Tuesday, November 1, 2016

5 Films: William Wyler

By Kenny Howell

The 5 Films moves on today to another golden age director in William Wyler. Here are his five best films.

5. Ben-Hur (1959) - Fabulous epic starring Charlton Heston as a Jewish prince who is thrown into slavery for a crime he didn’t commit and vows revenge.

4. The Children's Hour (1961) - Great adaptation of the stunning play about two teachers at a girl’s school played by Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine who are accused of being lesbians by a bratty student.

3. Mrs. Miniver  (1942) - A terrific depiction of family life during the early days of World War II. Director William Wyler does a terrific job showing the family trying to live out their normal life while bombs start to fall on Great Britain. Greer Garson leads a fabulous cast as the matriarch trying to keep the family grounded during the tumultuous time. She fills Miniver with strength, but the fragile fear is always laid just underneath.
2. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) - This is an honest look at the problems veterans face when they come home from combat. Three soldiers from World War II come home and can’t get comfortable with the world they knew. Everything is different, not just because of the passage of time, but how the people they love react to them, knowing what they had been through during war. The most effecting story has to be of Homer (Harold Russell) who lost both hands and has been taught to use hooks. His change is visible to all, while the others can hide inside their own heads. Russell won an honorary Oscar for his performance because it was a good symbol for other veterans going through the same thing.

1. Roman Holiday (1950) - Audrey Hepburn won an Oscar for her first major film role in this classic romance. Hepburn plays Princess Anne who has grown tired of not having any freedom, and sneaks away one night. However, she took a powerful sedative beforehand and passes out on a bench. She is found by an American reporter played by Gregory Peck. The two go on a tour of Rome, and Anne gets to live life as a normal person. Terrific chemistry between Peck and Hepburn makes this a romantic classic.

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