May: 101 New-To-Me Films and One Big Move

So for me the month of May started at  the last day of the TCM Classic Film Festival (you can see my coverage of that festival here at YAM Magazine). On that last day I saw one new-to-me film (Night Flight) and one of my all time favorites (West Side Story). What a great way to start the month! I saw less films this month than the other months in 2011 (you can see all those posts here), but I did manage to finally see all 123 film in the combined AFI 100 Years. . .100 Movies lists (the last two I needed to see were The Grapes of Wrath and Intolerance). I did A LOT of subbing towards the end of the month and I also MOVED TO SAN FRANCISCO. Yes, my friends, I am back in the big city. I love it here. My grad school starts up on the 20th, so my film watching will probably decline a little. But I do have big plans to see classic films on the big screen often at the Castro Theatre and I’ll actually be able to see all kinds of new releases. So this is great. The one downside: no. more. TCM. or DVR. This is going to be tough. I love TCM so much. I will miss that channel. I’ll probably go through withdrawal. But enough sadness, on to the 101 new-to-me films I did manage to watch in May.

  1. Night Flight (TCM Classic Film Festival)
  2. Swing Your Lady
  3. The Gay Sisters
  4. The Heavenly Body
  5. Close To My Heart
  6. Night Into Morning
  7. A Life of Her Own
  8. The Man Who Played God (1932)
  9. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
  10. Night People
  11. The Wrong Man (1956)
  12. Dark Journey
  13. Dear Heart
  14. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
  15. The Teahouse of the August Moon
  16. The World Changes
  17. The Kennel Murder Case
  18. The Man With Two Faces
  19. Midnight
  20. The Nun’s Story
  21. Stepping Out (1991)
  22. Broadway Serenade
  23. Wild Orchids
  24. Room For One More
  25. Bathing Beauty
  26. Treasure Island (1934)
  27. How To Steal A Million
  28. Flesh (1932)
  29. Wild Boys of the Road
  30. Knock On Any Door
  31. Beyond The Rocks
  32. I Remember Mama
  33. The Young Rajah
  34. The Conquering Power
  35. Judgement at Nuremberg
  36. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
  37. So Big (1953)
  38. Of Human Hearts
  39. Lured
  40. H.M. Pulham, Esq.
  41. The Sisters
  42. Confessions of a Nazi Spy
  43. The Roaring Twenties
  44. The Rocking Horse Winner
  45. The Demi-Paradise (aka Adventure for Two)
  46. Murder, She Said
  47. The Killing Fields
  48. The Conqueror
  49. Trade Winds
  50. The Woman on the Beach
  51. The Little Minister (1934)
  52. Break of Hearts
  53. A Woman Rebels
  54. Quality Street (1937)
  55. Little Women (1933)
  56. Neptune’s Daughter (1949)
  57. Pagan Love Song
  58. 49th Parallel (aka The Invaders)
  59. In This Our Life
  60. Lydia
  61. This Is The Night
  62. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  63. The Garden of Eden (1928)
  64. Wings of the Morning (1937)
  65. That Certain Woman
  66. The Mad Miss Manton
  67. Young Mr. Lincoln
  68. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  69. Viva Las Vegas
  70. Strange Interlude
  71. Woman Wanted (1935)
  72. Let Us Live
  73. The Day They Robbed the Bank of England
  74. Cairo
  75. The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
  76. Where Danger Lives
  77. Bell, Book and Candle
  78. Side Street (1950)
  79. Cat People (1942)
  80. The Curse of the Cat People
  81. Johnny Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
  82. Dangerous When Wet
  83. His Kind of Woman
  84. All Fall Down
  85. My Brilliant Career
  86. Ordet
  87. Awakenings
  88. Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages
  89. My Sister Eileen (1955)
  90. Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (The Golem)
  91. Tickle Me
  92. My Sister Eileen (1942)
  93. The Doorway To Hell
  94. Midnight In Paris
  95. Paris When It Sizzles
  96. New York, New York
  97. The Year of Living Dangerously
  98. Bird of Paradise (1932)
  99. Julia Misbehaves
  100. Detective Story
  101. What Price Hollywood?

1900s: 0
1910s: 1
1920s: 7
1930s: 35
1940s: 22
1950s: 19
1960s: 10
1970s: 2
1980s: 2
1990s: 2
2000s: 0
2010s: 1

Though I watched less films this month than the previous months in the year, I saw so many great films it made it really difficult to pick just five favorites. I went through several stages and revisions. Eventually I wound up with this list, which quite surprisingly has no films from the 1930s in it (though I do want to point out I saw several really fabulous films from the 1930s this month and even reviewed three of them for YAM Magazine).

Dear Heart, 1964 (dir. Delbert Mann)

I DVR’d this while I was at the TCM Classic Film Festival and I’m really glad I did. I really love Glenn Ford (he’s a man’s man) in his film noir and westerns, so it was nice to see him in a romantic lead; he’s actually quite charming. Geraldine Page has got to be one of the most talented women Hollywood ever had, though she’s largely forgotten now. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress four times and Best Actress four times, winning for her last nomination. But even in the roles she wasn’t nominated for she is fabulous. Dear Heart takes place over a few days in a hotel in New York City where Postmaster Evie (Page) is attending a convention. She meets womanizer Harry (Ford), who has recently gotten engaged to Phyllis (Angela Lansbury) to prove he is mature. Harry is a travelling salesman and thinks Phyllis has a young son, but it turns out he is in college and a hippie, with an equally counter-culture girlfriend (Michael Anderson, Jr. and Joanna Crawford). As always, chaos ensues. What I loved so much about the film was how sweet and tender and natural the relationship between Evie and Harry was. Also, Evie kind of reminded me of Poppy (Sally Hawkins) in Mike Leigh’s 2008 film Happy-Go-Lucky. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this film inspired him a little.

