Friday, August 30, 2019

Top Ten Anniversary: Favorite Movie Hunks

Fix it, Jesus, we're at it again. This seventh Top Ten list to celebrate a decade of Poseidon's Underworld is comprised of those handsome gents of the cinema who've made our heart go pitter-patter over the years. Like every list here, it was tough to pare down and only reflects my own personal, particular taste. If you happened to miss it, also check out our TV Hunks list from a short while back. Now, in alphabetical order by first name, we herald the heart-breakers...
ALAIN DELON - Like so many of the men in this list, it's the eyes that really do it. But Mr. D. had more than that. He was seductive, dangerous and capable of being both innocent and threatening. He also professed his bisexuality without giving a shit who cared about it. (So no one was really safe from his considerable charms! Ha ha!) Crazily enough, my first exposure to him was in The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979), but but it was in earlier films like Purple Noon (1960) - a must!, The Leopard (1963) and The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964) that his dreamy looks won me over. He was also handsome in crap like Texas Across the River (1966) and many other films, including lots made in his native France.  
FRANCO NERO -- We just can't get past his glorious face in Camelot (1967.) You'd think that with Joshua Logan (who gave us all those humpy Seabees in South Pacific, 1958) at the helm, there would have been more flesh from Franco. Sadly, for us, he waited until just two years ago to go full monty! But in his day there were few as gloriously handsome. There's something so rewarding, too, about the fact that he and Vanessa Redgrave are back together after a long separation. I like happy endings, though, even outside a massage parlor. Ha ha! (I've never once had a massage, for the record!) His gorgeous visage graced anything from sci-fi in his early days to spaghetti westerns whose brown settings made his blue eyes pop. See also Querelle (1982), in which he's a navy lieutenant obsessed with Brad Davis!
HUGH O'BRIAN -- Hugh-baby did a lot of TV and is likely best known as the title figure in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, but he was also a busy movie actor in the 1950s and '60s. For our part, he will forever be seared in our minds for Love Has Many Faces (1965), in which he played a scantily-glad gigolo in Acapulco. So very slim in his early years (where he often played threatening looking Indians), we like it best when he filled out a little and grew into his features a bit better. There's also the delightfully campy Ten Little Indians (1965.) In the 1970s, it was back to TV for the most part, but since we worship him mostly for a movie, it's in this list that he lands.
JAMES FRANCISCUS -- One of Jane Fonda's early playthings, he also did quite a bit of TV, but starred in Youngblood Hawke (1964) and the fun The Valley of Gwangi (1969.) The big fun came, however, with Beneath the Planet of the Apes in which he spends the better part of the film in a barely-there piece of torn animal hide! He certainly outdid Mr. Charlton Heston when it came to that particular attribute. Even though he played a heel, we also love the fact that he was among the volcano victims in Irwin Allen's final big screen outing When Time Ran Out... (1980), this not long after working in the Canadian disaster flick City on Fire (1979.)
JEFFREY HUNTER -- I guess it was about twenty years ago that someone online turned me towards the charms of Mr. Hunter and I never looked back! Such a dreamy face and a highly underrated actor (his frequent 20th Century Fox costar Robert Wagner received a bigger build-up.) Not to be sacrilegious, but he even managed to make Jesus sort of hot in King of Kings (1961!)  No Man is an Island (1962) has him shipwrecked and rugged looking. Of all things it was the 1968 Bob Hope movie, The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell which got my attention because the clean-cut Hunter appeared in a brief Adam and Eve segment (with Phyllis Diller!)
JOHN GAVIN -- My God, what a hunk. Look at his lips! Whether is be coming to the defense of Vera Miles in Psycho (1960) or Doris Day in Midnight Lace (1960) or romancing Lana Turner in Imitation of Life (1959) or Susan Hayward in Back Street (1961), Mr. Gavin seemed to handsome to be true... And he (mostly!) kept his clothes on in those movies. In Spartacus (1960), he portrayed the world's most delectable Julius Caesar wrapped in a towel! Then there is the later Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) - close to his last gasp as a male lead - in which he acted as a handsome foil for Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore.  Accused of woodenness for much of his career, he typically comes off better now against stars who are acting, acting, acting... especially on the new widescreen HDTVs.
