Keep it Reel, Son!: Introduction and Review

I've been watching a lot of films lately. In fact, every week I watch at least three films I've never seen before. It has recently been an idea of mine to log each film I view. The films can range from any era, from movies currently in theatres to 1920's silent films to everything in between; in any language from any country. This entry is a quick wrap-up of the last two weeks but from now on I will log each film I watch on the same day its viewed.

The Best Man -
(1964) Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner; Starring Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson both as presidential candidates. Uncle Ben Parker wasn't using his great powers responsibly in this morality film, he was really intense actually. Its a good film about corruption in politics and how the best man is often over-looked due to his image. Hmm. Ron Paul.

The Wrong Man -
(1956) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock; Starring Henry Fonda and Vera Miles as a married couple that undergoes trouble when his identity is mistaken and he is arrested for a crime he is innocent of. Hitchcock, so its suspenseful but its also based on a true story so I get really touchy when the cops foul-up. When Manny (Henry Fonda) gets arrested and they don't allow him to tell his wife even though he's right outside his home, I nearly wanted to blow up a precinct.

Barton Fink -
(1991) Directed by Joel Coen; Starring John Turturro and John Goodman in this dark film about an intellectual new york playwright in hollywood who undergoes events that may very well be over his head but incidently what he was looking for in the first place. I feel like this and Miller's Crossing which I viewed for the first time only last month, are two secret masterpieces by The Coen Brothers. Both films are dark and quiet, Barton Fink is a bit more exploring and uses symbolism to further illustrate the protagonist's mind and perhaps its deterioration.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House -
(1948) Directed by H.C. Potter; Starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. Cary Grant in a screw ball comedy about a city family that moves out to the suburbs. Cary Grant as victim and butt of the jokes much like in Bringing Up Baby and I Was a Male War Bride. I however, did not enjoy this film as much as the other two aforementioned comedies, it wasn't as mature as the gags that fell upon both David Huxley via Katherine Hepburn or Capt. Henri Rochard via Ann Sheridan. The script isn't as rich either. I understand its a comedy and meant to be fun but I don't think it aged too well, I guess thats why Bringing Up Baby bombed when it made its debut in theatres but is now regarded as a classic of comedies.

The Americanization of Emily -
(1964) Directed by Arthur Hiller; Starring James Garner and Julie Andrews. A war picture thats not on the warfield for 95 percent of the film and follows the religiously cowardice enterprise of Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison played by Garner. I can't help but like James Garner and this is the first film I've seen Julie Andrews in. It might come across as too preachy but its well rounded and I felt everyone got a word in, it wasn't just one view shoved down your throat. Also all the points were valid and still are, especially about war and the glory of patriotism.

Mister 880 -
(1950) Directed by Edmund Goulding; Starring Burt Lancaster and Dorothy McGuire. NY Secret Agent, Steve Buchanan (Lancaster) Tracks a counterfeiter, Mister 880. I wasn't too crazy about this film but Burt Lancaster is always fun to watch. Also Skipper is how I'm most likely going to end up in about 40 years.

The Seven-Ups -
(1973) Directed by Philip D'Antoni; Starring Roy Schieder. Were the 70's action movies all about car chases? This action crime movie had a really good car chase, pretty long and epic, one got the impression the entire movie was only an excuse for that one scene. It was also great to see NY in the 70's, some of the locations were grimey. Oh, and I removed the color from my TV set just to watch this movie in B/W which as far as I'm concerned is the only way to watch it.

So Long At The Fair -
(1950) Directed by Antony Damborough and Terence Fisher; Starring Jean Simmons and Dirk Bogarde. Mystery/Suspense set in 1890's Paris. A young Dirk Bogarde. I can't get over his life-long resemblence to author, Aldous Huxley. I kept imagining Crome Yellow's Denis or Walter Bidlake whenever George Hathaway (Bogarde) was on screen. The film was decent enough but I found myself ultimately not a fan. The suspense was good and the mystery kind of disappointing.

Notorious -
(1946) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock; Starring Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. Cary Grant is a U.S. agent who falls in love with a woman who has been assigned to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. Alicia Huberman (Bergman) goes as far as marrying an old friend to report information obtained by her position as his wife, although Huberman loves Agent Devlin (Grant). Tensions rise between the two and so does Hitchcock's suspense as the mission grows more and more dangerous for Bergman's Garbo-esque leading lady. I think this is the first serious role I've seen Cary Grant in. Though, To Catch a Thief is not a comedy, Grant is still charming and suave, in Notorious he is stern and bitingly cold, a side I've never seen before from Grant, need-less-to-say I enjoyed it muchly!

Crisis -
(1950) Directed by Richard Brooks; Starring Cary Grant and Jose Ferrer. Cary Grant as a brain surgeon on a holiday with his wife when they get abducted and forcefully volunteer Dr. Eugene Norland Ferguson (Grant) to perform brain surgery on dictator Raoul Farrago (Ferrer) to save the tyrant's life. I love the music in this film and of course Jose Ferrer but other than that I wasn't too into it. I heard the studio decided to change the script so that Grant could have a love interest, originally Dr. Ferguson was set to be on holiday with his daughter which to me, may've been more interesting. This being Richard Brooks' first film he went along with the studio.

Mr. Lucky -
(1943) Directed by H.C. Potter; Starring Cary Grant and Laraine Day. Comedy with Cary Grant. Same director from Mr. Blandings with a better script. Here Grant plays a fast talking, street-wise hustler who evades the war draft and tries to raise money to get his gambling boat racket off the harbor. How does he do this? Well, he not only tries to con a war relief charity group and partially succeeds by throwing a fund raising, gambling boat party but he also falls in love with one of the directors who slowly begins to trust him. Not to mention that he does all this under the presumed identity of a dead gangster. I really enjoyed this film, here Grant is the charming scoundrel which is quite similar to his mischievous gentleman roles he sometimes played (examples: The Philadelphia Story and The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer). except he uses slang and mannerisms that draw the viewer ever so on the side of the happy-go lucky swindler who happens to carry a "Lady from Bristol." My only complaint, and its not a big one, is the ending. I could have done the end one scene before the actual end but its a romantic comedy and I admit I was happy to see all end well.

The Unforgiven -
(1960) Directed by John Huston; Starring Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn is an adopted kid sister to Lancaster who turns out to be of native american blood in this western drama. It was alright. Like I said, I can watch Burt Lancaster in anything, this was even better because Audrey Hepburn is always good to watch as well and as a secret springle of magnificence, Joseph Wiseman has a minor but key role as Abe Kelsey or the "crazy old man" who reveals Hepburn's origin. Joseph Wiseman is so good, I've only seen him in A Detective Story until now. I'd like to see more of his characters.

The Children's Hour -
(1961) Directed by William Wyler; Starring Audrey Hepburn, Shirley Maclaine, and James Garner. I hate kids and this film makes me even less fond of them. Karen (Hepburn) should've punched Mary's stupid little face in. I'm a huge fan of angry Shirley Maclaine, when she yells or cries I instantly feel like apologizing. Karen and Martha (Hepburn and Maclaine) are two teachers who start an all girls' boarding school and have their lives and reputations compromised when a troublesome student spreads a controversial lie about them.

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