March Madness, Or How I Watched 144 Films in 31 Days

Somehow, despite subbing more in March than in January and February combined, I watched more new-to-me films than those same two months. I also read 2.5 books, but that’s another story. TCM’s star of the month was Jean Harlow, so I watched every film of her’s they showed (except the two I’d already seen). Via Netflix I saw some real essentials (I only have three films left from the combined AFI 100 Years…100 Films list; 123 films in all); you can see Oscar Vault Monday links to two of them below (I also included links to some films I reviewed for YAM Magazine). Also, for the first time ever, I have seen at least one film from eleven different decades. That’s a feat I hope to duplicate often. All and all March was a great month for me and films. As per usual, after the cut there is a full list of all the new-to-me films, as well as five favorites.

  1. The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, & Observation of David Copperfield the Younger
  2. A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
  3. Cabaret
  4. The Human Comedy
  5. Test Pilot
  6. The Dresser
  7. The Emperor Waltz
  8. Jezebel
  9. All This, and Heaven Too
  10. Ieri, oggi, domani (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow)
  11. Captain Blood (1935)
  12. Kings Row (1942)
  13. Four Daughters
  14. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
  15. Kiss of Death (1947)
  16. Sullivan’s Travels
  17. New York Stories
  18. Obsession
  19. Shall We Dance (1937)
  20. The Star
  21. Tortilla Flat
  22. Between Two Worlds
  23. D.O.A. (1950)
  24. Storm In A Teacup
  25. The Richest Girl in the World
  26. Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear)
  27. Georgy Girl
  28. High Noon
  29. The Gold Rush
  30. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)
  31. The Sunshine Boys (1975)
  32. Ginger e Fred (Ginger & Fred)
  33. The Three Musketeers (1948)
  34. Safe in Hell
  35. Scaramouche (1952)
  36. Texas (1941)
  37. The Last Station
  38. Two Weeks in Another Town
  39. Red-Headed Woman
  40. Three Wise Girls
  41. Riffraff (1936)
  42. Suzy
  43. Indiscretion of An American Wife
  44. More Than a Secretary
  45. The Age of Consent (1932)
  46. Bed of Roses (1933)
  47. Stella Dallas (1937)
  48. Ten Cents a Dance (1931)
  49. Shopworn
  50. Father Is a Bachelor
  51. Repo Man
  52. A Canterbury Tale
  53. Apocalypse Now
  54. The Last Picture Show
  55. The Harder They Fall
  56. Love Me Tonight
  57. Going Hollywood
  58. Shanghai Express
  59. La passion de Jeanne d’Arc
  60. Saint Joan
  61. For Heaven’s Sake (1926)
  62. Green Light
  63. The Story of Mankind
  64. Husbands and Wives
  65. The Man from Laramie
  66. The Pumpkin Eater
  67. The Rich Are Always with Us
  68. So Big! (1932)
  69. They Call It Sin
  70. Week-end Marriage
  71. The Painted Veil (1934)
  72. The Right To Live (1935)
  73. Robot Monster
  74. The Public Enemy
  75. Bombshell
  76. Reckless
  77. Personal Property
  78. I Live My Life
  79. Manhattan Murder Mystery
  80. Sunnyside Up
  81. Follow The Fleet
  82. Bonjour tristesse
  83. Irene
  84. Carnal Knowledge
  85. Easy To Love (1934)
  86. In Caliente (aka Viva Senorita)
  87. The Cook (1918)
  88. The Boogens
  89. The Unsinkable Molly Brown
  90. Thunder Road
  91. Small Time Crooks
  92. Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)
  93. Sherlock Jr.
  94. The Natural
  95. Nashville
  96. MASH
  97. Broadway Melody of 1940
  98. The Boob
  99. I Take This Woman (1940)
  100. Wife Vs. Secretary
  101. Red Dust
  102. Hold Your Man (1933)
  103. China Seas
  104. The Secret Six
  105. Saratoga
  106. They Live By Night
  107. A Slight Case of Murder (1938)
  108. Take the Money and Run
  109. Shock Corridor
  110. Rich Man, Poor Girl
  111. The Jazz Singer (1927)
  112. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
  113. Berserk!
  114. Gypsy (1962)
  115. Guys and Dolls
  116. Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman
  117. Ohayō (Good Morning)
  118. The Big Street
  119. Sounds From A Town I Love
  120. Edge of the City
  121. Unknown (2011)
  122. 20,000 Years in Sing Sing
  123. Miss Grant Takes Richmond
  124. Pocketful of Miracles
  125. Oliver Twist (1948)
  126. Adventures of Don Juan
  127. The Land That Time Forgot
  128. The Secret Garden (1949)
  129. No Highway in the Sky
  130. Waterloo Bridge (1940)
  131. Waterloo Bridge (1931)
  132. Noah’s Ark (1928)
  133. Roma, città aperta (Rome, Open City)
  134. Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows)
  135. Strange Cargo (1940)
  136. Daisy Kenyon
  137. Taris, roi de l’eau
  138. Don’t Drink the Water (1994)
  139. This Woman Is Dangerous
  140. Goodbye, My Fancy
  141. The Damned Don’t Cry
  142. Dinner At Eight
  143. The Girl From Missouri
  144. The Beast of the City

1910s: 1
1920s: 9
1930s: 52
1940s: 27
1950s: 21
1960s: 10
1970s: 9
1980s: 6
1990s: 3
2000s: 4
2010s: 1

Picking five favorites this month was harder than usual, but I persevered and forced myself to choose. Last month two of my favorites were from the 80s. Oddly enough, this month one is from that decade, as well as two from the 70s. So here they are, my favorites. Sadly, there’s no Leslie Howard this month.

