What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1949: A Love Letter


Previous What I’ll Remember posts:
1925, 1930, 1943, 1958, 1965, 1969, 1978, 1982, 1992, 2012, 2013, 2014

It’s that time again! The What I’ll Remember posts are a Top Ten By Year trademark; a fun, engaging, and personalized way of collecting movie memories that represent my time with the years chosen for this project. It’s something I work on gradually while making my way through the watchlist, whether it’s writing down observations, grabbing screencaps, or making notes of what to include. When I look back on these long afterwards, I find countless things I would have otherwise forgotten (despite the name of this feature!) and am always so grateful for having made them. What we take from movies should be more than the, understandably, ‘big picture’ way we tend to evaluate, enjoy, or talk about them. Hopefully this does a little to parse out all the different ways that film, whether taken individually or as a group, can be memorable!

I started 1949 one year ago. The Top Ten By Year: 1949 Poll Results went up in October (almost 300 people voted for ove 250 films!). You can also enjoy 100 (or so) Images from the Films of 1949 which went up last week. The Top Ten By Year: 1949 write-up should go up within a month’s time. And then after that: 1990!

(Note: I am posting this without having actually seen Le Silence de la Mer. It is the last one on my watchlist and I will update this post with anything I need to afterwards)

Raoul Walsh saying everything he needs to say with masterful shot compositions & blocking in Colorado Territory

Max Ophüls saying everything he needs to say with his masterful shot compositions & blocking, his fluid camera constantly recalibrating the characters & their relations to each other, in Caught & The Reckless Moment

UK murders done drolly
(The Hidden Room, Kind Hearts and Coronets)

The sandy desolation of Une si jolie petite plage (Such a Pretty Little Beach)

The peppy and shamelessly horny women of On the Town

Julien Duvivier’s Au royaume des cieux (The Sinners), so unseen & unavailable (only 39 votes on imdb & 13 views on letterboxd!), & so completely essential. The lost girls reformatory film of your dreams

The thrilling ball sequence in Madame Bovary, a 360 degree manifestation of delirium in which Emma’s inner ecstasy and social fantasy are externalized by a sudden & urgent call to “Smash the windows!”

Begone Dull Care” is really cool. Somewhat less cool: its flickers and sputters almost triggered a panic attack

Harry Lime’s self-satisfied entrance in The Third Man, even better when you realize he never meant to be seen and had seamlessly pivoted into it for the theatrics

Celeste Holm as the all-seeing yet unseen homewrecker Addie Ross in A Letter to Three Wives, an arsenal of sumptous half-whispered poison. The filmis good and all, but give me The Addie Ross story over drunk Jeanne Crain stressing about entering society life any day

Needing Gene Kelly to calm the fuck down in Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Level of Ham: Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins

In recent years, Joan Crawford has gone from someone I’ve always casually enjoyed to a pivotal personal icon. The very underrated Flamingo Road, part of her Mildred Pierce stretch of playing tenacious & sexually mature women, illustrates why. Through these roles, her gorgeously soft-lit turmoil & determination are a constant through the barrage of bad luck or bad choices her characters battle

The Fantasia-esque visuals of “Inspirace”, where droplets and the like morph into a transluscent fairy-tale

Post-WWII Americanization abroad (Late Spring, Bitter Rice, Rendezvous in July)

Joan Greenwood’s voice is like some majestic creature that is going to lull you into an eternal sleep. She is a kind of infuriating opiate in Kind Hearts and Coronets

The Secret Garden 1949 00009The Wizard of Oz-esque use of Technicolor for the garden sequences of The Secret Garden

Brunhilde Esterhazy: best character name or best character name? (and best character!) (On the Town)

The amusingly superficial posters on the walls of Dorothy Dale’s Charm School, such as the Personality Recipe (the components are appearance based), and the Which Shape Is Your Face? chart, filled with geometrics such as the very not face-shaped triangle (Caught)

Turns out that French films from 1949 with less than 300 views on letterboxd are my jam (Une si jolie petite plage, Rendezvous in July, Au royaume des cieux)

Four characters locked in by glares & jewels & power plays (oh my!) in Bitter Rice

madame fashion

tumblr_p52tb9wg1E1r7h84eo1_500Two show-stopping costumes presented as spectacles in their own right: Madame Bovary’s whimsical ballgown confection & Delilah’s opulent peacock ensemble (surely a greatest of all-time contender) (Madame Bovary, Samson & Delilah)

The sing-off turned brawl (recalling 1956’s “Lucy’s Italian Movie” which would use this film as inspiration) in Bitter Rice

The outré existence of Jose Ferrer’s astrologer/hypnotist character in Whirlpool. He casually outs a party guest as having recently tried to commit suicide (to the amusement of everyone including the man!), hypnotizes himself into post-surgery painlessness, warns his enemy of the alignment of Mars, and says things like “I bow to your abysmal scruples”

That huge plate of spaghetti in House of Strangers

The harrowing post-rape sequence in Bitter Rice. Rain, rice fields, and pain externalize the just-past

That all-too-brief moment when we’re treated to Jean Hagen & Judy Holliday looking really hot in drag in Adam’s Rib

A Letter to Three Wives basically invented auto-tune! (“Why th-hh-hh-ee bl–uuu–eeee ssuuuu-itttt?”) (Courtesy of Sonovox!)

The whip-pans of Au royaume des cieux

Coming around to Richard Conte in a big way with rewatches of Whirlpool and Thieves Highway, and a first-time viewing of House of Strangers

“Setting the Scene” opening narrations
(Beyond the Forest, Border Incident, Flamingo Road, A Letter to Three Wives, Abandoned, The Reckless Moment)

Title cards! Some favorites!

The ache of seeing Gene Tierney try to keep her projected congeniality together for her husband in the face of a murder charge & a muggy mind. She has never been more  available to us onscreen (Whirlpool)

The metaphoric horror show of Blood of the Beasts, catapulting me into a meltdown that can only be described as unhealthily distressing

Max Ophüls making 2 (TWO!) films that interrogate what it means to be an American woman. While Leonora has to face the worth of her ideals head-on, Lucia faces the challenge of remaining Steadfast Mother Hen in the midst of violent crisis
(Caught and The Reckless Moment)

The shot of the dam breaking in Au royaume des cieux

tumblr_p6g19lM7141vnek3io1_540The borderline surreal climactic heist-in-the-smoke of Criss Cross

The way James Cagney plays the I-talk-to-my-dead-mother confession to Edmund O’Brien. So intimate and watchful; a critical test that, if he passes, promises the rareness of trust (White Heat)

Semi-documentary trends popping up in films one wouldn’t entirely categorize as such (1949 is in the midst of the semi-documentary procedural craze yet there aren’t many any from this particular year)
(Border Incident, Follow Me Quietly, Abandoned)

The Third Man, a sweet spot masterpiece. How corny but true to say but every time you watch it it’s like “wow, people made this & now we have it & it’s a thing that exists, how beautiful is that?”

The terrible grotesquerie of Beyond the Forest which I can honestly say is one of the worst films I’ve seen (worth watching for how weirdly bad it is, I’ve never seen anything quite like it)

All those two shots with Francesca and Silvana in Bitter Rice

The famous sewer chase in The Third Man, even better than you remember, even greater than you know it to be. Cinema’s apex? Food for thought….

The central boxing match in The Set-Up. An absence of humanity, just hungry faces barking for blood, and one man’s committment to redemption

The canted & cluttered off-kilter world of post-war Vienna in The Third Man

The bold 1st act of Pinky which, Jeanne Crain casting aside, depicts remarkably honest dilemmas and scenarios about race that are actively confrontational towards white audiences, especially for its time. And then…it ends up being about the film’s one uninteresting story thread!

Seeing Setsuko Hara’s fortress beam of a smile disintegrate as Late Spring unfolds

The dead vigilant eye of Dame Edith Evans, in death her knowing glower locks onto Anton Walbrook for life in The Queen of Spades

I remember being a teenager when I saw White Heat for the first time, and being shocked by the emotion on display when Cody finds out his mother is dead (“She’s dead.” “She’s dead.” “She’s dead.” etc). It still shocks. A totally unrestrained feral piece of acting by James Cagney

The “ok byeeee” nature of Harry Lime’s exit (“So long Holly!”) immediately following the cuckoo clock speech in The Third Man. Also, Orson’s delivery of this speech and all of the rest of it. Nobody else would say Harry’s lines in his perfectly natural offhand way, with a rhythm that is its own kind of music. It makes you love the character. There is an urge to shout “No, wait, don’t go, you just got here!”

Geraldine Brooks in The Reckless Moment making me wish it didn’t take until the 50s for us to see teens with modern gumption onscreen

Elizabeth Taylor playing her first adult part (Conspirator), while still shaking off now-awkward kiddie roles like Amy in Little Women

The first halves of Tension and I Was a Male War Bride. Before the detective enters the scene, Tension is the best kind of lurid noir. And then there’s the sexy outdoors slapstick of I Was a Male War Bride, before it gives way to pleasant but ho-hum bureaucracy humor

Money destroys
(The Rocking Horse Winner, Too Late for Tears, Caught, Thieves Highway)

Anna’s forthright walk through the autumnal street; past Holly, past us. Through two funerals, she shuns the living through her loyalty to the dead
(The Third Man)

The height of the social problem film trend of the late 1940s, which would emerge as a mainstream trend in the 1950s
(Pinky, Intruder in the Dust, Home of the Brave, Lost Boundaries, The Lady Gambles, Never Fear, Not Wanted, Knock on Any Door)

The surrealist wall paintings in Audrey Totter’s apartment in Alias Nick Beal

Time, As a Factor
(On the Town, The Set-Up, D.O.A.)

Silvana Magnano’s face and body in Bitter Rice. Just go see for yourself.

Samson & Delilah: DeMille still kinking it up with incredible costumes, scope, & Technicolor. I loved it.

Flashback Fever:
(The Fan, The Accused, Beyond the Forest, Champion, Criss Cross, Knock on Any Door, Twelve O’ Clock High, Edward, My Son, A Woman’s Secret, Black Magic, House of Strangers, Not Wanted, Kind Hearts and Coronets. A Letter to Three Wives, The Passionate Friends). These last two feature particularly intricate flashback structures, which confused some audiences at the time

i shotThe beautiful and sensual closing scene of I Shot Jesse James. They are outside but you’d never know it. They are faces emerged from blackness, a woman soothing her man in his final moments

Francesca’s character arc in Bitter Rice, from tossed aside moll to solidarity among hard-working women

The dance-hall scene in Caught; freedom in a crowd. Ophüls’ roving camera canvasses the outskirts. Two characters connect with their guards down, making room for candid and infectious laughter

Claude Rains unmatched ability to humanize characters who might otherwise not have been (The Passionate Friends)

We don’t meet the son in Edward, My Son!? We don’t learn why the confession happened in A Woman’s Secret?! These might work if the films were any good but they aren’t so it’s just nonsensical and very frustrating

easy livingThis shot from Easy Living (1949, Tourneur), so full of longing. The film is barely regarded, even by Tourneur enthusiasts, in part because it was one a “one for them” of his.  But it’s got a Daisy Kenyon vibe in that it’s a refreshing drama from the late 40s about complicated adults with complicated adult problems

A hill of tumbling apples & a fiery truck. A man burns for capitalism, but capitalism doesn’t burn for him (Thieves Highway)

Women in conflict with their desire for the finer things in life and for true love. Two different choices are made in The Passionate Friends and Caught

Kirk Douglas’ final scene in Champion; some of the most nakedly raw pre-Brando acting out there. Between him & James Cagney’s similarly animalistic outbursts in White Heat, 1949 features really powerful moments showcasing the vulnerability of male monsters

The Tale of the Countess Ranevskaya in The Queen of Spades

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This particularly hot Burt Lancaster look in Criss Cross

The way The Passionate Friends illuminates interior lives & times past

One of life’s great joys: watching Anton Walbrook become untethered onscreen (The Queen of Spades)

The German Professor Bhaer in Little Women being very obviously Italian (played by Rossano Brazzi). Actually, most Professor Bhaer’s aren’t German now that I think about it!

The end of Easy Living; a shocking, nakedly misogynistic action, and a truly bold storytelling choice. I’ve rarely felt this kind of disappointment in a character

Di1YuVxU0AA0GycFeeling immediate worship and loyalty for Audrey Totter based on this early moment from Tension (delivered like “Drrriiiffffffttttt”)

The remnants of an apple peel and their heartbreaking significance in Late Spring

Apartment life at the end of the Chinese Civil War in Crows and Sparrows, only released at the end of the Chinese Civil War because it dared to be in opposition of Chiang Kai-shek’s corrupt government

A special shout-out to Lt. Kitty Lawrence, a bit character in I Was a Male War Bride whose short time onscreen is used for explicit kink-wishing. (“He could leave marks on me anytime. I’d bring the stick!”)

Flights of Fantasy (films that break with reality in different ways)
On the Town, My Dream is Yours, The Passionate Friends, Alice in Wonderland

20190111_132013Rendezvous amphibian20190111_140233The funky car-boat in Rendezvous in July, whimsically floating down the Seine, and featuring eye illustrations that reappear on costumes & decor throughout the film

The stale taste left in my mouth as I watched scenes from The Shop Around the Corner (presumably from its source material) lifelessly recreated word-for-word by the cast of In the Good Old Summertime

Dan Duryea’s nickname for Lizabeth Scott in Too Late for Tears (“Don’t ever change, Tiger. I don’t think I’d like you with a heart”)

Adaptations using badly dated, and entirely invented, framing devices with the authors as characters (Black Magic, Madame Bovary, Alice in Wonderland)

Toshiro Mifune finally allowing himself to release all of his pent-up emotions in The Quiet Duel

tumblr_papn29Fchm1tqsk9wo3_540The faceless mannequin in Follow Me Quietly, and that chilling time we are fooled by it

With Jour de Fête as my 4th Tati, it might be time for me to admit he’s just not for me

Lizabeth Scott completely and unapologetically owning her roles as the most materialistic of women in both Too Late for Tears and Easy Living

Deborah Kerr’s bitter drunken hag performance in the last act of Edward, My Son. Is it good? Is it bad? Hell if I know, but it’s something

Hoping that one day Lou Bunin’s Alice in Wonderland can be seen in better condition. It’s not good, but the stop-motion animation & sets are quite imaginative. Fuck Disney for going out of its way to successfully squash this (they are even responsible for the subpar color film stock they ended up using)

Whirlpool & The Reckless Moment: two very different 1949 women’s noirs exploring the masks projected by married women at the sacrifice of themselves. In the former the turmoil is internal, about the psychology and relationship. In the latter, things spiral externally; noir and family are inextricable as Joan Bennett puts a brave face forward in juggling it all alone (the husband is away). They each even write letters to their respective spouses that are either thrown away or not completed

The # of films across genres from western to sports drama to fantasy to noir that are just about nuanced humans with palpable lived histories & relationships. These films transcend their genres & feel primarily identifiable and connceted by this instead
(Colorado Territory, Rope of Sand, Easy Living, The Set-Up, Alias Nick Beal, Caught)

Audrey Totter and the boxing ticket. To tear or not to tear? (The Set-Up)

Traces of gay!
(“Christmas USA”, “Puce Moment”, Such a Pretty Little Beach, Au Royaume des Cieux)

The evocative autumn backgrounds in the otherwise pretty dreadful The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

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David Brian aka: The Pits. As if Hollywood thrust a crusty newscaster into leading roles (romantic opposites with Joan & Bette, the nerve! Bette is cheating on Joseph Cotten with this bag of sand in Beyond the Forest) showing a total disregard for audiences everywhere
(Intruder in the Dust, Beyond the Forest, Flamingo Road)

The age of Pseudo Psychoanalytic films winds down with Whirlpool. Preminger’s characteristically sober touch makes an unconventional approach for this kind of story

The Set-Up as a collective conduit for all the souls who inhabit the film. Such vivid empathy and consideration for the various crushing predicaments and hopes of these characters

The unlikely focuses of Thieves Highway. A roadside breakdown patiently unfolds as a life is saved and a bond is formed. You expect it to have bearing on the plot. It doesn’t. But it has plenty on the story

Confirmation upon rewatch that I still don’t care for Adam’s Rib

Screenshot_20190320-130256_Message+“Puce Moment” becoming a literal aesthetic board when I got prints made of screenshots and now have them taped to my sides of my vanity

Montgomery Clift’s inherent tenderness complicating his performance & putting him intriguingly at-odds with his character in The Heiress

Van Helfin’s suppressed & then unstable guilt in Act of Violence, initiating the film’s left-turn segue into the underworld

Father and daughter on opposite sides of the road in Late Spring; change is already here

The deep affection I developed for Christine in Rendezvous in July. She is maligned by her friends for her mean streak & envy, but her actions, driven by insecurity & mediocrity, are easy to understand. The more unforgiving the film & its occupants are toward her, the more I came to empathize and love her

crissFacing imminent death straight-to-camera in the final moments of Criss Cross

Orson goes to Europe
(The Third Man, Black Magic)

The brutal historical noir of Reign of Terror, courtesy of Anthony Mann. Invasive close-ups, tight spaces, paranoia, double agents, and plenty of beheadings

The hypnotizing hypnotizing sequences of Black Magic!

