Films in 2013: April

April is usually a busy month for me, as it’s full of projects leading up to the end of the semester. So I didn’t watch as many films as I did in previous months this year, but I still managed to watch at least one new film a day. But I expect next month to be full of movies, especially because there are a few new releases that I’m looking forward to seeing in theaters. As you’ll see later, a lot of the films I saw were from the 30s because I want to get more into pre-codes, and they were a delight to watch!

New-to-Me: 34

Re-Watched: 2

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 2
  • 1930s – 8
  • 1940s – 6
  • 1950s – 5
  • 1960s – 3
  • 1970s – 2
  • 1980s – 3
  • 1990s – 1
  • 2000s – 3
  • 2010s – 1

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
  2. Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)
  3. The Player (1992)
  4. Tall Story (1960)
  5. Being There (1979)
  6. Stand by Me (1986)
  7. Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
  8. Next Time We Love (1936)
  9. Cactus Flower (1969)
  10. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
  11. Hello, Dolly! (1969)
  12. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
  13. Titanic (1953)
  14. Design for Living (1933)
  15. Trouble in Paradise (1932)
  16. The Circus (1928)
  17. Stalag 17 (1953)
  18. Gigi (1958)
  19. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
  20. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
  21. Safety Last! (1923)
  22. They Live by Night (1949)
  23. Terms of Endearment (1983)
  24. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
  25. Scoop (2006)
  26. Baby Face (1933)
  27. 49th Parallel (1941)
  28. Born Yesterday (1950)
  29. Dodsworth (1936)
  30. The Petrified Forest (1936)
  31. Paper Moon (1973)
  32. Wife vs. Secretary (1936)
  33. Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
  34. Ministry of Fear (1944)

Trends and Notes

  • Like I mentioned earlier, most of the films I watched this month were from the 1930s. Half of them were pre-codes (3 of them from the year 1933), and the other half all happened to be from 1936 (and I nearly watched 3 of them in a row by coincidence).
  • Watched 2 of the 3 Ernst Lubitsch films starring Miriam Hopkins in a row.

Five Favorite Discoveries:

The Player (1992)

The Player (1992), directed by Robert Altman

I personally love movies about the Hollywood business (Singin’ in the Rain is my favorite film of all time!), so I really enjoyed this. It works very well as both a satire and a bit of a love letter to movies. Aside from all the movie references, the film features many, many cameos with Hollywood stars playing themselves (Jack Lemmon! Susan Sarandon!), so it’s fun spotting them as the story goes along. And what a great cast of actors, which I find is common in the Robert Altman films I’ve seen. Tim Robbins is especially good as the sleazy studio executive.

Recommended if you enjoy: The works of Robert Altman (such as Short Cuts) and films about the movie industry. And if you enjoy cameos!

Trouble in Paradise (1932), directed by Ernst Lubitsch

A great example of all the fun there is to find in pre-codes, which is especially helped by the Lubitsch touch. I loved the script for this; the lines are cleverly written with hidden innuendos. And the main trio of actors, Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, and Herbert Marshall, played off of each other so well! I also have to add that it was tough choosing between this and Design for Living because I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Recommended if you enjoy: Design for Living and The Lady Eve.

Stalag 17 (1953)

Stalag 17 (1953), directed by Billy Wilder

This is a more comedic approach to the subject of prisoners of war, but there is still plenty of drama in this film, and Billy Wilder did a wonderful job in balancing the laughs and thrills. Aside from the great William Holden (who won his only Oscar for this film), there were a lot of good performances in this. Robert Strauss makes an especially noteworthy performance as the goofy sergeant “Animal.” And it’s all beautifully filmed by Ernest Laszlo, I loved the way many of the scenes were lit, as evidenced by the screenshot above.

Recommended if you enjoy: The Bridge on the River Kwai and The Great Escape (I haven’t actually seen the latter yet, but the premise is similar to Stalag 17).

Paper Moon (1973)

Paper Moon (1973), directed by Peter Bogdanovich

Peter Bogdanovich did an excellent job in creating the feel of the 1930s Depression era, with the black and white cinematography, costumes, sets, etc. The relationship between Addie and her possible father Moses is the definite highlight of this film for me, and I can’t imagine anyone else in these roles but real-life father and daughter, Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. Tatum gives such an amazing performance and really becomes the character, making it seem as though she’s not acting at all. And Madeline Kahn is great in her supporting role as Trixie Delight, with one of the best scenes in the film being her conversation with Addie on top of the hill.

Recommended if you enjoy: The Sting for the con aspect, and of course if you enjoy Peter Bogdanovich’s other works, especially The Last Picture Show and What’s Up, Doc? (the latter of which also stars Ryan O’Neal and Madeline Kahn).

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), directed by Mervyn LeRoy

This film is fantastic for both the comedy and the obviously great musical numbers. I especially enjoyed the Shadow Waltz (as evidenced above), which featured many glow-in-the-dark violins. Aline MacMahon is hilarious as the gold digger after the older lawyer, and Joan Blondell is great throughout, but especially in the final number, “Remember My Forgotten Man.”

Recommended if you enjoy: 42nd Street, as well as other musicals choreographed by Busby Berkeley.

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