Cabaret, 1972 (dir. Bob Fosse)

This was one of the first films I saw in the month. It was one of TCM’s last films featured during their 31 Days of Oscar. I loved every minute of it, though because I’d seen a stage production of the show in college I was prepared for it to be much sadder than it actually was. Liza Minnelli was born to play that part and she attacks the role with such amazing gusto. Due to some wonderfully timed babysitting in the middle of the month, I had a little extra pocket money and I am happy to report that this film is now part of my DVD collection.

Repo Man, 1984 (dir. Alex Cox)

TCM shows cult movies on Friday nights. I like to DVR them and watch them on Saturday morning. Some of these films are better than others. One of the better ones they showed in March was Alex Cox’s debut feature Repo Man. This film is everything I want in a movie. It’s funny, it’s strange, there are great one-liners, the characters are interesting and there may or may not be dead aliens in the trunk of a car poised for repossesion. Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton are hilarious as a newbie repo man and a jaded vetran, respectively. This film is just good, clean, cult cinema at its finest.

La passion de Jeanne d’Arc, 1928 (dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer)

This is pure, viceral, emotional cinema as art. This is the kind of film that elevates cinema to the finest of fine arts and dares filmmakers to push the medium further and further. I find it fascinating that a film that is nearly 90 years old can be so powerful and feel as fresh and modern as ever. It is said that Maria Falconetti gives one of the finest screen performances of all time. This is no exaggeration. To paraphrase Norma Desmond, “we didn’t need words, we had faces.” Falconetti emotes an amazing range of emotions with just her eyes alone. I’m glad I’m not an actress; after seeing this I would just give up.

Personal Property, 1937 (dir. W.S. Van Dyke)

I actually already reviewed this film for YAM Magzine, and like the two films I wrote Oscar Vault Monday posts for, I wasn’t going to include this in my favorite five. But I just couldn’t not. This film is just too much fun. Jean Harlow and Robert Taylor have such amazing chemistry. This was actually Harlow’s penultimate film (her last was Saratoga), the star died at only 26 of renal failure. I would say its a shame she died so young, but at least she left an amazing body of work before she went. I’d also like to say that I used to hate Robert Taylor. He is so stiff and wooden in his 40s and 50s films, but in March I watched several of his 30s films and he used to be so charming! He’s great in screwball comedies. Whoever decided he needed to try costume dramas needs a punch in the face. Sadly, I don’t think this film is available on DVD. If it’s ever released, I will be the first one in line to buy it.

Carnal Knowledge, 1971 (dir. Mike Nichols)

Which brings me to 70s film #2. Mike Nichols is the king of heavy relationship dramas and this film really shows his talent. The film is a condamnation of 40s and 50s sexual repression, which led to the sexual revolution of the 60s, and how it affected two college buddies. While this film may not be all that shocking today, outside of smut, there was nothing like this at the time. (It’s even featured in an episode of The Wonder Years). Jack Nicholson gives an astounding performance (as always), as does Art Garfunkel (yes, of Simon and Garfunkel fame). Ann-Margaret literally sheds her good-girl image, giving a fearless perofrmance as one of Jack’s lovers. She earned an Oscar nomination for her work. Some might find the film a tad mean-spirited at times, but I think it’s just brutally honest. Definitely a film that deserves more than one viewing. Its available to stream on Instant Netflix, so go get yourself some scotch and give it a watch.

So that was my month. If anyone’s interested, the books I read were Sidney Lumet’s Making Movies and Robert K Elder’s The Film That Changed My Life. They are both fabulous reads. I also read 150 pages into Truffaut’s The Films In My Life (I actually finished it today). I also just got Simon Callow’s two-part Orson Welles biography and Woody Allen On Woody Allen. Hopefully I’ll be finished with those by the end of the month. Speaking of Allen, I believe I only have 7  (8 if you count the upcoming Midnight In Paris) of his feature films left to watch. I promise a retropsective when I’m done. I hope you all have a great April and wish you some happy watching!


About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on April 1, 2011, in 2011 in Films and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Wow. 144 in one month is a real accomplishment. I think the most I’ve seen in the same time is 112. Isn’t Cabaret just fantastic? It is one of my favorites. I hate that musicals got left by the wayside in the ’70s. I would have liked to have seen Ms. Minneli do more of her musical thing.

  2. wow, i feel i’ve seen like nothing xD

    also, congrats on getting the TCM film fest accreditation ;D

  3. Film Noir Blonde

    That’s awesome — hope your eyeballs aren’t exhausted! I got my TCM credentials too — look forward to meeting you!

  4. Don’t take this the wrong way, because I think your writing is great. But 144 films in 31 days feels and seems just, obscure?

    How do you get the time to watch all of that? Seriously figuring every film, on average is two hours .. it comes out to 288 Hours = 12 whole days.

    What the hell? I’m seriously enthralled to learn how you managed such a endeavor.

  1. Pingback: 2011 in Films: A Year-Long Cinematic Odyssey Through 1,117 New-To-Me Films « the diary of a film awards fanatic

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