The sympathetic eye that Ida Lupino lends Sally Forrest in her social issue melodrama Not Wanted. Nobody is an archetype, there is no “don’t do this & you’ll be fine” angle. It’s all refreshingly light on didactics

Amy - 5Adult Amy’s outfit entrance. Autumn-as-dress; magnificent (Little Women)

Favorite Performances of 1949:
Silvana Mangano in Bitter Rice, Doris Dowling in Bitter Rice, Joan Crawford in Flamingo Road, Gene Tierney in Whirlpool, Judy Holliday in Adam’s Rib, Claude Rains in The Passionate Friends, Audrey Totter in Tension, Virginia Mayo in Colorado Territory, Celeste Holm in A Letter to Three Wives, Juano Hernandez in Intruder in the Dust, John Ireland in I Shot Jesse James, Lucille Ball in Easy Living, Gerard Philipe in Such a Pretty Little Beach, Dan Duryea in Too Late for Tears, Orson Welles in The Third Man, Barbara Bel Geddes in Caught, Olivia de Havilland in The Heiress, Toshiro Mifune in The Quiet Duel, Setsuko Hara in Late Spring, Chishû Ryû in Late Spring, Richard Basehart in Reign of Terror, Anton Walbrook in The Queen of Spades, Doris Day in My Dream is Yours, Mary Astor in Act of Violence, Lee J. Cobb in Thieves Highway

Favorite Characters of 1949:
Lane Bellamy (Joan Crawford/Flamingo Road), Christine (Nicole Courcel/Rendezvous in July), Claire Huddesen (Ann Miller/On the Town), Brunhilde “Hildy” Esterhazy (Betty Garrett/On the Town), Francesca (Doris Dowling/Bitter Rice), Silvana (Silvana Mangano/Bitter Rice), Claire Quimby (Audrey Totter/Tension), Sadie Dugan (Thelma Ritter/A Letter to Three Wives), Jane Palmer (Lizabeth Scott/Too Late for Tears), Vivian Martin (Eve Arden/My Dream is Yours), Anne (Lucille Ball/Easy Living), 1st Lieu. Catherine Gates (Ann Sheridan/I Was a Male War Bride), Harry Lime (Orson Welles/The Third Man), Sgt. Paine (Bernard Lee/The Third Man), Connie (Arthur Kennedy/Champion), Addie Ross (Celeste Holm/A Letter to Three Wives), Martha Gibson (Doris Day/My Dream is Yours), Lt. Kitty Lawrence (Marion Marshal/I Was a Male War Bride), all the girls in Au Royaume des cieux, Rui Minegishi (Noriko Sengoku/The Quiet Duel), Beatrice ‘Bea’ Harper (Geraldine Brooks/The Reckless Moment), Fouché (Arnold Moss/Reign of Terror), Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan/Act of Violence), Ed Kinney (Millard Mitchell, Thieves Highway)

Least Favorite Characters of 1949:
Kip Lurie (David Wayne, Adam’s Rib), John Gavin Stevens (David Brian, Intruder in the Dust), Titus Semple (Sydney Greenstreet, Flamingo Road), Midge (Kirk Douglas, Champion), Walter (Vittorio Gassman, Bitter Rice), Eddie O’Brien (Gene Kelly, Take Me Out to the Ball Game), Hester Grahame (Valerie Hobson, The Rocking Horse Winner), Sibella (Joan Greenwood, Kind Hearts and Coronets), Andrew Delby Larkin (Van Johnson, In the Good Old Summertime), all the kids in The Secret Garden, Hon. Charles Adare (Michael Wilding, Under Capricorn), Lizaveta Ivanova (Yvonne Mitchell, The Queen of Spades), Mr. & Mrs. Manleigh (Florence Bates & Hobart Cavanaugh, A Letter to Three Wives) everyone watching the boxing match in The Set-Up, Arnold ‘Red’ Kluger (Charles McGraw, The Threat), Mademoiselle Chamblas (Suzy Prim, Au royaume des cieux), David Harper (David Bair, The Reckless Moment), Masa Taguchi (Haruko Sugimura, Late Spring), Robespierre (Richard Baseheart, Reign of Terror)

Actors I saw the Most in 1949:
Robert Ryan, Jeanne Crain, Janet Leigh, Richard Conte, Robert Mitchum, Van Johnson, James Mason, Audrey Totter, Joseph Cotten, Lizabeth Scott, Robert Mitchum, Burt Lancaster, Arthur Kennedy, James Mason, Victor Mature, Kirk Douglas, Margaret O’Brien, Claude Rains, Gene Kelly, Orson Welles, Virginia Mayo, David Brian, Sally Forrest, Barbara Lawrence, Van Helfin, Sydney Greenstreet, George Sanders, Dan Duryea, Doris Day, Jack Carson, Trevor Howard

The consistently gorgeous dissolves & compositions of Døden er et kjærtegn (Death Is a Caress)

The last major year of Margaret O’Brien’s career, capping at age 12 with lead roles in two major adaptations of beloved classics (Mary in The Secret Garden, Amy in Little Women). She’d appear in other films & TV, but there was no place made for her as an adolescent

Bette Davis saying “I’m Rosi Moline” over and over again in Beyond the Forest, while I just kept hearing Nomi Malone

Of Mankiewicz’s two films from 1949: House of Strangers > A Letter to Three Wives

Betty Garrett openly lusting after an atypically girl-shy Frank Sinatra in both Take Me Out to the Ball Game and On the Town

mother is a freshman 4mother is a freshman 5Mother is a Freshman 1mother is a freshman 3

Loretta Young’s wardrobe in the hyper-slight but genuinely pleasant Lloyd Bacon Technicolor comedy Mother is a Freshman, in which everybody wants…..Van Johnson…

The Miss Turnstiles Ballet sequence, the perfect example of my (and Kelly/Donen too!) penchant for abstract monochromatic sets from studio-era Hollywood. Vera Ellen gets to show off her talents and be the perfect hyper-faceted non-existent fantasy woman, all in just a few minutes.
The “Cool Girl” equivalent of its era.
(On the Town)

Dear Everyone,
How did it take me this long to love Doris Day?
Sincerely, A Former Fool
(My Dream is Yours & It’s a Great Feeling)

On the Town, the first musical shot (very much in-part) on-location, the bulk of which is the film’s opening number. It’s a thrill seeing these actors buoyantly hit every major tourist spot in the fantastical time-compress only the movies can provide

Finally having context for that oft-used all-timer Judy Garland gif
(In the Good Old Summertime)

🎶🎶”The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down”🎶🎶
(On the Town)

The bonkers part-animation dream sequence that comes out of nowhere in My Dream is Yours. Ever wanted to see Jack Carson hop around in a bunny costume? Well, here’s your chance

Loving three-strip Technicolor as much as Two-strip Technicolor!
(It’s a Great Feeling, In the Good Old Summertime, Little Women, Mother is a Freshman, My Dream is Yours, On the Town, Samson and Delilah, The Secret Garden, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Under Capricorn)

The screaming match between Mary (Margaret O’Brien) and Colin (baby Dean Stockwell) in The Secret Garden, two of the most abrasive minutes in cinema!

tumblr_nlpd3sZc901qz8c8to1_500Joseph Cotten’s in-the-moment choice not to give Ingrid Bergman the rubies in Under Capricorn. Such a sympathetic moment as he awkwardly hides them behind his back

The stone-cold hardening of Catherine’s (Olivia de Havilland) soul through heartbreak in The Heiress

Seeing one of the glass figurines that Karel Zeman used in his stop-motion short “Inspirace” at the Karel Zeman Museum, and finally getting around to watching it!

Joan Crawford giving Sydney Greenstreet what for in Flamingo Road with a couple of swift and much-deserved slaps…….an action she lampoons in It’s a Great Feeling, one of cinema’s best cameos!
(Jack Carson: [after being slapped]: What was that for?
Joan Crawford: Oh, I do that in all my pictures.)

S.Z. Sakall’s delivery of “and anyways she-she’s a dog” in My Dream is Yours

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 *** QUOTES ***
(littered, of course, with The Third Man)

“Don’t be so gloomy. After all it’s not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly!”
(The Third Man)

Aunt Penniman: Can you be so cruel?
Catherine Sloper: Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters.
(The Heiress)

“Hell is other people…”
(The Reckless Moment)

“I don’t want people to like me. Nothing pleases me more than when they don’t like me. It means I don’t belong.”
(Beyond the Forest)

Claire: How’d you feel if someone broke your dinosaur?
Ozzie: Never had one. We were too poor.
(On the Town)

“Men are no good. They’re devious. Before marriage they only show their good side, but once they have you, everything awful comes out. Even if you marry for love, you never know what you’re getting”
(Late Spring)

“Death’s at the bottom of everything Martins. Leave death to the professionals”
(The Third Man)

“I bow to your abysmal scruples”
(Whirlpool)

“Smash the windows!”
(Madame Bovary)

“Mariah: bolt the door”
(The Heiress)

“No part of marriage is the exclusive province of any one sex.”
(Adam’s Rib)

Louis: [after murdering his cousin along with his cousin’s mistress] I was sorry about the girl, but found some relief in the reflection that she had presumably during the weekend already undergone a fate worse than death.
(Kind Hearts and Coronets)

Amanda Bonner: And after you shot your husband… how did you feel?
Doris Attinger: Hungry!
(Adam’s Rib)

“A person doesn’t change just because you find out more”
(The Third Man)

“This is it. I’ve been waiting for it, dreaming of it all my life – even when I was a kid. And it wasn’t because we were poor, not hungry poor at least. I suppose, in a way, it was far worse. We were white collar poor, middle-class poor. The kind of people who can’t quite keep up with the Joneses and die a little every day because they can’t.”
(Too Late for Tears)

“The most dangerous thing about completely immoral women is their tremendous unused and unpredictable reserve of honest feeling.”
(Rope of Sand)

“Do you think women live in vaccum-sealed containers like tennis balls?”
(House of Strangers)

“I’m being constantly disillusioned. Has money completely lost its power? Is everyone motivated now by love?”
(Rope of Sand)

Lucia: You don’t know how a family can surround you at times.
Martin: Do you never get away from your family?
Lucia: No.
(The Reckless Moment)

Martins: I was going to stay with him, but he died Thursday
Crabbin: Goodness, that’s awkward.
Martins: Is that what you say to people after death? “Goodness, that’s awkward”?
(The Third Man)

“If you ever tried to get away from me, I’d follow you ’til I wore the earth smooth.”
(Rope of Sand)

Alan Palmer: This money’s like poison, it’s changing you, it’s changing me.
Jane Palmer: I wish it were that easy, I’ve always been this way.
(Too Late for Tears)

Capt. Henri Rochard: My name is Rochard. You’ll think I’m a bride but actually I’m a husband. There’ll be a moment or two of confusion but, if we all keep our heads, everything will be fine.
(I Was a Male War Bride)

“You’ve rejected your place in the world and I hate untidiness”
(The Spider and the Fly)

Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t. Why should we? They talk about the people and the proletariat, I talk about the suckers and the mugs – it’s the same thing. They have their five-year plans, so have I.”
(The Third Man)

“I’ve been rich. And I couldn’t get a breath of fresh air or feel the ground under my feet” (Colorado Territory)

Deborah: Why is it that sooner or later no matter what we talk about… we wind up talking about Addie Ross?
Addie Ross: [voiceover] Maybe it’s because if you girls didn’t talk about me you wouldn’t talk at all.
(A Letter to Three Wives)

“Always looking for a new way to get hurt from a new man. Get smart, there hasn’t been a new man since Adam”
(House of Strangers)

 

“Even getting hit by Reno was all velvet”
(Colorado Territory)

“You were born to be murdered”
(The Third Man)

“You going legitimate is like a vulture going vegetarian”
(Abandoned)

Sheriff Titus Semple: Now me, I never forget anything.
Lane Bellamy: You know sheriff; we had an elephant in our carnival with a memory like that. He went after a keeper that he’d held a grudge against for almost 15 years. Had to be shot. You just wouldn’t believe how much trouble it is to dispose of a dead elephant.
(Flamingo Road)

“Right from the beginning you might say she had a–well, she just had a voice with hormones”
(A Woman’s Secret)

 

What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1969: A Love Letter


Previous What I’ll Remember posts:
1925, 1930, 1943, 1958, 1965, 1978, 1982, 1992, 2012, 2013, 2014

It’s that time again! The What I’ll Remember posts are a Top Ten By Year trademark; a fun, engaging, and personalized way of collecting movie memories that represent my time with the years chosen for this project. It’s something I work on gradually while making my way through the watchlist, whether it’s writing down observations, grabbing screencaps, or making notes of what to include. When I look back on these long afterwards, I find countless things I would have otherwise forgotten (despite the name of this feature!) and am always so grateful for having made them. What we take from movies should be more than the, understandably, ‘big picture’ way we tend to evaluate, enjoy, or talk about them. Hopefully this does a little to parse out all the different ways that film, whether taken individually or as a group, can be memorable!

I started 1969 way back in February of 2017, easily the longest time I’ve spent with any year! The write-up for 1969 and Top Ten will go up as two separate posts next month. After that, I’ll have limited copies of a 1969 zine I’m making available for anyone interested!

Don’t forget to check out the bottom of this post where I collected 25 images from the films of 1969. Needless to say there are so many images to choose from but for one reason or another, or many, these are the ones I went with. And now, without further ado!

(Note: I am posting this without having actually seen Camille 2000. It is the last one on my watchlist and I will update this post with anything I need to afterwards)

boy 2.pngThe gorgeous Cinemascope compositions in Boy, anthropologically framing the family as criminal aliens on the outskirts of Japanese society

 In which a striking balance of subjective realism and objective realism is no longer an anomaly, but a legitimate facet of American cinema. Comfortably present in other national cinemas by this time, but a new formal trend in the States. Results in late 60s pacing patterns being equal parts provocatively exploratory and a weary slog

Deaths: Judy Garland, Sharon Tate, Boris Karloff, Josef von Sternberg, Leo McCarey, Thelma Ritter, Karl Freund, Natalie Talmadge

Watching Funeral Parade of Roses and thinking that maybe, just maybe, movies peaked with this movie

The ‘Continental Op’ film (trademark by Tim Lucas):
Films of the late 1960s to early 1970s overtaken by abstract or highly stylized retro-futuristic production & costume design, encapsulating the era’s various modes of pop art, mod, camp, and psychedelia. Rarely present in
American filmmaking (Mr. Freedom, Femina ridens, Check to the Queen, Camille 2000, The Girl from Rio, Erottisimo, Temptress of a Thousand Faces, Funeral Parade of Roses (present at times but not nearly defined by re: Funeral)

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The homoerotic fire-lit naturalism of Women in Love’s infamous nude wrestling scene. The best sex-scene-that-technically-isn’t-a-sex-scene ever filmed. Thrilling and invigorating in its openness

Male Love and/or Male Bonding in iconic 1969 films: a foreshadowing of the New Hollywood MO (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy, Women in Love, Easy Rider)

The state of Hollywood in 5 films:
Paint Your Wagon, Easy Rider, The Arrangement, True Grit, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Poly-ish Movies:
(Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Paint Your Wagon)

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The Very Brief Life of the LSD Film wanes down
(
Easy Rider, The Big Cube, The Stewardesses, Angel, Angel, Down We Go, The Cycle Savages)

The multitude of extended group dancing sequences
(
Cactus Flower, The Babysitter, Paranoia, Psychout for Murder, The Big Cube, The Sterile Cuckoo, Sweet Charity, Pit Stop, Funeral Parade of Roses, Midnight Cowboy, One on Top of the Other, Medium Cool, Eye of the Cat, Mississippi Mermaid)

The importance and primitiveness of bodies entangled with each other, wheat, water, mud, grass, and snow in Women in Love

 Italian Bossa, psychedelic-laced jazz, & ethereal vocalizations of the Italian Cine & realizing this is my new favorite genre & era of music
(various composers including Piero Piccioni, Piero Umiliani, Riz Ortolani, etc.):
(Femina ridens, Psychout for Murder, Camille 2000, Check to the Queen (aka The Slave), Paranoia, One on Top of the Other, 99 Women, The Girl from Rio, Mother’s Heart, countless more)

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the Bond for people who can take or leave Bond (hey, that’s me!): bleak, carefree, thrilling all at once. Even the sluggish sections invoke an odd sense of comfort

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The menacing stillness of Rudolf Hrusinky’s often distorted egghead, his persistent monotonous preaching filling the film wall-to-wall (The Cremator)

Men Are the Worst: 1969 Edition
Billy (Billy Edwards, A Married Couple), Kenneth (Scott Hylands, Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting), The Boy (Michael Burns, That Cold Day in the Park), Peter Donovan (Lou Castel, Paranoia), Luis (John Moulder-Brown, The House that Screamed), Gordon (Robert Duvall, The Rain People), Peter (Richard Thomas, Last Summer), Dan (Bruce Davison, Last Summer) Father (Fumio Watanabe, Boy), Fred Miller (Tony Randall, Hello Down There), Dr. Sayer (Philippe Leroy, Femina ridens), Wylie (Michael Sarrazin, Eye of the Cat), Jud (Freddie Fletcher, Kes), Bob (Robert Culp, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice), Martin (Helmut Berger, The Damned) and also everyone in The Damned, Michio (Eiji Funakoshi, Blind Beast), Jimmy Logan (James Darren, Venus in Furs)

Psychedelic-tinged sex and eroticism conveyed with (often hallucinogenic) color filters, slow-motion, and/or jazz in 99 Women, Psychout for Murder, Paranoia, The Babysitter, Black Rose Mansion, Check to the Queen (aka The Slave), The Girl from Rio, Midnight Cowboy, Funeral Parade of Roses, One on Top of the Other, Femina ridens, Camille 2000, Venus in Furs, etc.

Disorienting and destabilizing viewers via hard cuts, oppressive sounds, fluid explorations of time, and up-close-and-personal lensing/framing

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In a just world Adrienne La Russa as Licia in Psychout for Murder would be some sort of cult fashion & character icon

The MPAA created the ratings system in 1968, marking the debut of the notorious ‘X’. Major releases initially given the X rating: Midnight Cowboy, The Wild Bunch, Last Summer, Medium Cool, Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?, The Damned, Laughter in the Dark

Forgotten Actors of the Era (I use “forgotten” loosely so don’t come at me):
Pamela Franklin, Carol White, Alexandra Hay, Michael Burns, Adrienne La Russa, Rosemary Forsyth, Maria Rohm, Catherine Burns, Haydee Politoff, Angela Scoular, Wendell Burton, Marisa Mell, Dagmar Lassander, Gayle Hunnicutt, Barbara McNair, Danielle Gaubert

 Biggest Disappointments:
Venus in Furs, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (a film I concede is great in its skewering of American sexuality & rich clueless hippies but my level of enjoyment with it is another matter), Me Natalie, Mississippi Mermaid, Le femme infidelie

Goyokin, the first Japanese film shot in Panavision

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The commercials in Putney Swope

It is universally acknowledged that Tony Randall is the worst, right? Right?
(Hello Down There)

Rewatching Midnight Cowboy and thinking Dustin Hoffman’s performance aged terribly during the first half and then feeling the opposite during the second half

The intimate impact of letting us observe characters philosophize via long takes in My Night at Maud’s

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Dagmar Lassander’s slinky web-weaving dance in Femina ridens

 The way Glenda Jackson, and also everyone, says “Ursula” in Women in Love

 Hotties of 1969:
Oliver Reed (always and forever), Robert Redford, George Chakiris, Kurt Russell, Tom Holland, Adrienne La Russa, Mary Maude, Haydee Politoff, Robert Forster, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jean Sorel, Helmut Berger, Jack Nicholson (always), Ingrid Thulin (specifically in The Damned), Dagmar Lassander

Future director Tom Holland (Fright Night, Child’s Play) being a total dreamboat and showing up in Model Shop for one scene as Gerry, the guy who just wants to see a Czech film

Domination dynamics in Femina ridens, The Rain People, The House that Screamed, 99 Women, That Cold Day in the Park, Paranoia, Black Rose Mansion, Last Summer, Check to the Queen (aka The Slave), Mississippi Mermaid, Camille 2000, Blind Beast, etc

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So many fabulously garish things to look at in The Girl from Rio, but a special shout-out to this phallic penis phone

I found it: the scariest possible audio/visual combination. Don Knotts in a flailing squawking frenzy in The Love God?

Bob Fosse’s debut feature, the aggressively showy and meandering Sweet Charity, a film I sort of love because of, and in spite of, its unforgettable quirks and failings

The oppressive sideshow hopelessness of They Shoot Horses, Don’t They

Impromptu nude go-go dance party in The Babysitter!

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Missing long takes that allow us to absorb major performance moments without obvious calculated intent (see: intentional “this will get you your Oscar” moments) or showboating (The Sterile Cuckoo, The Rain People, Last Summer)

The period schoolgirl elegance of buttoned-up sexual repression, where the sadist turns protagonist turns victim in The House that Screamed

Raw anger administered via satire. Satire as text.
(Mr. Freedom, Putney Swope)

Favorite Performances of 1969:
Oliver Reed (Women in Love), Peter (Funeral Parade of Roses), Robert Redford (Downhill Racer), Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) Pamela Franklin (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Mary Maude (The House that Screamed), Haydee Politoff (Check to the Queen aka The Slave) Geraldine Page (What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?), Jane Fonda (They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?), Ingrid Bergman (Cactus Flower), Goldie Hawn (Cactus Flower), Sandy Dennis (That Cold Day in the Park), Liza Minnelli (The Sterile Cuckoo), Sid Haig (Pit Stop), Tetsuo Abe (Boy), Jon Voight & Dustin Hoffman (Midnight Cowboy), Lee Marvin, (Paint Your Wagon), Dagmar Lassander (Femina ridens), Jean-Louis Trintignant (My Night at Maud’s), Helmut Berger (The Damned)

Favorite Characters of 1969:
Licia (Adrienne La Russa in Psychout for Murder), Antoinette Edwards (Antoinette Edwards in A Married Couple), Alice (Ruth Gordon in What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?), Gloria (Jane Fonda in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?) Mark Focus (Eric Krupnis in Putney Swope), Sandy (Pamela Franklin in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Stephanie Dickinson (Ingrid Bergman in Cactus Flower), Zoie (Rosalba Neri in 99 Women), Horace Tabor (William O’Connell in Paint Your Wagon), Maria (Dagmar Lassander in Femina ridens), Martin von Essenbeck (Helmut Berger in The Damned)

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The rainbow crystal Fraggle Rock-esque sets/matte drawings, chicken décor, and therianthropy of Barbara the Fair with the Silken Hair 

The decadent rot and corrupt abstraction of The Damned, culminating in a nightmare fuel image that I can’t get out of my head. Wedding as funeral. Ugly and relentless. Pair with They Shoot Horses, Don’t They for the bleakest possible (1969 or otherwise) double feature.

