Ruth Collins: Terry and I have never been rivals. Never. Not in the slightest.
Dr. Scott Elliott: All women are rivals fundamentally. But, it doesn’t bother them because they automatically discount the successes of others and alibi their own failures on the grounds of circumstances. Luck, they say. But, between sisters, it’s a little more serious. The circumstances are generally about the same, so they have fewer excuses of which to comfort themselves. That’s why sisters can hate each other with such terrifying intensity. And, as for twins, especially identical twins, well, you must have some ideas yourself what agonies of jealousy are possible.
I first saw this film in the weeee hours of the morning a few days into January of 2011. It was about six months into my new-found obsession with Lew Ayres and it was one of the films that really solidified my undying love for him. It’s a pretty racy film for 1948 and holds up quite wonderfully nearly seventy years later. It’s also one of the most nominated films in Academy history. Johnny Belinda was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, winning one: Best Sound, Best Score, Best Film Editing, Best B&W Cinematography, Best B&W Art Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor Charles Bickford, Best Supporting Actress Agnes Moorehead, Best Actor Lew Ayres, Best Actress Jane Wyman (won), Best Director and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were The Red Shoes, The Snake Pit, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and winner Hamlet.
Professor Kantorek: And as if to prove all I have said, here is one of the first to go! A lad who sat before me on these very benches, who gave up all to serve in the first year of the war. One of the iron youth who have made Germany invincible in the field! Look at him. Sturdy and bronze and clear-eyed! The kind of soldier every one of you should envy! Paul, lad, you must speak to them. You must tell them what it means to serve your fatherland.
Paul Bäumer: No, no, I can’t tell them anything.
Professor Kantorek: You must, Paul. Just a word. Just tell them how much they’re needed out there. Tell them why you went, and what it meant to you.
Paul Bäumer: I can’t say anything.
Professor Kantorek: If you remember some deed of heroism, some touch of humility, tell about it.
Paul Bäumer: I can’t tell you anything you don’t know. We live in the trenches out there, we fight, we try not to be killed; and sometimes we are. That’s all.
Professor Kantorek: No, no Paul!
Paul Bäumer: I’ve been there! I know what it’s like!
Professor Kantorek: That’s not what one dwells on, Paul!
Paul Bäumer: I heard you in here, reciting that same old stuff. Making more iron men, more young heroes. You still think it’s beautiful and sweet to die for your country, don’t you? We used to think you knew. The first bombardment taught us better. It’s dirty and painful to die for your country. When it comes to dying for your country it’s better not to die at all! There are millions out there dying for their countries, and what good is it?
Professor Kantorek: Paul!
Paul Bäumer: You asked me to tell them how much they’re needed out there. He tells you, “Go out and die!” Oh, but if you’ll pardon me, it’s easier to say go out and die than it is to do it!
Paul Bäumer: And it’s easier to say it, than to watch it happen!
Students: Coward! You’re a coward! Coward!
Professor Kantorek: No! No, boys, boys! I’m sorry, Baumer, but I must say. . .
Paul Bäumer: We’ve no use talking like this. You won’t know what I mean. Only, it’s been a long while since we enlisted out of this classroom. So long, I thought maybe the whole world had learned by this time. Only now they’re sending babies, and they won’t last a week! I shouldn’t have come on leave. Up at the front you’re alive or you’re dead and that’s all. You can’t fool anybody about that very long. And up there we know we’re lost and done for whether we’re dead or alive. Three years we’ve had of it, four years! And every day a year, and every night a century! And our bodies are earth, and our thoughts are clay, and we sleep and eat with death! And we’re done for because you can’t live that way and keep anything inside you! I shouldn’t have come on leave. I’ll go back tomorrow. I’ve got four days more, but I can’t stand it here! I’ll go back tomorrow! I’m sorry.
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!
This isn’t actually a review. It’s just me being excited because I wrote the foreword to this book and I just got my contributor’s copies and I want to share it with y’all. Please, pre-order a copy here; you’ll love it!
As part of the What a Character! Blogathon, I decided to take an extended look at Lew Ayres as Ned Seton in George Cukor’s Holiday because not only is Lew Ayres one of my favorite actors, but this is the film that made me fall so hard for him. I also thought I would take this time to remind y’all that Lew Ayres: Hollywood’s Conscientious Objector goes on sale on November 1st. If you will remember, I contributed the foreword to that book and it would mean the world to me if you pre-ordered it; you won’t regret it, I swear.
I am going to go through Lew’s performance as Ned almost scene-by-scene, so if you haven’t seen the film yet, there will be spoilers.
This is a film I saw for the first time last summer because I had fallen in love with Lew Ayres and tried to watch everything he had ever been in. Which reminders me, don’t forget to pre-order Lew Ayres: Hollywood’s Conscientious Objector on Amazon. I wrote the foreword and y’all are gonna love it. Anyways, I love this movie. I saw the musical version first and as much as I love Dana Andrews and Vivian Blaine’s amazing Technicolor red hair, I prefer this early version. It’s directed by Henry King, who also directed the 1925 silent version of Stella Dallas, a film I recently saw at the SF Silent Film Festival and also find superior to the later version. I see a pattern forming. I would be lying if I didn’t say after the cut you are in for A LOT of screencaps of Lew Ayres. But like I said earlier, you’ll love it. State Fair was nominated for two Academy Awards, though it didn’t win any: Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were 42nd Street, A Farewell To Arms, I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang, Lady For A Day, Little Women, The Private Life of Henry VIII, She Done Him Wrong, Smilin’ Through and winner Cavalcade.
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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