Movies Watched in September 2017 Part I

September is off to a rather slow start, due mainly to watching a few TV series, one of which you’ll read about below. I hope you’ll find something here to explore. If not this time, well, there’s more on the way…

Little Caesar 1

Little Caesar (1931) Mervyn LeRoy (2x)
Ultimate Gangsters Collection Classics Blu-ray (1:20)

Small-time crooks Caesar “Rico” Bandello (Edward G. Robinson) and his friend Joe Massara (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) head to Chicago, eager to hit the big-time. Joe is pulled into show business, but Rico has different ambitions: to rise to the top of the criminal underworld. Little Caesar made Robinson a star and helped make gangster pictures enormously popular. Although dated, the film and the W.R. Burnett story still pack quite a punch, but Robinson is the main attraction here and rightfully so.



The Night Of (TV 2016) Steven Zaillian, James Marsh
HBO DVD – library (8:51)

Previously discussed here


Fletch (1985) Michael Ritchie (2x)
DVD (1:38)

In one of his more entertaining films, Chevy Chase plays Fletch, an undercover newspaper reporter seeking to uncover the thriving L.A. beach drug trade. While disguised as a homeless man, wealthy businessman Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson) offers Fletch $50,000 to kill him. Fletch allows Chase to do his thing practically unabated and for the most part, it works well. I was surprised that I enjoyed this so much after first seeing it over 30 years ago.



Tex (1982) Tim Hunter
DVD – library (1:43)

Previously discussed here


The Bank Dick (1940) Edward F. Cline (3x)
Criterion DVD (1:12)
The Great Movies series at the Severna Park Library


Tequila Sunrise (1988) Robert Towne
DVD – interlibrary loan (1:55)

Tequila Sunrise contains all the elements of a successful film: a great cast (Kurt Russell, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mel Gibson, Raúl Juliá, J.T. Walsh), an expert scriptwriter (Robert Towne, who also directed), superb music (Dave Grusin), wonderful cinematography (Conrad L. Hall)… but the film ultimately disappoints. L.A. Detective Lt. Frescia (Russell) has known drug dealer Mac McKussic (Gibson) since high school and doesn’t believe it when Mac tells him he’s going straight. Both men are attracted to Jo Ann (Pfeiffer), the owner of an upscale restaurant. Frescia believes Mac knows something about a drug deal with a Mexican drug kingpin named Carlos and believes he may have shared some important information with Jo Ann.

Film noir and neo-noir stories often get tangled but they should never get muddled and that’s what happens here, especially with the love triangle. Yes, there’s also an element of confusion in noir and neo-noir, but the film contains several moments where you wonder how certain characters know certain things at certain times, giving you the feeling you’ve missed out on something important. (Maybe I did.) Yet there are enough good scenes and performances to justify a revisit of this one. Let me know your thoughts on the film.



The War Wagon (1967) Burt Kennedy
DVD (1:41)

In this Western heist movie John Wayne and Kirk Douglas play enemies who decide to rob a mining tycoon (Bruce Cabot) of a big gold shipment delivered by a fortified stagecoach called a “war wagon.” A fun movie I hadn’t seen since its initial theatrical run.



Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) Don Siegel
Olive Blu-ray (1:20)



Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Philip Kaufman
Blu-ray (1:57)


We screened an Invasion of the Body Snatchers double feature at the library early in the month. I had assumed that the 1978 version might be preferred to the original, but fans of the 1956 version voiced their opinions in favor of Don Siegel’s sf/horror classic. Both are outstanding in different ways, but I think I still lean toward the original. What are your thoughts?


Elle (2016) Paul Verhoeven
DVD – library (2:10)

Previously discussed here

There’s more. Stay tuned…

Photos: The Ace Black Blog, Cinema Stache, Criterion, Cinapse, Weapons Man, BFI, Scarecrow

4 thoughts on “Movies Watched in September 2017 Part I

  1. Pingback: Movies Watched in September 2017 Part III | Journeys in Darkness and Light

  2. Pingback: Movies Watched in September 2017 Part II | Journeys in Darkness and Light

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