It may seem that September offered a lower-than-usual number of movies, but when you consider that I actually watched four seasons of TV (I previously discussed The Night Of and Alfred Hitchcock Presents Season One), I saw quite a lot. In order to get October off to a good start, I’m limiting my comments to the bare minimum.
The Scarf (1951) E.A. Dupont
Interesting story of an insane asylum escapee and apparent murderer (John Ireland) who becomes interested in a waitress (Mercedes McCambridge) until memories from his past begin to haunt him. Nice atmosphere and good performances, although McCambridge sometimes gets on my nerves a bit…
Fargo: The Complete First Season (TV 2014) created by Noah Hawley
DVD – library (9:01)
Not really a sequel or a continuation of the Coen brothers film, but the show contains many of the film’s style and mannerisms, perhaps too many. Nice writing and performances.
An Affair to Remember (1957) Leo McCary
Two people (Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr), both engaged to other people, fall in love on an ocean liner and agree to meet again in six months at the top of the Empire State Building if they’re still in love with each other. The first hour on the ocean liner is wonderful: romantic, funny, delightful. The second half? Interminable… Which is really too bad, since I love both Grant and Kerr.
Sicario (2015) Denis Villeneuve
DVD – library (2:01)
Super-intense drama/thriller dropping FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) into an otherwise all-male task force set out to take down the leader of a drug cartel along the U.S.-Mexican border. Great performances from Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. A film that certainly deserves more discussion. Perhaps later…
The Man Between (1953) Carol Reed
Studio Canal Blu-ray (UK) (1:40)
It may be a lesser film than Reed’s The Third Man (1949), but it’s really not fair to make comparisons to that masterpiece; few films can stand up to such a comparison. James Mason plays Ivo Kerr, a German in post-war Berlin who seeks to help a naive British schoolteacher (Claire Bloom) who’s in town visiting her brother (Geoffrey Toone) and his wife (Hildegard Knef). All is not as it should be with these characters and when you don’t know the ins and outs of this divided city, it’s easy to make a deadly mistake. Good “rubble noir” with nice cinematography by Desmond Dickinson.
The Raven (1935) Lew Landers
A little pre-October horror for you… Bela Lugosi actually gets the best of Boris Karloff, as Lugosi plays a former surgeon causing all sorts of havoc by using the torture devices spelled out in Edgar Allan Poe’s literary works. Boris Karloff is the recipient of an unfortunate surgical procedure. Very nice atmospheric and effective little film (with a little too much screaming from Irene Ware).
Bend of the River (1952) Anthony Mann
I just love these Anthony Mann Westerns starring James Stewart… In this one Stewart seeks to help a group of settlers make their way to Oregon. Along the way, he thwarts a hanging, allowing Arthur Kennedy to go free. Was doing so a mistake? The film boasts an excellent supporting cast including Julie Adams, Rock Hudson, Jay C. Flippen, Royal Dano and many more. I just love a good, solid Western…
Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches (Doc. 2016) Robert de Young
I’ll have a full review of this new documentary on the life of actor Rod Taylor in the next few days, so stay tuned. UPDATE: That review is now ready!
The Keepers (Docudrama 2017) Ryan White
Netflix streaming (approx. 7 hours)
The case of the disappearance and murder of nun Cathy Cesnik in Baltimore in 1969 is just the beginning of this extraordinary story. The tale is multi-faceted and goes way beyond compelling; it’s practically addictive. The implications and connections are far-reaching and devastating. Not an easy series to watch, but anyone with a sense of wanting to see justice done should watch.
So let me know what you watched…
Photos: Fargo Wikia, DVD Beaver, Awards Daily, IMDb, The Ace Black Blog, Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches, Glamour