I don’t know about you, but I often finish watching a movie that’s had a huge impact on my life (or one I’ve simply enjoyed) and ache to show it to someone else, hoping it will mean something to them also. Two years ago, Beckie, one of my co-workers, approached me about a movie project in which we each recommend a favorite film to the other person, watch it, and talk about it afterward. I also blogged about it, calling it The Beckie Project. (You can check out Part I to see what it was all about.)
Children of Paradise (1945) had been on my “to watch” list for several years, waiting patiently for me to give it a chance. I knew it has been called both one of the greatest films of all time and the greatest French film ever, but I also knew it’s over three hours long. And in French.
I also know I am frequently an idiot.
But sometimes idiots take steps in the right direction. After watching the movie on FilmStruck recently, I posted on Twitter: “I just watched Children of Paradise (1945) on FilmStruck and my life will never be the same.”
(I recently purchased four film noir titles from last week’s Warner Bros. 4 for $44 sale. Riffraff is the first film I watched from that set. I plan on reviewing the others soon, so stay tuned.)
Directed by Ted Tetzlaff
Written by Martin Rackin
Produced by Jack J. Gross, Nat Holt
Cinematography by George E. Diskant
Edited by Philip Martin
Music by Roy Webb
(1:20) Warner DVD (MOD)
Eddie Muller mentioned in a tweet that the first six or seven minutes of Riffraff are absolutely spectacular and he wasn’t kidding. Those early minutes remind us of the opening moments from Touch of Evil for its building of tension, and Rio Bravo for its absence of dialogue, but both of those films came much later (1958 and 1959, respectively). It’s very possible that both Orson Welles and Howard Hawks borrowed elements of their openings from Riffraff. And if they didn’t, who cares? Although not on the level of those two films, Riffraff is a real B-picture gem.
March was an incredible month for movies, largely due to a decision I made fairly late in the month to try to watch at least one movie a week from Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list, which includes 383 films, 246 of which I have seen. It should take me about three years to finish that project if I stay on track. Stay tuned.
I saw 42 films (including one TV series) in March, 34 of them for the first time. Films I particularly liked are in bold, some of which are linked to my original reviews.