The faces in Army of Shadows conveying fatalism and cold unyielding perseverance. Two brothers with nothing in common, so isolated by their secret callings that they will never know the other is a Resistance fighter

The avant-garde new wave transgressions and subcultural immersion of Funeral Parade of Roses. Reinvents itself every minute even as it circles back over images, scenes, shots, and ideas

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The perfect possible shot in cinema! Sex as seen through the eye of a cat!
(Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting)

Ingrid Bergman in Cactus Flower: my favorite performance I’ve seen from her? Portrays longing, yet is allowed to be sexy, deadpan, and full of conviction through surface stuffiness

Is holding a camera passive? Who has a voice? Whose story are you telling?
(Medium Cool)

Recurring needle drops
(Psychout for Murder, Paranoia, The Sterile Cuckoo, 99 Women, Check to the Queen aka The Slave, Midnight Cowboy, Hello Down There, One on Top of the Other, Venus in Furs, etc.)

The jolting and mobile action in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, constructed with relentless edits that carry an almost shocking level of momentum and immediacy (thank you editor-turned-director Peter Hunt!)

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Pierre and Jacques dancing adorably in the cafe in Le Grand Amour

The whimsy and wit of floating beds in Le Grand Amour

Having an amazing boyfriend to watch so many of these with! (@Reelbrew)

Suddenly bursting into tears at the ends of Model Shop and The Sterile Cuckoo

What better way to introduce Shelley Winters than seeing her get massaged by a young stud? (The Mad Room)

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One on Top of the Other, featuring the worst photoshoot ever (where a poor woman has a pipe cleaner spider on her back and a dragonfly on her butt in the name of fashion) and the best strip routine ever (huge gold motorbike ftw!)

Jimmy and his stupid horn in Venus in Furs, a film that would be 30 minutes if you cut out all the scenes of Jimmy playing on his stupid horn

Femina ridens fast becoming a DNA film of mine; seemingly made for me and my tastes, a thing I will obsess over and build personal meaning with for years to come

By the end of the 1960s, images of female adolescence are sparse and can be summed up as either needy, sociopaths, or needy sociopaths (Last Summer, Me, Natalie, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The House that Screamed, The Sterile Cuckoo)

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Stella Stevens’s hideous Pollyanna hair in The Mad Room

The grueling race scenes in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

The car race footage in Pit Stop, second only to its nomadic soul & surprisingly complex characters, most notably Sig Haig as Hawk

Watching Paint Your Wagon with my best friend and creating many new memories (“Horace Tabor! From Worcester, Massachusetts”)

Existentialism at The Movies:
Model Shop, Easy Rider, Pit Stop, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, The Rain People, Check to the Queen (aka The Slave), Army of Shadows, My Night at Maud’s

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Faye Dunaway’s purple sunglasses in The Arrangement

Me, Natalie getting trapped in the abrasive ugly duckling angst of its title character

Clashing with black militants in Medium Cool

Color filters and/or film stock shifts being a Japanese art-film go-to
(Go Go Second Time Virgin, Black Rose Mansion, Boy)

 The boy wailing on the alien snow mountain, the gradual and imperceptible transition into slow-motion feeling poetic and profound (Boy)

The visual before & after of Portrait of Hell (picture)

The satisfying Hitchcock-goes-nudie potboiler that is One on Top of the Other

Wishing Charity had been played by someone other than Shirley MacLaine. She is impeccable at playing Charity but it never feels like she is her. It’s all the wrong kind of ‘too much’ (Sweet Charity) 

Prissy the Cat in Daddy’s Gone A-Huntin & Major the Dog in The Mad Room. Both crucial players with scenes from their perspectives. Both rad. Both murdered by cruel genre tropes.

The concrete high-rise agony of Go, Go Second Time Virgin, populated with gang rape, suicide, murder, and brooding teens

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Suzanne Charny, a bionic force-of-nature leading the way in “Rich Man’s Frug”, Sweet Charity’s loving burlesque of deadpan chic. Side note: putting together that this is what Eliza Dushku is watching at one point in Bring It On was akin to a major epiphany

 The venom in Jane Fonda’s line delivery of
“Why drop another sucker into this mess?” (They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?)

Naming a bruise on my knee Sailor after Red Buttons in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (don’t ask)

My emotional journey with the songs from the wretched Hello Down There:
First: “Oh my god, baby Richard Dreyfuss lip-syncing to a completely different man’s voice is hysterical”
Then:”Will these terrible songs ever end? This is the 3rd time we’ve heard “Glub”!”
Now: :voluntarily puts on ‘Glub’ for the umpteenth time:

Ruth Gordon going up against Geraldine Page is the match-up of the year
(What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?)

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The confusion of Helmut Berger as an extremely hot pedophilic monster in The Damned

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes reminding me that the most irredeemable kind of film is a tedious one. You know you’ve watched a dud when the culmination of a film is Kurt Russell looking constipated on a quiz show

 George Chakiris, somehow still hot in The Big Cube even as he crawls, shirtless, sweaty, and high in a squalid apartment, reprimanding an ant for being on a sugar cube laced with LSD

Delphine Seyrig’s plentiful red perm in Mr. Freedom

Billy and Antoinette’s indulgent yet revealing interpretive dance to “A Day in the Life” in A Married Couple

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Michio’s surrealist studio cave/prison in Blind Beast

Paint Your Wagon: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers meets McCabe and Mrs. Miller

The rare Western female protagonist in Cemetery without Crosses. She learns the hard lesson of revenge as an agent of further suffering

The Italian Job is so boring and pointless that I cannot wrap my mind around people liking it

Ingrid Bergman and Goldie Hawn dancing “The Dentist”; one of the all-time great dance scenes, and that rare occasion when a film can make you forget everything but its own gaiety (Cactus Flower) 

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Geraldine Chaplin getting a bucket of cockroaches dumped on her in La Madriguera

The scenes between Martin and Lisa in The Damned, shocking and repulsive in their frankness of intent even today

Stelvio Cipriani’s score for Femina ridens, a new favorite I listen to routinely at work

 A rare tic-less Sandy Dennis: shot in clouded solitude, talkative through loneliness, yet still and quietly harrowing in That Cold Day in the Park

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Billy Edwards and those ever-present red briefs that will haunt me forever
(A Married Couple)

 Reading the source materials of Last Summer, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, That Cold Day in the Park, Women in Love

Jess Franco extensively using his Rio de Janeiro carnival footage in two films
(Venus in Furs, The Girl from Rio)!

 Retro-futurist sets & BDSM = my dream movies/favorite subgenre?
(Check to the Queen, Femina ridens, Camille 2000)

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Temptress of a Thousand Faces, where lady thieves and spies reign supreme in a world full of lairs, dastardly doings, face swapping, and more! Such a blast, and with a legitimately great climactic shootout to boot!

Proto-Manic Pixie Dream Girls
(Liza plays a girl named Pookie Adams for God’s sake)
(Goldie Hawn in Cactus Flower, Liza Minnelli in The Sterile Cuckoo)

The five minute (at least) recap of Paranoia at the end of Paranoia, followed by Carroll Baker being unceremoniously and cruelly thrown off a balcony

Loving Last Summer so much while simultaneously acknowledging that I will likely never be up to revisiting it. Same goes for the devastating Kes

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The most moving scene from any 1969 film I watched or rewatched: Billy opening up to his classmates and teacher about all of his knowledge and accomplishments capturing and training his kestrel (Kes)

Piero Tosi’s costumes in Medea, a theatrical amalgamation of different cultures and textures. Weighty in bulk, jewelry, and tradition

Being able to track A Clockwork Orange through the pop aesthetics and formal cheekiness of both Funeral Parade of Roses and Femina ridens

 Expecting mindlessly fun pop erotica fare with Check to the Queen and getting an unexpectedly introspective, psychological, and political film. Post-Blow-Up in its outrageous fashion, love of photoshoots, & interior décor, and Post-Belle de Jour in its blank slate protagonist and escapes from bourgeois boredom into sexual fantasy

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Virtually every shot of The Color of Pomegranates and forever wanting to see color the way this film does

Antoinette’s black bra/white pearls/red wine/fuck you Billy aesthetic in A Married Couple

 Mr. Freedom hilariously chucking a guy off the balcony while Delphine Seyrig gives an exposition dump indoors

Dick Van Dyke playing a dual role as a comic and his gay son, complete with putty nose, in The Comic. The son’s homosexuality is portrayed as the final nail in the coffin of the titular comic’s failures…..

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If this photo doesn’t convince you to watch One on Top of the Other, I don’t know what will

Nude frolicking fun montage with Kirk Douglas & Faye Dunaway in The Arrangement

Tatsuya Nakadai defiant amongst the glowing embers of his charred daughter in Portrait of Hell

QUOTES:

“I don’t mind being scared with you. I mean, when you’ve got somebody you can depend on, that you know will be there all the time to take care of you, then you can afford to be scared. I’ve never had a somebody like that before”
(Sweet Charity)

“And here I thought I’d fallen into something all fruitcake and fetishes”
(Eye of the Cat)

Psychiatrist: “I had never heard ‘tee-tee’ before”
Alice: “What expression do you use with your children?”
Psychiatrist: “Vagina”
(Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice)

“I’m looking for my stirring stick”
(Paint Your Wagon)

“If I gotta be afraid in order for your argument to work, then you got no argument”
(Medium Cool)

Mr. Chappelet: “Well, I just hope you don’t end up askin’ yourself the question some folks ask me. ‘What’s he do it for?'”
David Chappelet: “Well, I’ll be famous. I’ll be a champion.”
Mr. Chappelet: “…World’s full of’em.”
(Downhill Racer)

“I have taught you how to love chickens”
(On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)

“What a pair of Draculas”
(Model Shop)

Hermione: “How can you not think me sensual?”
Rupert: “All you want is pornography! Looking at yourself in mirrors. Watching your naked animal actions in mirrors.”
(Women in Love)

“First we’ll have an orgy. Then we’ll go see Tony Bennett”
(Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice)

“What’s more beautiful than life?”
“Maybe the reflection of life”
(Model Shop) 

Lisa: “Get out of my house! All of you! Get out!”
Lalo: “Man, I bet she even wears pajamas to bed!”
(The Big Cube)

“I’m a cosmic messenger of justice”
(Boy)

Gudrun: “In a Norse myth, Gudrun was a sinner who murdered her husband.”
Gerald: “And will you live up to that?”
Gudrun: “Which would you prefer me to live up to, Mr. Crich? The sinner or the murderer?”
(Women in Love)

“Deny a young boy the right to buy a gun, and you’ll suppress his destructive urges, and he’ll turn out to be a homosexual!”
“I’d rather have my son be a fag than a killer.”
“Your son is a fag!!”
“You took him on that picnic!”
(Putney Swope)

“She’s a social worker, and her favorite hobby is emasculation”
(Putney Swope)

“I used to wake up in the morning and it was my day, and now it….it belongs to you”
(Shirley Clarke in The Rain People)

Gerald: “Do you know what it is to suffer when you’re with a woman? It tears you like a silk. And each bit and stroke burns hot. Of course, l wouldn’t not have had it. It was a complete experience. She’s a wonderful woman, but l hate her somewhere. lt’s curious.”
(Women in Love)

“Tough titty!”
(A Married Couple)

“I’m going through a period where I’m destroying my feet”
(A Married Couple)

“Do you want some advice to save your soul?”
(Paranoia)

“I want the finality of love”
(Women in Love)

“But what I really felt…was that I was really sorry that I said this morning that I loved you. I thought, you gotta be the biggest schmuck in this world”
(A Married Couple)

“I’m not Hassan. I’m his cow”
(The Cow)

“She thinks to intimidate me by the use of quarter hours.”
(The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)

“I’m not sure about God, but I am now quite sure about witches.”
(The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)

“For girls who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like.”
(The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)

Dr. Winston: Where were you all night?
Stephanie: It’s all a blur, a beautiful blurry blur.
(Cactus Flower)

25 IMAGES FROM 1969 
(Whether I can’t get them out of my head, or for their context/meaning within the story, for pure aesthetics or for the actors faces, these are a handful of images that have, and will, stick with me among the countless memorable compositions)

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The Color of Pomegranates
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Une femme douce
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The Color of Pomegranates
portrait of hell
Portrait of Hell
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Medea
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Cemetery without Crosses
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Women in Love
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Funeral Parade of Roses
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A Married Couple
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Funeral Parade of Roses
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Women in Love
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Boy
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Go Go Second Time Virgin
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The Damned
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The Color of Pomegranates
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Femina ridens
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Check to the Queen
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Invocation of my Demon Brother
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That Cold Day in the Park
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The Sterile Cuckoo
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What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?
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They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? 
a married couple
A Married Couple
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Putney Swope
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Psychout for Murder
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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

 

What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1982: A Love Letter


Posts in the What I’ll Remember tag:
 1925, 1930, 1943, 1958, 1965, 1978, 1992, 2012, 2013, 2014

The following may seem exhaustive, but trust me, it’s not! At the beginning of any year I take on I tend to be more detailed at noting things. Then, as time passes, momentum inevitably downshifts. So that partly explains why some films are documented more than others here (why so much Diner? I didn’t even really like Diner!), regardless of quality. But I tried my best to represent the last 10 months of working through my 1982 Watchlist. This is the last post I will be doing for 1982. I will be tweeting out my honorable mentions and my Top Ten By Year: 1982 next week and then getting started on my next year: 1969!

Enjoy! At the bottom of the page I’ve put a sampling of some of my favorite shots of 1982. I have many many more highlighted on twitter (@cinephile24)

Share your favorite bits from 1982 films in the comments!

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1982: Geeky. Sleazy. Bleak.

Main takeaway from 1982: it really does feel like the last half of Boogie Nights

Have I mentioned that 1982 is bleak? Because it’s pretty damn bleak (The Snowman, White Dog, The Thing, The Plague Dogs, The Last American Virgin, Shoot the Moon, Missing, The World According to Garp, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Class of 1984, The Thing, hey good lookin’, Smithereens, Liquid Sky, Veronika Voss, Woman of Fire 82, The Border, Der Fan, Xtro, E.T. The Extra-terrestrial (resolved ending aside)

Have I mentioned that 1982 is sleazy? Because it’s pretty damn sleazy (Eating Raoul, Class of 1984, The Last American Virgin, Vice Squad, Visiting Hours, The Last Horror Film, Night Warning, Smithereens, Class of 1984, Liquid Sky, Tenebre, Xtro, Woman of Fire 82, Night Shift, hey good lookin’, Querelle, Q: The Winged Serpent)

Catching NYC in its waning punk days. Desperation, destruction, and lots of squatting  (Liquid Sky & Smithereens)

The first year featuring computer graphics in film (Tron, Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan)

1982: The Year that Scarred Children Forever  (E.T The Extra-Terrestrial, The Secret of NIMH, The Plague Dogs, The Dark Crystal, Poltergeist, Annie)

RIP: John Belushi, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Grace Kelly, Henry Fonda, Ingrid Bergman, Jacques Tati, Romy Schneider

summer-lovers-10I love subversive happy endings, especially the one in Summer Lovers, an exuberant statement on the fearless feasibility of unconventional relationships. The film gleefully, and admirably, commits to dodging expected threats of conflict at every turn. It does this at the sacrifice of effective storytelling, which, weirdly enough, I’d argue is worth the trade-off.

Speaking of romantic subversiveness, the indelible small-town warmth and charms of Who Am I This Time? Love discovered in fiction through fiction.

Pleasant surprises (movies I wasn’t expecting to get as much out of as I did): The World According to Garp, Summer Lovers, Rocky III

Disappointments: Fitzcarraldo, Une Chambre en ville, Tempest, The Plague Dogs, Night Warning, Still of the Night, Diner, Victor/Victoria, Cat People, rewatch of My Favorite Year, Identification of a Woman, Woman of Fire 82, Le Beau Mariage

Huge year for the basic presence and acknowledgement and/or tackling of LGBTQ content (wide spectrum of quality represented aside) (Personal Best, By Design, Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Victor/Victoria, Liquid Sky, Labyrinth of Passion, Making Love, La Truite, Tenebre, Deathtrap, Tootsie, Eating Raoul, The World According to Garp, Querelle, La Truite, Another Way, Starstruck, Vice Squad, Summer Lovers, Toute une nuit)

e-t-dying-in-creek-stream-et-the-extra-terrestrial
Watching E.T for the first time since its 2002 theatrical re-release. The most emotionally draining movie-watching experience I’ve had in years (that says a lot; I’m a big crier). It left me shaken for days afterwards. It also confirmed the long-established fact that I have a very difficult time with stories where a creature and/or animal is befriended but the threat of man/government and their laboratories jeopardize everything! (I’m looking at you, The Plague Dogs) (see also: The Iron Giant, Splash)

FEATURE FILM DEBUTS: Eddie Murphy (48 Hrs.) Glenn Close (The World According to Garp), Kevin Kline (Sophie’s Choice), Phoebe Cates (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Paradise) Antonio Banderas (Labyrinth of Passion), Geena Davis (Tootsie), Molly Ringwald (Tempest), Kirstie Alley (Wrath of Khan), Angelina Jolie (Lookin’ to Get Out), Ellen Barkin (Diner), Linda Hamilton (Tag: The Assassination Game), Eric Stoltz (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Nicolas Cage (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Forest Whitaker (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

STAR-MAKING ROLES:  Eddie Murphy (48 Hrs) , Drew Barrymore (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial), Michael Keaton (Night Shift), Michelle Pfeiffer (Grease 2), Glenn Close (The World According to Garp), Phoebe Cates (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

The immediacy of the destructive tactile touch in Dimensions of Dialogue. While the inanimate crumbles to dust via constant iterations, order & logic fall out of sync through repetition.

Dario Argento’s ability in Tenebre (and Deep Red) to pinpoint the scariest possible thing as that little detail lingering in your memory all along

The overwhelming transference of a nervous breakdown, the present existing on top of the present in Five-Year Diary, reel 23

shades-of-lavender-in-the-movie-tootsietootsie-2tootsieThe use of creamy purples and pink interiors that promote the unfamiliar (for Michael) comfort of feminine spaces (Tootsie)

(In part) Meta-films about writers that exist in the kinds of stories they write
(Tenebre, Deathtrap, The World According to Garp)

Every time you think you’ve seen the standout sequence in Tenebre, just wait because there’s another one coming up

Teen sex = teen pregnancy = abortion (The Last American Virgin & Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

You can quote me on this: Fast Times at Ridgemont High features the greatest young ensemble film has to offer. Eat my shorts, Dazed and Confused.

personal-best-7The radical vision of female athletic bodies in motion (Personal Best)

Winner of the Weirdest Movie of 1982 is…..Human Highway!