LEX BARKER -- While he certainly was a good Tarzan, at least in the early movies, I was never much on Johnny Weissmuller, but his replacement, Lex Barker, is another story. In his five Tarzan movies my eyes are riveted to him at all times. And his vintage comic book covers (in color) are yummy to behold. After leaving Hollywood when he couldn't escape the typecasting or be taken seriously for decent roles, Barker developed a highly-successful foreign career, working for several top Italian directors and headlining a popular series of German westerns that made him a highly-prized star there.
PAUL NEWMAN -- Mr. Newman was world-renowned for his piercing blue eyes (and even in the golden-hued center portrait you can see their luminous power!), but his lips are also pretty enticing in some of these pics. He could have been content to stay another run-of-the-mill, handsome Hollywood lead, but he was always trying to prove himself and work on projects of high quality (though he undeniably missed on that score when he starred in When Time Ran Out..., 1980!) Naturally, our first encounter with him was in The Towering Inferno (1974) when I was but seven and I did take notice of him even then in a rust-colored towel, but later I was able to enjoy all his other films, from the dull to the unforgettable, and he was almost always watchable in them.
STEVE REEVES - Sometimes we'll be looking through photos of Steve Reeves and just keep having our breath taken away. Not only did he have a stunning physique, but that FACE with it's strong chin and glowing blue eyes...! The photo of men in their Grecian-style swimwear is from The Giant of Marathon (1959), chock-a-block with handsome men. The best thing about Reeves is that he was very much against steroids and believed in natural, healthy bodybuilding. (Me too... LOL! But I keep building my body in a different way.)
TAB HUNTER - Sun-kissed until golden and oh so handsome. Mr. Hunter was highly adept at playing wholesome American young men, though was haunted all along by the fact that one wrong whisper about his sexual orientation could bring his very successful career to a standstill. He made it over that hump, but then was felled by changing tastes in general by the movie-going public. Another of several men in this list whose acting talent was held in dubious regard, he did prove himself more than once to be more than a pretty face. And what a pretty face!
The eyes have it...!
This is a slightly different pose from the photo above featuring Mr. Nero. He's even more arresting in color.
This is the time frame where I felt Mr. O'Brian really began to look extra handsome.
Check out the hypnotically beautiful blue eyes of Mr. Newman. They got so much attention he used to become highly frustrated and try to de-emphasize them. He once quipped that his epitaph would read: "Here lies Paul Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown."
Though they certainly weren't a happy couple on screen, to my mind no movie couple was ever more extraordinarily beautiful together than Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958.)
"Joey, do you like gladiator movies?" - Captain Oveur in Airplane! (1980) Um... I do NOW! I love Mr. Reeves' get-up in Hercules Unchained (1959) as well as that sexy beard! (And, no, I don't mean Sylva Koscina! Ha ha!)
Yes, please...
Now this is way too skinny for me, but look at the waist he achieved as a young bodybuilding champion...!
The fresh, sunny, good looks of Mr. Hunter.
And that's the end!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Top Ten Anniversary: Favorite TV Series

Yes, you're probably beginning to tire of these Top Ten lists, but it must be done! Ha ha! The following programs are the ones that really stuck to me over the years and are my own personal favorites. I don't claim that they are the best, but they speak to me the most. Again, it was hard to whittle the list down, but this is how it panned out.

