This month was much more evenly spread across the decades compared to previous months, as I happened to watch at least one film per decade (starting from the 1920s). My Billy Wilder class wrapped up at the beginning of the month; in May I watched a number of his films outside of class for the first time, but in June I only watched one outside of class, mostly in honor of the great director’s birthday. So I still need to watch his last four films, which I may or may not watch this month (but definitely by the end of the year). Anyway, I did watch a good amount of films this month that I enjoyed a lot, and this month I’m back to including five highlights instead of three as I did in recent months.
New-to-Me Films by Decade:
- 1920s – 1
- 1930s – 5
- 1940s – 5
- 1950s – 9
- 1960s – 3
- 1970s – 2
- 1980s – 1
- 1990s – 3
- 2000s – 1
- 2010s – 1
List of New-to-Me Films:
- A Farewell to Arms (1932)
- Cluny Brown (1946)
- One, Two, Three (1961)
- Phffft (1954)
- The Tarnished Angels (1957)
- Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
- Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)
- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
- Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
- Words and Music (1948)
- Dames (1934)
- Bend of the River (1952)
- Side Street (1950)
- Three Colors: Blue (1993)
- Three Colors: White (1994)
- Three Colors: Red (1994)
- This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
- Seven Samurai (1954)
- On Dangerous Ground (1951)
- The Paradine Case (1947)
- The Shopworn Angel (1938)
- Star of Midnight (1935)
- The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
- Seven Chances (1925)
- Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939)
- Slightly Dangerous (1943)
- Man’s Favorite Sport? (1964)
- Human Desire (1954)
- Cabin in the Sky (1943)
- Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971)
- Baby Doll (1956)
- Best Picture Nominees Watched: 1
- Movies Watched from The Criterion Collection: 6
- Movies Watched via the Watch TCM app: 7
- Movies Watched on TCM: 2
- Movies Watched on Hulu: 6
- Movies Watched in theaters: 1
Trends and Notes
- Watched 6 films directed by Billy Wilder, though only 2 of them were new-to-me. Additionally, 5 of those films were the ones he had done in the ’60s, and I watched them all in a row.
- Watched 3 films from the year 1954.
- Watched 4 films starring or featuring Rock Hudson, as he was TCM’s Star of the Month for June.
- Watched 2 films directed by Anthony Mann in a row.
- Finally got around to watching Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colors trilogy, and loved them! More on that in a bit.
A Few Favorite Discoveries:
Oddly enough, all my favorite films that I’ve highlighted this month feature a number (or three) in the title! I also watched two other films not featured here with a number in its title.
James Cagney gives a really impressive performance in this film, and he’s the real driving force. I was especially amazed by one scene where he’s reciting a long list of orders a light speed, and it was all done in one take! People aren’t exaggerating when they say this film moves really fast, because it certainly does within the last 45 minutes. The humor here reminds me a lot of a Marx Brothers movie, which I guess makes sense since Billy Wilder had originally intended for it to be a vehicle for them.
This is probably my favorite of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colors trilogy. It’s an interesting look at how one character overcomes her depression, and Juliette Binoche gives a nice, subdued performance as a woman trying to free herself of the past. The film also features some really beautiful music composed by Zbigniew Preisner.
As the lightest of the three films (both in color and subject), my response to White is different than how I felt after watching the other two. It’s sort of a strange, black comedy with the protagonist looking to get even with his ex-wife. Still, it’s an amusing film, and Zbigniew Zamachowski gives a good comedic performance and also works well off of Julie Delpy.
Though the previous two films show some links between the films in the trilogy, this one really brings them all together (specifically in its climax) as it explores human connections. I really loved the interactions between Valentine (Irène Jacob) and Joseph (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and seeing their relationship grow to an understanding as the film progressed. Kieślowski also does a great job of incorporating the idea of destiny and coincidence into the film without making it seem forced.
These days, the word “epic” is overused and almost loses its meaning as it’s applied to just about anything. But I believe it fits perfectly in describing this film. Clocking at nearly three and a half hours, there’s not a minute that feels wasted, and it didn’t feel at all long. This is one of those films where I wanted to watch it again immediately after finishing it (which I didn’t). The whole cast works exceptionally well together, with stand-out performances from Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune. Along with finally getting around to watching this “must-see” movie, it was great seeing a film that’s inspired many after, including its remake The Magnificent Seven (which I’ll surely get around to soon after seeing this) and Pixar’s A Bug’s Life.