As a raging film queen who will gladly suck in anything on celluloid from Greed to Norbit, I love a book that celebrates underappreciated films while providing tips on how to fill all those lonely nights without suggesting you give Sweet Smell of Success an 100th go-round. John DiLeo‘s “Screen Savers–40 Remarkable Films Awaiting Rediscovery” (Hansen Publishing Group) is just that kind of kooky collectible. Dealing in movies that have been “underseen, dismissed, or taken for granted,” DiLeo trumpets dusty gems like Portrait of Jennie, the 1948 fantasy in which Jennifer Jones‘ lack of depth actually works (“because Jennie is a question mark, an apparition”) and the ’99 wartime buddy flick Three Kings (“a reverberating capper to the Gulf War and an alarming prelude to the disastrous Iraq War”). He also makes a strong case for Cover Girl (“It is not a great musical, but…”), Pretty Poison (“a startlingly funny, offbeat mix of smiles and chills”), and something called The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (“Ramon Novarro’s finest performance”!). His glaring omission of Howard the Duck will only disturb people who think of Psycho as a romantic comedy.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 27, 2008