Films in 2016: August

August was a hectic month for me, so I didn’t get to watch as many movies as I usually do, but I still managed to reach the double digits. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch as many movies for TCM’s Summer Under the Stars program this year; in the past two years I had watched around 50(!) films from the program, and at least one film from every star featured. Despite the lower numbers though, I enjoyed most of the films I watched. I’m mostly settled into my new home and job now, so I’m hoping I can get a little back on track with my movie-watching habits in September. I also have to say that all the blogathons I participated in for August helped me feel better when I was feeling homesick at the beginning of the month, and I’m happy I was able to make the deadlines for all the ones I signed up for! But anyway, onto what I watched in the past 31 days.

New-to-Me: 15

Re-Watched: 3

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 1
  • 1930s – 3
  • 1940s – 2
  • 1950s – 6
  • 1960s – 2
  • 1970s – 0
  • 1980s – 1
  • 1990s – 0
  • 2000s – 0
  • 2010s – 0

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Darling (1965)
  2. Personal Property (1937)
  3. H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)
  4. State Fair (1933)
  5. Street Angel (1928)
  6. The Citadel (1938)
  7. Brigadoon (1954)
  8. Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958)
  9. The Steel Helmet (1951)
  10. Bright Victory (1951)
  11. The Whales of August (1987)
  12. Miracle in the Rain (1956)
  13. Two Girls and a Sailor (1944)
  14. Ikiru (1952)
  15. Grand Prix (1966)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)

H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941), directed by King Vidor

H.M. Pulham, Esq. wasn’t really on my radar until I saw some people on Twitter saying it was Hedy Lamarr’s best role, and after watching this I have to agree. From what I’ve seen of her films so far, Lamarr was usually cast as just a pretty face for the characters to gaze upon, but here her character has much more depth, especially as a love interest for the title character. As Marvin Myles, she was able to instill the intellect that she possessed in real life, and she really commands the screen with more than just her looks. She and Robert Young also have great chemistry that keeps you engrossed in their relationship. Apparently out of all the remarkable actors Lamarr worked with, Young was her favorite leading man, and H.M. Pulham, Esq. was her favorite of her own films, and I can certainly see why she was so fond of this movie. The film has a great nostalgic feel to it without being overly sentimental, and there’s one quote from it that’s stuck with me since (which is the only quote featured on its IMDb page).

Brigadoon (1954)

Brigadoon (1954), directed by Vincente Minnelli

This was a huge Gene Kelly blind spot for me, and I’m so glad I was finally able to remedy that when TCM celebrated Cyd Charisse during Summer Under the Stars. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for the film so I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it, but perhaps being in the right mindset for it made me love it more than if I had seen it on a different day. While it’s not my favorite movie from any of the actors involved, its whimsical quality was hard for me to resist. I was especially awestruck by the dancing between Kelly and Charisse, and watching Brigadoon made me wish they had had more opportunities to dance together on-screen aside from here and in the “Broadway Melody” segment in Singin’ in the Rain. But my favorite aspect of the film has to be Van Johnson and his cynicism; he has a number of great moments that practically stole my attention away from everything else going on, which is no easy feat when you’re sharing the screen with the likes of Kelly and Charisse.

Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958)

Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958), directed by Michael Anderson

Chase a Crooked Shadow is a slow-burn mystery thriller, with some nice noir touches to give it more edge. The film sees Anne Baxter as an heiress named Kimberley Prescott who can’t seem to convince anyone that a man who claims to be her brother really isn’t. Right off the bat, we know that he really isn’t her brother, so we have to sit tight and see how Kimberley holds onto her sanity and what exactly the impostor is after. The film has some genuine twists that I personally didn’t see coming, which made watching it more enjoyable. It’s a movie that benefits from knowing less going into it, so I’d recommend not reading about it before checking it out (especially on Wikipedia as it has some spoilers in plain sight).

Miracle in the Rain (1956)

Miracle in the Rain (1956), directed by Rudolph Maté

Lately, I’ve come to appreciate Van Johnson’s presence more in the films he appeared in, which is timely as his centennial was just a week ago. I’m so glad TCM spotlighted him on his big birthday too, especially because they featured this little gem in the line-up. Miracle in the Rain is a true tearjerker, and I shed many tears throughout my viewing of it (and I happened to watch it on a very rainy evening, so maybe that helped set the mood too). Johnson and Jane Wyman have wonderful chemistry on screen, and the relationship between their characters is just so pure, one can’t help but want the best for them even though it’s inevitable what’s going to happen. Wyman is excellent in any genre she’s in, but I think she’s one of those actresses that was specially made for melodramas, as she makes the plots in them feel more credible. And having the movie film on location in New York City also helped make the O. Henry-esque story feel more authentic.

Ikiru (1952)

Ikiru (1952), directed by Akira Kurosawa

I posted my monthly entry for the 2016 Blind Spots series earlier this week on Ikiru, another terrific film I watched this month. My thoughts on the film can be found here.

5 thoughts on “Films in 2016: August

  1. I’m so glad you’re all settled in now! I loved reading all your blogathon entries too. How you managed it all with moving and everything else is pretty impressive.

    I think you already know my thoughts on Brigadoon and Miracle in the Rain, haha.

    • I’m surprised I was able to do all those blogathon posts too, I thought I was going to have to back out of a couple of them! But as I said they helped me get through my initial homesickness so it ended up working out well. 🙂

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