Noirvember, New Releases and Reaching 1000+ New-To-Me Films

November was a great month of film watching for me.Or should I say, Noirvember. How did y’all do with your film noir watching last month? I managed to watch thirty new-to-me noirs (roughly one a day, though some days I couldn’t watch one, so I made it up by watching two on others). I’ve indicated below which films are the film noir ones with a (fn) after the title. I also watch several new releases in theaters, though I will admit none of them made it into my “featured” section this month. Mostly that’s because I watched a 2011 release – on PBS – that I liked more. The Woody Allen documentary they aired as part of their American Masters series was utterly too fantastic and yes, I am counting it as a film because it played like a film and if it weren’t on PBS it could have been a stand-alone film for sure. In terms of films at the Castro, I also saw lots of great films (though only three new-to-me): Rebel Without A Cause, Bigger Than Life (new-to-me), In A Lonely Place, Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, Than Man Who Fell To Earth (new-to-me), FernGully: The Last Rain Forest, Romancing The Stone (new-to-me), Ishtar, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Deconstructing Harry, Stardust Memories and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. This was a great month for me and Woody Allen.  I also reached 1000 new-to-me films (you can read about that feat here). Actually, I ended the month with 1051 I believe. What a year for movie watching! As always, the list of all the films are after cut, as well as my five “featured” films.

    1. The Big Combo (fn)
    2. Straw Dogs (1971)
    3. Detour (1945) (fn)
    4. Bigger Than Life
    5. Kansas City Confidential (fn)
    6. A Stolen Life
    7. Multi-Facial
    8. Black Button
    9. Alma (2009)
    10. Suddenly (fn)
    11. The Killer is Loose (fn)
    12. Vera Cruz
    13. I Wake Up Screaming (fn)
    14. Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
    15. Footlight Parade
    16. Withnail & I
    17. Killer’s Kiss (fn)
    18. Her Night of Romance
    19. Her Sister From Paris
    20. Sudden Fear (fn)
    21. Hollywood Party
    22. Impact (fn)
    23. House By The River (fn)
    24. The Man Who Fell To Earth
    25. Boomerang! (fn)
    26. Om natten (At Night)
    27. Romancing the Stone
    28. Caught (fn)
    29. Three Ages
    30. 7th Heaven
    31. Two Rode Together
    32. I Walk Alone (fn)
    33. Shock (fn)
    34. The Descendants
    35. Among the Living (fn)
    36. Angel Face (fn)
    37. The Big Knife (fn)
    38. 99 River Street (fn)
    39. Tanghi Argentini (Tonight Argentina)
    40. Il supplente (The Substitute)
    41. Death By Scrabble
    42. Criss Cross (fn)
    43. Human Desire (fn)
    44. The San Francisco Story
    45. He Ran All The Way (fn)
    46. My Week With Marilyn
    47. Witness To Murder (fn)
    48. Woody Allen: A Documentary
    49. Hugo
    50. Fear In The Night (fn)
    51. The Muppets
    52. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
    53. Hangover Square (fn)
    54. Water For Elephants
    55. The Turning Point (1952) (fn)
    56. Don’t Bother To Knock
    57. The Farmer’s Daughter
    58. The Reckless Moment (fn)
    59. Melancholia
    60. The Redhead and the Cowboy
    61. Panic in the Streets (fn)
    62. In Old Chicago
    63. Untamed Heart
    64. Armored Car Robbery (fn)
    65. Cause For Alarm (fn)
    66. Les Diaboliques (fn)
    67. The Artist

1880s: 0
1890s: 0
1900s: 0
1910s: 0
1920s: 4
1930s: 3
1940s: 14
1950s: 25
1960s: 1
1970s: 2
1980s: 2
1990s: 2
2000s: 7
2010s: 8

Featured this month are a range of films from a silent that took my breath away to my favorite of all the noir I watched this Noirvember to that Woody Allen doc to a love-it-or-hate it 70s cult film to an actual Marilyn Monroe film, not a shoddy impersonation. As is often the case, my taste varies widely when it comes to film. I told a classmate in the editing lab (the flatbed editing lab! I was working on an old school KEM. Never again, please) on Monday that I like all kinds of films and rarely dislike anything. If you follow my ratings on MUBI, you’ll see how true this is. I must also say, though, that I watched a few films featuring Joel McCrea, Glenn Ford and Joseph Cotten that I really loved, but didn’t quite make the list but you should watch them anyways: The San Francisco Story (a western with Joel McCrea, streaming on Netflix), A Stolen Life (Glenn Ford/Bette Davis), The Redhead and the Cowboy (a western with Glenn Ford, streaming on Netflix) and The Farmer’s Daughter (Joseph Cotten being adorable, Loretta Young won Best Actress for her performance).

