As regular readers of Journeys in Darkness and Light know, I don’t see all that many “new” movies, certainly not enough to justify a Best of 2016 list that actually means films released in 2016. Instead, I’ve listed the films I saw this year for the first time covering the years 2000 to the present, which includes a few 2015 and 2016 titles. I hope you find something to discover.
Today’s post focuses on older films (pre-2000) that I discovered for the first time in 2016. You could make a case that some of these are film noir or neo-noir titles, but for the most part they aren’t. I’ll cover those as well as more modern movies (2000 to the present) in upcoming posts. The following weren’t all the pre-2000 movies I saw for the first time this year, just the ones I enjoyed most. As always, I hope you’ll find something to discover as well. Films are listed in alphabetical order by title. For the films that have little or no commentary, click on the title to read more.
I always approach rewatching movies with a certain level of fear and trembling… What if a movie doesn’t live up to that one magical viewing you gave it many years ago? Should I have left that wonderful memory alone? If I revisit a movie, do I run the risk of ruining it forever if it no longer delivers?
I expressed some of these concerns in last year’s rewatch post and those concerns still apply. For this year’s list, I limited myself to films I had previously seen only once, eliminating the favorite multiple-rewatch films, movies I revisit frequently such as Vertigo or fun movies like Back to the Future. It’s been several years between viewings of the films listed below. In some cases you can click on the title link for more info; in other cases I typed out a few thoughts. I hope you’ll find some films here to visit or revisit.
We had a spectacular year at the Severna Park Library in 2016 with our series The Great Movies, which kicked off in January. My co-worker Julia and I believed this would be an enjoyable monthly event for our patrons, showing an important movie each month, and discussing it afterward. It certainly succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.
I hope everyone had a great Noirvember. I’m looking forward to hearing what you watched last month, so please feel free to use the comments section for that very purpose. I had a great time with Noirvember last year and I think I enjoyed this year even more.
I had originally intended this Noirvember to watch only movies that I’d never seen from the classic film noir period (which I define roughly as the 1940s and 50s), but decided to rewatch a few favorites and films I hadn’t seen in awhile. Some interesting things happened:
Pickup on South Street (1953) Samuel Fuller (2x)
Eureka! Masters of Cinema Blu-ray (UK)
It’s just another job for pickpocket Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark, right)… He spots a woman on a New York City subway train, lifts her wallet, and is on his way. He’s done it a thousand times and hardly has to even think about it. But this time Skip has picked up more than he’s bargained for. The wallet contains microfilm filled with top-secret government information. The woman named Candy (Jean Peters, left) was going to deliver the microfilm to her ex-boyfriend Joey (Richard Kiely). Joey had told Candy that the envelope she was delivering contained stolen business documents. Candy doesn’t know that Joey is really a communist spy and Skip doesn’t know what he’s got. They’re both in a world of trouble.
Act of Violence (1948) Fred Zinnemann (2x)
Warner Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 DVD
World War II hero Frank Enley (Van Heflin) is a well-respected man in Santa Lisa, California and has everything going for him: a wonderful wife named Edith (Janet Leigh) and a little boy named Georgie.
But when Frank discovers that one of his war buddies Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan) desperately wants to see him, he panics. No one knows why, but Frank’s fear forces him into hiding.