Reel Dad highlights classic films streaming in July
As we continue to watch movies from home, check out what’s streaming this month.
Fiddler on the Rood (1971)
The recent off-Broadway revival, in Yiddish, reminded us how powerful this musical about a father’s wishes for his daughters can be. The film version, a nominee for Best Picture, beautifully expands the essence of the stage original into a feast for eyes and ears. The marvelous score, by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, is perfectly captured while Topol creates an indelible impression as the father trying to reconcile his hopes with his traditions. On Netflix.
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
At a time when Warren Beatty could make any movie he wanted to make, he chose to redo a classic Hollywood fantasy, “Here Comes Mr. Jordan,” about a man who suffers a premature death. No matter the origins, this new version remains remarkably fresh all these years later with Beatty relishing his movie star status while Dyan Cannon and Charles Grodin steal every scene they’re in. This one is lots of fun. On Amazon Prime.
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
Just about every famous comedian of the early 1960s joins the lunacy in this classic comedy from director Stanley Kubrick. The great Spencer Tracy leads the merriment in a wild story about people searching for $350,000 in stolen cash. When the film first opened, it dazzled audiences with its widescreen antics captured in Cinerama. Years later, the screen image may be smaller, but the laughs are still solid. On Amazon Prime.
After snagging an Oscar nomination for her supporting turn in “Silkwood” in 1983, mega star Cher continued to prove her acting skills in “Mask,” “Suspect,” and especially, this lovely romantic comedy from director Norman Jewison. No surprise when, at Academy Award time, she was named the year’s best actress in a tight race with Glenn Close. And Olympia Dukakis won for her supporting turn as Cher’s mother. A delight. On Amazon Prime.
The Queen (2006)
If you have enjoyed “The Crown” series on Netflix, take a fresh look at this earlier look at Queen Elizabeth II, also from the imagination of screenwriter Peter Morgan. Helen Mirren won a well-deserved Oscar for recreating the monarch during the turbulent days immediately following the death of Princess Diana in 1997. Morgan, as he does so artfully in the series, carefully creates conversations we can only wish actually occurred. On Netflix.
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Years after the romantic drama “An Affair to Remember” brought tears to the eyes, savvy moviemaker Nora Ephron captured its essence in this delightful look at a son’s efforts to find a wife for his widower father. No one but Tom Hanks can make us believe in this gentleman’s quest to find happiness for himself while respecting what his son needs. And the climactic scene at the Empire State Building is movie magic. On Netflix.
Tea with the Dames (2018)
Speaking of royals, any chance to spend time with British actresses Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins and Joan Plowright is worth any price of admission. In this memorable documentary, the four performers simply chat, over tea, about lives led, romances pursued, challenges confronted, disappointments survived, hopes sustained. As special as any of them can be when playing others, they thrill when simply themselves. On Hulu.
What a collection of films to experience. All from the comfort, and safety, of home. Enjoy.