George Loomis: Let me tell you something. You’re young, you’re in love. Well, I’ll give you a warning. Don’t let it get out of hand, like those falls out there. Up above. . .d’you ever see the river up above the falls? It’s calm, and easy, and you throw in a log, it just floats around. Let it move a little further down and it gets going faster, hits some rocks, and… in a minute it’s in the lower rapids, and. . .nothing in the world – including God himself, I suppose – can keep it from going over the edge. It just – goes.
Polly Cutler: Don’t worry. I’m one of those logs that just hang around in the calm.
Lewt McCanles: I’m riding back to that hitching post and then turning and starting to shoot.
Jesse McCanles: It’s more than you did for Sam Pierce! Why all the consideration?
Lewt McCanles: Just don’t want them fancy friends of yours to say you had a brother who shot you down in cold blood.
I was pretty happy with last year’s Holiday Gift Guide, so I thought I’d do it again this year. This year gifts range from $5 books to $250 dollar box sets. I’ve scoured Amazon for the best box sets, as well as added some films and books that have made my year pretty great. I think there’s a little something for everyone here. Treat yourself. Treat the movie lover in your life. Treat your favorite film blogger. Everything you need can be found in this handy, dandy guide. I upped this year’s list from 15 to 20 items because there were just so many great new Blu and box set releases this year!
God I love this film. I first saw it during Summer Under the Stars in 2010 at about 2 in the morning after having watched five other Bergman films that day. I think I must have dosed off during it because a few months later when I fell really hard for Joseph Cotten and was looking at his filmography, I saw he was one of the co-stars and I didn’t remember his character at all! Luckily, at the TCM Film Festival in 2011, I got a second chance to see the film, this time on the gigantic screen at the Chinese Theater. During that day I had seen two other Cotten films on the big screen (Citizen Kane and Niagara), so I was on a bit of a Cotten high. What a great day that was. And what a great film, too! I now own it (thank you very much Warner Archive!) and have watched it several times. I would be lying if I told you the following look at the film is going to go pretty heavy into Jo Cotten’s wardrobe. Also, it will contain spoilers regarding the plot twist. So if you’ve never seen it before, you might want to look away. Gaslight was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning two: Best B&W Art Director (won), Best B&W Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress Angela Lansbury, Best Actor Charles Boyer, Best Actress Ingrid Bergman (won) and Best Picture. George Cukor was not nominated for Best Director, however. Actually, this was one of those years where Best Director lined up with three of the nominated films, while two director were nominated without Best Picture nominations (Otto Preminger for Laura and Alfred Hitchcock for Lifeboat). The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Double Indemnity, Since You Went Away, Wilson and winner Going My Way. I should also mention that there is a British version of Gaslight from 1940 that stars Anton Walbrook and Diana Wynyard, though I have yet to see it.
This year’s Film Preservation Blogathon has a Hitchcock connection, click here to read all about it, thus I decided to write about Shadow of a Doubt. Partly because it is my favorite Hitchcock film and partly because today is Joseph Cheshire Cotten’s birthday. It’s a win-win. Look for the banner at the end of this post to donate to the cause.
Last year I watched 517 new-to-me films and I thought that number was ridiculously large. Well, this year not only did I reach that number, I surpassed it with an additional 600 new-to-me films, bringing my grand total to 1,117 new-to-me films for 2011. Don’t believe me? There’s a list after the cut of every film, broken down by month so you can see just exactly what films I watched. I don’t know how to explain how I watched so many films. I will say, it all started with a bet from CybelDP on Twitter. The rest, as they say, is history.
Some life information: for the first half of the year I worked as a substitute teacher (which meant only 1 to 2 days of work a week) and lived in the back of my parents’ house and watched Turner Classic Movies non-stop. From the end of May on I moved to San Francisco, where I now go to the Academy of Art University working towards an MFA in film editing. Yet, somehow amongst all that I managed to watch A LOT OF FRICKIN’ MOVIES. I also watched a lot of movies in theaters (thank you very much Castro Theatre) for the first time that were films I’d already seen. If you take a look at each of my monthly wrap-ups, I talk about what films those were.
Last year in my end of the year post I wrote about how many films with certain stars that I’d seen and stuff like that. The sheer volume of films I saw this year makes that task pretty difficult. I will say, I saw a lot of films featuring the following and if you want to try to look through my list and figure out exact numbers, be my guest: Orson Welles, Buster Keaton, James Cagney, Lew Ayres, Joseph Cotten, Joel McCrea, Glenn Ford, Henry Fonda, Ray Milland, Robert Taylor, Ryan O’Neal, Joan Blondell, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Jean Harlow. There are probably others whose filmographies I put giant dents in this year, but those are the ones that really stuck out. Speaking of filmographies, I also finished a handful of director filmographies this year: Woody Allen, Jim Jarmusch and Martin Scorsese. I also came close to finishing off Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick and Elia Kazan and watched a bunch of films by Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, Fritz Lang and John Ford. I also discovered a love for Westerns that I never knew I had (well, other than Clint Eastwood westerns, which I always loved). Oh, and I’ve only got 76 Best Picture nominated films left to see. That’s out of 487 films total, so I think I’m doing pretty well there.
One last thing before I reveal the list and my favorite new-to-me film of the year: in this past year I have felt more intellectually stimulated than I have ever felt before. Everyday I watched films and every film that I watched I gathered new information and my brain felt so alive and so active; it’s an amazing feeling for sure. I would go to bed thinking about the films I’d watched that day and the actors and directors and screenwriters that I learned about. I would think about Cedric Gibbons and Douglas Shearer and the amazing jobs they did at MGM and Irving Thalberg’s genius and how I wish I could be as prolific as Woody Allen. Then I would wake up the next day and start all over again and the more I watched the more everything fit together, the more I got from every film because I could see how it fit within the framework of cinema’s history. It was an amazing year of discovery and reflection and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
And, now, without further ado, the list. Ps. there’s more writing after the list, so please keep reading! Also, for some reason WordPress can’t handle a bulleted list that has four digits, so it cuts off the numbers towards the end of the list. But I think you can still figure out what’s what.
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