Films in 2016: November

November essentially consisted of noir films for Noirvember and movies featuring Natalie Wood, as she was the Star of the Month for TCM. Watched a couple of other different movies here and there, but my main focus for the month (as it normally is for November) was on noir, though I ended up not watching as much as I would’ve liked. Unlike previous years where I primarily focused on noir from the classic period, I had a nice balance of neo-noir and films made in the classic noir era. Anyway, onto what I watched in the past 30 days.

New-to-Me: 34

Re-Watched: 4

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 0
  • 1940s – 7
  • 1950s – 14
  • 1960s – 2
  • 1970s – 1
  • 1980s – 3
  • 1990s – 4
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 2

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Mystic River (2003)
  2. Panic in the Streets (1950)
  3. Sudden Fear (1952)
  4. Road House (1948)
  5. Hangover Square (1945)
  6. I Died a Thousand Times (1955)
  7. Chicken Every Sunday (1949)
  8. Storm Warning (1951)
  9. The Green Promise (1949)
  10. No Sad Songs for Me (1950)
  11. Never a Dull Moment (1950)
  12. Arrival (2016)
  13. The Grifters (1990)
  14. Cutter’s Way (1981)
  15. The Burning Hills (1956)
  16. The Girl He Left Behind (1956)
  17. The Company She Keeps (1951)
  18. Bombers B-52 (1957)
  19. Kings Go Forth (1958)
  20. Farewell, My Lovely (1975)
  21. House by the River (1950)
  22. Mona Lisa (1986)
  23. Scarface (1983)
  24. Cash McCall (1960)
  25. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
  26. Moana (2016)
  27. Champion (1949)
  28. Detective Story (1951)
  29. Bound (1996)
  30. Miller’s Crossing (1990)
  31. The Sniper (1952)
  32. My Name Is Julia Ross (1945)
  33. Playtime (1967)
  34. House of Strangers (1949)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Sudden Fear (1952)

Sudden Fear (1952), directed by David Miller

This was my favorite film noir discovery of the month, and it was the second one I watched for Noirvember! It also ended up being the second of four films I saw that featured Jack Palance. I’ve yet to see his later roles (such as City Slickers, for which he won an Oscar and famously did one-handed push-ups when he accepted it), but at least in his early roles like in Shane (another Oscar-nominated performance), he played some really sinister characters, and that’s no different here. He’s a great match for Joan Crawford, who gives one of her best performances. Both were nominated for Oscars for their work in Sudden Fear (with Palance earning his first of three, and Crawford earning her last of three). Also doing good work in this film is Gloria Grahame as the film’s femme fatale. Grahame didn’t receive an Oscar for her work here like her co-stars, but she did win one for The Bad and the Beautiful, which came out the same year.

The Grifters (1990)

The Grifters (1990), directed by Stephen Frears

As many film fans know, FilmStruck launched in November, and of course, I signed up for a subscription. The Grifters was the first movie I watched on the streaming service, and it was a great one to start with. This is a movie I’ve been meaning to check out for some time thanks to its stellar cast (as you can see in the screenshot I featured). John Cusack is great opposite his two leading ladies, but as much as I love him, Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening do steal the spotlight from him. Both actresses were also Oscar-nominated for their roles in the film, and deservedly so. It’s an entertaining crime movie, infused with some pretty dark, noir elements. If you have FilmStruck, I recommend checking this one out, as it also features an intro with noir expert Eddie Muller.

Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), directed by Carl Franklin

Since discovering Denzel Washington earlier this year, I sadly have not had a chance to watch another one of his films until this past month. But Devil in a Blue Dress was at the top of my watchlist for the actor, and Noirvember was the perfect time to finally watch it, and I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint. I love neo-noir films that take place in the period in which the genre was at its peak, such as L.A. Confidential. The classic noir elements are well-incorporated into the movie without it feeling too forced. It’s a gripping story filled with an interesting cast of characters, all led wonderfully by the charismatic Denzel Washington as Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins. After seeing this, I’m curious to read the story on which it’s based, as well as the many other stories that feature Easy. I only wish they had made a series of movies with Washington as Easy because I would’ve loved to see more noir mysteries with him.

7 thoughts on “Films in 2016: November

  1. That’s a great month’s worth of films! I absolutely love THE GRIFTERS – what a final scene… I agree – It’s a real shame that they never did more Easy Rawlins movies – could’ve been a great series, but I’m thankful we have at least one film and it’s a wonderful one.

    • While it’s been 20+ years since Devil in a Blue Dress, I don’t think it’s too late to do another Easy Rawlins movie! Denzel has barely aged, plus an aged Easy could add something to a potential movie (this is all just wishful thinking on my part though).

      • I’m with ya! Don Cheadle I’m sure is up for another one as well. I think Denzel could probably make it happen. Plenty of good Mosley books to adapt…

  2. Lots of cool noir films on that list…Panic in the Streets, Sudden Fear, The Sniper, and My Name is Julia Ross. There’s a small moment in Sudden Fear that made me jump a mile off the couch when I first watched it…did it do the same to you?

    • The noir films you listed off in your comment were ones I especially enjoyed this month! I don’t think I had quite the same reaction to Sudden Fear as you did, but I will say there were a couple moments that really took me by surprise and made me gasp! TCM is actually showing the film sometime this month and I think I may watch it again then, I really enjoyed it.

      • The one part that made me jump in Sudden Fear was when the toy on the desk suddenly started moving…a little robot, if I remember right. I was NOT expecting that at all!

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