Films in 2014: September

I managed to watch a decent number of Best Picture nominees in September (not in the double digits but almost!), including a couple from the 90s and one from the 80s, which are two decades where I’ve probably watched the least nominees. The number of film discoveries this month is a little smaller than in previous months, as I’m starting to get busier this semester. I’ve been saying I’d be watching fewer movies but I’ve managed to spare a couple of hours to watch one. But I do expect the number of movies for the remainder of the year to go down at least a little, as I’m not actually watching movies every day anymore…but I am making up for it on the weekends! Anyway, it’s been another good month filled with good movies.

New-to-Me: 30

Re-Watched: 2

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 9
  • 1940s – 7
  • 1950s – 5
  • 1960s – 4
  • 1970s – 1
  • 1980s – 1
  • 1990s – 2
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 0

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Flirtation Walk (1934)
  2. Hard to Get (1938)
  3. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963)
  4. An Act of Murder (1948)
  5. Scene of the Crime (1949)
  6. The Steel Trap (1952)
  7. Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (2008)
  8. Our Town (1940)
  9. The Crying Game (1992)
  10. My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)
  11. Virtue (1932)
  12. The Bad Seed (1956)
  13. The Spiral Staircase (1945)
  14. Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)
  15. The Bribe (1949)
  16. Quiz Show (1994)
  17. Fanny (1961)
  18. Il sorpasso (1962)
  19. Young Man With a Horn (1950)
  20. Blood Alley (1955)
  21. Deception (1946)
  22. Hot Saturday (1932)
  23. Cries and Whispers (1972)
  24. I’m No Angel (1933)
  25. The Americanization of Emily (1964)
  26. Three on a Match (1932)
  27. Penthouse (1933)
  28. …And God Created Woman (1956)
  29. Ladies They Talk About (1933)
  30. Edward, My Son (1949)

Monthly Tallies

  • Best Picture Nominees Watched: 8
  • Movies Watched from The Criterion Collection: 3
  • Movies Watched via the Watch TCM app: 22
  • Movies Watched on TCM: 1
  • Movies Watched on Hulu: 1
  • Movies Watched in theaters: 1

Trends and Notes

  • Watched 6 films from TCM’s Summer Under the Stars program.
  • Watched 7 films from TCM’s Friday Night Spotlight on pre-code films, including a documentary on the films from that period.
  • Watched 3 films from the year 1949.
  • Watched 3 films from the year 1932.
  • Watched 3 films from the year 1933.
  • My 2 re-watches this month are of the films that won Vivien Leigh her Best Actress Oscars. I couldn’t pass up the chance to see Gone with the Wind on the big screen this past Sunday, and I’ll just say the experience was everything I had hoped it’d be and more.

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

The Bad Seed (1956)

The Bad Seed (1956), directed by Mervyn LeRoy

I really enjoyed watching this! The acting is a little campy, especially with Nancy Kelly as the mother of the “bad seed,” but it’s horror so it’s to be expected, and I still think she did a fine job. One performance that surprised me a bit was Patty McCormack as the devious Rhoda. It’s one character whom I was afraid would get on my nerves and ruin the movie for me. But thankfully, that wasn’t the case here, and I really liked her performance, and I loved watching her character as the story progressed.

The Spiral Staircase (1945)

The Spiral Staircase (1945), directed by Robert Siodmak

This movie is a bit of a horror film as well, with noir-inspired cinematography, which really sets the mood for the film. There’s a couple of close-ups on the killer’s eyes as he watches his next victim that really makes the audience uneasy, and I thought this was utilized well. This movie also features my favorite performance from Dorothy McGuire as Helen; admittedly I haven’t seen a lot of her movies, but I thought she was great as the mute protagonist. Ethel Barrymore also gives a wonderful Oscar-nominated performance as Mrs. Warren, who’s concerned for Helen’s safety in her house. And any movie that features Elsa Lanchester in an amusing supporting role is a plus for me!

Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)

Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), directed by Leo McCarey

Ruggles of Red Gap is a delightful film, blending together some great British and American humor. It’s filled with many humorous moments, but also has a lot of emotion mixed in as well, as the titular Ruggles transitions from a butler to an independent man. I’m surprised Charles Laughton didn’t land an Oscar nomination for this, it’s one of the best I’ve seen from him!

Quiz Show (1994)

Quiz Show (1994), directed by Robert Redford

The only other film I’ve seen directed by Robert Redford was the one for which he won an Oscar, Ordinary People, but this certainly seems to be his best-directed film, and watching this has encouraged me to seek out more of his films in the future. Here he proves how much he understands his actors, as every one of them, no matter how big their part is, gives it their all in their performances. John Turturro is especially captivating as Herbie Stempel. Also of note is director Martin Scorsese’s small role as quiz show sponsor Martin Rittenhorne.

Il sorpasso (1962)

Il sorpasso (1962), directed by Dino Risi

A highly entertaining road comedy, with the classic odd couple: Vittorio Gassman as Bruno, a man who lives on impulses and lives life to the fullest extent, and Jean-Louis Trintignant as Roberto, a shy law student who tries to plan out his life accordingly. Even with these clashing personalities, both seem to bring out the best of each other in their short days of travel. Gassman is especially energetic in this role and easily kept my attention throughout. I also loved seeing the growth that Trintignant’s character went through, from being a secluded individual to one who becomes a little bolder in his actions.

2 thoughts on “Films in 2014: September

  1. I see quite a few film noir movies on your list…very cool! And how was that documentary on pre-Code Hollywood? It sounds good…I’ll have to see if it’s available on-line somewhere. And I’ve always wanted to see The Spiral Staircase…glad to hear it’s worth a watch!

    • Can never get enough of film noir! Very excited for next month as it’ll be Noirvember, and I have a few greats lined up that I haven’t seen yet…

      I thought it was good, it looked at the different genres/aspects of pre-code, like the violence in gangster films. And it also talked about the stars of that era, I’d say it’s worth checking out.

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