BARNABY JONES -- First of all, the opening theme song and the introduction of the stars and guest stars. Watching this on grandpa's knee (an appropriate place!) instilled in me a deep affection for most all "Quinn Martin productions," whose shows nearly always began that way (and were divided into "Acts" on screen.) The 1970s were a time for gimmicky detectives: the bald one, the fat one, the one with a cockatoo... This was the old one and even though Mr. Buddy Ebsen lived thirty more years after the show's premiere (!), he was a milk-drinking, supposedly non-threatening geezer. (He was sixty-five at the time of the show's debut!) But he was usually a dead shot with his pistol when the time came. The show, regardless of its real or imagined merits, is so soothing to me to watch. Familiar faces in compelling plot lines with inevitable lines like, "Call Lt. Biddle..." It's comfort food for the brain to me. I adored Lee Meriwether as Ebsen's daughter-in-law receptionist. Less so Mark Shera as a cousin who came on in the fourth season, but he's okay. The real pleasure is seeing people underestimate the old codger until they are tripped up by his forensics and keen intellect. It definitely jumped the shark, though, when Ebsen was shown disco dancing in a late episode!
CHARLIE'S ANGELS -- As a tyke, my bedtime was strictly 9:00pm. Knowing how obsessed I was with Charlie's Angels (the whole world was, it seemed, in 1976!), my mother relented and allowed me to watch it every other Wednesday. However, when previews showed that on my "off" week, the gals were going to be shackled together in a women's prison, my protestations to see the episode were so great that my mom relented and let me watch it (and thereafter I watched it every week... give 'em an inch and they take a mile! Ha ha!) I worshiped Farrah Fawcett, but liked all the Angels, including Shelley Hack, until the last season when the final cast change to Tanya Roberts (and a location shift to Hawaii) turned me off. Watching it now, as I still do on the treadmill, the gals aren't all that hold my attention. The clingy polyester slacks on the men in that era can be real eye-openers!
DYNASTY -- Somewhere out there is bound to be someone who claims to have been a bigger fan of this show than I was, though I can't imagine how. I was utterly, completely OBSESSED with it from almost the moment it started. The fact that it was going to star Linda Evans, who I hadn't seen at all in the interim since The Big Valley and Pamela Sue Martin, who'd figured heavily in The Poseidon Adventure (as well as The Nancy Drew Mysteries) guaranteed that I would be watching the three-hour premiere. The whole notion of a regular gay character was rather mind-blowing to me at age fourteen. Once Joan Collins showed up, it was must-see TV for me and most of the world. I bought every magazine that previewed or profiled the show, called Hollywood long distance to speak to Esther Shapiro directly (!) about a plot line (didn't get through to her... I wonder why not. Ha ha!) and even made certain that my senior prom tuxedo was as close a copy to the morning suits worn to Amanda Carrington's wedding that was possible on my family's budget! The show over the long haul was uneven to say the least and plagued by cast changes, but practically any episode remains fun if only for the clothes and the often chippy dialogue and campy situations.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE -- I never saw a single episode of this series in its initial airing or even in reruns (somehow it seemed to disappear in my area for a long while) until one time - late at night - a few episodes began appearing. Eventually, I got the whole series on DVD and became fascinated by the austere performances, the labyrinthine schemes of the missions and just the general team atmosphere, which had always appealed to me from my comic book days. The show was formulaic, but it was a formula that worked. And that theme song!  The show, like more than one Desilu production was racially progressive in that little or no mention was every made about Greg Morris' skin color in the story lines. Cast changes occurred with certain regularity, but generally the concept held up thanks to stalwarts Peter Graves (there after season one for original leader Steven Hill) and Morris hanging in for the long haul. The cool, sleek style of the show (including those wonderful "black & white" apartment sequences) appeals to me greatly.
STAR TREK -- It goes without saying that Gene Roddenberry's short-lived sci-fi series inspired legions of fans into forming a cult of Trekkies Trekkers who've gone on to support a long train of subsequent series and movies.  For me, it all starts and virtually ends with the first show and its vivid colors, passionate performances and glamorous guest stars, often with hair stacked to the stars and diaphanous costumes (by William Ware Theiss) with unusual pieces missing. William Shatner has his detractors, but I happen to love his enthusiastic and heroic line readings. DeForest Kelley's cantankerous doctor is my favorite (apart from the elegant Nichelle Nichols), but I also appreciate the iconic performance of Leonard Nimoy as the emotionless Mr. Spock. Grace Lee Whitney's towering basket-weave hairstyle as Yeoman Rand helped solidify my obsession with such things. I was so captivated by the uniforms of the Starship Enterprise that, as a bored teen working at Wendy's, I used to picture all the customers in the dining room wearing them, after deciding which of the three colors would look best on them, of course!
