Beyond the Classics

Beyond the Classics is a recurring column in which Emily Kubincanek highlights lesser-known old movies and examines what makes them memorable.

Browse the full archive for Beyond the Classics below

The Reckless Moment Joan Bennett

The Suspense of Domesticity in Max Ophüls’ ‘The Reckless Moment’

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This lesser-known film noir starring Joan Bennett depicts how overwhelming being a woman and a mother was during the mid-20th century — and within a genre usually reserved for men.

No Way Out Sidney Poitier

‘No Way Out’ and the Best of “Social Message” Film Noir

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Sidney Poitier’s first big role was also the film that finally showed America just how ugly their racist ideals really were.

The Uninvited 1944

The Original Ghostly Thrills of ‘The Uninvited’

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Everyone loves a good ghost story. You have this film to thank for their popularity in cinema today.

Madam Satan

The Flop that Ruined Musicals for Cecil B. DeMille

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We look at the 1930 film ‘Madam Satan’ — where it fails and where it accidentally succeeds.

Johnny Eager

Romance, Crime, and Queer-coding in ‘Johnny Eager’

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The queer storyline and fascinating lives of the lead actors set this film apart from other crime romances before and since.

Bordertown Paul Muni

The Contradictory Mexican-American Representation of ‘Bordertown’

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The 1935 film relies on stereotypes but inadvertently shows the debilitating barriers that racism puts on Mexican immigrants.

My Name Is Julia Ross

Loss of Identity in ‘My Name is Julia Ross’

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Suspense, camp, and social commentary are all on display in this early film noir.

Dementia movie

The Unsettling Appeal of ‘Dementia’

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In 1955, John Parker’s experimental feature didn’t find its deserved audience. Today, we present it as an essential work of horror cinema existing in the canon beyond the classics.

Working Girls 1931 Arzner

Dorothy Arzner’s ‘Working Girls’ Shows Depression Hard-Knocks from the Female Perspective

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Dorothy Arzner’s 1931 film ‘Working Girls’ shows “MEN may do the bossing — but the girls make their own plans for them!’