When we think of film masterpieces, we often think of the usual suspects: Citizen Kane, The Godfather, and Star Wars. These are the movies that have become cultural touchstones and continue to be celebrated today. But what about the films that have been forgotten over time, the ones that have fallen into obscurity despite their undeniable brilliance?
There are plenty of forgotten film masterpieces that deserve a second look, movies that were ahead of their time, or simply didn’t get the attention they deserved upon their release. Here are just a few of the best forgotten films that are worth revisiting.
The Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
This film noir directed by Alexander Mackendrick centers around a powerful New York City gossip columnist named J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) and his relationship with a sleazy press agent named Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis). The two men have a symbiotic relationship of sorts, with Hunsecker using Falco to do his dirty work and Falco using Hunsecker’s connections to further his own career. The film is a searing indictment of the cutthroat world of tabloid journalism and the lengths people will go to get ahead. It also features some of the most memorable dialogue in film history, with a screenplay by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman that crackles with wit and cynicism.
A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd stars Andy Griffith in his film debut as Lonesome Rhodes, a charismatic drifter who becomes a powerful media figure thanks to his folksy charm and populist rhetoric. The film is a scathing critique of the way television can manipulate and control the masses, and Griffith gives a stunning performance as a man who is all smiles on the surface but a monster beneath. The film was largely overlooked upon its release but has since become regarded as a prescient work of art.
The Innocents (1961)
This chilling horror film directed by Jack Clayton centers around a governess (Deborah Kerr) who begins to suspect that the children in her care are possessed by malevolent spirits. Based on Henry James’s novella The Turn of the Screw, The Innocents is an eerie and unsettling masterpiece, featuring gorgeous black-and-white cinematography by Freddie Francis and a haunting score by Georges Auric. While The Innocents may not have the same notoriety as other horror classics of the era like Psycho or Night of the Living Dead, it is a film that has stood the test of time and still manages to frighten audiences to this day.
John Frankenheimer’s sci-fi thriller stars Rock Hudson as a middle-aged banker who undergoes a radical procedure that allows him to start over with a new identity and a new life. However, the price of his second chance may be more than he ever imagined. Seconds is a thought-provoking and unsettling examination of the American Dream, identity, and what it means to be human. With its striking cinematography and eerie score by Jerry Goldsmith, it is a film that deserves to be remembered alongside other classics of the era like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.
The Honeymoon Killers (1970)
This low-budget true-crime thriller directed by Leonard Kastle is based on the notorious murders committed by Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck in the late 1940s. Shirley Stoler gives a fearless performance as Martha, a lonely nurse who falls in love with a con artist (Tony Lo Bianco) and helps him seduce and murder wealthy widows. The Honeymoon Killers is a brutal and unflinching film, shot in a gritty documentary style that adds to its realism. While it may not be as well-known as other true-crime films like In Cold Blood or The Silence of the Lambs, The Honeymoon Killers is just as harrowing and unforgettable.
In conclusion, there are plenty of forgotten film masterpieces out there that deserve our attention and appreciation. These movies may not have the same level of cultural cache as some of the more well-known classics, but they are just as worthy of our time and admiration. Whether you’re a fan of film noir, horror, science fiction, or true crime, there is something for everyone in the world of forgotten films. So the next time you’re looking for something new to watch, why not give one of these hidden gems a try? You might just be surprised at what you find.