Films in 2017: November

Somehow I ended up watching a ton of movies in November, way more than I was expecting! Of course, it was Noirvember, so I watched lots of film noir and neo-noir. My favorite actor, James Stewart, was also TCM’s Star of the Month so I made an effort to watch as many of his movies I hadn’t previously seen as I could. And as usual, I made a few trips to the movie theater, which included the 75th-anniversary screening of Casablanca, courtesy of TCM and Fathom Events. So as you’ll see, my handful of favorites of the past month is a pretty good representation of the kinds of movies I watched, as just mentioned.

New-to-Me: 40

Re-Watched: 7

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 3
  • 1940s – 12
  • 1950s – 10
  • 1960s – 2
  • 1970s – 5
  • 1980s – 1
  • 1990s – 2
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 4

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Michael Clayton (2007)
  2. The Breaking Point (1950)
  3. The Suspect (1944)
  4. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  5. Edge of Doom (1950)
  6. Somewhere in the Night (1946)
  7. Daisy Kenyon (1947)
  8. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
  9. The Last Gangster (1937)
  10. The Driver (1978)
  11. Lured (1947)
  12. Shockproof (1949)
  13. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
  14. Coma (1978)
  15. Shock (1946)
  16. House of Bamboo (1955)
  17. Lost Highway (1997)
  18. Hollywood on Trial (1976)
  19. Small Town Girl (1936)
  20. Of Human Hearts (1938)
  21. The House on 92nd Street (1945)
  22. Deadline – U.S.A. (1952)
  23. Justice League (2017)
  24. Cornered (1945)
  25. The Phenix City Story (1955)
  26. No Highway in the Sky (1951)
  27. Coco (2017)
  28. Obsession (1949)
  29. They Made Me a Fugitive (1947)
  30. Heat (1995)
  31. The FBI Story (1959)
  32. The Mountain Road (1960)
  33. Shenandoah (1965)
  34. Thief (1981)
  35. The American Friend (1977)
  36. Thunder Bay (1953)
  37. A Double Life (1947)
  38. The Fallen Sparrow (1943)
  39. No Way Out (1950)
  40. Vicki (1953)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Daisy Kenyon (1947)

Daisy Kenyon (1947), directed by Otto Preminger

Joan Crawford was on a roll turning out excellent performances following her Oscar-winning work in Mildred Pierce. Playing another title character of a melodramatic noir, she’s again wonderful, as well as more restrained than we’re used to seeing in Daisy Kenyon, in which her character finds herself in a love triangle with married lawyer Dan O’Mara (Dana Andrews) and war veteran Peter Lapham (Henry Fonda). On the surface, it may seem like it could run into a sort of soap opera territory, but Otto Preminger does a great job of showing both the good and bad at each point of the love triangle, making it a really compelling film to watch.

Lured (1947)

Lured (1947), directed by Douglas Sirk

While Lucille Ball is obviously best remembered for her iconic TV show I Love Lucy, she made a ton of movies before then, including quite a few that aren’t in the comedy genre, like this mystery thriller with noir touches. And director Douglas Sirk is also far from the first name one would think of when it comes to noir, as he was best known for his Technicolor melodramas in the 1950s. But both director and star turn out a really enjoyable film in Lured, which includes a wonderful supporting cast in George Sanders (who has some really great chemistry with Ball), Charles Coburn, and Boris Karloff.

Coco (2017)

Coco (2017), directed by Lee Unkrich

Coco was easily my favorite of the new releases I caught in theaters this month! As can usually be expected under the Pixar brand, it’s a touching movie that takes a well-rounded look at family, culture, life, and death. Along with a really affecting narrative, it’s one of Pixar’s most visually stunning films and features some great original songs (I’ve been listening to “Remember Me” a lot since seeing it; I hope to see the song nominated at the Oscars!).

Shenandoah (1965)

Shenandoah (1965), directed by Andrew V. McLaglen

Most of the James Stewart movies I watched on TCM were admittedly mediocre (as after seeing 60+ of his movies, I’ve already gotten around to most of his great ones), so it was a treat to actually watch one that resonated with me afterward. I also didn’t expect to enjoy Shenandoah as much as I did, as I can be pretty indifferent to the western genre. This may just be my favorite of Stewart’s performances from his later films, and it’s certainly one of his more overlooked ones since he churned out so many fantastic performances throughout his long career. I definitely recommend checking this movie out if you’re a big fan of the actor like I am.

Thief (1981)

Thief (1981), directed by Michael Mann

After watching Heat for my 2017 Blind Spots, I watched Michael Mann’s directorial debut the following evening, which I had planned to watch at some point during Noirvember anyway. While I’ve now only seen two of Mann’s movies up to this point, it’s easy to recognize the director’s traits in his first film, and I’m definitely curious to check out more of his work. Thief is an especially stylish neo-noir, with a great score and cinematography, as well as a cool-exuding performance from James Caan.

2 thoughts on “Films in 2017: November

  1. Wow, you had quite a month! Some great stuff there, especially some great noir titles. You had me right off the bat with MICHAEL CLAYTON, one of my favorite movies from the past 10 years. I’ve got to give DAISY KENYON another watch. I saw it several months ago and it didn’t stick with me but recently I’ve heard others speaking well of it, so I hope to revisit it soon. Great post!

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