Films in 2013: August

This past month I was able to enjoy some of TCM’s Summer Under the Stars program. Unfortunately, I missed the first few days (like Humphrey Bogart day!) but I got to see a lot of good movies, once again thanks to TCM! August 18th was Natalie Wood day, and there were only 3 movies in her line-up that I hadn’t seen yet, so as a big fan of her I had to check them all out. Anyway, I will note more about Summer Under the Stars further down the post since it seems a majority of what I watched for the first time this month was on TCM.

New-to-Me: 39

Re-Watched: 4

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 1
  • 1930s – 3
  • 1940s – 12
  • 1950s – 8
  • 1960s – 5
  • 1970s – 4
  • 1980s – 2
  • 1990s – 2
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 1

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Patton (1970)
  2. Crossfire (1947)
  3. Journey to Italy (1954)
  4. Caged (1950)
  5. River of No Return (1954)
  6. Amadeus (1984)
  7. The Constant Nymph (1943)
  8. Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
  9. There’s Always Tomorrow (1956)
  10. Election (1999)
  11. Papillon (1973)
  12. Irma la Douce (1963)
  13. Serpico (1973)
  14. Mississippi Mermaid (1969)
  15. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
  16. Lifeboat (1944)
  17. Watch on the Rhine (1943)
  18. Twentieth Century (1934)
  19. Brute Force (1947)
  20. Eastern Promises (2007)
  21. The Star (1952)
  22. A Cry in the Night (1956)
  23. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)
  24. The Candidate (1972)
  25. Blood and Sand (1941)
  26. Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949)
  27. The Moon Is Blue (1953)
  28. Being John Malkovich (1999)
  29. The Three Musketeers (1948)
  30. Together Again (1944)
  31. Heaven Can Wait (1943)
  32. Possessed (1931)
  33. Our Hospitality (1923)
  34. Mud (2012)
  35. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963)
  36. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
  37. Chariots of Fire (1981)
  38. Lust for Life (1956)
  39. Unfaithfully Yours (1948)

Trends and Notes

Since TCM was celebrating Summer Under the Stars this month, most of the trends below will be about movies I saw thanks to their program.

  • Watched 21 movies from TCM’s Summer Under the Stars, and here are the stars I saw movies from (unless otherwise noted, I only saw one movie of each): Joan Fontaine, Fred MacMurray, Steve McQueen, Catherine Deneuve (2), Bette Davis, Ann Blyth, Natalie Wood (4 – one of them was a re-watch), William Holden (3 – one of them was a re-watch), Charles Coburn (2), Clark Gable, Shirley Jones, Glenda Farrell, Kirk Douglas, and Rex Harrison. Bette Davis actually starred in one of the movies I saw on Natalie Wood’s day too.
  • Watched 3 movies from the year 1943, all on TCM.
  • Watched 3 movies from the year 1956, all on TCM.
  • Though he wasn’t one of the stars featured in August, I happened to watch 3 movies starring Charles Boyer, 2 of which were on TCM!

Five Favorite Discoveries:

This month will be a top 6 instead as I had a hard time deciding on what movie to kick out to make it a top 5…

Caged (1950)

Caged (1950), directed by John Cromwell

What a year 1950 was for lead actress! Eleanor Parker gives an amazing performance in this prison film, and she was nominated for an Oscar alongside iconic performances (Gloria Swanson for Sunset Blvd., Judy Holliday for Born Yesterday, Bette Davis and Anne Baxter for All About Eve). The fabulous Agnes Moorehead also gives a great performance as usual, and Hope Emerson is terrifyingly good as the sadistic guard of the prison. This is definitely one of my favorites that I’ve seen of prison movies (and I happened to watch 3 this month!), but it’s the only one I’ve heard of that tells a good story about women in prison.

Recommended if you enjoy: The only film that really comes to mind is The Snake Pit, as it’s also about a woman who’s trapped (though in an asylum as opposed to prison).

There’s Always Tomorrow (1956)

There’s Always Tomorrow (1956), directed by Douglas Sirk

This is the third movie I’ve seen of MacMurray and Stanwyck together, and they prove once more that they really worked well together. The film is a bit of a harsh look at the American Dream, as a man who’s head of a successful toy company feels he’s being overlooked and taken for granted by his wife and children. It’s one of Douglas Sirk’s lesser-known movies, but it may just be my favorite that I’ve seen of his so far.

Recommended if you enjoy: Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck’s dynamic together, as well as Douglas Sirk’s melodramas.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), directed by Jacques Demy

This was such a treat to watch! A lot of the sets are full of color and nice patterns, it’s a real feast for the eyes. Additionally, every line of dialogue is spoken in song, just like the broadway show/movie musical Les Misérables, though it’s a much lighter story. So though the movie is full of music, the characters aren’t dancing in the streets as they might do in a typical musical. The musical score by Michel Legrand plays throughout as a backdrop to what’s being said, and it’s just lovely.

Recommended if you enjoy: Musicals in general!

Being John Malkovich (1999)

Being John Malkovich (1999), directed by Spike Jonze

An interesting concept for a film, but very enjoyable nonetheless. Initially, I thought it was just going to be about people taking over actor John Malkovich’s body, but there’s a lot more to it. This is just the first movie I’ve seen directed by Spike Jonze, and I thought I should finally see some of his work as his upcoming film Her is one I’m looking forward to. Charlie Kaufman also writes another brilliant script, and he’s another filmmaker I haven’t seen enough of. The acting all around is great, with standout performances from Catherine Keener and Cameron Diaz.

Recommended if you enjoy: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, also written by Charlie Kaufman.

Heaven Can Wait (1943)

Heaven Can Wait (1943), directed by Ernst Lubitsch

The film opens with Don Ameche entering hell, and it’s quite a way to start a movie. There he recounts what he believes to be a sinful life to His Excellency, and that is where the story begins. Ameche is simply charming as the Casanova protagonist, and Charles Coburn plays another great supporting character. Gene Tierney and Ameche also provide great onscreen chemistry; their scenes together bring a lot of heart to the story. There’s a lot of laughs to be found as usual in a Lubitsch picture, but there’s also plenty of nostalgic-like romance.

Recommended if you enjoy: A Matter of Life and Death, and Ernst Lubitsch comedies.

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), directed by Mervyn LeRoy

This film really impressed me, I had heard many good things about it, but my expectations were exceeded. Paul Muni’s realistic performance elevates the story above from being just a good movie. The scenes where he escapes the prison always left me on the edge of my seat. And wow, that ending! Though it’s a bit abrupt, it’s still pretty haunting, and it’s one that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I saw it.

Recommended if you enjoyThe Defiant Ones and Cool Hand Luke.

3 thoughts on “Films in 2013: August

  1. I’ve always been interested in checking out ‘Caged’, so I’ll add it to my Netflix queue (and I just tried, and it’s not available…of course). But I’m shocked (yes, shocked!) that ‘Unfaithfully Yours’ didn’t make the Top Six! It’s one of my all-time favorites…not that you should’ve added it for that reason alone, of course.

    Another great, eclectic list, Keisha! Where in the world do you find the time to watch 43 movies? I barely have time for one per week!

    • For some reason I didn’t get a notification about your comment, so sorry for the late reply!

      I actually considered expanding my top films of the month to 7 or 8, I really enjoyed Unfaithfully Yours!! But I’m thinking of touching on some films at the end of the year that I didn’t talk about in these monthly posts, and that’ll definitely be on the list.

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