a drug that renders him invisible—insanity is a side effect. The film is both chilling, as the man uses his power for deadly mischief and funny with wry sight gags and the humor of the power-mad.
Love Affair (1939)
Lasting 88 minutes the film was directed by Leo McCarey who also directed both “Love Affair” in 1939 and its famous remake “An Affair to Remember” in 1957. The story centers on two people who, because they are engaged to others, delay a romance for six months when they agree to meet atop the Empire State Building but a devastating accident thwarts their rendezvous. Warren Beatty and Annette Bening play the ill-fated couple in the 1994 remake.
Running 86 minutes this endearing, indie rom-com makes the love story about composing music instead of the usual drive toward a conventional happy ending. Set in Dublin, “Once” follows a Czech woman who meets a street musician. They connect while producing a song—even though they are each involved with other people. The song they create, “Falling Slowly,” was a chart-topper that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
High Noon (1952)
Running 85 minutes “High Noon” gets going with a wedding between a retiring sheriff (Gary Cooper) and his pacifist bride (Grace Kelly). The two marry around 10:35 a.m. and then the film proceeds with a sense of real-time as the clock counts down until the noon train arrives and departs. The bride threatens to leave without him but the sheriff is caught between following her or staying in town for one last job.
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Running 99 minutes Ernst Lubitsch directed this classic romantic comedy about star-crossed co-workers who have no idea they are perfect for each other. Set in Budapest, Hungary, Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart play the colleagues who get on each others’ every nerve. Meanwhile, they are carrying on an enthralling but anonymous romantic correspondence. TW