THE BIG VALLEY -- As a kid with abandonment issues, nothing hit home quite like the extremely strong familial bond of The Barkleys, especially the way they took in a bastard son of the deceased father and made him one of their own. (This development alone was a bit prickly for TV in 1965.) The show went off the air when I was two, so I never saw it until mid-day reruns years later when I became enthralled with the sweeping musical intro, the highly telegenic cast and its wealth of dramatic story material. I thought no one on earth was more beautiful than the Barbie-like Linda Evans or more handsome than blue-eyed Lee Majors. Iron-clad Barbara Stanwyck, fiery Peter Breck and even handed Richard Long completed the quintet (and complimented one another grandly.) Toss in extraordinarily good guest stars and some wondrous music within each episode and it was a total winner in my eyes. To this day, disliking my own last name incredibly, I give "Barkley" to hostesses in restaurants. And I'm still looking to kiss a Jarrod and a Nick, having already tackled the seemingly tougher ones: Victoria, Audra and Heath! LOL
THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW -- Part of my childhood viewing that stayed in my head and heart, I don't think there was anyone as multi-talented as Carol Burnett. Not only that, she was careful to surround herself with stellar supporting cast members such as Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and Tim Conway, who all complimented her - and each other - terrifically. And early costar Lyle Waggoner was easy on the eyes to be sure. So many incredible characterizations were created on the show whether it be from the many spot-on movie parodies, Mr. Tudball & Mrs. Wiggins, the dotty Stella Toddler, Nora Desmond, the ham actors Funt and Mundane, Conway's old (old!) man and, of course, Eunice Higgins and her crazy family.  Naturally, over time, some of the topical and pop culture humor is diffused, but most of these sketches remain hilarious. Long missing from rerun broadcasts are the huge musical productions that usually closed the weekly show and those are often quite a spectacle to behold (in no small part thanks to the show's incredible costumer Bob Mackie.) Like most of the shows that comprise this list, it was the cast chemistry that truly put this in a class of its own.
THE COLBYS -- With people like Charlton Heston, Katharine Ross, Ricardo Montalban and Barbara Stanwyck among the cast as promised, there was no way I was going to miss the premiere of (what was then called) Dynasty II: The Colbys. (That theme song!!) Whatever glamour Dynasty had, and it had tons, this show outdid, especially at a time when the parent show had managed to saddle Joan Collins with a story line that had her dressed down to the point of being in a nun's habit! This was the year that Dynasty slipped from #1 and never fully recovered. The Colbys was a grand, old-fashioned, meaty family drama and power struggle with (sometimes lunatic) secrets and rivalries. Unfortunately, though I grew to appreciate her own charms, Emma Samms as the long-lost Fallon was positively 180 degrees different in nearly every conceivable area than her predecessor Pamela Sue Martin, which turned a lot of people off. A visibly frail Stanwyck's premature departure was another big hit to the show's life. But there will never be anyone like Stephanie Beacham's Sable Colby, a standout amid the gargantuan cast, as noted elsewhere. For that I will always be devoted to the show.
THE GOLDEN GIRLS -- When I speak of chemistry among a cast, this is the pinnacle of it. It makes no difference if Bea Arthur and Betty White bristled a bit behind the scenes. On screen they, along with Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, worked extraordinarily well together and generated a hit that, on paper, seemed impossible to the network chiefs: four older ladies living together in a house in Miami, Florida. An expert pilot paved the way for a terrific run in which each gal won an Emmy and created comic hijinks that one can safely say are broadcast almost every hour of every day, time and again, worldwide. Golden Girls fans know all the lines by heart and quote them all the time. We know each other. If we say the cue, another fan knows the punchline. Among my own favorite installments are the ones in which: Dorothy's friend is a lesbian, Dorothy's son is marrying an older black woman, Blanche's brother is gay, the ladies are posing for a sculptor, Blanche and Sophia are dating the same man, Rose dates a dwarf and the ladies are set to meet Burt Reynolds at a film premiere. But it's like choosing a favorite child. There's something great in practically all the episodes (though I am devoted to seasons 1 through 4, before expert director Terry Hughes left, versus the remaining ones.)
