Films in 2020: April

With the stay-at-home order in effect through April, I took that time to watch a ton of movies and even ended up watching the exact same amount of movies that were either new-to-me or ones I’ve seen before. The high re-watch count was mostly because of the TCMFF: Special Home Edition, which ran from April 16-19, the same dates as the festival that was supposed to take place in Hollywood this year. While it wasn’t the weekend that was originally planned, the virtual event was really the next best thing to the actual festival, and I’m so glad TCM was able to throw it together on such short notice. I really enjoyed revisiting all-time favorites and rediscovering films I hadn’t seen in some time and interacting with fellow fans throughout it all. Outside of the virtual festival, I also watched a few Jane Russell movies as she was TCM’s Star of the Month. But the decades that reached the double-digit count as far as new-to-me movies go were the 1930s and the 1970s. For the ’30s, it was all pre-code films, which I’ve been getting more into in recent months (it also helps that they often run under 90 minutes). And I watched a ton of ’70s films both new and familiar mostly thanks to programming across both the Criterion Channel (’70s Style Icons) and TCM (New York in the ’70s and Directed by Peter Bogdanovich). With all that said though, the two movies I’m highlighting at the end of this post were the first ones I watched at the start of the month in honor of Toshiro Mifune’s centennial. But before we get to that, a look back at what I watched over the past 30 days.

New-to-Me: 37

Re-Watched: 37

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1910s – 0
  • 1920s – 1
  • 1930s – 10
  • 1940s – 3
  • 1950s – 8
  • 1960s – 4
  • 1970s – 10
  • 1980s – 0
  • 1990s – 0
  • 2000s – 0
  • 2010s – 1
  • 2020s – 0

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Yojimbo (1961)
  2. Sanjuro (1962)
  3. The Last Man on Earth (1964)
  4. The Merry Widow (1952)
  5. Latin Lovers (1953)
  6. Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)
  7. Address Unknown (1944)
  8. The Panic in Needle Park (1971)
  9. Pressure Point (1962)
  10. Buck and the Preacher (1972)
  11. The Outlaw (1943)
  12. The Paleface (1948)
  13. The Richest Girl in the World (1934)
  14. Ex-Lady (1933)
  15. Female (1933)
  16. Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)
  17. The Man Who Never Was (1956)
  18. Night Flight (1933)
  19. Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (2016)
  20. Bardelys the Magnificent (1926)
  21. The Las Vegas Story (1952)
  22. Thank God It’s Friday (1978)
  23. Washington Story (1952)
  24. The Dark Horse (1932)
  25. Gabriel Over the White House (1933)
  26. The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)
  27. For Pete’s Sake (1974)
  28. Wicked Woman (1953)
  29. The Age of Consent (1932)
  30. Bed of Roses (1933)
  31. Man Wanted (1932)
  32. Safe in Hell (1931)
  33. Shaft (1971)
  34. Nickeloden (1976)
  35. Saint Jack (1979)
  36. Welcome to L.A. (1976)
  37. Hot Blood (1956)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Yojimbo (1961)

Yojimbo (1961), directed by Akira Kurosawa

As I mentioned above, I kicked off the month with two Japanese classics from the famous collaboration between director Akira Kurosawa and actor Toshiro Mifune, as April 1st marked the star’s 100th birthday. I somehow didn’t get around to one of their most well-known films until now, but I’m glad to finally check it off my watchlist. From the moment the awesome score starts playing over the opening credits, I knew I’d enjoy Yojimbo, and I was not disappointed. Mifune is always a charismatic presence on screen, but he is just effortlessly cool as the samurai who comes to a small village and manages to organize a full-on gang war to make a profit. Kurosawa does an excellent job of blending tones between action, comedy, and drama that make for a fully entertaining film.

Sanjuro (1962)

Sanjuro (1962), directed by Akira Kurosawa

I had to follow up Yojimbo with its sequel made just a year after, Sanjuro, which I also enjoyed a lot. Though not quite as good and complex as its predecessor, I still loved watching the title character on a new adventure that finds him helping a group of warriors. It’s a lighter film with more comedic moments throughout, with a good amount of action sprinkled in too.

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