Sunday, January 17, 2016

10 for 2015 Recap

Last year I set out to view 10 films that would broaden my movie horizons. Here is how I did:

Movies in my collection:
1) American Madness (1932)
2) My Man Godfrey (1936)
Sometimes the grass is greener in other pastures. In other words, I opted for the movie on TV or the ClassicFlix DVD over the movies I own. "I'll get to it later," I kept saying. Still haven't gotten to them. Some day... 

Movies to complement my reading list:
3) Sorrowful Jones (1949) - Cute. Richard Zoglin's Bob Hope biography inspired this pick.
In addition to Hope's funny asides, there is heart in this film. We see his character, Sorrowful Jones, transform from miserly coward to protective father-like figure, willing to put his wants aside for a child (played by the adorable Mary Jane Saunders). Lucille Ball plays his former girlfriend Gladys O'Neill, a tough dame who won't be pushed around by her night club boss (Bruce Cabot) or his thug sidekicks. She also has a soft spot for the orphaned Martha Jane and is instrumental in pushing Sorrowful in the right direction when needed. Ball is wonderful in the role. 

Our family will be watching Bob Hope and Lucille Ball in Sorrowful Jones for many years to come.

4) The Impatient Years (1944) - Meh. Jeannine Basinger's I Do and I Don't: The History of Marriage in the Movies introduced me to this one. After viewing the film, I understand firsthand what she means by "the train-wreck concept of a hastily married couple who want a divorce but are forced to remember what they once had but can no longer recall"--oh my! From my September/October viewing:

*I added The Impatient Years (1944) to my 10 for 2015 list because the film looked like it picked up where The More the Merrier (1942) left off. Indeed there were some direct connections starting with two of the main actors: Jean Arthur and Charles Coburn. Arthur plays a woman who met a soldier on army leave, fell in love, married and parted. (Sound familiar?) When her husband (Lee Bowman) returns, they discover they are strangers: his head is in the clouds and she lives by a list. They want to divorce. Her father (Coburn) works to keep them together with as much determination as Coburn's character in The More the Merrier. In fact, the "Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!" melody plays under most of his scenes--another reference to the earlier, more successful film. I don't know if it's because of a missing McCrea, Bowman's mustache, or the tired gag that plays throughout the film (we're married, we're not married...oh, they don't understand), but the magic is gone. The movie was advertised as an answer "to the impatient girls and soldiers who rush into marriage." If this is the answer, I'm not sure I'd still be married. 
5) Presenting Lily Mars (1943) - Didn't get to the book (Charles Walters' biography). Didn't get to the movie either.
6) Torch Song (1953) - What the...? This film was to go with the Charles Walters' biography. While I did not read the book, at least the movie gave me glimpse of Walters dancing. Torch Song also made me aware of Maidie Norman, who fought black stereotypes in Hollywood. The musical finale was...weird. [Click here for my original review.]

AFI picks:
7) Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
8) City Lights (1931)
It wasn't meant to be. I'll eventually see these AFI picks.

Inspired by fellow classic film fans:
9) Random Harvest (1942) - On the fence. My expectations may have been too high for this one. I'll give it a few years and watch it again to see if my impression changes. [Click here for my original review.]

10) Out of the Past (1947) - Loved. I understand why this is considered classic film noir. Enjoyed it so much that have since viewed movie several more times on TCM. [Click here for my original review.]


The final score came to 5 viewed out of 10. I may not have met my goal, but I still viewed 5 more movies than I would have. That's a win in my opinion.

Here's to a wonderful 2016 full of new films and old!

Ciao til next time!

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