My well-documented (via Instagram) state of shock over the insanity of the last 30 minutes of The World According to Garp

Movies driven by New Wave and/or punk music in soundtrack and content (Der Fan, Starstruck, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, Smithereens, Urgh! A Music War)

As a rule I see films through to the end, but I could not for the life of me get through Tempest. by the time Raul Julia says “I want to balanga you with my ‘bonijoni'” to a 14-year old Molly Ringwald, that was the sign to peace out.

The dancing encounters in Toute une nuit

The beautiful wallpapers and interiors of Une chambre en ville

Post Jodie Foster/John Brinkley lingerings (The Last Horror Film, Der Fan)

Actors featured in 1982 films I consider ‘my people’ (we all have them: performers we, for lack of more specific articulation, feel special connections with, seek out and/or look forward to seeing more than most): (Queen) Isabelle Huppert, (Queen) Michelle Pfeiffer, Patty Duke, Kristy McNichol, Sandy Dennis, Nastassja Kinski, Laura Dern, Mariel Hemingway, Jack Nicholson, Raul Julia, Brad Davis, Michael Ironside, Jessica Harper

The spectre of father in Fanny and Alexander

Fashion shows! (By Design and Liquid Sky)

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Being in awe of everything Julie Dash is able to say in 35 minutes with Illusions, in which two black women navigate and question 1940s Hollywood and its purpose

Lookin’ to Get Out = Hal Ashby’s Dumb and Dumber 

The bizarre and often incomprehensible shorthand friendship between Jon Voight and Burt Young in Lookin’ to Get Out. See also: above line.

The perfect synthesis of storytelling through formal hyper-stylized artificiality in One from the Heart

Tend to loathe jam sessions but I’ll never forget when Human Highway halts for a ten minute jam session dream sequence of Devo & Neil Young performing “My My Hey Hey (Into the Black)”

Speaking of Raul Julia….we didn’t deserve Raul Julia, and apparently neither did Teri Garr! (One from the Heart)

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The unmatched grotesquery of the practical and/or creature effects work in The Thing. You’d think I was watching Singin’ in the Rain if you saw my face during these scenes

In regards to both character and performance, I cannot figure out if I love Mariel Hemingway or hate Mariel Hemingway in Personal Best

Everyone go watch Visiting Hours for Michael Ironside’s rivetingly internalized & brutal portrait of a killer. His best work?

“Coo-oo-oo-ool riiiider” and the song ending with Queen Pfieffer singing & dancing off into oblivion as the music follows her, hilariously fading out as she gets father away (Grease 2)

Ray (Raul Julia) getting fired in One from the Heart. One-take comic gold

Tom Atkins, my imaginary mortal enemy, playing a doctor of all things, and one that, of course, gropes and sleeps with all the ladies (Halloween III: Season of the Witch)

972769f26f0b3de27a4e4c40d2b76891The look of heartbreak on Jeff’s face as Mr. Hand eats his pizza (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

It’s a Kinski kind of year (Nastassja in One from the Heart & Cat People; Klaus in Fitzcarraldo, Burden of Dreams, Android, The Soldier)

Speaking of: Nastassja Kinski, where have you been all my life???? (One from the Heart, Cat People)

Dennis Hopper at his most authentically unhinged in Human Highway

Deeply unsatisfying and discomfiting virginity loss scenes in The Last American Virgin and Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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Those red pumps in Tenebre 

When I had to write a screenplay for a class, I covered it in songs off of “Crazy Rhythms” by The Feelies, one of my very favorite albums. So it was a dream come true discovering  that a film, a great film no less, already exists that employs “Crazy Rhythms” as a major component of its DNA (Smithereens)

The literal dick-measuring contest set to “Whip It” in The Last American Virgin. I am still trying to convince my eyes that yes, they did in fact see this.

The bottomless sleaze of NY & LA, where nobody takes notice when people go missing (Q, Eating Raoul)

Animal testing in animated movies! Avert your eyes! (The Secret of NIMH, The Plague Dogs)

Slashers move from masked killers to killers with faces, faces of white male rage (Slumber Party Massacre, Visiting Hours, The Last Horror Film, Vice Squad)

Every single second Kimmy Robertson is onscreen in The Last American Virgin

Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean being the moment I realized that I will eventually see every single thing Sandy Dennis ever appeared in. Is she my next Patty Duke? Stay tuned….

The warped slow-motion soundscape hell of Linda’s bathroom escape in Next of Kin 

Color palettes fit for the gods in Querelle and One from the Heart

The Rambo crying scene in First Blood cuts deep, man. Cuts real deep.

The tongue-in-cheek cut that transforms ‘mother’ into ‘whore’ (Vice Squad)

diner-2Mickey Rourke’s hair and general physical beauty in Diner

The scene between Paul and a prostitute in his van in Smithereens. For some reason it’s the scene that resonates most

Crystal Gayle’s voice is what I hear every time a garbage Christmas cover comes on the radio (One from the Heart)

The terrible ‘cutting edge’ synth scores of Android and Xtro

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Collective murder in the boutique (A Question of Silence)

Pair Shoot the Moon with The Squid and the Whale for a no-holds-barred double feature about the ugliness of divorce and the ways children get nudged into the crosshairs

May I henceforth be known as the girl who never stops yammering on about The Last American Virgin

The performance of 1982 for me: Karen Black in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. The perfect confluence of a. Black’s nuance and expression of the minutiae of Joanne’s interiority and b. Altman’s camera watching her like a hawk in hiding, prioritizing her perspective with a sensitivity and nuance rarely seen. A significant and layered trans woman character in *1982*.

I didn’t think I ever needed to see another movie about horny boys again but somehow The Last American Virgin‘s unique combination of unapologetic crassness with streaks of fear and ambivalence proved me wrong. An essential case study on the “nice guy”

“Me and my rhythm box! Me and my rhythm box!” (Liquid Sky)

paula-sheppard
Wishing cult actress Paula E. Sheppard had appeared in more than two films (Liquid Sky and Alice, Sweet Alice from 1976) because her Adrian in Liquid Sky is the most distressing element of a distressing film. Somehow, I see shades of Elizabeth Berkley’s performance in Showgirls?

Hot Guys of 1982: Maxwell Caulfield in Grease 2, Steve Antin in The Last American Virgin, Mickey Rourke in Diner, Brad Davis in Querelle, Kurt Russell in The Thing, Christopher Reeve in Deathtrap, Harrison Ford in Blade Runner, Raul Julia in One from the Heart, Peter Weller in Shoot the Moon, Peter Gallagher in Summer Lovers, Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Christopher Walken in Who Am I This Time?

Embracing the fantasy and theatricality of the movie set (One from the Heart, Come Back from the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Querelle)

The year Cher begins her career as a serious actress (Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean)

Can we bring back the Savage Cuts-Like-A-Knife Freeze Frame Ending? (Shoot the Moon & Smithereens)

Steve Martin pouring the “java” in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

The end of The Snowman, and what it must have communicated to 3 year old me.

The best dumb thing I saw in the films of 1982: the underwater animated musical sequence in The Pirate Movie (clip available on my instagram)

        Coups in transparently unnamed countries (Missing & The Year of Living Dangerously)

Being so unprepared for the raunchy and joyous Tab Hunter-led “Reproduction” number in Grease 2

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Every single thing Isabelle Huppert wears in La Truite, but particularly her sweater with “Peut-etre” on the front and “Jamais” on the back. Iconic.

The sexy lived-in marriage between Craig T. Nelson & Jobeth Williams in Poltergeist

One from the Heart: Worth going bankrupt for

All the cutting-edge montage editing in Rocky III, especially anything involving Rocky & Apollo training together (obviously)

Rewatching Blade Runner and remembering that oh yeahhhh, the replicants are the ones we care about

Sorry not sorry but I don’t care for: Sophie’s Choice, The Wall, Fitzcarraldo, My Favorite Year, The Plague Dogs, The Dark Crystal, Identification of a Woman, Une chambre en ville, Passion, Le beau mariage

Sara’s outburst at her husband late in Losing Ground (“Don’t fuck around then!!!!! Don’t take your dick out like it was art-ist-ic, like it’s some goddamn paintbrush. Maybe that’s what’s uneven, that I got nothin’ to take out.”)

The smart, direct, and sometimes surprising scene transitions in Tootsie

Jessica Harper trying to tell a joke in My Favorite Year

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Given my lifelong ambivalence towards Diane Keaton, her shattering work in Shoot the Moon is doubly something to behold

White Dog. I don’t even have a specific thing to say about it except my God, White Dog.

The Cannes montage in The Last Horror Film: billboards, beaches and boobs (clip available on my instagram)

I like The Thing, quite a bit, but I’ve seen it five times and just have to accept that there will always be this weird barrier between me and it

The breakthrough mainstream feminist film of the year is….about a man (Tootsie) (PS; love you Tootsie) (yes, I know this is reductive but just go with it)

Constant roving lights, suffocated by crowds & the city, never alone but always alone in Blade Runner

The fantasy of Vice Squad, a world where bringing justice to the murder of sex workers is a top priority of law enforcement

dana_freelingDominque Dunne’s elaborately rad bird-flipping moment in Poltergeist 

Alright. I’ll say it: Zelda Rubenstein’s scenes are the weakest part of Poltergeist

Most Thankless Roles and/or Performances: William Shatner – Visiting Hours, Richard Roundtree – Q, Harvey Keitel – The Border, Dyan Cannon – Deathtrap, Claudia CardinaleFitzcarraldo, Mr. T – Rocky III, Jeanne Moreau – La Truite, Didi Conn – Grease 2

The genius bit part of the construction worker in Q: The Winged Serpent: “You sons of bitches, if anyone ate that sandwich, I’m going to shove the thermos up your asses one at a time” (clip available on my instagram)

Jack Nicholson’s delivery of “I married a banana. I married a fuckin’ banana” (The Border) (clip available on my instagram)

The wonders Christine Lahti does with her TV interview scene in Ladies & Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains

Ellen Barkin’s heartbreaking delivery of “I did something. I did something wrong” in Diner

nicholdnJack Nicholson giving what is possibly his best performance in The Border. Such keenly interior work, the antithesis of what we think of when we think of A Jack Nicholson Performance

Sean Penn’s delivery of “Hey, you’re ripping my card!” in Fast Times at Ridgemont High

“You never mean tehhhhhhhhhh” (Friday the 13th: Part 3) (clip available on my instagram)

Kevin Bacon’s delivery and elation over “I’ve been waiting to use that ketchup bottle for WEEKS! For WEEKS!” in Diner

Lesley Ann Warren’s delivery and elation (“YAAAAAAAAY!!!”) over the “reveal” that Victoria is Victor in Victor Victoria

Assault; it’s everywhere, even if a few of the films themselves won’t acknowledge it (Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, Diner, Victor/Victoria, Visiting Hours, Eating Raoul, Blade Runner (?), The World According to Garp, Vice Squad, Class of 1984, Liquid Sky, Xtro)

Anne Carlisle. Anne Carlisle. Anne Carlisle. (Liquid Sky)

Favorite Characters:
Joanne (Karen Black; Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean), Rose (Kimmy Robertson; The Last American Virgin), Corinne Burns (Diane Lane; Ladies & Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains), Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt; The Year of Living Dangerously), Margaret (Anne Carlisle; Liquid Sky), Dorothy Michaels (Dustin Hoffman; Tootsie), Brad Hamilton & Jeff Spicoli (Judge Reinhold & Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Peter Stegman (Timothy Van Patten, Class of 1984), Doris the Dominatrix (Susan Saiger; Eating Raoul), Pooh Percy (The World According to Garp), the Skeksis (The Dark Crystal), Pris (Daryl Hannah; Blade Runner)

Least Favorite Characters:
Terry (Saul Rubinek, By Design), Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker; My Favorite Year), Karen (Diane Franklin; The Last American Virgin), Adrienne Barbeau, Creepshow), Jen (Jim Henson; The Dark Crystal), Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman; Tootsie) Eddie (Steve Guttenberg; Diner), Angus (Ross O’Donovan; Starstruck), Jeremy (voiced by Dom DeLuise; The Secret of NIMH), Peter Stegman (Timothy Van Patten, Class of 1984), Vinnie Durand (Joe Spinell; The Last Horror Film) everybody in Hey good lookin, Paulie (Burt Young; Rocky III), Sabine (Béatrice Romand; Le Beau Marriage), Victor (Bill Gunn; Losing Ground)

Favorite Performances:
Karen Black (Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean Jimmy Dean), Henry Thomas (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial), Anne Carlisle (Liquid Sky), Jack Nicholson (The Border), Diane Lane (Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains), Linda Hunt (The Year of Living Dangerously), Diane Keaton (Shoot the Moon), Jon Voight (Lookin to Get Out), Sandy Dennis (Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean), Dana Hill (Shoot the Moon), Michael Ironside (Visiting Hours), Michael Moriarty (Q), Kimmy Robertson (The Last American Virgin), Winifred Freedman (The Last American Virgin), Robin Williams (The World According to Garp), Lawrence Monoson (The Last American Virgin), Ellen Barkin (Diner), Christopher Reeve (Deathtrap), Jack Lemmon (Missing), Lesley Ann Warren (Victor Victoria), Michael Keaton (Night Shift), Sylvester Stallone (First Blood), Raul Julia (One from the Heart), Christopher Walken (Who Am I This Time?)

QUOTES:

liquid-sky-11(Liquid Sky)

“You know how to dial, don’t you? You just put your finger in the hole, and make tiny little circles” (Rachel Ward in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid)

“The promise of Hollywood is not action, but illusion” (Illusions)

Peter Stegman: Face the music… teacher teacher.
Mr. Norris: Wait a minute, you’re in this class. Sit down.
Peter Stegman: [gives him the finger] Sit on this, motherfucker.
Andrew Norris: What’s the matter with you?
Peter Stegman: What’s the matter with you? What’s the matter with me? What’s the matter with matter?
(Class of 1984)

fabulsou2
(Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains)

George: You played a tomato for 30 seconds – they went half a day over schedule because you wouldn’t sit down.
Michael: Of course. It was illogical.
George: YOU WERE A TOMATO! A tomato doesn’t have logic. A tomato can’t move.
Michael: That’s what I said. So if he can’t move, how’s he going to sit down, George?
(Sydney Pollack and Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie)

“You know you have an amazing knack for holding onto the thread of a conversation”
(Victor to his wife Sara in Losing Ground)

“You must be dead, because I don’t know how to feel. I can’t feel anything anymore.”(Henry Thomas, E.T)

“You always remember the wrong things”
(Shoot the Moon)

“I realize it’s best to live through stories before creating them”
(Godard’s Passion)

“Making love to your daddy is a rare and beautiful thing”
(Shoot the Moon)

Jeff Spicoli: No shirt, no shoes…
Jeff and Stoner Buds: No dice! Ohhhh.
Brad Hamilton: Right. Learn it. Know it. Live it.
(Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

“I think Dorothy is smarter than I am”
(Michael (Dustin Hoffman) in Tootsie)

“Why are you pushing me?”
(Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) in First Blood)

“You know, if you’re in a jam he’s probably the best guy to have around. Even though he probably put you in the jam to begin with”
Burt Young talking about Jon Voight in Lookin to Get Out

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(A Question of Silence)

Boogie: What’s your name?
Jane: Jane Chisolm, as in the Chisolm Trail? (rides off on horse)
Boogie: What fucking Chisolm Trail?
Fenwick: You ever get the feeling there’s something going on we don’t know about?
(Diner) 

“He made fun of me in front of everybody, including myself”
(Querelle)

“We have to articulate ourselves, otherwise we would be cows in the field”
(Werner Herzog, Burden of Dreams)

“I just killed Mr. Leech, you know, Mr. Leech from the bank!”
“Yeah well I just stepped on Mr. Snail from the garden”
(Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov in Eating Raoul)

25 Favorite Images of 1982 Films:
(no order; most function as still images I love, but unsurprisingly many are served better within the context of the film and/or movement)

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Blade Runner
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Losing Ground
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The Last American Virgin
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The World According to Garp
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Der Fan (Trance)
white-dog-2
White Dog
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Identification of a Woman
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One from the Heart
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Toute une nuit
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Tenebre (the motion of this shot is critical to its greatness)
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One from the Heart
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Godard’s Passion
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Godard’s Passion
time-masters-3
Time Masters
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The Last Horror Film
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Shoot the Moon
rockywww
Rocky III
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Personal Best
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Smithereens
next-of-kin-6
Next of Kin
liquid-sky-13
Liquid Sky
la-truite-4
La Truite
friday-13-3
Friday the 13th Part 3
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Five Element Ninjas
fabulud
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains

What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1930: A Love Letter


My What I’ll Remember posts are an ongoing tradition in the Top Ten By Year Project. A logbook of sorts, they pay tribute to all the year-specific viewing I’ve done over the past however many months. It also stresses that, while the Top Ten list is the crux of this whole project, it’s really a means to an end. It goes without saying, but the process and journey of watching and re-watching these films is most important. I’ve recently looked back on previous What I’ll Remember posts and they evoke the feeling of a photo album, flipping through filmic memories of all shapes and sizes. Top Ten By Year: 1930 will be up by the end of the month.

Posts in the What I’ll Remember tag: 1925, 1943, 1958, 1965, 1978, 1992, 2012, 2013, 2014

Top Ten By Year: 1930 Coverage
Top Ten By Year: 1930 – Poll Results 
Movie Poster Highlights: 1930 
100 Images from the Films of 1930 
Favorite Fashion in 1930 Film

1930 aka The Year Garbo Spoke and The Year Lon Chaney Died

The oh-so-brief but oh-so-magical forerunners of the widescreen format, the too ambitious for its time 70mm Fox Grandeur film (The Big Trail, Song o’ My Heartand MAGNAFILM (The Bat Whispers)

As much as anything else, for me 1930 is The Year of Lillian Roth. She is one of my favorite screen presences and esoteric pop culture figures of all time, a gifted comedienne with a crinkly nose and a practiced yet untouched vivacity. Her initial film career only lasted from 1929-1930, and 1933. She only appeared in 13 feature length films across her lifetime. Five of those were in 1930 when she was 20 years old.  They were The Vagabond King, Honey, Paramount on Parade, Madam Satan, Animal Crackers, and Sea Legs.

The bedroom farce that is Madam Satan, the disaster film that is Madam Satan, the awkward musical that is Madam Satan, the outrageous and doomed masquerade party on a zeppelin that is Madam Satan, the rekindled love story that is Madam Satan. In short; Madam Satan

LetUsBeGay11May I Present The Dull As Fuck Leading Man Brigade of 1930: 
Rod la Rocque (Let Us Be Gay), Douglass Montgomery (Paid), Chester Morris (The Divorcee), Clive Brook (Anybody’s Woman), Charles Starrett (Fast and Loose), Gavin Gordon (Romance), Jack Buchanan (Monte Carlo), Ralph Graves (Ladies of Leisure), John Garrick (Just Imagine), Ben Lyon (Hell’s Angels)

Spotting Ann Dvorak, another all-time favorite of mine, as a chorus girl in Free and Easy

Introducing!
(actors in their feature film debut in something more substantial than extra/bit part):
Spencer Tracy (Up the River), James Cagney (Sinners Holiday, The Doorway to Hell), Miriam Hopkins (Fast and Loose), Jean Harlow (Hell’s Angels), Laurence Olivier (The Temporary Widow), Irene Dunne (Leathernecking), Bing Crosby (King of Jazz), Herbert Marshall (Murder!), Una O’Connor (Murder!), Rose Hobart (Liliom), Una Merkel (The Bat Whispers, Abraham Lincoln, etc.)

the big trail 7The American West in The Big Trail 

MGM starlets playing characters named Jerry/Gerry – can we please bring back this trend? (Norma Shearer in The Divorcee, Joan Crawford in Our Blushing Brides)

The sing-song jury meeting scene in Murder!

