Films in 2013: November

This month was Noirvember! So since I watched 24 noir films this month (3 of them being re-watches), many of the films I watched this month were from the 40s and 50s, and not much in between. Additionally, 4 of my 5 favorites for the month are from the film noir genre.

New-to-Me: 39

Re-Watched: 6

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 1
  • 1930s – 1
  • 1940s – 14
  • 1950s – 10
  • 1960s – 6
  • 1970s – 2
  • 1980s – 1
  • 1990s – 1
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 2

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
  2. The Mad Miss Manton (1938)
  3. Elmer Gantry (1960)
  4. The Killing (1956)
  5. While the City Sleeps (1956)
  6. Ship of Fools (1965)
  7. Clash by Night (1952)
  8. Whirlpool (1949)
  9. The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)
  10. Divorce Italian Style (1961)
  11. The Gypsy Moths (1969)
  12. Diabolique (1955)
  13. Act of Violence (1948)
  14. Pickup on South Street (1953)
  15. Nightmare Alley (1947)
  16. The Hucksters (1947)
  17. The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
  18. Killer’s Kiss (1955)
  19. Tom Jones (1963)
  20. Criss Cross (1949)
  21. Night and the City (1950)
  22. Beauty and the Beast (1946)
  23. Rashômon (1950)
  24. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
  25. Stolen Kisses (1968)
  26. Bed and Board (1970)
  27. Love on the Run (1979)
  28. Christmas Holiday (1944)
  29. Turtles Can Fly (2004)
  30. Scarlet Street (1945)
  31. Stray Dog (1949)
  32. White Heat (1949)
  33. Gun Crazy (1950)
  34. Frozen (2013)
  35. Gandhi (1982)
  36. The Woman in the Window (1944)
  37. Following (1998)
  38. Underworld (1927)
  39. The Naked City (1948)

Trends and Notes

  • Watched 3 movies from the year 1947 (2 of them in a row).
  • Burt Lancaster was TCM’s Star of the Month for November, so I ended up watching 4 of his films (2 from the new Watch TCM app, with one of those being a re-watch).
  • Watched 2 movies from the year 1956 in a row.
  • Watched 5 movies directed by Fritz Lang (one of them was a re-watch).
  • Watched 4 movies from the year 1949 (2 of them in a row).
  • Watched 5 movies from the year 1950 (one of them was a re-watch).
  • Watched the remaining films that follow The 400 Blows‘ Antoine Doinel.
  • Watched 14 films from the Criterion Collection this month!

Five Favorite Discoveries:

The Killing (1956)

The Killing (1956), directed by Stanley Kubrick

My first noir film for Noirvember this year, and what a way to start! One of Kubrick’s early films shows a small taste of the brilliance that was to come of the famous director. It was innovative in its storytelling too, where the heist is shown from the perspective of each character involved, and this evidently influenced Quentin Tarantino when he made Reservoir Dogs.

Recommended if you enjoy: Reservoir Dogs. Also if you’re a fan of Stanley Kubrick and noir/crime films in general.

Stolen Kisses (1968)

Stolen Kisses (1968), directed by François Truffaut

As I said earlier, I watched the other movies in Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel series (including a great short called Antoine and Colette), and I really enjoyed them! They don’t quite compare to The 400 Blows, and they’re also lighter in tone. Nonetheless, an enjoyable series (and though I liked the final film, Love on the Run, it probably could/should have ended with Bed and Board). About Stolen Kisses itself, it’s my favorite of the sequels because you see Antoine still growing as a young adult and trying to figure himself out (especially in his love life). It’s a nice French romantic comedy, and Claude Jade’s Christine Darbon is a great match for Antoine.

Recommended if you enjoy: The 400 Blows, of course! And any fan of François Truffaut and Jean-Pierre Léaud is in for a treat.

Scarlet Street (1945)

Scarlet Street (1945), directed by Fritz Lang

Edward G. Robinson normally plays the tough guy, but here he plays a rather pathetic character named Christopher Cross that’s in a mid-life crisis… He’ll do anything to please Joan Bennett’s femme fatale Kitty, such as buying her an apartment. Great performances all around from Robinson, Bennett, and Dan Duryea, who gives a slimy performance as Kitty’s boyfriend Johnny. It’s another dark film by director Fritz Lang, and it’s especially interesting to see Robinson play such a sad character.

Recommended if you enjoy: Other noir films like Sweet Smell of Success and The Lady from Shanghai. Also for anyone who’s seen The Woman in the Window, which is Lang’s previous film to Scarlet Street that also stars Robinson, Bennett, and Duryea.

White Heat (1949)

White Heat (1949), directed by Raoul Walsh

This is sadly the only James Cagney gangster film I’ve seen thus far, and I’ve only seen a few of Cagney’s movies in general. But he once again gives an amazing performance here, I’ve always enjoyed his screen presence. This is him at perhaps his most brilliant though, as he balances the cold-blooded personality with the Oedipus complex in the character Cody Jarrett. The rest of the cast give great performances as well, with Virginia Mayo as the femme fatale, Edmund O’Brien as the undercover cop, and of course Margaret Wycherly as the mother.

Recommended if you enjoy: JAMES CAGNEY!

Gun Crazy (1950)

Gun Crazy (1950), directed by Joseph H. Lewis

My favorite noir discovery in Noirvember! The story is inspired by real-life bandits Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, and interestingly enough, Gun Crazy, in turn, had some inspiration for the movie Bonnie and Clyde. I love the bank robbery scene, all done in one take from the back of the car. Peggy Cummins and John Dall are simply amazing here, and their chemistry! This bit of trivia said by director Joseph H. Lewis is also pretty amusing:

“I told John, ‘Your cock’s never been so hard,’ and I told Peggy, ‘You’re a female dog in heat, and you want him. But don’t let him have it in a hurry. Keep him waiting.’ That’s exactly how I talked to them and I turned them loose. I didn’t have to give them more directions.”

Recommended if you enjoy: Bonnie and Clyde.

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