Films in 2021: July

Compared to last month, July was an especially big movie-watching month. I ended up watching more than a dozen Elvis Presley movies because he was TCM’s Star of the Month, and I’ve always been curious to see more of his films (I’d only seen five of them before this July tribute). Unfortunately, most of them are really not great at all (so don’t expect them in my roundup of the month’s favorites at the end of this post), but it’s Elvis so I got at least a little bit of enjoyment out of a majority of them. Now I only have 10 movies in his filmography left to see, so I’ll get around to watching the rest of them at some point. Aside from that, another theme I tuned into on TCM was their Friday evenings devoted to neo-noir, most of which I’d actually seen before, but it was still a lot of fun revisiting them along with discovering some lesser-known movies. There were a bunch of other movies between all of those, including some directed by Mitchell Leisen before they left the Criterion Channel and a couple of new releases in theaters. So with that said, a look back at what I watched in July.

New-to-Me: 74

Re-Watched: 19

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1910s – 0
  • 1920s – 1
  • 1930s – 8
  • 1940s – 4
  • 1950s – 11
  • 1960s – 23
  • 1970s – 10
  • 1980s – 5
  • 1990s – 3
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 3
  • 2020s – 5

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Damage (1992)
  2. Kissin’ Cousins (1964)
  3. Double Trouble (1967)
  4. Zola (2020)
  5. Warning Shot (1967)
  6. What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971)
  7. The Tall Men (1955)
  8. No Sudden Move (2021)
  9. In America (2002)
  10. The Howards of Virginia (1940)
  11. The Devil’s Disciple (1959)
  12. Murder at the Vanities (1934)
  13. The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
  14. Crime School (1938)
  15. Finishing School (1934)
  16. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021)
  17. Clambake (1967)
  18. Live a Little, Love a Little (1968)
  19. Speedway (1968)
  20. Spinout (1966)
  21. Black Widow (2021)
  22. Remember My Name (1978)
  23. Body Double (1984)
  24. The Last Sunset (1961)
  25. Lonely Are the Brave (1962)
  26. Harum Scarum (1965)
  27. Stay Away, Joe (1968)
  28. Charro! (1969)
  29. Bandido! (1956)
  30. The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1969)
  31. The Wrath of God (1972)
  32. Girl Rush (1944)
  33. Sweethearts (1938)
  34. G.I. Blues (1960)
  35. Kid Galahad (1962)
  36. The Last Unicorn (1982)
  37. Pulp (1972)
  38. Stunts (1977)
  39. The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
  40. Count Your Blessings (1959)
  41. King Rat (1965)
  42. The Men (1950)
  43. The Balcony (1963)
  44. Los tallos amargos (1956)
  45. Orchestra Wives (1942)
  46. The Kid Brother (1927)
  47. Tokyo Olympiad (1965)
  48. Visions of Eight (1973)
  49. Summer Interlude (1951)
  50. Summer with Monika (1953)
  51. The Woman in Red (1935)
  52. The Secret Bride (1934)
  53. Breakfast for Two (1937)
  54. Follow That Dream (1962)
  55. Frankie and Johnny (1966)
  56. The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)
  57. The Good Die Young (1954)
  58. Night Watch (1973)
  59. Death Takes a Holiday (1934)
  60. Kitty (1945)
  61. Darling, How Could You! (1951)
  62. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013)
  63. A Ghost Story (2017)
  64. Tempest (1982)
  65. Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)
  66. Change of Habit (1969)
  67. Tickle Me (1965)
  68. The Trouble with Girls (1969)
  69. Tequila Sunrise (1988)
  70. Piranha (1978)
  71. The Green Knight (2021)
  72. Wolf (1994)
  73. The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
  74. Elvis on Tour (1972)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

The Men (1950)

The Men (1950), directed by Fred Zinnemann

This movie took me a little by surprise, in that I ended up being more engrossed with the story than I was expecting, and became invested in the relationship of the characters portrayed by Marlon Brando and Teresa Wright. Brando made his film debut here in a performance that hints at his future acting prowess, playing a paraplegic veteran trying to come to terms with his disability. And Wright is wonderful as always, playing a loving partner trying her best to support him through this life-changing event. Overall, The Men gives a pretty realistic idea of the aftermath of the war with the struggles veterans faced both physically and mentally.

Los tallos amargos (1956)

Los tallos amargos (1956), directed by Fernando Ayala

TCM’s Noir Alley program is something I tune into nearly every weekend, and since I’ve seen so many noir films over the years, the schedule often features movies I’ve seen before (but I usually enjoy revisiting them anyway). This was one of the rarer times when not only was Los tallos amargos a much lesser-known noir I hadn’t seen before but one I really enjoyed watching. It’s certainly a movie worthy of discovery, and fortunately, it now has an excellent restoration and will soon have its own physical release, so be on the lookout for it, I highly recommend checking out this hidden gem from Argentina.

Darling, How Could You! (1951)

Darling, How Could You! (1951), directed by Mitchell Leisen

As I mentioned at the top of the post, I caught up with the Mitchell Leisen movies I hadn’t seen yet on the Criterion Channel, including Darling, How Could You! Leisen is an underrated director that I love from the classic Hollywood era, and Joan Fontaine is one of my favorite actresses, so I figured I would get some enjoyment out of this movie, and ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would just from going off the premise. It’s based on a play by J. M. Barrie, following two American parents who return home from an extended trip in Panama, trying to reconnect with their three children. Plenty of misunderstandings ensue, but all is well in the end. I had a lot of fun watching it and would recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of Leisen and Fontaine.

The Green Knight (2021)

The Green Knight (2021), directed by David Lowery

The Green Knight was one of my most anticipated movies of 2020, then, of course, it had to be pushed back, and now more than a year later, it’s finally out and it was certainly worth the long wait. I’ve been a fan of Dev Patel since he started out with Slumdog Millionaire and Skins, so it’s been great seeing the direction his career has gone in recent years (including his first Oscar nomination for 2016’s Lion). His role here is unlike any I’ve seen from him before, and it’s especially wonderful to see him play a character that’s typically cast with a white actor. I was also looking forward to seeing this because it had David Lowery at the helm, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far of his movies, and his take on the Arthurian tale here is fantastically surreal. It’s a movie I’m sure will be even more rewarding on rewatch.

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