I hope you’ll watch a movie today that in some way celebrates this wonderful holiday. Here are a few moments from movies you might consider:
Noir City Annual 2015 – Eddie Muller, editor
Film Noir Foundation, 2016
Paperback, 271 pages
If you’ve ever watched one of Eddie Muller’s introductions on TCM’s Noir Alley (every Sunday at 10am EST, by the way) or FilmStruck, listened to one of his DVD commentaries, or heard him introduce a film in person, you know that Muller’s love of film noir is personal, passionate, and boundless. Now imagine a book filled with men and women just like Muller who share his passion for film noir. That’s what you get when you pick up any Noir City annual.
Today we’re halfway through 2017 and my movie-watching has been pretty good with 218 films watched so far. I know that many of you have seen far more than that and I applaud you. I wish I could watch more, but considering that I saw a total of 280 movies last year, I feel pretty good about having 218 at the mid-year point. (Plus my wife doesn’t care for movies, so there’s that…)
You can see my diary on Letterboxd, but I discovered this morning that I have a couple of duplicates. That’s okay, because I’ve seen at least two films that do not yet appear on Letterboxd, so the numbers are pretty accurate.
I was surprised at the breakdown of how I watch movies. Out of 218 movies, here’s how I accessed them:
Wednesday night my friends Bill and Patrick came over to watch No Country for Old Men (2007), a film that has affected all three of us in a profound way in the 10 years since its release. Several months ago Bill expressed an interest in watching the movie with me to discuss some of the film’s deeper meanings. I told Bill that we should also invite Patrick, another big fan of the movie.
We decided before we started that anytime someone had something to say, we’d stop the film. We did this very little during the film’s first hour, but probably seven or eight times during its second half. I won’t go into everything we discussed, but I want to cover just the last three minutes of the film in which Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) relates two dreams to his wife Loretta (Tess Harper).
Although we all agreed that the scene (watch clip below) with Bell talking to the retired law man Ellis (Barry Corbin) is probably the key to understanding the film (and we referred back to it frequently), we talked mostly about the ending.
The Mark Hellinger Story: A Biography of Broadway and Hollywood – Jim Bishop
Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1952
Hardcover, 368 pages (no index)
Besides hardcore film noir fans, most people have probably never heard of Mark Hellinger, yet in the 1930s and 40s, Hellinger’s name was known by millions from coast to coast as the writer of a famous newspaper column covering all the news of Broadway. After reaching the top of his game in the newspaper business, Hellinger made the audacious move to Hollywood where he hoped to become not a writer, but a movie producer.