Monday, January 9, 2012
1. Meet Me in St. Louis (Minnelli)
2. Double Indemnity (Wilder)
3. Hail the Conquering Hero (Sturges)
4. The Children are Watching Us (De Sica)
5. To Have and Have Not (Hawks)
6. The Curse of the Cat People (Wise)
7. Laura (Preminger)
8. The Woman in the Window (Lang)
9. The Princess and the Pirate (Butler)
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS is pure magic, plain and simple. It pines for a time that may never have existed outside of the cinema, but still teaches us about the ties to our homes and families that can never be replaced. The most melancholy and ultimately transcendent of all musicals.
DOUBLE INDEMNITY is a perfect noir without a single second of wasted screentime. It’s final moments are surprisingly tender for shifting the tragedy to the failed friendship between Neff and Keyes. HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO is all about community, camaraderie, and wanting to do right by one’s mother. It’s also hilarious. THE CHILDREN ARE WATCHING US is absolutely heartbreaking. Cultural critics probably can have a field day with its treatment of the mother, but really this is all about the little boy and the life of loneliness and sadness he should never have to experience at such a young age. De Sica was a humanist first and foremost.
TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT has my hero Faulkner (who was dead broke and largely anonymous at the time) doing Hemingway and Hawks absolutely rivaling the romance and mystique of CASABLANCA and the communal space of his own ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS. It rules. THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE is still one of the weirdest horror films I’ve ever seen and is another great film like De Sica’s to reflect on childhood. LAURA, like THE BIG SLEEP and a host of other noirs, is convoluted but awesome and dripping with atmosphere and style. Gene Tierney! THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is another riveting and bleak noir from Fritz Lang and his classic triumvirate that would reappear in SCARLET STREET. Both films have among the best and darkest endings in all of film noir. THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE is Bob Hope being absolutely hilarious. The ending, for any fans of the ROAD TO... series with he and Crosby, is simply perfect and made me happy beyond belief. LIFEBOAT, more than anything, tells you how great a storyteller Hitchcock was and reminds you that he could film anything (in any amount of limited or expansive space) and make it fascinating.
2003 is next, but I probably won't get to it today as I'm all listed out for now.