Thursday Movie Picks: Movies Narrated by Narrators That Do Not Appear on Screen


Hello there, it's time again for the Thursday Movie Picks, a weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves where you share three movies to fit the theme of the week each Thursday.

This week's topic is crystal clear, there isn't much to say about it, the title says it all: movies narrated by narrators that do not appear on screen. So without further ado, let's get started!


Inglourious Basterds (2009)

In Tarantino's brilliant and violent film, Samuel L. Jackson narrates the fictional assassination of Adolf Hitler, set in the only possible venue when talking Tarantino, a movie theater. Brad Pitt's Basterds collide with Christoph Waltz's Colonel Hans Landa, a  hell of good reason to watch this film.

Radio Days (1987)

Woody Allen brings us back to his childhood and wonderfully narrates an interesting story that combines the Rockaway family dealing with everyday issues, and the fictional life of Sally White during radio's golden age. Allen's character does appear on screen, but a much younger version played by Seth Green, so technically the narrator does not appear.

Zelig (1983)

Yes, another Allen. Most likely Woody's most underrated film, Zelig is a fictional documentary that tells the story of the human chameleon, a man who becomes a celebrity due to his ability to look and act like whoever is around him. This film is just brilliant, a perfect combination of old and new Allen, funny and saying a lot about media, society and conformity at the same time.

10 comments :

  1. Wonderful choices!

    I'm not usually a Tarantino fan and the violence of Basterds wore me out by the end but I liked it far more than most of his films.

    Radio Days!! That's one of my favorite Woody films and sadly under discussed. So sweet and charming loaded with nostalgia. Love the parents-" Wait, you think the Atlantic is a greater ocean than the Pacific?" "No. Have it your way. The Pacific is greater." And then the perfect comment by the narrator "I mean, how many people argue over oceans?" A wonderful Mia Farrow performance as well. I'm not nearly as big a fan of Zelig though it is an interesting film and fits well with the week.

    I struggled mightily with this one. I'd think of a film and the character who did the narration would be on screen at some point but I did finally come up with three by going way back for my last.

    Ever After (1998)-Charming rethink of the Cinderella tale with Drew Barrymore a sweet but tough Cinder substitute now named Danielle, Anjelica Huston rockin’ it as a total bitch of a stepmother in whom she still manages to find nuance and Judy Parfitt and Timothy West a highly entertaining Queen and King. Somehow it also finds a way to include Leonardo da Vinci in the story too! Excellent production design. Jeanne Moreau narrates the tale as a reverie.

    How the West Was Won (1962)-Sprawling multi-generational saga with a cast full of legends (James Stewart, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Debbie Reynolds, Gregory Peck plus about 20 other recognizable names) tells of the settling of the West in amazing Cinerama. Follows the Prescott family and their descendants through the hardships and joys of taming the wild land. Broken into three segments each helmed by a different director (John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall) this has stunning vistas and a great many excellent performances. Spencer Tracy provides the off-screen narration that connects the vignettes as well as the introduction and denouement.

    So Dear to My Heart (1949)-Wholesome Disney entertainment of poor country boy Jeremiah (the ill-fated Bobby Driscoll) adopting a black lamb rejected by its mother. As the mischievous lamb christened Danny grows Jeremiah determines to enter him in the county fair but that takes money he doesn’t have. He uses his daydreams-complete with animated Disney characters-to figure out ways to achieve his goal. Good family film with old reliables Burl Ives and Beulah Bondi filling out the cast. The unseen John Beal narrates as the grown Jeremiah.

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    1. I haven't seen any of your picks, and I'm short on westerns, but How the West Was Won sounds good, I'll give it a try.

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  2. Interesting choices, two of which I've not heard of as I'm not much of a Woody Allen fan (I haven't even seen Annie Hall or Manhatten). I really should check out more of his work....

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    1. I'm reviewing all Allen's movies, if you want you can get out them here: http://afilmadaybysonia.blogspot.com/p/woody-allen.html

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  3. I totally forgot about Inglorious Basterds...such a great movie and I love his use of music for this film. I have not seen the Woody Allen films but your reviews on all the Allen films is making me want to go revisit Allen

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  4. I'm kicking myself for not thinking of Inglorious Basterds now. That's such an awesome pick.

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  5. I forgot about Inglorious Basterds, and, regrettably, those are two of the few Woody movies I've yet to see. Great picks!

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    1. I've seen Inglourious Basterds so many times it was the first that came to my mind.

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