Detour, 1945 (dir. Edgar G. Ulmer)

This is such a great little B-film. Shot with minimal sets and camerawork due to its meager budget, the film sets the tone for many a noir to come. It’s a tightly wound thriller told in a flashback (as many a noir is) that keeps its tense tone throughout. There were so many times when I said to myself “what’s gonna happen next!?”, which I think is always a good sign. The film’s femme fatale, played by Ann Savage, is perfectly acid-tongued and the end of the film is one of my favorites ever. The film is in the public domain, so you can watch it streaming on instant Netflix (best quality) or on version channel on YouTube or the

The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1976 (dir. Nicolas Roeg)

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this film except that it is often described as “bizarre” or “incomprehensible.” Bizarre, yes, but incomprehensible I don’t think is right. Or, at least, it all made sense to me. It’s not straight-forward, that’s for sure. But Nicolas Roeg is the kind of director who likes to make his audience work. David Bowie gives such an amazing performance in the film it almost makes me wish he made films on a regular basis. I also adore Candy Clark and thought she did an amazing job as the woman in love with Bowie’s titular man. I’m also really glad I saw this for the first time on the big screen because it was so breathtaking.

7th Heaven, 1927 (dir. Frank Borzage)

I love silent films. I love Janet Gaynor. I loved this film. Last night I saw The Artist, which I thought was good, but it just doesn’t have the power and magic of these late-era silent films. I think this one screenshot from 7th Heaven has more power than the entirety of The Artist. That’s not to say you shouldn’t see The Artist, it’s enjoyable for sure. I just don’t think it deserves all the praise it’s getting. Maybe it’ll make more people see films like this or those from King Vidor and F.W. Murnau or Pabst or any of those masters of the end of the silent era. I guess what I mean is, there was this energy building up in the first thirty years of Hollywood’s history that these late-era films in particular were able to capture and preserve for all time and I just don’t think it’s something that can be recreated, no matter how hard you try. So please, do watch 7th Heaven,  for me, okay? And bring some tissues.

Woody Allen: A Documentary, 2011 (dir. Robert Weide)

What can I even say about this? Woody Allen is my favorite living director (It’s his birthday today! Happy Birthday Woody!) and even when he misses I find things I love in the mess. But when he’s right on, nobody’s better. This documentary was so inspiring. Getting to see inside both his childhood and early pre-Hollywood career, as well as his creative process was just so fascinating. If you are a filmmaker or an aspiring filmmaker or just a lover of cinema, you owe it to yourself to watch this documentary. You can watch part 1 here and part 2 here on

Don’t Bother To Knock, 1952 (dir. Roy Ward Baker)

Among the 2011 release I saw this month was My Week With Marilyn, which other than Michelle Williams is a load of crap. She gave a great performance in a film that is just a giant mess. I recommend instead that you watch some of Marilyn’s actual work. I still have several of her films to watch myself. I did, however, get a chance to see this gem last weekend (it’s streaming on instant Netflix). This is definitely one of Marilyn’s best performances and Richard Widmark is at the top of his game. Actually, I think I watched three Richard Widmark movies this week (he was in Two Rode Together and Panic in the Streets). This is a tense psychological thriller/drama made during the Korean War, but referencing trauma caused by World War II, adding to the film’s sense of realism. I will say the Hollywood ending brings the film down a little. If this were a b-film and more noirish the ending would have fit the rest of the story a little better. It’s brilliant regardless.

So that was November. I hope y’all had a great month as well. Now it is December, which means trying to fit in as many 2011 releases as possible before New Year’s Eve so our end-of-the-year lists are as accurate as possible. I know I’m going to miss a few things because I’m going back to my hometown for a few weeks. But that’s okay. Also, I have been challenge to a movie watching duel! MadMovieMan on Twitter and I will be trying to see who can watch films from # thru Z (so, 27 films, one from each letter in the alphabet) first. The films don’t have to be in order, but whoever reaches all 27 first gets to pick some horrible film for the other to watch. Wish me luck! Happy Holidays and many wonderful film viewings to you all!

About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on December 1, 2011, in 2011 in Films and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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