THE LOVE BOAT -- Again, the blend/chemistry of the cast made a huge impact on the success of a show, but as able as they are, the crew of the boat are not the reason why I love this show... it's the PARADE OF GUEST STARS! Several series did it, from the more dramatic Fantasy Island to the more elegant Hotel and even the delightful Murder, She Wrote, but The Love Boat was key in unearthing great stars that young Hollywood generally had no interest in, but which nostalgic TV viewers enjoyed giving the once-over to after their time in the sun had passed. While its true that a few old-timers held out and didn't take a cruise, more often than not, any old star who could still draw breath popped up on at least one episode of this show during the course of its long run. Sometimes, if the performer was musically inclined, he or she even got to perform (as in the case of Carol Channing, Ethel Merman and Ann Miller - all at once!) They even excavated long-absent, two-time Oscar-winning Best Actress Luise Rainer, fer cryin' out loud! Much of this was surely due to producer Aaron Spelling, who was a busy 1950s character actor and party host before he turned mega-producer, calling upon old friends to appear on his series.


The initial threesome who made up Charlie's Angels were photographed endlessly as they promoted the TV-movie pilot and eventual series. I thought this one was fun. (The pilot, by the way, was expected to tank, but brought in HUGE numbers. Even then the execs could hardly believe it so they re-ran it two weeks later, thinking it was a fluke, but the ratings were even higher still! So the series moved forward.)
This looks more like something out of Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) than an Angels promo. Clearly the exact style and concept of the show had not been completely honed, even taking into consideration that this was inspired by Helmut Newton (who himslef photographed Fawcett and, later, Smith for publication.)
Raise your hand if you remember "Angels '88" (which was later retitled "Angels '89" due to production delays before being abandoned completely!) Among the carefully-selected, but doomed to being unseen, Angels were Téa Leoni and Claire Yarlett. Dig the fun brooch on the gal with the ginormous shoulder pads!
It's just tough to beat that initial combination of gals...
I liked this shot of Linda Evans and John Forsythe because it's a rare one with Linda's hair much softer (and smaller!) and her eyes look terrific in it.
Just one shot of the four albums I have that are crammed full of Dynasty and The Colbys clippings/photos.
I saved every single picture of any star who was on the show and every picture from the show. If a magazine had photos on back-to-back pages, I bought two copies...! (Now I know where my youth went!)
I give you a campy portrait of spy supreme Cinnamon Carter, as portrayed by Barbara Bain.
Here's a second, even more random - though glamorous - portrait from the shoot. You can read more about Bain right here.
Strange elements in the posing for this The Big Valley portrait. Note the monochromatic blouse and pants (courtesy of Nolan Miller) on Linda Evans' Audra Barkley which would later become a staple of her Krystle Carrington wardrobe as well, often in tones of burgundy and blue.
The transformation of Audra Barkley from golden-haired colt to Brushfire Barbie (under the direction of new husband John Derek, who enjoyed crafting all his women into the same basic ideal...!)
A later version of the cast of The Love Boat. Pat Klous had replaced a substance-addicted Lauren Tewes for two seasons, Jill Whelan as Gavin McLeod's daughter had grown up to be an assistant and humpy Ted McGinley was brought on as ship's photographer.
Were you one of the seven people who watched The Love Boat: The Next Wave?  Doomed from the start thanks to a telegenic, but uninspired, cast, it also suffered the blow of star Robert Urich developing cancer during its run (which he bravely fought through, eventually appearing without hair in the wake of treatments.) Few guest stars of note came aboard, though one episode did reunite members of the first show's cast. The Love Boat ran for 250 episodes. The Next Wave ran for 25...