Failed Bids for Sustained or Successful Hollywood Fame
(mostly musical-based careers, not exhaustive):
Marilyn Miller, Lawrence Tibbett, Vivienne Segal, John McCormack, Fanny Brice, Dennis King, Winnie Lightner, Paul Gregory, Zelma O’Neal, Helen Kane, Betty Boyd, Bernice Clare, Sharon Lynn, Jeanette Loff, Alice White, James Hall, The Sisters G, Ona Munson (later character actress), Claudia Dell, Charlotte Greenwood, Norma Terris, Ethelind Terry

The sequence in Follow Thru when Jack Haley and Eugene Pallette sneak into the girls locker room to steal a ring. They come up with hand signals. They pretend to be plumbers. The girls are in various stages of undress. It all builds to a moment of perfect anarchy

The Rise Of:
Marlene Dietrich, Robert Montgomery, Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery, William Powell, Barbara Stanwyck, John Wayne, Kay Francis, Helen Twelvetrees, Ann Harding, Jean Harlow

Two-Strip Technicolor! (Follow Thru, King of Jazz, portion of Hell’s Angels)

The sheer existence of King of Jazz, the most elaborate and audaciously overproduced spectacle film I’ve ever seen from the Golden Age of Hollywood

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hell's angels
The privilege of seeing Jean Harlow in color and with natural eyebrows (Hell’s Angels). Also realizing that tomboy Jean Harlow is the most attractive Jean Harlow

The last year before the modern movie genre begins to get in formation, allowing for a final round of bizarre and unrepeatable genre hybrids (Madam Satan, Liliom, The Bat Whispers, King of Jazz, Just Imagine)

Knowingly playing with artificiality (Murder!, Liliom, The Blue Angel)

The unintentional meta symbolism of Louise Brooks’s onscreen death in Prix de Beauté

the big trail 3The eye candy that is John Wayne in The Big Trail 

Movies Interacting with Other Movies:
Joan Crawford in MGM’s Paid going to see MGM’s Let Us Be Gay in the theater, Fast and Loose playing Follow Thru’s “Peach of a Pear” in the background during a scene, King of Jazz giving a shout-out to Universal’s upcoming All Quiet on the Western Front

♫♫”Look out, look out the dumb police are on your trail”♫♫ (Liliom)

♫♫ We’re going somewhere
We’re going nowhere
We’re going everyyyyywhere ♫♫
(Madam Satan)

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Meta Moments:
(Murder!, Die drei von der Tankstelle, The Bat Whispers, Free and Easy)

Alfred Hitchcock using Murder! as a platform to blatantly experiment with sound from all conceivable angles

Jean Grémillon using La petite Lise as a platform to inconspicuously experiment with integrating sound as tapestry

Loaded glaring and ample cowardice in The Big House 

Howard Hawks using sound in The Dawn Patrol as a platform for more natural dialogue and an immersion into the communal and isolated male experience of wartime

Realizing I’d much rather see an all-male story over a film that clearly wants to be an all-male story but throws a woman in the mix that it has zero time or respect for
(The Dawn Patrol and All Quiet on the Western Front vs. Hell’s Angels and The Big House

scary
Scary Images of 1930 Cinema:
Chester Morris’s shadowy confrontational glare (The Bat Whispers), Paul Whiteman as a winking moon (King of Jazz), Jack Haley’s spastic eyebrows (Follow Thru), the creepy man-baby (King of Jazz), Emil Jannings: The Humiliated Clown (The Blue Angel), Buster Keaton: The Humiliated Clown (Free and Easy)

Electric fans as plot point! (Anybody’s Woman)

My first wholly depressing experience with Buster Keaton’s trademark bassoon baboon talkie moron in Free and Easy. The humiliations endured by Keaton here are a special level of cruel, not to mention that he’s forced to act in an MGM film within an MGM film

Learning to appreciate Chester Morris when his characters operate outside the confines of the typical romantic lead (The Bat Whispers, The Big House as opposed to The Divorcee)

People on Sunday 2
The four central day-trippers in People on Sunday are great and all but I’m all about Annie (Annie Schreyer), the beautiful lazy loafer who sleeps all weekend

The Dawn Patrol > All Quiet on the Western Front > Hell’s Angels 

Finding eroticism and profundity in rain and simple gestures (Ladies of Leisure)

American sound films that feel refreshingly free from the pressures of plot
(Laughter, The Dawn Patrol, King of Jazz, Animal Crackers)

Ahh Golden Dawn, a movie with bottomless racism and a song (“A Tiger”) that features a woman singing about explicitly wanting a man to straight-up beat her

Getting to watch one of my favorite men, Robert Montgomery, in his early career mode of sexy cad (Our Blushing Brides, The Divorcee, Free and Easy)

That damn car horn in Die drei von der Tankstelle 

One of my favorite niche genres in film: Department Store Gals (Our Blushing Brides, Au bonheur des dames)

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That kiss in Morocco

The unforgettable schizophrenic feeling of Borderline 

Uncle hits a breaking point in one of the most unsettling and feverish sequences in silent cinema (Au bonheur des dames)

The Fall Of:
(once major stars declining in popularity or quality of work, either momentarily or permanently)
Clara Bow, John Gilbert, Al Jolson, Corrine Griffith, Norma Talmadge, Charles Farrell, Mary Pickford, Dolores Costello, Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks

the dawn patrol 8Douglas Fairbanks Jr’s adorably playful drunken interaction with the German officer who shot him down in The Dawn Patrol 

The way Kent (Robert Montgomery) is used to subvert audience expectations in The Big House

The radical modernity and spontaneity of Barbara Stanwyck’s performance in Ladies of Leisure

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Herbert Marshall looking like a straight-laced Jack Lemmon in Murder!

Everywhere, Everywhere, Miniatures Everywhere:
(including but not limited to Ladies of Leisure, Liliom, Madam Satan, Murder!, The Bat Whispers, Under the Roofs of Paris, Outward Bound)

Haunting child deaths (L’age d’Or, The Doorway to Hell, Blood of a Poet)

Doorway to Hell 6My favorite moment in The Doorway to Hell: Doris (Dorothy Mathews) is talking on the phone to Mileaway (James Cagney) about how lame Louie (Lew Ayres) has become now that he’s removed himself from gangster life. Then Louie comes in wearing the above outfit and says “I’m a fine golfer”

The rigorous tailoring of Marlene Dietrich’s image is born in the short time between filming The Blue Angel and Morocco (though American audiences saw Morocco first)

Marjorie Rambeau playing a kindly pitiful drunk (Her Man) and a wretched pitiful drunk (Min and Bill)

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Watching the incredible aerial footage of Hell’s Angels knowing that several pilots died because of Howard Hughes’s unstoppable ambition

The tiresome trend of introducing unrelated low comedy subplots to lighten things up (Min and Bill, The Big Trail, Her Man, Golden Dawn)

The formal rule-breaking of the prison sequence in La Petite Lise

Running through the wheat fields in City Girl

Tale of the Fox (2)
The staggering stop-motion animation of Le Roman de Renard (The Tale of the Fox). Figures, flow, range of expression. Like watching Fantastic Mr. Fox eighty years before the fact

The Claire Denis-esque way that Tilly Losch’s dance and body movements are shot in the short Dance of the Hands 

Great Character Names:
Tripod McMasters (Wallace Beery; Way for a Sailor) Mrs. Bouccy Bouccicault (Marie Dressler; Let Us Be Gay), Amy Jolly (Marlene Dietrich; Morocco), Mileaway (James Cagney; The Doorway to Hell) Pansy Gray (Ruth Chatterton; Anybody’s Woman), Arabella Rittenhouse (Lillian Roth; Animal Crackers), Dulcinea Parker (Marion Davies; Not So Dumb) Countess Olga Balakireff (Kay Francis; A Notorious Affair), Lem Tustine (Charles Farrell; City Girl)

Being hypnotized by the close-up movement of gears in the avant-garde short Mechanical Principles 

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Esme Percy’s ‘half-caste’ homosexual drag performer killer in Murder!

The messy but unshakable loyal friendship between Morgan and Butch (Chester Morris and Wallace Beery) in The Big House

Wanting to live in the proto-French New Wave romantic bloom of People on Sunday and its immaculate footage of 1930 Berlin

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The angle of this shot, which takes place during a song, should give you a sense of how sophisticated and ahead of its time Die drei von der Tankstelle is within the context of ‘1930 musical’

Mops/Mopsi; Lilian Harvey’s nickname for her father in Die drei von der Tankstelle

Jean Cocteau’s trademark surrealist special effects, showing us a portal to another world and a statue that clings to its maker in Blood of a Poet 

Being reminded that The Blue Angel disturbs me more than most films

norma9Norma Shearer going full dowdy (Let Us Be Gay)

The bleak ending of Street of Chance, with an unseen level of implied violence that makes way for the much more famous ending of 1931’s The Public Enemy 

Films with a leftover from silents; intertitles
(including Anybody’s Woman, The Big Trail, Liliom, Follow Thru, A Notorious Affair, Not So Dumb)

A Notorious Affair 2Kay Francis giving interior life to her intoxicating Countess vamp in one of the worst films I’ve ever seen (A Notorious Affair). Her work, and the above image, deserve so much better

Sound films that don’t capitalize on dialogue, instead using sound as an extension of silent film (Prix de beaute, L’age d’Or, La petite Lise, The Blue Angel, Blood of a Poet. Basically; the non-American films)

The confirmation that I don’t much care for the two most canonized films of 1930, L’age d’Or and The Blue Angel

nutshellThe Nutshell Pictures Corporation logo, which features an animated dog pissing into a plant (Dance of Her Hands)

Busby Berkeley choreography appears on film for the first time ever in Whoopee!

Discovering the sassy greatness that is Marie Prevost. Once a leading lady, by 1930 (because of weight gain and alcohol abuse) she was relegated to the goofy “best friend” roles which she used to steal every film she appeared in (Paid, Ladies of Leisure, War Nurse

Only in an MGM film would a character have an art deco loft hidden in a tree (Our Blushing Brides)

Josef von Sternberg’s trademark absolute submission to love and desire in The Blue Angel and Morocco. The former filled with despair, the latter with triumph and a dash of hope.

Speaking of, the incredible final scene and shot of Morocco. The radical act of linking up with a group of women following their men into the desert and the unknown

Rooting with all my heart for Lem and Kate (Charles Farrell and Mary Duncan) in City Girl 

Doorway to Hell 51930’s James Cagney is as sexy as sexy gets in case you needed to be reminded (The Doorway to Hell)

Frances Marion dominating the early world of talkie screenwriting with credits for Min and Bill, Anna Christie (adapted by), The Rogue Song, Let Us Be Gay (continuity and dialogue), Good News (scenario), and for being the first woman to win a non-acting Oscar for her work on The Big House.

The use of interior space in Laughter

monte carlo 10Jeanette MacDonald going bonkers and rustling up her precious hair in Monte Carlo

Favorite Characters: Kate (Mary Duncan; City Girl), Douglas Scott (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; The Dawn Patrol), Lola Lola (Marlene Dietrich; The Blue Angel), Annie (Annie Schreyer; People on Sunday), Paul Lockridge (Fredric March; Laughter), Countess Olga Balakireff (Kay Francis; A Notorious Affair), Trixie (Lillian Roth; Madam Satan), Jimmy Wade (Roland Young; Madam Satan), Dot Lamar (Marie Prevost; Ladies of Leisure)

Least Favorite Characters: Jack Martin (Jack Haley; Follow Thru), Professor Emmanuel Rath (Emil Jannings; The Blue Angel), Andre (Georges Charlia; Prix de beaute), Mr. Tustine (David Torrence; City Girl), Paul Gherardi (Basil Rathbone; A Notorious Affair), everyone in Golden Dawn, Count Rudolph Falliere (Jack Buchanan; Monte Carlo)

Laughter 11Fredric March suddenly kissing Nancy Carroll behind the neck while driving in Laughter, one of the sexiest gestures ever committed to film

The sketchy but catchy “Trimmin’ the Women” song in Monte Carlo 

Proto-screwball comedies (Not So Dumb, Fast and Loose)

The mock-up symbolic hallucinatory carnival in Liliom

The most unintentionally hilarious bit from any 1930 film (Golden Dawn)

The forgotten and incomprehensible mega-fame of El Brendel (Just Imagine, The Big Trail, Her Golden Calf, New Movietone Follies of 1930).

Orgasm from hair treatment in Monte Carlo  

Based on a Play (Paid, Romance, Fast and Loose, The Bat Whispers, Liliom, Ladies of Leisure, Follow Thru, Murder!, A Notorious Affair, Animal Crackers, Her Man (well, kind of), Not So Dumb, Let Us Be Gay, Outward Bound)

paid 4The revelation that Joan Crawford is, at least in Paid, a dead ringer for Sigourney Weaver

The onscreen persona of Wallace Beery amounts to a real-life Baloo the Bear (The Big House, Way for a Sailor, Min and Bill). He manages the impossible by remaining lovable even when talking about his murder rap or domestic abuse. A rare gift that.

 The distinct hilarity Miriam Hopkins wrings out of “I’m sorry” is the epitome of what makes her so great (Fast and Loose)

♫♫ She wanted to take it further
So she arranged a place to go
To see if he
Would fall for her incognito  ♫♫
(Madam Satan & “Babooshka” by Kate Bush)

The wholesome sex comedy is born with Follow Thru 

Marie Dressler beating the piss out of Wallace Beery and tearing apart his room in Min and Bill 

Laughter 16Fredric March casually drinking coffee in a polar bearskin rug in Laughter 

The wordless sequence in which Jerry (Norma Shearer) allows herself to be illicitly seduced by playboy Don (Robert Montgomery) in The Divorcee

The names of the party guests in Madam Satan (Miss Conning Tower! Mr. and Mrs. Hot & Tot! Mr. & Mrs. High Hat! Miss Victory! Miss Movie Fan! Fish Girl!)

The “I Want to Be Bad” number in Follow Thru

QUOTES:

“I’ve balanced our accounts”
(Norma Shearer in The Divorcee, talking to her husband about her promiscuity)

“I know now how a man feels about these things”
(Norma Shearer in Let Us Be Gay, talking to her husband about her promiscuity)

“It’s that coin that makes them so sassy Cassidy”
(Paid)

“I’m an orchid and he wants to change me into a lily” (Barbara Stanwyck in Ladies of Leisure)

“I never knew you had pale blue eyes. I hate pale blue eyes. Funny, I never noticed it before” (Kay Francis in A Notorious Affair)

Ted: “Who’s the man?”
Jerry: “Oh, Ted, don’t be conventional!”
(Chester Morris and Norma Shearer in The Divorcee)

“The memory of you makes them much happier than you ever could”
(The Magistrate in Liliom)

“What are you doing with those fingers?”
“Nothing. Yet.”
(Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper in Morocco)

“Wise as a tree full of owls, that’s me”
(Paid)

“Oh, and a cup of coffee”
“Large or small?”
“Do I look like a small cup of coffee?”
(Marie Prevost and a waiter in Ladies of Leisure)

“Well, do you see my flowers here?”
“You’re crushing them”
“Oh, what does it matter? They were born to die”
(yes, this is actual dialogue in Romance)

“Oh baby. Don’t think I’m such a heel just because I am!” (John Gilbert in Way for a Sailor)

Groucho: “Go away. Go away. I’ll be all right in a minute. Left-handed moths ate the painting, eh?”
Chico: “Yeah, it’s a-my own solution.”
Groucho: “I wish you were in it. Left-handed moths ate the painting. You know, I’d buy you a parachute if I thought it wouldn’t open.” (Animal Crackers)

“Press the flesh. Who’d you croak?” (The Big House)

“If you don’t watch your step you’re gonna find a way to treat yourself to a handful of clouds” (The Doorway to Hell)

“When a man begins to talk about inhibitions, it’s time to look at the view.” (Joan Crawford in Our Blushing Brides)

“It already has proved dangerous to wipe yourself off on the furniture”
(Blood of a Poet)

Groucho’s Strange Interlude bit in Animal Crackers, particularly:
“This would be a better world for children, if the parents had to eat the spinach.”

“Oh Mary, don’t be so 1890”
(Paid)

“When does she dunk her body?” (of course this is Eugene Pallette’s way of asking when a woman takes a bath in Follow Thru)

“Four years ago you took my name and replaced with with a number. Now I’ve taken that number and replaced it with your name”
(Joan Crawford in Paid)

Angela: “Here’s the newspaper”
Bob: “Anything new?”
Angela: “Not much. Only that you’re a bigamist” (Madam Satan)

animalMargaret Dumont and Lillian Roth in Animal Crackers (I forget whose tumblr this comes from; I’m very sorry!)

 

 

 

What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1925: A Love Letter


My What I’ll Remember posts are an ongoing tradition. A logbook of sorts, they pay tribute to all the year-specific viewing I’ve done over the past however many months. It also stresses that, while the Top Ten list is the crux of this whole project, it’s really a means to an end. It goes without saying, but the process and journey of watching and re-watching these films is most important. I’ve recently looked back on previous What I’ll Remember posts and they evoke the feeling of a photo album, flipping through filmic memories of all shapes and sizes. Top Ten By Year: 1925 will go up late next week.

Top Ten By Year: 1925 posts so far: Movie Poster Highlights, Poll Results, Favorite Shots of 1925

Posts in the What I’ll Remember tag: 1943, 1958, 1965, 1978, 1992, 2012, 2013, 2014

johngilbertbigparade

MVP of 1925: John Gilbert (The Big Parade, The Merry Widow)

The realization that impressive craftsmanship and individual merits aside, I am very picky when it comes to silent films that captivate me as a whole…which makes me feel like a shitty cinephile. 

Favorite Characters: Jenny Hagen (Gloria Swanson; Stage Struck), Jack (William Boyd; The Road to Yesterday), Sally O’Hara (Mae Murray; The Merry Widow), Molly Helmer (Norma Shearer; Lady of the Night), Countess Elnora Natatorini (Pola Negri; A Woman of the World)

Rape, attempted rape, or the threat of rape and/or assault is almost guaranteed to crop up
(Whirlpool of Fate, Orochi, The Road to Yesterday, Variete, The Salvation Hunters, The Red Kimona, Tartuffe, The Wizard of Oz, The Joyless Street, Body and Soul, The Merry Widow, The Unholy Three, Phantom of the Opera)

Goose Woman

There’s a disturbing image for you (The Goose Woman)

Clarence Brown putting his engineering skills to use with that majestic tracking shot through a banquet table (The Eagle)

Introducing (relatively speaking): Paul Robeson, Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy, Georgia Hale (The Gold Rush, The Salvation Hunters), Constance Bennett

Introducing to Hollywood: Vilma Banky (The Eagle)

woman of the world

Pola Negri’s tattoo in A Woman of the World (:whispers: “she did it for a man she loved!”)