Judgement at Nuremberg, 1961 (dir. Stanley Kramer)

I might be writing an Oscar Vault Monday on this film soonish. I’m still kind of letting it sink in. This is definitely one of the greatest ensemble casts ever in one of the greatest courtroom films ever made. Stanley Kramer was one hell of a director and this may well be his masterpiece. The cast includes:  Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Maximilian Schell, Werner Klemperer, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, William Shatner and Montgomery Clift. Everyone in the film is amazing, but Schell, Garland and Clift shine the brightest. I’ll definitely be writing more on this film later on in the year.

The Grapes of Wrath, 1940 (dir. John Ford)

This is another film I will probably be writing an Oscar Vault Monday post on sometime in the near future. I cannot believe I’d never seen this before. What a powerful film, and virtually perfectly filmed; there isn’t shot in film that cannot be turned into an exquisite still photograph. I know there are some detractors of this film that think it didn’t capture the era honestly. But I’m not 100% that was the point. Maybe it was overly dramatic and poetic. It’s art; it’s allowed to do that. Regardless, there’s no denying that Gregg Toland’s cinematography in this film is some of the finest Hollywood ever achieved. Henry Fonda also gives a heartrending performance as Tom Joad. I actually saw six or seven Henry Fonda films in May and I have to say he is really growing on me as an actor. This may well be his best performance, though.

Bell, Book and Candle, 1958 (dir. Richard Quine)

Kim. Novak. That is all. No, but really, she plays Gillian Holroyd a Greenwich Village dwelling witch (and basically a beatnik), who falls for her ordinary neighbor, publisher Shep Henderson (Jimmy Stewart). Also rounding out the cast are Jack Lemmon as Gillian’s warlock brother, Elsa Lanchester as Gillian’s aunt, Janice Rule as Shep’s fiance and Gillian’s old college rival and Ernie Kovacs as an author researching witches in New York City. Lanchester and Lemmon are a hoot in their roles and Stewart is as charming as ever. But it’s Kim Novak who really makes this film work. Her performance in this film may well be one of the sexiest things I have ever seen.

Midnight In Paris, 2011 (dir. Woody Allen)

As you all should remember I finished watching all 42 of Woody Allen’s feature films leading up to the release of his 43rd (and hosted a blogathon). Well, on Saturday I finally got to see Midnight In Paris and I was not disappointed. Not only is this the best film Allen has made in the last ten years or so, it’s one of the best films he’s ever made. Period. The entire cast  (Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kurt Fuller, Mimi Kennedy, Michael Sheen, Nina Arianda, Carla Bruni, Yves Heck, Alison Pill, Corey Stoll, Tom Hiddleston, Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard, Marcial Di Fonzo Bo, Adrien Brody, and Adrien de Van) is amazing. I don’t want to spoil the film too much, but I will say that the role played by Corey Stoll is probably my favorite. Also Owen Wilson was surprisingly good. He played the role that would have been Allen’s when he was younger, but instead of trying to play it like Allen, he played it like Owen Wilson. And it worked, because when Wilson has a good script and a good role (usually this happens in Wes Anderson films), he is good. Well, he was good and charming and perfectly cast, really. I will more than likely be seeing this in theaters again soon. And will most definitely be buying it when it comes out on DVD. I also have high hopes for this film come Oscar time, I just hope it didn’t come out too early in the year for the Academy to remember it.

So that was May for me. How was your month? See anything really good? Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life opens here in San Francisco on Friday so I will be seeing that soon! There are only really a handful of June 2011 releases I am looking forward to seeing, but now that I’m here in the Bay Area again I’ll actually get to see them. How exciting is that!? See you next month and until then, you keep watching and I’ll keep watching and maybe we’ll discover some more gems.

About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

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

  1. So jealous about Tree of Life! I probably won’t be seeing it for a long time since I live in the middle of nowhere.

    I’m actually about to finally finish the 123 AFI movies too after spending years of getting sidetracked from it.

    What do you think about Intolerance vs. Birth of a Nation? I feel like the AFI put Intolerance on the new list as a political reaction; as racist as Birth is, I think it’s probably the better movie. Though it’s kind of splitting hairs arguing the two.

    • I think The Birth of a Nation is the better film from technical aspects, but I enjoyed Intolerance more. What films do you have left to see?! I’ve been keeping track of how many AFI films I’d seen since 2008 and it seems like it took me forever to finish, despite having seen quite a few prior to 08. I kept getting distracted too.

  2. I still have It Happened One Night, My Fair Lady, The Best Years of our Lives, and the 4 hour cut of Dances With Wolves.

    I actually started back in like 2006, back when there was only 1 list! They messed me up when they made the new one. I have cinematic ADD though, which is more to blame.

    • It Happened One Night is so so good! I like My Fair Lady, but I dislike Rex Harrison in it. It’s also NOT Cukor’s best work, despite him winning his Oscar for it. The Best Years of Our Lives is like The Deer Hunter of WWII films. I’ve actually not seen the 4 hour cut of Dances With Wolves, just the original home video release (widescreen, of course!). Good luck finishing!

  3. Yeah, I saw the theatrical version of Dances with Wolves and My Fair Lady during class back in high school, so I don’t really count them as having been seen. I look forward to both of those.

    Good luck with your move and grad school–aren’t you going back for screenwriting or something like that? I know you mentioned it on Twitter, but my memory fails me sometimes.

  4. Hope you enjoy San Francisco

    I’m looking forward to “Midnight In Paris”

    Very good post 😀

  5. Nice post and nice list. I was really impressed with Judgement at Nuremburg – Schell’s performance was a force of nature.

    Enjoy SF! 🙂

  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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