No matter how humiliating, did you really think I was going to refrain from sharing my senior prom photo with it's "design on a dime" approximation of the Moldavian massacre wedding suits?! Ha ha! Remember... I did say OBSESSED. But that's what TV has the power to do to us sometimes, then and now. I hope you enjoyed this post.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Top Ten Anniversary: All-Time Favorite Movies

List number five in our ongoing series is my (hard-pressed to whittle down) grouping of all-time favorite films. I don't say that they are the best (whatever that is), but they are the ones that have had the most significant and lasting impact on my life and are movies that I cannot turn off if I come upon them on television (when I'm not scheduling a viewing of my own in their entirety.) Even considering that I love all these, there was an attempt to provide a bit of variety (rather than, for example, merely listing ten disaster movies, which are always huge favorites for me.) There's also knowing that some other choices get coverage in other categories so that they aren't totally left out. These are presented alphabetically.
AIRPORT (1970) -- I never liked my stepmother much, but the one good thing she did in the late-1980s was steer me towards this movie. I was instantly in love with it. From the overall look and style to the multi-layered, star-packed story lines, which all come together at once in the climax, it's just a dream movie to me. I think I love every performance in it, though Lloyd Nolan as a curmudgeonly security agent does wear me out a bit and I always find Barry Nelson dull. The females especially (Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, Helen Hayes, Maureen Stapleton and Dana Wynter) each made me into lifelong fans after this. Then there is the wondrously bombastic music by the staggeringly gifted Alfred Newman.
GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) -- It doesn't matter to me at all that this is probably found on many peoples' lists (or that a number of people hate it.) It's just a stunning piece of cinema, especially considering the year in which it was made. That costar Olivia de Havilland is still kicking blows my mind. Producer David O. Selznick (half crazed/obsessed with details) helped forge a masterpiece that could never be equaled in terms of resources used. (One southerner remarked about the train station sequence that if they'd had that many soldiers in the Confederacy, the South would have won the war!) Vivien Leigh's performance is towering... everything anyone could have hoped for in crafting that complex character. Max Steiner's music is unforgettable, too.
MADAME X (1966) -- This could easily have found its way onto the list of Guilty Pleasures, but I feel no guilt about it! Very likely Lana Turner's finest hour as an actress, the glossy, campy melodrama of mother love is nevertheless affecting. She goes all the way to put this thing across. She's ably supported by a rondolet of solid, familiar actors, though the reptilian villainy of Constance Bennett is the most arresting to behold. After seeing this as a child on TV, I knew that any time I saw the name Ross Hunter (producer) on a film, I was more than likely going to adore it... I also learned to get excited if Frank Skinner was behind the score. If I show this movie to someone and they dislike it, the friendship can never progress any further than it has come to that point. Sorry, but that's the way it is!
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) --Probably no other movie had as much an impact on me as this one. I could never add up the number of times I've seen it, though I typically make myself wait a year in-between these days (with a NYE viewing) so that I don't lose that feeling of seeing it fresh once more. Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine are boisterous in the extreme, albeit very good, but my real faves are Stella Stevens (who taught me to cuss) and Shelley Winters (who taught me to cry.) I have never been on a cruise ship because I couldn't imagine any such voyage measuring up to the topsy-turvy thrills of this film. Truth! Many a bored afternoon at relative's houses was spent lying on my back and staring at the ceiling, wondering how it would be to walk on it if the room were upside down! Like most of the films here, this contains a terrific score, in this case courtesy of John Williams.
THE SEARCHERS (1956) -- My stepfather (with whom I was almost as combative as I was with my stepmother!) is the one who turned me on to this movie at an early age. If this isn't John Wayne's best performance ever, it's damned close as he eschews that wry, in-charge, winking characterization which made him famous and instead presents a driven, almost devastated avenger, searching for a niece who was captured by a terrifying Indian chief named Scar (played by the impressive Henry Brandon.) Enhancing the film are eye-popping shots of Monument Valley, a feisty supporting part from Vera Miles and the rugged yet beautiful charms of one Jeffrey Hunter. That a young Natalie Wood makes a climactic appearance only adds to the fun. Director John Ford truly nailed this one (the final tap being a famed shot of Wayne surrounded by a door frame, still an outsider.)