Least Favorite Characters: Farmhand/The Scarecrow (Harry Semon; The Wizard of Oz), Levett (Miles Mander; The Pleasure Garden), Jill Cheyne (Carmelita Geraghty; The Pleasure Garden), Ken/Lord Strangevon (Joseph Schildkraut; The Road to Yesterday), Mary Drake (Gertrude Olmstead; Cobra), Metzger von Melchiorstrasse (Werner Krauss; Joyless Street)

Lon Chaney playing a man whose love goes unrequited; how shocking! (The Unholy Three, Phantom of the Opera)

Pretending you aren’t in love with someone so they can be happy and move on (Cobra, The Unholy Three, Lady of the Night)

Red Kimona 1Tartuffe 3

Postmodernism rears its head by breaking the 4th wall in The Red Kimona and Tartuffe

The disasterpiece that is The Wizard of Oz

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari reunion! (Werner Krauss and Lil Dagover in Tartuffe)

Selection of purple prose intertitles:
“In his mind the boy divided human beings into Children of the Mud and Children of the Sun. Himself, he belonged somewhere between the two.” (A typical one in The Salvation Hunters)

“On the edge of the Grand Canyon, in the shadow of infinity” (The Road to Yesterday)

stage struck 4 200_s

Color (two-strip Technicolor or stencil) (Stage Struck, Phantom of the Opera, Cyrano de Bergerac, Ben-Hur)

The idyllic French countryside at the center of Whirlpool of Fate

The sheer spectacle of Ben-Hur

The completely unrecognized comedic stylings of Gloria Swanson. She does a wide range of physical comedy in Stage Struck, utilizing the entirety of her body and the intricacies of her face

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Larry Semon is the world’s worst-case scenario Martin Short (The Wizard of Oz)

Told in flashback: Variete, The Red Kimona

Yakov’s death in Strike

Directorial debuts (or close enough): Alfred Hitchcock, Josef von Sternberg, Jean Renoir, Lewis Milestone

50b19134f7de2afe35d72a7bf39cf4ebThe Gold Rush 1

William Boyd serving up some young Kurt Russell in The Road to Yesterday, and Georgia Hale serving young Catherine Keener in The Gold Rush

An independent message film about forced prostitution co-directed, produced and overseen by a woman, Dorothy Davenport aka ‘Mrs. Wallace Reid’ (also adapted by Dorothy Arzner!) (The Red Kimona)

10 Performances of 1925: John Gilbert (The Big Parade), Zasu Pitts (Lazybones), Charlie Chaplin (The Gold Rush), Mae Murray (The Merry Widow), Gloria Swanson (Stage Struck), Louise Dresser (The Goose Woman), Harry Earles (The Unholy Three), Norma Shearer (Lady of the Night), Georgia Hale (The Salvation Hunters), Asta Nielsen (The Joyless Street)

John Gilbert rises to stardom and meets Mae Murray as she descends from stardom (The Merry Widow)

Am I the only one who finds Charlie Chaplin the most attractive during his bread roll ballet in The Gold Rush? (P.S he’s always attractive)

Merry Widow 3

John Gilbert’s lascivious stares are both sexy, and terrifying (The Merry Widow)

Favorite intertitles:
“Doff your hat you mannerless knave!” (A typical piece of dialogue from the 17th century portion of The Road to Yesterday)

“Gudule was endowed with the ability to make a good stew while using questionable ingredients” (Whirlpool of Fate)

“A gentleman’s relation to a lady is indicated by the manner in which he rings her doorbell” (Lady Windermere’s Fan)

“Martha Tuttle was one of those mother hens who clucked long after the deed was done” (Lazybones)

“I will only marry a man of great deeds and strange experiences – a man who can look death in the face without flinching!” – Miss White, who might be single for a very long time, oh wait except she’s married by the end of the film (The Lost World)

Phantom of the Opera 1 Phantom of the Opera 2 Phantom of the Opera 3

Don’t ask me why, but I live for scenarios like this (above) (Phantom of the Opera)

Lazybones making what is on paper a really queasy central romance into something delicate and beautiful

Mads’s stony face remains in tact as her son throws all manner of clothes at and past her in Master of the House

The incredible aerial shot fight scene at the end of Orochi

The innovative model animation of the dinosaurs in The Lost World

stage struck

The unbearable cuteness of Gloria Swanson’s Jenny having regular conversations and role plays with a stuffed dog named Flea (Stage Struck)

Photographed by the incomparable Karl Freund! (Variete and Tartuffe)

The Goose Woman, just one example of ceilings visible in the frame before Citizen Kane

The romantic interest of Stage Struck; wheat cake extraordinaire Orme Wilson who is obsessed with actresses and says things like “You oughta see her – she’s the Duke’s mixture” and “You’re about as funny as a murder”

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Why yes, that is a duck projectile vomiting (The Wizard of Oz)

Emil Jannings as the eternal fool? Yes. But you expect me to buy him as a fucking trapeze artist? Girl. Sorry. Next. (Variete)

Slow motion in Whirlpool of Fate, The Joyless Street, The Unholy Three, The Merry Widow, Phantom of the Opera

The proto-Cocteau dream sequence in Whirlpool of Fate

Discovering the greatness of character actress Louise Dresser (The Eagle, The Goose Woman)

Red Kimona 2battleshippotemkin2

Walter Lang, Dorothy Davenport, and Sergei Eisenstein have you beat by 69 years Steven Spielberg (The Red Kimona, Battleship Potemkin)

Can the lost art of the then-ubiquitous visual of aggressively intimate head-on close-ups be resurrected? I miss it so (literally all the movies)

Largely forgotten vamps/’exotic’ types of the day: Nita Naldi (Cobra), Lya De Putti (Variete)

Cobra

Women are Cobras! Get it? (Cobra)

Based on a play: Cobra, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Tartuffe, Cyrano de Bergerac, Master of the House

Pair The Goose Woman with Frank Capra’s Lady for a Day for two very different films about down-on-their-luck alcoholic older women

Masquerading religious ‘devotees’ (Tartuffe, Body and Soul)

big parade pic A

Meet cutes don’t get cuter than this (The Big Parade)

Playing two characters (Paul Robeson in Body and Soul, everyone in The Road to Yesterday, Norma Shearer in Lady of the Night)

Costume Highlights:

The first year in the career of legendary fashion designer Adrian (The Eagle, The Road to Yesterday, Cobra, Her Sister from Paris)

The Eagle

Vilma Banky’s pearl headdress in The Eagle

Gloria Swanson -1927-Stage Struck

Gloria Swanson’s outfits in the Technicolor dream sequence in Stage Struck

Lady of the Night 6
Look at those pockets!!!!!!

Lady of the Night 1 Lady of the Night 3

Pretty much everything Norma Shearer wears in Lady of the Night

Merry Widow 9 Lady of the Night 5stage struck 3

I miss elaborate head-pieces (The Eagle, Lady of the Night, Stage Struck, The Merry Widow)

Joyless Street 5

Tamara Geva’s coat in Die freudlose Gasse (The Joyless Street)

What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1978: A Love Letter


My What I’ll Remember posts are an ongoing tradition. A logbook of sorts, they pay tribute to all the year-specific viewing I’ve done over the past however many months. It also stresses that, while the Top Ten list is the crux of this whole project, it’s really a means to an end. It goes without saying, but the process and journey of watching and re-watching these films is most important. I’ve recently looked back on previous What I’ll Remember posts and they evoke the feeling of a photo album, flipping through filmic memories of all shapes and sizes. Still to come are my Ten Honorable Mentions plus Grease post and the Top Ten.

At the end of the post I have a Suggested Double Features section and a compilation of some of my Favorite Shots of the year.

Top Ten By Year: 1978 posts so far: Movie Poster Highlights, Movie Music Mix, Poll Results

Previous What I’ll Remember posts: 1943, 1958, 1965, 1992, 2012, 2013,  2014

10 Performances of 1978: Volker Spengler (In a Year of 13 Moons), Geraldine Chaplin (Remember My Name), Carol Kane (The Mafu Cage), Richard Pryor (Blue Collar), Ingrid Bergman (Autumn Sonata), Jill Clayburgh (An Unmarried Woman), Melanie Mayron (Girlfriends), Isabelle Huppert (Violette Noziere), Christopher Reeve (Superman), Robert De Niro (The Deer Hunter)

Freeze frame endings (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Pretty Baby, Capricorn One, Eyes of Laura Mars, Girlfriends, Magic, Blue Collar, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, An Unmarried Woman, The Deer Hunter)

The fashion photo shoot montage scenes in Eyes of Laura Mars

“You’re my friend Jerry, but you’re thinking white” (Blue Collar)

The makeshift family unit in Dawn of the Dead

Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers; still about the scariest thing I can think of. Poor Veronica Cartwright

The isolated presentational snapshot flashbacks of Autumn Sonata

Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman going head-to-head with pent-up mother-daughter angst in Autumn Sonata

Denny Zeitlin’s score for Invasion of the Body Snatchers as prelude for Brian Reitzell’s work on “Hannibal”

Abortion talk (Interiors, A Wedding, Long Weekend, Girlfriends, The Meetings of Anna, Dawn of the Dead, Autumn Sonata, An Unmarried Woman)

Isabelle Adjani in The Driver
Isabelle Adjani in The Driver
Maggie Smith in Death on the Nile
Maggie Smith in Death on the Nile

Women in suits (Isabelle Adjani, The Driver; Maggie Smith, Death on the Nile; Fiona Lewis, The Fury)

“You got a chair!”
“You changed your hair!” (Coming Home)

The half buried manatee carcass that gradually makes its way up the sands in Long Weekend

1978 Movie Marathon with Amanda! (Drunken Master, The Cheap Detective, Girlfriends, Long Weekend)

American pop giallo (Eyes of Laura Mars)

Favorite Characters of 1978: Susan Weinblatt (Melanie Mayron; Girlfriends), Annie (Nancy Loomis; Halloween), Rizzo (Stockard Channing; Grease)Peter (Ken Foree; Dawn of the Dead), Gillian Bellaver (Amy Irving; The Fury), Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty; Heaven Can Wait)

Goldie Hawn in Foul Play
Goldie Hawn in Foul Play

Goldie Hawn = cutest librarian ever (Foul Play)

Terrence Malick already bringing his work into the ether for his sophomore film (Days of Heaven)

“Flick my Bic!!” (Blue Collar)

Has Alan Alda always been this insufferable and I’ve just never noticed it? (Same Time, Next Year)

The introduction of the five deadly venoms (Five Deadly Venoms)

John Travolta in Grease
John Travolta in Grease

Put aside the present day creepy Uncle vibes for a second and appreciate that there is nothing quite as deliciously sexy as John Travolta in his prime (Grease)

First experiences with these directors: Karel Zeman (Krabat), Jerzy Skolimowski (The Shout), Chantal Akerman (The Meetings of Anna), Les Blank (Always for Pleasure), Derek Jarman (Jubilee), Paul Mazursky (An Unmarried Woman), Yuen Woo-Ping (Drunken Master), Chang Cheh (Five Deadly Venoms), Liu Chia-Liang (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Heroes of the East)

The emphasis and innovative use of sound in The Shout

Wow, so Eli Wallach is weirdly attractive as the elder charming rabbi in Girlfriends

Hilarious peripheral characters ‘One Song Tinker’ (Scatman Crothers) in The Cheap Detective and ‘Wrong Way Floyd’ (Otis Day) in Thank God It’s Friday

You Are Not Alone
You Are Not Alone

The radical ending of You Are Not Alone

Death by paint fumes (Blue Collar)

The “part Mary Hartman, part Ingmar Bergman” gal pal gatherings in An Unmarried Woman

Maggie Smith playing an actress who loses an Oscar only to win an Oscar in real life for said performance. Surely the only time this has ever happened? (California Suite)

The painful experience of watching the unforgivably cartoonish Same Time, Next Year

The butchery scene in In a Year of 13 Moons; a raw collision of visual and aural assault quite unlike anything I’ve experienced

Speaking of; graphic slaughterhouse scenes in Killer of Sheep and In a Year of 13 Moons

John Savage in The Deer Hunter
John Savage in The Deer Hunter

Jesus H. Christ I had suppressed the grueling Russian Roulette-as-dramatic-device scenes in The Deer Hunter. Sound and image marry the casual pandemonium of the room with the intimate begging and communicative gazing between the actors. Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage are all-in, and the experience looks legitimately tormenting for all

The rigorous training section of The 36th Chamber of ShaolinBody as focus, object of transformation and unparalleled discipline

The aggressively unfunny bedroom farce vignette of California Suite with Walter Matthau and Elaine May. Who would have thought that A New Leaf reunion could taste so sour?

The way the blow-up doll floats out of Dudley Moore’s closet in Foul Play

Emotional piano-playing in Autumn Sonata and The Deer Hunter

Christopher Plummer in The Silent Partner
Christopher Plummer in The Silent Partner

Crucial lesson learned from The Silent Partner; whatever you do, do not fuck with Christopher Plummer

Mother and daughter bed confessional in The Meetings of Anna

The charged sexual chemistry between Jane Fonda and Jon Voight in Coming Home 

The ingenious reveal that “Jeepers Creepers” is the “As Time Goes By” equivalent in the spoof The Cheap Detective

The immediate and out-of-nowhere inciting incident in Blue Sunshine

Jeff Goldblum, about to utter "Gorgeous" to himself in Thank God It's Friday
Jeff Goldblum, about to utter “Gorgeous” to himself in Thank God It’s Friday

Jeff Goldblum’s entrance in Thank God It’s Friday

Debut films from Robert Zemeckis (I Wanna Hold Your Hand), Errol Morris (Gates of Heaven), Paul Schrader (Blue Collar)

The Neils of The Last Waltz

The eternal magic hour coupled with Linda Manz’s narration in Days of Heaven 

What a year for horror; even if you don’t like half of these it’s an impressive group: (Halloween, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dawn of the Dead, The Fury, Blue Sunshine, The Shout, Long Weekend, Martin, Alucarda, Magic, The Mafu Cage, Eyes of Laura Mars, Patrick, Piranha, The Grapes of Death, etc)

SecretWanna2_jpg_627x1000_q85

Nancy Allen in the Beatles’s hotel room, molesting and lusting over leftovers, instruments and whatever else she can get her hands on. In a just world, these moments would be iconic (I Wanna Hold Your Hand)

Mia Farrow playing crazy ladies (Death on the Nile, A Wedding). In A Wedding she’s like a woman-child version of that creepy photo from Repulsion

The “Born to Hand Jive” scene in Grease, my favorite movie scene as a young teen. Still watch it constantly. Actually, can you all hold on for just a few minutes? *runs off*

“Can you read my mind?” (Superman)

The shopping montages of Dawn of the Dead

Instances of films I’m conflicted about being ultimately more memorable and/or must-see than ‘solid’ works (Fedora, A Wedding, Remember My Name, Jubilee)

Brad Davis in Midnight Express
Brad Davis in Midnight Express

Well hello there Brad Davis (Midnight Express)

Paul Dooley and Dennis Christopher playing father and son in A Wedding, a year before Breaking Away

Diana Ross frantically running away from crows in The Wiz

Greatest ending ever or greatest ending ever? (The Fury)

The truly brutal child abuse/abandonment/killing in The Demon

Nell Campbell in Jubilee
Nell Campbell in Jubilee

My slight obsession with Nell Campbell resurfaces (Jubilee)

Greatest final line to a film?; “The electric blanket I had sent her came back undelivered.” (voiceover) (Fedora)

Another great final moment:
Peter: “How much fuel do we have?”
Fran: “Not much”
Peter: (with a shrug of a delivery) “……alright” (Dawn of the Dead)

2 of the 5 Best Picture nominees being about women and their sexuality, their experiences, their lives. Can this please stop being an anomaly? I’m begging you (Coming Home, An Unmarried Woman)

Melanie Mayron as Susan Weinblatt = my new hero (Girlfriends)

Eyes of Laura Mars 2
Tommy Lee Jones in Eyes of Laura Mars
Tim Curry
Tim Curry in The Shout

 Tommy Lee Jones + turtlenecks/Tim Curry + V-neck sweater (Eyes of Laura Mars, The Shout)

Least Favorite Characters of 1978: George (Alan Alda; Same Time, Next Year), Joey (Mary Beth Hurt; Interiors – basically everyone in Interiors except Pearl, but Joey especially for her disgusting ‘vulgarian’ remark), Kehaar (voiced by Zero Mostel; Watership Down)Richard ‘Ringo’ Klaus (Eddie Deezen; I Wanna Hold Your Hand), all the supporting dudes in Grease, everyone in The Demon, the central couple in Long Weekend, Toyoji (Tatsuya Fuji); Empire of Passion)

“Intelligence would take the bloom off your carnality” (Despair)

Sample dialogue from Avalanche:
Mia Farrow: (looking at a picture on the wall) “What is that?”
Robert Forster: “Guess”
Mia Farrow: “A goat?”
Robert Forster: “A ram”
Mia Farrow: “Oh, a ram”

Kathy Bates in Straight Time
Kathy Bates in Straight Time

Introducing! Dennis Franz (A Wedding, The Fury, Remember My Name), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Daryl Hannah (The Fury), Eddie Deezen (Grease, I Wanna Hold Your Hand), Jim Broadbent (The Shout), James Cromwell (The Cheap Detective), Kathy Bates (Straight Time), Alfre Woodard (Remember My Name), Mark McClure (I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Superman, Coming Home), Kevin Bacon (National Lampoon’s Animal House)

“A space flower?” (Invasion of the Body Snatchers)

Christopher Plummer, dead and in drag, descending down the escalator in The Silent Partner

Depiction of nature as something all-consuming and inescapable in Empire of Passion

The amazing wall-to-wall disco soundtrack in the preposterously fun Thank God It’s Friday

Superman2Clark
Christopher Reeve in Superman

Fully appreciating Christopher Reeve in Superman; adorable, eerily perfect, his performance pitched so we somehow buy into a world where mere glasses can obscure Clark Kent’s identity

The ‘Shout’ scene in National Lampoon’s Animal House

The near bottomless slapstick fun of Drunken Master

The revelatory and genuinely unnerving work by Geraldine Chaplin in Remember My Name and Carol Kane in The Mafu Cage

Capricorn One desperately needing to ditch everything and become a deadpan detective romcom with Elliot Gould and Karen Black

The rare female protagonist at the center of a 1970’s conspiracy thriller (Coma) (the only other example I know of is The Stepford Wives)

Panna a Netvor
Panna a Netvor

Realizing that the beast in Panna a Netvor is actually Birdman

Roaming through the streets of ‘Haddonfield’ in broad daylight (Halloween)

The “how do we know you’re that good” scene in The Driver

Bruce Conner + Devo = perfect combination (Mongoloid)

“I love you once, I love you twice
I love you more than beans and rice” (Pretty Baby)

“Peggy Ann Snow, Peggy Ann Snow
Please let me follow wherever you go” (Magic)

an_unmarried_woman_1_mazursky

Jill Clayburgh ballet-prancing in her undies in An Unmarried Woman

The dummy in Magic making me scream out loud in terror

Aging male stars from 50’s Hollywood in their tighty-wighties (Kirk Douglas in The Fury, William Holden in Fedora)

Queen Isabelle Huppert kicking off her reign of enigmatic and unknowable women in Violette Noziere

Annie’s hiked-up yellow socks in Halloween

Re-enacting Jerry Lewis (In a Year of 13 Moons)

The re-watch of Halloween that finally clicked for me in a big way

The Detective: “I really like chasing you”
The Driver: “Sounds like you’ve got a problem” (The Driver)

Jordan in Jubilee
Jordan in Jubilee

The women of Jubilee, especially Jordan lip-syncing to Suzi Pinns’s “Rule Britannia”. Everyone else can go home

The far more compelling than they needed to be supporting cast of Eyes of Laura Mars (Tommy Lee Jones, Raul Julia, René Auberjonois)

Speaking of great casts, pretty sure the combination of Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy and Jeff Goldblum can’t be topped (Invasion of the Body Snatchers)

Banner Years for (not exhaustive): Brooke Adams (Days of Heaven, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Richard Pryor (Blue Collar, The Wiz, California Suite), Gordon Liu (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Heroes of the East, Shaolin Mantis (haven’t seen last one), Elliott Gould (The Silent Partner, Capricorn One, The Big Sleep (haven’t see the last one)), Mia Farrow (Death on the Nile, Avalanche, A Wedding), Maggie Smith (Death on the Nile, California Suite), Suzannah York (The Shout, Superman, The Silent Partner), Jeff Goldblum (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Thank God It’s Friday, Remember My Name), Alan Bates (The Shout, An Unmarried Woman), John Hurt (Midnight Express, The Shout, Watership Down (voice), The Lord of the Rings (voice) (haven’t seen last one)), Jane Fonda (Coming Home, California Suite, Comes a Horseman (haven’t seen last one))

So many things I could pick from The Fury, but I’ll go with the peppy Paragon Institute montage accompanied by a proto-Harry Potter section of John Williams’s score (Video games are played! Frisbees are thrown! Laughs are had! Dogs are played with!)

