Six Bone Crushingly Great Films
Like most, I used to think that the expression “break a leg” was just a weird way that actors said good luck before a performance. But that was only before I realized how many great movies have people with broken legs in them. My wife and I discovered this strange little-known fact several years ago when she slipped and fell on some black ice while out Christmas shopping and badly broke her leg and ankle.
As when one purchases a car and suddenly sees it everywhere, what quickly came to our attention as we sat stuck to the family room couch for the next three months is the massive amount of incredibly great films that has a person with a badly injured lower limb.
So in the hopes of helping the couch bound leg wounded (as well as any and all locked down folks) get through a few boring painful hours in the company of characters who feel their pain, please allow my wife and I to present our cast of casts.
So beware of spoilers, have a nice trip and see you next fall!
Often ranked up there with the greatest films ever made, Hitchcock’s suspense classic has not just one broken leg but two, making it doubly bone crushingly great. If more men could be like Jimmy Stewart and have a classy elegant pining blonde beauty like Grace Kelly around to nurse them back to health with champagne while wearing haute couture, they probably would have very little problems with the occasional pulverized bone.
Considered by many to be the greatest noir film of all time, a busted hoof lies central to the plot as Fred MacMurray must pretend to be a lame man falling off a slowly moving train in order to complete the perfect murder. If that is not enough emphasis on the dramatic gold that fractured femurs provide, in the beginning credits it even shows a hobbling man in silhouette. This begs the question: Did the Hollywood moguls of the 40s and 50s secretly hold stock in crutch companies?
Again here is another incredibly great Academy Award winning classic with painfully snapped lower extremities providing the first plot point. Like in Rear Window more than one leg is broken here, and the second time is seriously not for the faint of heart! Poor Paul Sheldon! I bet he would have traded nurses with Jimmy Stewart in a heartbeat.
Just when the young likeable underdog Melanie Griffith seems destined for a dull life in the Manhattan secretary pool, right on cue her mean boss, Sigourney Weaver, manages to snap one of her anorexic leg bones like a stale breadstick. With the boss recuperating in a ski chalet in Europe, the clever Melanie assumes her identity to rise up the corporate ladder. But that is only until the “bony assed” Weaver returns to the boardroom at the worst possible time to redefine the term “bitch on crutches.” This very great and funny film garnered Griffith an Academy Award nomination and also stars a fedora-free Harrison Ford in perhaps his best rom-com role.
An Affair to Remember
Just when Jimmy Stewart thought he had completely cornered the elegant 1950s broken leg drama film market, in 1957 Cary Grant showed up in a crisp black tie to announce, “Here, here, old Scotty. I’m afraid I have a spot of bad news.” Arrayed in his signature immaculate style, Grant plays a painter who meets a woman on a transatlantic cruise. Both attracted to each other yet attached to others, they agree to meet at the top of the Empire State building in six months. But then out from the ether like the lesser known fifth horseman of the apocalypse, the unexpected crunch of shank bone swoops down to send their fates and bone crushingly great romance awhirl.
In this one, the break comes early when the young Carl busts his leg in his heroic quest to retrieve the balloon of his lifelong love, Ellie. As we find out very soon after that, this is not all that she breaks. To those who do not feel like sobbing themselves into dehydration, quickly turning off this terrific film at this early point is critical.
Dubbed by Forbes Magazine as “an author who has mastered his craft,” Michael Ledwidge has written over twenty novels, seven of them #1 NY Times best sellers written with James Patterson.
His latest Michael Gannon thriller Run For Cover comes out February 2021 from Hanover Square Press.