As usual, I watched many movies in the month of May, as I finished up my semester, and summer break has officially commenced. In May I also usually like to hold my annual Star Wars marathon, so 6 of my re-watches were those movies. As you’ll see soon, most of the movies I watched were from the ’50s, and 3 of them are featured in my top 5 of the month.
New-to-Me Films by Decade:
- 1920s – 1
- 1930s – 1
- 1940s – 5
- 1950s – 13
- 1960s – 6
- 1970s – 3
- 1980s – 3
- 1990s – 2
- 2000s – 1
- 2010s – 4
List of New-to-Me Films:
- Ordinary People (1980)
- An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
- Iron Man 3 (2013)
- The Nun’s Story (1959)
- Ponyo (2008)
- The Trial (1962)
- Sergeant York (1941)
- Bonjour tristesse (1958)
- Daddy Long Legs (1955)
- Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)
- The Great Gatsby (2013)
- The Caine Mutiny (1954)
- Morning Glory (1933)
- The Age of Innocence (1993)
- Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
- The 400 Blows (1959)
- Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
- Niagara (1953)
- Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
- My Darling Clementine (1946)
- It’s Always Fair Weather (1955)
- L’avventura (1960)
- La notte (1961)
- L’eclisse (1962)
- Rain Man (1988)
- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
- Silk Stockings (1957)
- The Seventh Seal (1957)
- The Freshman (1925)
- Love in the Afternoon (1957)
- All I Desire (1953)
- Two English Girls (1971)
- Paths of Glory (1957)
- Come Live with Me (1941)
- A Shot in the Dark (1964)
- The Goodbye Girl (1977)
- Behind the Candelabra (2013)
- Shakespeare in Love (1998)
- The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
Trends and Notes
- Watched Michelangelo Antonioni’s informal trilogy on modern malaise (as Criterion calls it), which all starred Monica Vitti. Enjoyed all 3 but they didn’t make the cut for my top 5, unfortunately.
- Watched 3 movies starring Fred Astaire (2 of them in a row).
- Love in the Afternoon marked my halfway point in Audrey Hepburn’s filmography.
- Watched 4 movies from the year 1957.
Five Favorite Discoveries:
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a lot from either director Sidney Lumet or actor Al Pacino, but I definitely plan on watching more in the future (like Serpico!). Anyway, I watched this on TCM as part of Angie Dickinson’s guest programming, and she featured two movies I had yet to see but had heard great things about. This film is so crazy (in a good way), it’s almost hard to believe that the whole story was based on true events. Dog Day Afternoon really has it all: great direction, screenplay, editing, acting, etc. Al Pacino gives an especially memorable performance, but I also have to mention John Cazale, who gave quite a subtle performance as Pacino’s partner in crime, and the two worked really well off of each other.
Recommended if you enjoy: Mean Streets and Network.
The other film I watched as a part of Angie Dickinson’s guest programming on TCM was The 400 Blows, so I watched this right after Dog Day Afternoon which made for quite a double feature. This is only the second film I’ve watched by François Truffaut (though recently I watched another of his, Two English Girls so that now makes three), but it definitely turned me on to the director. It’s very apparent here that he made a strong connection with the young actor Jean-Pierre Leaud, as the character he’s playing is essentially the director himself. Leaud shows so much range and emotion throughout the film, there’s an especially heartbreaking scene when he’s sent to the police detention center in a car full of other criminals, and he puts his face between the bars of the window and looks sadly out the streets of Paris.
Recommended if you enjoy: Breathless and Jules and Jim.
Another film I discovered thanks to TCM, It’s Always Fair Weather was featured in May’s Friday Night Spotlight: Second Looks, hosted by Illeana Douglas. This story centers around three soldiers who reunite after not seeing each other for ten years, only to find that they’re not the same as they used to be, and may or may not like each other anymore. With a story like that, there are a couple of surprisingly sad moments to be found in this musical, but I thought it was well balanced with the comedy and dances. And as usual, there’s some great choreography to be found in this Donen-Kelly picture, most notably in this musical number.
Recommended if you enjoy: On the Town and Signin’ in the Rain.
Jimmy Stewart is probably my favorite actor, so I watched this in honor of his birthday this month. And he gives another terrific performance in this western, he just plays those honest-type individuals so well. The real highlight though comes from Lee Marvin, who plays the title villain Liberty Valance. I think this is one of the more accessible westerns, as it blends a few other genres like drama and romance. And I really love the black-and-white cinematography in this film; the lighting especially helps highlight the contrasts in certain scenes.
Recommended if you enjoy: Rio Bravo and High Noon.
A really interesting war film, as most of it doesn’t actually take place in battle. But because of that, the battle scenes are even more memorable; I especially loved the tracking shot of Kirk Douglas walking through the trenches (featured above). The editing and the pacing are really well done here, as a lot seems to happen in less than 90 minutes. The morals that are tested in Paths of Glory reminded me a little of 12 Angry Men, which coincidentally came out the same year.
I can’t think of any other films that are similar to this, but I’m sure any fan of Stanley Kubrick will enjoy this a lot. Also, anyone that’s a fan of the war genre.
5 thoughts on “Films in 2013: May”
Another giant list of movies, Keisha! What, do your months last 50 days or something? And I’m curious if you liked ‘A Shot in the Dark’…one of my favorite comedies ever! And I’ve always wanted to see ‘Paths of Glory’, so I’ll see if it’s available from Netflix.
I actually enjoyed A Shot in the Dark a bit more than its predecessor, Peter Sellers is just hilarious!
I felt the same way…’The Pink Panther’ wasn’t even about Clouseau, and thus wasn’t near as funny as its follow-up. And with ‘A Shot in the Dark’, both Sellers and Blake Edwards really came up with some good sight gags, big and small. Glad you liked it!
Yeah I’m glad they recognized what a scene stealer he was in the first and made him the main character for follow-ups.
This is an excellent group of films. You’re right that Paths of Glory is fairly atypical; I can’t think of too many films similar to it myself. But I actually had to watch it paired with All Quiet on the Western Front for a class; although both deal with different aspects of WWI, I thought they worked really well together as a statement on war itself.