Girlfriends 3

Girlfriends 2Girlfriends 1

All the sketchy dudes that pop up in Girlfriends

The “get Fats to shut up for five minutes” scene in Magic

The final scene of Capricorn One bringing me to tears (from laughter; slow-motion been more hilarious)

The pants burning scene in Drunken Master bringing me to tears (also from laughter)

The mosaic of evocative naturalism in Killer of Sheep  

Suggested 1978 Double Features:
The Fury/Eyes of Laura Mars (telekinetic horror cinema that plays with the act of ‘seeing’ to create intimacy with characters; filmmakers finding ways of allowing a film to interact with itself)
You Are Not Alone/Pretty Baby (Naturalistic coming-of-age films with controversial material regarding the telling/depiction of children (using child actors) in stories focused on sex/nudity. You can also thrown in The Demon for really thorny treatment of children but re: violence)
Violette Noziere/Remember My Name (Elusive Women Double Feature)
I Wanna Hold Your Hand/Thank God It’s Friday (Music-centric One Crazy Day/Night films)
The Shout/Long Weekend (use of sound/horror relating to Australia)
Drunken Master/Superman (Adorable Leading Men)

Favorite Shots of 1978 (in no way is this exhaustive. It’s more of a sampling):

A Wedding
A Wedding
fury7big
The Fury
Halloween
Halloween
Jubilee
Jubilee
Pretty Baby
Pretty Baby
Straight Time
Straight Time
The Fury
The Fury
The Demon
The Demon
Days of Heaven
Days of Heaven
The Meetings of Anna
The Meetings of Anna
Days of Heaven
Days of Heaven
Killer of Sheep
Killer of Sheep
The Shout
The Shout
The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter
Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
In a Year of 13 Moons
In a Year of 13 Moons
The Demon
The Demon
The Mafu Cage
The Mafu Cage
Violette Noziere
Violette Noziere
Satiemania
Satiemania
Krabat (The Sorcerer's Apprentice)
Krabat (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
Watership Down
Watership Down
Coma
Coma
The Driver
The Driver
In a Year of 13 Moons
In a Year of 13 Moons
The Fury
The Fury
Long Weekend
Long Weekend
The Mafu Cage
The Mafu Cage
Killer of Sheep
Killer of Sheep
Days of Heaven
Days of Heaven
The Mafu Cage
The Mafu Cage
The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter

What I’ll Remember About the Films of 2014: A Love Letter


I started my What I’ll Remember posts in 2012 and have since expanded to include one for each year in my Top Ten By Year project. The idea is that while everyone simply posts a Top Ten to cap off the past 12 months, I want to remember and pay tribute to the little things, those indelible moments within (and outside of) the myriad of films any given year has to offer. Because no matter what anyone else says, every year is a great year for film; you just need to know where to look. So without further ado, below are some of the meaningful smatterings and takeaways from 2014 films I hope to take with me moving forward:

Previous What I’ll Remember posts: 1943, 1958, 1965, 1992, 2012, 2013

I forgot to post my favorite posters of the year in my Top Fives post, so this post will be interspersed with the poster designs that stuck out the most to me along with credit to the designers/illustrators.

Some Blind Spots: Love is Strange, Selma, Goodbye to Language, Dear White People, Norte the End of History, Closed Curtain, The Strange Little Cat, Mr. Turner, The Rover, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Beyond the Lights, Wild, Still Alice, Why Don’t You Play in Hell, Leviathan, A Most Violent Year, Laggies, Top Five, Begin Again, etc)

Philip Seymour Hoffman
2014 will always be first the foremost The Year We Lost Philip

2014 will always be, second, the year I got to see and hear Joanna Newsom on the silver screen (Inherent Vice)

Under the Skin, my favorite film so far this decade. This whole list could just be specifics from this, so I’m just giving it a uniform shoutout. Changes the way you see the world around you, and yourself. Challenges what narrative filmmaking is/can be capable of.

A banner year (comparatively of course) for female directors (Selma, Unbroken, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, CitizenFour, Obvious Child, Honeymoon, It Felt Like Love, Night Moves, Beyond the Lights, Belle, Palo Alto, Olive Kitteridge, The Babadook, Hellion, 20,000 Days on Earth, Thou Was Mild and Lovely, See No Evil 2, Abuse of Weakness, Endless Love, Step Up All In, Laggies, Fed Up, Last Days in Vietnam, Awake, Fort Bliss, etc)

Gutsy narrative decisions in mainstream children’s fare (Maleficent, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The LEGO Movie)

Jim Jarmusch, always distinguishing and foregrounding his own experience/sense of location, this time with Detroit and Tangier (Only Lovers Left Alive)

Angelina Jolie and (and her subtly digitally enhanced beauty) in Maleficent, showing us the potential and gravitas of true star power. Film itself aside, she did not get enough credit for her work here

Satirizing and/or communicating through media (Gone Girl, Nightcrawler, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1)

Meta ruminations on the relevance of aging actors playing versions of themselves (The Congress, Birdman)

Designed by Jay Shaw
Designed by Jay Shaw

“Hate the sport! Hate the sport! Hate hate hate hate hate the sport!” (We Are the Best!)

Tyler Perry throwing gummy bears at Ben Affleck’s head (Gone Girl)

Just leave the music in your movies at the door and keep the rest, thanks (Into the Woods, Interstellar)

Michael Keaton isn’t playing himself in Birdman but Edward Norton certainly is

Oh how dearly I’d missed the Neptune crowd (Veronica Mars)

“Boy with Apple” and how long it takes Dmitry to realize its missing (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

The joys of watching actors actually act together in the same high-wire space (Birdman)

Realizing I’m a Gale/Liam Hemsworth apologist (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1)

Painted by Laura Baran, lettering by Theresa Berens
Painted by Laura Baran, lettering by Theresa Berens

Bigfoot and the chocolate banana (Inherent Vice)

Movies that provoked controversy and lively if exhaustive and often reductive discussions: The Wind Rises, Gone Girl, Boyhood

Edge of Tomorrow’s narrative switcharoo, slyly putting Tom Cruise ahead of the audience halfway through. Now we’re playing catch-up. We’re Emily Blunt.

Lots of dog killings this year you guys (John Wick, The Babadook, Cheap Thrills, Cavalry, Joe)

Thinking The Wind Rises was the most beautiful Studio Ghibli film I had seen…and then seeing The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Nicolas Cage’s delivery of “Kristy, call the cops before someone gets kills. Would you do that for me honey?”, quite literally the only thing about Joe I liked

The second time I’ve seen trichotillomania depicted in a film (Starry Eyes)

Spaceship? Spaceship! SPACESHIP! SPACESHIP!!!” (The LEGO Movie)

If anyone can tell me who designed this, I'd appreciate it!
If anyone can tell me who designed this, I’d appreciate it!

Holy shit, Emma Roberts can actually act (Palo Alto)

Acting Winners of 2014: Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin, Lucy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Runners Up: Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, Into the Woods), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle, Beyond the Lights), Marion Cotillard (The Immigrant, Two Days, One Night), Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men” S7.1, The One I Love, Listen Up Philip)

That kiss. My God, that kiss. (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Nina Hoss, A Most Wanted Man)

“Nothing in my hands, nothing in my hands” (The Babadook)

Jenny Agutter getting to kick so much ass in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Doppelgangers! (The Double, Enemy, The One I Love, Coherence, Muppets Most Wanted)

Bible Epics! (Noah, Exodus: Gods and Kings)

Sheila Vand, serving up vampiric Winona Ryder and Jane Adams as The Girl (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night)

The jarring experience of seeing dubbed versions of The Wind Rises and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya in theaters even though they are the most explicitly Japanese/engaged with Japanese history and culture films Studio Ghibli have ever released

Design and illustration by BLT Communications, LLC
Design and illustration by BLT Communications, LLC

Now that’s what horror can do. That’s why horror is the best (The Babadook)

Why oh why is Disney so committed to making everything look so visually ugly and/or flat? The mystery continues (Maleficent, Into the Woods)

The year that Scarlett Johannsson showed new levels of control, naturalism, and range in her craft. I’m convinced Broadway had something to do with it (Under the Skin, Lucy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Angelina Jolie making sure we feel the central violation/rape metaphor in Maleficent

Beginning of the end/end of an era melancholy that creeps up on you in The Grand Budapest Hotel and Inherent Vice

Whiplash throwing me for a loop by not being the competitive jazz drumming film I’d assumed, but a blistering sadomasochistic portrait of mutual destruction in the efforts to attain a futile level of greatness 

Marion Cotillard mastering the acute body language of depression (Two Days, One Night)

Realizing I need to listen to all the James Brown music (Get on Up)

Who would have thought a member of the Naked Brothers Band could unnerve me? (Palo Alto)

Designed by Brandon Schaefer
Designed by Brandon Schaefer

Red streaks in the sky; the descent (Godzilla)

Jake Gyllenhaal looking like Gumby in Nightcrawler, starring the whites of his eyes

“Play with my balls” (Birdman)

One last Philip Seymour Hoffman/Julianne Moore reunion for the road (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1)

Matt Damon making surprise appearances (Interstellar, The Zero Theorem)

Edge of Tomorrow for being the biggest surprise of 2014, an outlier in its comparatively original/non-franchise status

Lucy calls her mother (Lucy)

Rosamund Pike in her skivvies, crawling across the floor like some sort of arachnid in Gone Girl

Designed by Jay Shaw
Designed by Jay Shaw

The more I think about the bizarre sound mixing in Interstellar, the more I’m okay with it. If I can’t hear crucial not-so-great dialogue in favor of Hans Zimmer’s score, maybe this isn’t such a bad thing?

The Tom Hooper school of framing; sometimes magical, often off-putting (Ida)

A death scene to end all death scenes (Gone Girl)

Michael C. Hall’s character taking an eventual backseat in his own film (Cold in July)

The pastel streaks on human faces in The Boxtrolls’s and the film’s admirable commitment to filthiness

Being basically the only person who loves Vampire Academy. You’ll all come around eventually

Living in an age of blockbuster spectacles in which the industry has no idea how to instill wonder…except, all its other misgivings aside, Godzilla

Most successful use of exposition: Oculus

Teddy Blanks of CHIPS with artwork by Anna Bak-Kvapil
Teddy Blanks of CHIPS with artwork by Anna Bak-Kvapil

Joaquin Phoenix going full-Brando at the end of The Immigrant

Overreaching doppelganger atmospheres (piss-yellow and wiry Toronto in Enemy, admirable but tiresome Gilliam copy The Double)

A question for the ages; who is scarier – Ben Mendelsohn or J.K Simmons? (Answer? You’re both wrong, it’s Peter Mullan) (Starred Up, Whiplash)

Tom Hardy’s velvety voice in Locke

It’s so nice to see you again!! Sheila Kelley (The Guest), Nicholas Brendan (Coherence), Sherilyn Fenn (Raze), Sheryl Lee (White Bird in a Blizzard), Taylor Nichols (Godzilla)

“Be a shoe” (Snowpiercer)

Having a new favorite Wes Anderson character in Gustave (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Tilda Swinton in lots of makeup (Snowpiercer, The Zero Theorem, The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Reunions! Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line/Inherent Vice), Zoe Bell and Tracie Thoms (Death Proof/Raze), Song Kang-ho and Ko Ah-sung (The Host/Snowpiercer), the cast of Veronica Mars. I know there are others, but I’m blanking

Designed by Empire Design
Designed by Empire Design

That long take of Michel (Christophe Paou) coming out of the water as a killerthen he begins to put on his sneakers and puts himself back together as someone we, and Franck, recognize (Stranger by the Lake)

Reminder that Katee Sackhoff should be in everything (Oculus)

Inspired casting goes a long way folks (Gone Girl, Snowpiercer, Inherent Vice)

6 months later and I’m still wishing that Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” had been worked into Dawn of the Planet of the Apes somehow

Crying a lot during movies I’m lukewarm to because I’m a sap (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar)

And then sobbing at the end of The Wind Rises, knowing I had now seen all the Miyazaki there was to see

The first shot of Karen Gillan and her swinging ponytail in Oculus 

Watching Starred Up and having it gradually transform into the most invested narrative experience I had in 2014

Watching Tom Cruise play around with his persona and die over and over again (Edge of Tomorrow)

Designed by Neil Kellerhouse
Designed by Neil Kellerhouse

Realizing how attracted I am to ‘a mysterious man/woman enters the lives of etc.’ narratives (Borgman, The Guest)

Poor Ian (Only Lovers Left Alive)

Lyle Vincent’s black-and-white digital cinematography in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

The remarkable achievement of Space in Interstellar

The Robert DeNiro party (Neighbors)

Another age-old question: does Lucky McKee have another May in him? My hopes sink ever further (All Cheerleaders Die)

Coherence showing you can make an exceptional genre film with zero budget (and I mean zero budget)

Elisabeth Moss’s Ashley when Philip leaves her apartment, the most striking acting moment of 2014 (Listen Up Philip

Vin Diesel doing good by humankind for basically resurrecting his role in The Iron Giant (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Marion Cotillard’s coral pink tank in Two Days, One Night 

Seeing 20,000 Days on Earth in NYC with Nick Cave Q&A and solo piano performance, directors Q&A

More stuntmen who inherently understand the mechanics of action directing films please (John Wick)

Seeing There Will be Blood on a massive screen with live orchestral accompaniment and Jonny Greenwood was a year highlight for sure and my favorite theatrical experience of 2014

Films Seen in Theaters: 32
2014 Films Seen: 100

2014 Double Features I Had:
Birdman/John Wick
Only Lovers Left Alive/A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1958: A Love Letter


The What I’ll Remember posts are an ongoing tradition; it’s a logbook of sorts and a way to pay tribute to the year-specific viewing I’ve done. It’s also a way of stressing that, while the Top Ten by Year list is the endgame, the process  is what counts. There are takeaways, good and bad, everywhere, and here are some of them.

jaques-tati-mon-oncle

The meddlesome ultramodern house in Mon Oncle

The 1950’s, the cinematic era of theater (Auntie Mame, Gigi, The Matchmaker, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Bell Book & Candle, Anna Lucasta, Separate Tables)

Banner Years for: Kim Novak, Shirley Maclaine, Deborah Kerr, Tony Curtis, Charlton Heston, Burl Ives, Jeanne Moreau, Paul Newman, Dorothy Malone, Jimmy Stewart, David Niven

The sweet buffoonery of Big Deal on Madonna Street

Gert Fröbe, Burl Ives, and Lee J. Cobb are scary scary men….. (It Happened in Broad Daylight, The Big Country, Man of the West)

touch of evil

….but they have nothing (to be fair, does anybody?) on Orson Welles in Touch of Evil, whose bloated monstrous visage spills into every composition

Marlene Dietrich living every fatalistic line of dialogue as Tanya in Touch of Evil (“Your future’s all used up”, “What does it matter what you say about people”)

Two vastly underseen showbiz biopics (Too Much Too Soon and The Goddess)

Marilyn Monroe didn’t have a film released in 1958, yet Kim Stanley plays a thinly veiled version of her in the probing The Goddess. A worthy technician with none of her spark.

Dorothy Malone
Dorothy Malone’s tattered drunken mess in the harrowing nadir moment of Too Much Too Soon

In his last film appearance, Errol Flynn playing friend John Barrymore but also in turn playing himself in Too Much Too Soon

“The stoplight was against me” (Cry Terror!)

Peter Cushing, so slick in that red velvet (Horror of Dracula)

The laidback ahead of its time eccentricity of Murder by Contract 

the music roomThe kathak dance in The Music Room

“His last words were…” (The Lineup)

Forget Christopher Lee, Carol Marsh is Horror of Dracula’s MVP

Horror goes Technicolor (The Blob, Horror of Dracula, The Fly)

Ginnie and Ms. French in the classroom accompanied by visual hierarchy (Some Came Running)

Soaked breasts; the latest weapon against censorship (Cairo Station, The Haunted Strangler)

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Confirmed suspicions that Dorothy Malone is not appreciated nearly as much as she deserves (The Tarnished Angels, Too Much Too Soon)

Starting in media res (Terror in a Texas Town)

“Haaaaaaarrrrrrrryyyyyyy!!!!” (Attack of the 50ft Woman)

Sterling Hayden with an endearingly terrible Swedish accent, bringing a harpoon to a gunfight (Terror in a Texas Town)

Man of the West reminding me I need to catch up with Anthony Mann’s filmography

Being unprepared for Man of the West’s descent into torment; it’s the true horror film of 1958

Two films each from Vincente Minnelli, Douglas Sirk, Ingmar Bergman (Some Came Running & Gigi, The Tarnished Angels & A Time to Love and a Time to Die, The Magician & Brink of Life)

Gigi1958c02
The red room in Gigi

The final five minutes of Some Came Running

Postwar life in The Tarnished Angels and Some Came Running (WWI and II respectively)

Suggested Double Features:
Vertigo/Bell Book & Candle
Some Came Running/The Tarnished Angels
Gigi/Auntie Mame
The Goddess/Too Much Too Soon
Murder by Contract/The Lineup 

Real life ex-couple Eartha Kitt and Sammy Davis Jr. (in his film debut) sizzling onscreen together in Anna Lucasta

Have I mentioned how grateful I am for Jack Carson? (The Tarnished Angels, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)

Screen shot 2012-05-15 at 2.59.11 AM
The constantly evolving interior decorating in Auntie Mame’s living quarters

Breakdowns in communication as the starting place (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Tarnished Angels) and the finish line (Bonjour Tristesse)

Most intriguing use of screen persona: Rock Hudson in The Tarnished Angels (also; Rock Hudson screaming “Embalming fluid!!!”)