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) -- The first movie I can ever recall seeing in a cinema, its charms have never left me. The opening scenes of Austria are so luscious and the film only gets better from there with memorable songs, soothing colors and charming performances from a perfect Julie Andrews, a surprisingly sexy Christopher Plummer and the peerlessly elegant Eleanor Parker as a potential spoiler of their budding (and slightly forbidden) romantic feelings. Practically every number was staged in just the right way with just the right locations. Former editor Robert Wise's direction of a sterling Ernest Lehman adaptation ensured staggering success, artistically and financially. Alfred Newman took the R&H songs and crafted a beautifully orchestrated score.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1958) -- Producer-director Cecil B. DeMille had built a career around elaborate historic and Biblical spectacles and this one (his last as director) was the pièce de résistance. A monumental undertaking, he gathered up a stunning collection of performers to enact the early and middle-aged life of Moses (with Charlton Heston starring, who never looked better than in the opening scenes, and perhaps rarely sillier than in the later ones!) Yul Brynner and Anne Baxter (along with half of Hollywood!) lend more than able support. Virtually every role is played by a familiar and wonderful face. It's unintentionally hilarious time and again, but its striking passion, vivid color and series of effects cannot be denied. Several musical masters worked on the movie's themes.
THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974) -- All my life The Poseidon Adventure was my favorite disaster movie with Inferno a close second, but now they are almost neck-and neck as my appreciation for the mammoth production and the stellar cast has grown over the years. Regardless of the fact that the place practically burns down, the movie presents a glamorous, scenic setting in which I want to exist! Steve McQueen and Paul Newman are rock solid anchors for the famous cast, while the languidly goddess-like Faye Dunaway altered the course of my life in her barely-there gossamer gown and bronzed cheekbones. I never get into a scenic elevator without clasping my hands the way she does. (#crazy) John Williams offered up another terrific score. 
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1967) -- Talk about a world I want to live in! Dolls ticks off almost every box for a movie to me (it only fails in having no men that I am in any way attracted to.) I love the way it looks, the way it sounds (even the often-rotten songs!) and the squalid route of its thoroughly over-the-top storyline. Barbara Parkins is a whispering dream girl, Patty Duke makes one excellent shrew and Sharon Tate is lovely beyond words (and heinously underrated as an actress.) But my real thrill comes by way of dragon lady Susan Hayward (in for a swiftly-fired Judy Garland) whose every line is a thing of camp beauty, none ever so much as when she is taking on Duke in the ladies room of a banquet hall. A close friend of mine called this movie "boring" once and it took ages to forgive her (if I even actually have...!)
VERTIGO (1958) -- I worship and adore The Birds (1963) and it was really close to edging out Vertigo, but ultimately I had to acknowledge the mesmerizing, mysterious masterwork of the great Alfred Hitchcock. I can never forget seeing this movie for the first time after it had been out of circulation for years. The effect of someone looking and sounding like Kim Novak's Madeleine was a revelation to my teenaged mind. (And it almost ruined me for anything else Novak did by comparison!) It's also neat to see James Stewart in an atypical part as an obsessed, haunted man. There isn't enough I can say about Bernard Herrmann's superlative musical score, which takes the whole thing to another level. (It's clear from this list that the music in a movie means a lot to me in general.) 

There's no one like Julie Andrews. This was one of the many promotional photos taken of her for The Sound of Music, only one of which made its way onto the back of the soundtrack album.
I love this one, too. Even now, she's such a lovely, gracious and sensationally appealing person. 
Jeffrey Hunter (on the set of The Searchers with Ward Bond) has a set of beefy pecs that follow me around the room no matter where I stand! LOL He was just glorious looking and one of Hollywood's most consistently underrated actors.