Movies Watched in June 2016 Part I

Many of these have already been covered previously, but I hope you’ll find something here to investigate. When you do, please let me know.

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Appointment with Crime (1946) John Harlow
Amazon streaming (1:32)

Previously discussed here

The next three films, along with two others, are discussed in the British Noir 5-movie set from Kino:

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Snowbound (1948) David MacDonald
(1:30)

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The Golden Salamander (1950) Ronald Neame
(1:27)

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The Assassin (aka Venetian Bird) (1953) Ralph Thomas
(1:34)

The following two films, as well as the rest of the films in the recent Don Hertzfeldt Blu-ray, are discussed here.

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It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012) Don Hertzfeldt
Bitter Films Blu-ray (1:02)

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World of Tomorrow (2015) Don Hertzfeldt 
Bitter Films Blu-ray (0:16)

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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Criterion Collection DVD (2:43)

My friend Ann G. loaned me this film and I’m so glad she did. It’s part of my Blindspot 2016 series, which I hope to devote a full post to soon.

5/5

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Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) John Sturges (2x)
Warner Home Video DVD (1:22)

I long for this film to get a Blu-ray upgrade someday, but I’m not holding my breath. In fact, I wish the entire Controversial Classics boxed set would get a Blu-ray upgrade, but that’s even less likely to happen. If you’ve never seen it, Bad Day at Black Rock is one of those great films that hardly anyone talks about or has even seen, although it’s readily available on DVD. What keeps people from it? It’s certainly not the cast. Just look at who’s in it: Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine (above right), Dean Jagger… Plus it’s directed by John Sturges, who made some pretty good films in his time.

As the movie starts, we see John J. Macreedy (Spencer Tracy, above left), a one-armed man, get off a train in the tiny Western town of Black Rock in 1945. This surprises everyone, since the train hasn’t stopped in Black Rock in four years. Macreedy hardly gets a warm welcome. The townspeople don’t like him, don’t trust him and do everything they can do discourage him from sticking around. But he’s on a mission.

Bad Day at Black Rock is filled with tension, suspense, and excitement. It also carries a strong message without being a message picture. I highly recommend it.

5/5

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His Girl Friday (1940) Howard Hawks (2x)
Amazon streaming (1:32)

Nobody makes films like this anymore. For one thing, the talent is just off the charts, starting with Howard Hawks directing Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, who never let up for 92 minutes of pure verbal firepower that you’d better be prepared to process, because it comes at you quickly. It’s been said that normal conversations roll along at about 90 words per minute. The dialogue in His Girl Friday tornadoes through at 240 words per minute and not a one of them misses a beat.

Rosalind Russell (above right) plays Hildy, a newspaper journalist who’s about to leave her editor and ex-husband Walter Burns (Cary Grant, above middle) to marry a sap named Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy, above left). Burns tells Hildy he’s happy for her, but he really wants/needs her to help cover the execution of an anarchist (John Qualen).

The entire film is priceless, but there’s one scene that’s an absolute wonder. Grant is talking on the phone while Russell is typing up a story, while Bellamy is barking at Grant and simultaneously trying to convince Russell that he needs her. This 3-minute section has a few cuts, but I’m convinced it was shot all in one take, which is simply stunning. No one drops a line, a word, or even a beat; it’s as perfect as a scene can get. So the the entire film. Not to be missed. (This was the most recent entry in our Great Movies series at the Severna Park Library, introduced by my co-worker Julia.)

5/5

Kelly Reilly and Brendan Gleeson in Calvary

Calvary (2014) John Michael McDonagh
20th Century Fox DVD – library (1:41)

Previously discussed here

That’s all for now. There will be more…

Photos: DVD BeaverFilm ObscuritiesThe Film StageSlantChristina WehnerTownsville Classic FilmsFourth & SycamoreIndieWire 

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