Friday, November 4, 2011


Another great year for film! Wow, my list is not too far off from yours Brandon. I haven't seen BUCK PRIVATES (need to borrow all your Abbott and Costello) though. Also haven't seen Walsh's MANPOWER or Hitch's MR. AND MRS. SMITH off your list John. I'd like to see both. I was going to watch MR. AND MRS. SMITH on the TCM day devoted to Carole Lombard, but the power was out that day and I missed it. It sucked. Also, I'm hoping to see THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE at some point.

1. Citizen Kane (Welles)
2. High Sierra (Walsh)
3. Sullivan’s Travels (Sturges)
4. How Green Was My Valley (Ford)
5. Ball of Fire (Hawks)
6. The Maltese Falcon (Huston)
7. Man Hunt (Lang)
8. The Lady Eve (Sturges)
9. Suspicion (Hitchcock)
10. Dumbo (Lots of people)

HM: The Wolf Man (Waggner), Sergeant York (Hawks)

I can't say anything against CITIZEN KANE nor can I deny its near mythical power. It's as stunning as everyone says it is. I also really can't say anything for it that hasn't already been said (and said better). I just really love it...I mean really love it.

HIGH SIERRA humanizes the gangster in a similar way to THE ROARING TWENTIES. How sad that his downfall is tied to a desire for some sense of child-like purity. Not just a simple case of "gangster with a heart of gold" but gangster with conflicting desires, hopes, and regrets. Anyway, it's completely terrific. Just recorded COLORADO TERRITORY. Can't wait to watch it.

SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS is one of the funniest and sharpest satires ever made. I'll jump on the Joel McCrea band wagon with you John and Brandon. And, of course, I could never deny the consistently brilliant Sturges.

HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY should at least remind you that no one in Hollywood could shoot a better picture than John Ford. The film itself is remarkably endearing without straying too far into sentimentality (Ford was a master at capturing humanity through a beautiful frame). There is one scene where young, bedridden Huw uses a broom to communicate with his equally bedridden mother in the room above him. One of my favorite scenes of all time.

BALL OF FIRE, Like Hawk's other great screwball comedies (TWENTIETH CENTURY, BRINGING UP BABY, HIS GIRL FRIDAY) typifies how well the man could make a sharp, brisk picture and wrestle wonderful comedic performances from his actors. He was a machine. And between this and THE LADY EVE, what a year for Barbara Stanwyck–one of my favorite actresses to ever grace the screen.

THE MALTESE FALCON was the beginning of a beautiful motion picture friendship between Bogey and the great John Huston. It's also one of the first classic films I ever saw. 'Twas love at first sight.

I just saw MAN HUNT and I'm really glad I did. I happened to be scrolling through the channels when I saw it on Fox Movie Classics (they usually got nothin'). Anyway, I'm loving watching these Fritz Lang Hollywood films. I wasn't really familiar with any of them until film club, but the ones I've seen now are really terrific. I love Pidgeon in this (another person with a great year). And Joan Bennett's Eliza Doolittle impersonation is somehow so charming. Watching them work together is the tops. Also, there are some fantastic chase scenes in this (e.g. through the London Underground) and an awesome scene in an underground hideout. Great picture.

THE LADY EVE. Sturges and Stanwyck (and an ever-endearing Henry Fonda). This is an amazing combo. Stanwyck plays sexy and hilarious so well. She was at the top of her game this year.

SUSPICION really ends very cheaply, but before that, building Cary Grant into such a slime ball is something else. Of course, the highest credit to the master himself for making you believe anything. Brandon, you're right, Hitchcock never made a bad film (that I've seen). Can't wait to post my 1945 list so you can see how much I love SPELLBOUND (and I know Chris is going to back me up on that film very soon).

I watched DUMBO on youtube the other night (in really good quality actually). First time I've seen it since I was a little boy. That was some beautiful nostalgia. Delightful experience.

I really like THE WOLF MAN, just not as much as these other 10 (sorry John). And I haven't seen SERGEANT YORK in forever, but I remember liking it, so it's at least worth an honorable mention.


On a side note, Brandon or John, do either of you have a copy of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS?

It's currently unavailable on dvd unless you buy the 70 dollar KANE blu-ray package (no thank you). I watched it once, a long time ago, and I can't really remember it. In order to do my '42 list properly I really need to see it again. So, it's either borrow it from one of you or wait for TCM to help me out.

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