Least Favorite Film Characters of 1958: Agnes Gooch (Peggy Cass; Auntie Mame), Mae Pollitt (Madeleine Sherwood; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Gwen French (Martha Hyer; Some Came Running), Horace Vandergelder (Paul Ford; The Matchmaker)

Favorite Characters of 1958: Midge (Barbara Bel Geddes; Vertigo), Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak; Bell Book and Candle), Ginnie (Shirley MacLaine; Some Came Running), Jiggs (Jack Carson; The Tarnished Angels), Mame Dennis (Rosalind Russell; Auntie Mame); Pat Cooper (Wendy Hiller, Separate Tables)

Ingrid Thulin looking really hot in drag (The Magician)

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Gigi’s green coat (Gigi)

Seberg + Preminger Take 2 (Bonjour Tristesse)

Sirk channeling Von Sternberg (The Tarnished Angels)

Wondering if I’m one of those people doomed to find the majority of Ozu’s work merely pleasant (Equinox Flower)

More Afqa film stock please (Equinox Flower)

Dynamation! (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad)

Jean-Seberg-Bonjour-Tristesse

Jean Seberg looking through us as she breaks the fourth wall (Bonjour Tristesse)

Jeanne Moreau walking the streets to Miles Davis (Elevator to the Gallows)

1958; the year of canon films that Katie has varying degrees of dislike, indifference, or merely moderate positivity towards (The Hidden Fortress, Mon Oncle, Equinox Flower, Elevator to the Gallows, Big Deal on Madonna Street, Cairo Station, Ashes & Diamonds, etc etc :dodges all of the tomatoes:)

Jeanne Moreau’s pearls and orgasm in The Lovers

Poor Dandelo (The Fly)

The pale pinks and the red teapot in Equinox Flower

The Matchmaker Perkins Morse

Anthony Perkins and Robert Morse being adorable together, hiding and peeking out of places (The Matchmaker)

The memorable cinematography starring Flashlights and Snow in the final sequences of Le Beau Serge

The needle in a haystack existence of a non-musical 1950’s film with an all-black cast led by the incomparable Eartha Kitt, yet nobody has seen it! Fix that people! (Anna Lucasta)

I want a cat so I can name it Pyewacket (Bell, Book & Candle)

Elsa Lanchester + bongo playing Jack Lemmon = greatest kooky relatives ever? (Bell, Book and Candle)

“America is Japan” (Giants & Toys)

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The exhausting physicality on display in The Defiant Ones

The lighter superimposition montages of Giants & Toys

Mendacity (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)

Elizabeth Taylor’s delivery of “He says ‘bull’ when he’s disgusted” (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)

The somehow charming exclusively experiential ethos present in Gigi and Auntie Mame

Speaking of Gigi and Auntie Mame, both showcase a strangely cavalier attitude towards death and/or near death

All of Kim Novak’s costumes in Bell Book and Candle please, thank you

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Auntie Mame and Bonjour Tristesse title pictures from Art of the Title

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Battle of the title sequences (Auntie Mame, Bonjour Tristesse, Vertigo)

Jimmy Stewart obsessed with Kim Novak x2 (Vertigo, Bell Book and Candle)

Mame Dennis’s camp and costumes (Auntie Mame)

Rosalind Russell fine tuning the sitcom style of acting (this is meant as a high compliment) (Auntie Mame)

Marveling at how Separate Tables manages to make its Acceptance of a Sexual Predator ending genuinely moving

Extensive San Francisco location shooting (Vertigo, The Lineup)

A handful of favorite shots:

The Magician Bergmanashesanddiamonds1le beau serfejeanne-moreau-les-amants-twotarnishedangls5Kim-Novak-Collection_DVD_R1_Disc2_Bell-Book_03215vertigo-grey-suit-flower-shop

What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1992: A Personal Sampling


Time to continue the What I’ll Remember post tradition; a logbook of sorts, a way to pay tribute to all the year-specific viewing I’ve done and to point out some notables that stuck for me. It’s also a way of stressing that, while the Top Ten list is something I love working towards, it’s really a means to an end. It goes without saying, but the most important part is the process and journey of watching and re-watching these films in a concentrated and time-specific fashion. This is the first year I’ve completed that I was alive for (5 years old), so more of these remembrances than usual are from outside the films themselves.

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“Tammy” (The Long Day Closes)

Dream Awards Ballot: 1992 Best Actress Edition: Sheryl Lee (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me), Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns), Alfre Woodard (Passion Fish), Tilda Swinton (Orlando), Romaine Bohringer (Savage Nights)

At least Keanu Reeves is affable; the real stinker of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is Anthony Hopkins

The slow burning imagery of Bad Lieutenant and Harvey Keitel’s limpness/dying animal wails

“Anything you can do I can do better” – Kristen Scott Thomas, telling Hugh Doofus Grant like it is, later proving it in spades with her sultry boat rocking dance with Emmanuelle Seigner (Bitter Moon)

1992 is a special year because if Sheryl Lee gives the female performance of the 1990’s in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Michelle Pfeiffier also gives my favorite female performance of the 1990’s, and possibly the one that means the most on a personal and formative level.

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The primal contorted ferocity and awkwardness of Damage’s sex scenes

Wes Studi packing more loaded meaning and subtlety into that simple, quick hand gesture than most convey with their whole bodies (The Last of the Mohicans)

Somehow watching 3 1992 films in a short period of time that all take place/lead up-to New Year’s Eve (Peter’s Friends, A Tale of Winter, Bitter Moon)

Hexxus scaring the bejeezus out of me as a child and adult (Ferngully: The Last Rainforest)

Watching Medicine Man in 7th grade Social Studies and having our teacher absurdly fast-forward the Amazonian-set nudity

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John Lithgow trying (keyword trying) to be badass (Raising Cain)

The fact that an innovative effects driven film for 1992 constitutes a scaled down black comedy about catty bitches (oh how times have sadly changed) (Death Becomes Her)

“We’ll have barbecue jumbo shrimp motherfuckerrrrrr!!!” Deep Cover courtesy of Jeff Goldblum

The amusing sight that is Jeffrey Combs in a blue jumpsuit in Doctor Mordrid 

Notable female directed films of 1992: Orlando, Gas Food Lodging, Wayne’s World, A League of Their Own, Just Another Girl on the I.R.T

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The wallpapers and costumes of Centre Stage, both by Lai Pan (and my favorite wallpaper in a film goes to…..yup, up above)

Films playing with ‘mockumentary’ styles for bracing effects (Bob Roberts, Husbands and Wives, Man Bites Dog)

Awards Dream Ballot: 1992 Best Actor Edition: Denzel Washington (Malcolm X), Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant), Daniel Auteil (A Heart in Winter), Al Pacino (Glengarry Glen Ross), Bill Paxton (One False Move) 

The agonizing sight of Lyman Ward taking the stand in Brother’s Keeper

Buying Little Heroes (starring Fuzz the dog and Fritz the paperboy) on VHS from Video Visions when it was closing down years ago because it was the best worst film I’d seen in eons

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That costume (or put better, a top made of ornate costume jewelry) worn by Isabella Rossellini in Death Becomes Her

Dressing up as Catwoman for Halloween as a youngster, and hoping to go as pre-psychotic break Selina Kyle this year (Batman Returns)

Bitter Moon, the only film where you can see Emmanuelle Seigner pour milk down her breasts while looking like a zombie as Peter Coyote licks her chest as George Michael’s “Faith” plays in the background

Wondering if the fish-lensed in-your-face formal madcap, to the point of discomfort, qualities of both Dead Alive and Strictly Ballroom is a coincidence

That Bob Roberts somehow manages to reach horror levels of creepy with its what’s-underneath-the-surface investigation and Tim Robbins’s impenetrable programmed rebel conservative

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The floundering fistlight between Porco Rosso and Curtis (Porco Rosso)

Films that address race relations or issues of race (One False Move, Deep Cover, Candyman, Love Field, Malcolm X, Gas Food Lodging, Passion Fish)

Dream Awards Ballot: 1992 Supporting Actor Edition: Jack Lemmon (Glengarry Glen Ross), Jaye Davidson (The Crying Game), Forest Whitaker (The Crying Game), Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs), Ray Wise (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me)

The seemingly unending set of frustrations with Enchanted April, and the character of Lotte

Robin Williams; wisecracking sidekick voice artist extraordinaire (Aladdin, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest)

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Eiko Ishioka slaying us all with the intricate, pulsing and now iconic costumes of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Winona’s outfit above, which we barely get a glimpse at, a personal favorite)

Being reminded that Dr. Ernest Menville is my favorite Bruce Willis performance (Death Becomes Her)

“Masturbate in hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'” (Full Contact)

Amanda getting to participate in 1992 craziness with our viewings of Baraka, Husbands and Wives, The Last of the Mohicans, Peter’s Friends, Enchanted April, Dead Alive, and A Tale of Winter. This included post-film discussions and of extremely important happenings like considering Daniel Day-Lewis’s Peak Pretty, fawning over Liam Neeson in Husbands and Wives, the cuteness of Felicie in A Tale of Winter, Peter Jackson’s career, who is the worst in Husbands and Wives (Jack), and simultaneously having appreciation for and then giving up on humanity thanks to Baraka.

“Look, cows: this movie has everything!” – Amanda on her long-felt love for The Last of the Mohicans

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Andrew Garfield doppelganger as a greasy Satanist in Doctor Mordrid!

“Women are lonely in the 90’s; it’s our new phase” – Gas, Food, Lodging

 Bit player Jeremy Piven (The Player, Bob Roberts, Singles)

My complicated hate-hate-kind-of-appreciate-hate feelings for Lori Petty’s work and character in A League of Their Own

Uncommonly irreconcilable and complicated relationships (and our difficult relationship with the relationships) at the heart of Howards End

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This shot, the funky costumes, and the purple room in Naked Killer

The propulsive hands-on stunt work performed by Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh in Supercop

Urinating babies, the five minute tracking shot, and baby-faced crane building Tony Leung in Hard Boiled

The melding of memory and music in The Long Day Closes

A Heart in Winter, the only time Emmanuelle Beart is involved in a love triangle where her love goes unrequited

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The unsurpassable WTFuckery of Society’s orgiastic final act. The only place you can watch a man being fisted until a hand comes out of his mouth, pokes out his eyeballs and, finally, rips his face apart

Banner Years for: Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs, Bad Lieutenant, Sister Act), Miranda Richardson (Enchanted April, The Crying Game, Damage), Tim Robbins (The Player, Bob Roberts), and Introducing Actor Sydney Pollack! (Husbands and Wives, The Player, Death Becomes Her)

10 Favorite Characters of 1992: Selina Kyle (Batman Returns), Mr. White (Reservoir Dogs), Chantelle (Passion Fish), Shade (Gas Food Lodging), Linguere Ramatou (Hyenes), Charles Dickens and Rizzo the Rat (The Muppet Christmas Carol) Bonnie (The Player), Ricky Roma (Glengarry Glen Ross), Luc Deveraux (Universal Soldier), Orlando (Orlando)

Stephen “It’s just that I’m not really in the vagina business” Fry (Peter’s Friends)

“Oh no, I’m not a pilot, but, I know what’s going to happen. We’re going to spin and die” – producer in making of Baraka doc

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Forever wishing that Mae and Doris from A League of Their Own had a spin-off in some form

Similar hopeful endings about the deep connections between two people (The Crying Game and Light Sleeper)

Least Favorite Film Characters of 1992: Lotte (Enchanted April), Andrew (Peter’s Friends), Carol (Peter’s Friends), Kit (A League of Their Own), Veronica Roberts (Universal Soldier), Jack (Husbands and Wives), Henry Wilcox (Howards End)

I really don’t know where to start with Batman Returns (I really don’t, I could have a separate list it), so I’ll leave much of that for my final write-up. But Christopher Walken’s reading of “Santa Claus? ‘Fraid not” is a perfect morsel of indifference and how he lets that performance register as a series of abstract statements.

The final 15 minutes of The Last of the Mohicans, which will get some dissection in a later post

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Playfully breaking through gender and the fourth wall with Tilda Swinton in Orlando

It can only go up from here – starting my 1992 viewings with turkey Innocent Blood

Bill Pullman’s laughable “Hiya cutie”, quite possibly the least appealing and unintentionally funny husband-returns-from-war scene (A League of Their Own)

Footage of post-Gulf War Kuwait in the apocalyptic Lessons of Darkness and Baraka

Being in 9th grade and watching Of Mice and Men in English class, which, all of things, promptly kick started my yearlong John Malkovich phase/obsession in a big way

If you ever wanted to see Willem Dafoe be adorable and smile a lot (in a Paul Schrader film, no less!) look no further (Light Sleeper)

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Speaking of adorable, look no further than Christopher Reeve in Noises Off…!

Speaking of adorable, look no further than Steven Bauer in Raising Cain!

Speaking of adorable, look no further than Jean-Claude Van Damme (and his derriere) in Universal Soldier!

The faces-only outback intimacy of The Player’s central sex scene

Debbie’s dating video (Singles)

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The Paula Prentiss fishing montage in Rock Hudson’s Home Movies

De Palma’s riff on the exposition scene in Psycho (Raising Cain)

Dream Awards Ballot: 1992 Supporting Actress: Dana Delaney (Light Sleeper), Miranda Richardson (Damage), Vanessa Redgrave (Howards End), Judy Davis (Husbands and Wives), Isabella Rossellini (Death Becomes Her)

Habeas Corpus starring Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts (The Player)

Having so much empathy for poor patronized Sam in Husbands and Wives

Hedgehog or fox? (Husbands and Wives)

 

What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1943: A Personal Sampling


By the end of this week I’ll have my Top Ten By Year: 1943 up. But now I continue my new tradition, the What I’ll Remember post, a way for me to pay tribute to all the year-specific viewing I’ve done and to point out a lot of notables that stuck out to me. It’s also a way of stressing that, while the Top Ten list is something I love working towards, it’s really a means to an end. It goes without saying, but the most important part is the process and journey of watching and re-watching these films.

Ossessione

The reversal of the male gaze in Ossessione

Big game hunting marks the years with mounted wit in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

Edith Waters going from drab to fab in Cabin in the Sky’s last sinful 30 minutes before the film pulls a Wizard of Oz in more ways than one.

Phallic bananas and neon-lit pink hula hoops and disembodied heads (The Gang’s All Here)

“You’re going to kill someone Mr. Tyler” (Flesh and Fantasy)

Joan Fontaine giving the best and worst work I’ve seen from her in The Constant Nymph and Jane Eyre respectively. The former a freakishly on-point portrayal of awkward fawning teenagedom, the latter a constipated characterless interpretation of an iconic title character.

The torturous interrogation of frail elderly women in Hangmen Also Die! and Day of Wrath

Life and Death of Colonel Blimp Kerr

Edith’s costumes and hats in Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, particularly her first hat and the dress she wears when Theo arrives in his wheelchair to play cards

“I think she could do better” – The Ox-Bow Incident

Looney Tunes quotables like “AAAAYY, FATSO?” and “Meadows????” (“Porky Pig’s Feat” and “The Aristo-Cat”)

Achille, the sadistic family dwarf in L’Éternel retour, threat to the disturbingly Aryan perfection of Jean Marais and Madeleine Sologne

Two musicals with all African American casts starring Lena Horne (Stormy Weather and Cabin in the Sky)

The softness of the birches vs. the hardness of the austere interiors, with Lisbeth Movin’s face bridging the two by embodying both in Day of Wrath

The blatant eroticism of The More the Merrier

Joseph Cotton’s line reading of “Do you know the world is a foul sty?” in Shadow of a Doubt

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The Nicholas Brothers jaw-dropping am-I-really-seeing-what-I-think-I’m-seeing feat of a tap dancing number in Stormy Weather

The Leopard Man’s uncommon empathy for its victims

Hollywood narrative propaganda/morale boosters ranging from the small town homefront (The Human Comedy), to male teamwork in combat (Air Force), to women in the field (So Proudly We Hail!), to anti-neutrality after the fact (Watch on the Rhine).

The passage of time; history through people (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp) and life removed from history (Heaven Can Wait)

“Henry van Cleve, do I look like the type of girl who would take a boy’s last beetle?” (Heaven Can Wait)

Barbara Stanwyck doing splits in Lady of Burlesque!

Bette Davis in pantless PJ’s in Old Acquaintance!

Watching Jane Eyre with my best friend, with disappointment morphing into hilarity. Orson Welles channeling Ron Burgundy in the final scene is the cherry on top of a shitty sundae.

The Aristo-Cat (6)

The background design work in “Wackiki Wabbit” and “The Aristo-cat”

The most painfully uncomfortable smoking scene I can think of. Be a little more conspicuous Laughton. Or just get a grip on yourself for God’s sake. (This Land is Mine)

Realizing I’d virtually never run out of moments from The More the Merrier to put on here, so I stopped before getting too ahead of myself.

The iconic Jacqueline, fur coat and jet black hair severely framing her face as protective shields against the world (The Seventh Victim)

The final act long con pay-off of Hangmen Also Die!

The watchful dead and an orphan stalker obstruct the process of mourning before the Macauley family even learns of the death of their son in the final minute of The Human Comedy

Val Lewton at the height of his craft at RKO, an embarrassment of riches for one year (The Seventh Victim, I Walked with a Zombie, The Leopard Man) (And The Ghost Ship, which I don’t really care for)

Everyone is looking at him like, "Uggh, this fucking kid"
Everyone is looking at him like, “Uggh, this fucking kid”

May I present Bodo, the most obnoxious kid in the history of film (Watch on the Rhine)

May I present Ann, the most precocious kid in the history of film (Shadow of a Doubt)

As long as we’re talking kids, what about the adolescent Rolande, bespectacled omnipresent ball-bouncer in Le Corbeau?

Jean Arthur’s slippery revelation, and in face cream to boot (The More the Merrier)

The rural or isolated settings of French films made during the Occupation (Lumiere d’ete, La Main du Diable, Le Corbeau, L’Éternel retour, Angels of Sin)

The Von Sternberg-like masked ball revelry in Lumiere d’ete and Flesh and Fantasy

The fragrant Romanticism of The Constant Nymph

“Very much” (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp)

Charlotte Greenwood

Charlotte Greenwood picking up a cat like it’s a phone (The Gang’s All Here)

An important secondary character being played by a child in blackface, engulfing The Man in Grey in supreme awkwardness amidst the picture’s otherwise entertaining luridness

Leopard-led publicity stunt with Jean Brooks in tow (The Leopard Man)

“And our message is ‘death is good’” – Val Lewton (The Seventh Victim)

“Survey or no survey, I’m not going to start by breaking an egg” (Shadow of a Doubt)

Dull romantic male leads (George Reeves in So Proudly We Hail!, Hugh Beaumont in The Seventh Victim, John Loder in Old Acquaintance, James Ellison in The Gang’s All Here)

The hero worship I have of Bette Davis’s Kit, particularly in the first segment of Old Acquaintance. Like, I just want us to be best friends.

Purchasing Walt Disney’s On the Front Lines for my DVD collection

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Hume Cronyn, adorably needy as the friend who just wants to conceptualize and discuss murdering Henry Travers with Henry Travers in Shadow of a Doubt

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Master of Speech-Making, Charles Laughton (This Land is Mine)

Wait a minute folks! I present the Co-Master of Speech-Making, Anton Walbrook (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp)

Hold on! I’ve got one more! I present the Master of Letter-Reading (and as a result of Speech Making!); Henry Fonda in The Ox-Bow Incident

Resistance films portraying European struggles as primarily relatable and recognizable as something vaguely American. Prioritizing the ‘what if it happened to us’ angle (Hangmen Also Die! and This Land is Mine)

Still not having even an inkling of an idea of how to interpret or take or reconcile or feel about the last ten minutes of The More the Merrier

“Ah woe, ah me. Shame and sorrow for the family” – I Walked with a Zombie

Once again reminded of the warm spell Powell/Pressburger cast, a concoction all their own (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp)

The Ox-Bow Incident

The shot obscuring Henry Fonda’s eyes as he reads Donald Martin’s (Dana Andrews) letter in The Ox-Bow Incident

Queen Carmen Miranda and her tutti frutti hat (The Gang’s All Here)

The surrealistic frenzy of the final minute of “Der Fuhrer’s Face”

Jean Arthur’s hair during the roof scene. Yowza. And Joel McCrea in general. Double Yowza. (The More the Merrier)

Appreciating the combination of Gothic tropes, West Indies, and colonialism in my re-watch of I Walked with a Zombie and the fact that it’s a far better Jane Eyre adaptation than Jane Eyre.

Back-to-back deaths of uncommon cruelty in The Man in Grey

The not-nearly-discussed-enough and quite moving role of Emmy in Shadow of a Doubt

I Walked with a Zombie

Val Lewton’s now-trademark nighttime strolls courtesy of Jacques Tourneur and Mark Robson with existential dread (The Seventh Victim), cornfields littered with symbolism (I Walked with a Zombie) and blood seeping under a door (The Leopard Man)

They don’t want to die! (Day of Wrath and The Ox-Bow Incident)

Everything about Betty Field in, hollow-lit masked Ugly Duckling, in Flesh and Fantasy

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” (The More the Merrier)