Monday 5 May 2014
I ended with 21 movies in April, so dividing them into 3 groups of 7 seems appropriate. I gave you the first batch on April 27, so here are movies 8 through 14.
52. (589.) Show People (1928)
This amusing silent film about a Georgia peach breaking into Hollywood — think A Star is Born without the alcoholism — proved to me that society hasn't changed much in the past 85 years. People are people; the technology just changes around us.
53. (590.) The Super Cops (1974)
This buddy-cop action film was written by the same guy who wrote the pilot for the 1966 Batman television show, and it shows. A very enjoyable film if you like to laugh at 1970s New York crime films. And who doesn't?
54. (591.) The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968)
I got the impression that the director, Robert Aldrich of The Dirty Dozen, set out to make a melodramatic soap opera of a movie about inner Hollywood, and then halfway through — either because of script or budget or actor problems — turned it into a campy satire. The final few minutes of the film are 100% Paddy Chayefsky-cynical and demonstrate what the movie could have been if the director had been working full speed in that direction from the beginning. You know, usually I get to the end of a movie and am disappointed by the "Hollywood" ending (I always cite Fight Club), but this movie was exactly the opposite.
55. (592.) The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Man, I was on a streak of great movies this month. The best Kirk Douglas film ever? It's like Citizen Kane set in Hollywood. (How many movies are there about Hollywood, anyway? It's narcissist cinema!)
56. (593.) Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
The only weakness in this courtroom drama is Tyrone Power, which is a shame as he's the defendant in the case. (He was more believable as an Indian national in The Rains Came.) Marlene Dietrich is incredible in her role, but it's the Agatha Christie/Billy Wilder-scripted Churchill-esque quips delivered by Charles Laughton that steal the show. I wish I could talk like that.
57. (594.) Bus Stop (1956)
Finally, a dud. I'm no Marilyn fan, and this is the worst I've ever seen of her work. Vacillating from stiff to overly emotional, she can't hold her ground against a protagonist that is as thin as you'd expect from a L'il Abner extra. A bad film.
58. (595.) A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
With my streak of good movies over, I doubled down on the bad. I only got halfway through it, but then I knew I'd hate this before I started watching. I don't like Marlon Brando — a man who never learned that on screen literally less is more. (I'm looking at you Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now!) More importantly, I HATE Tennessee Williams' plays. Everyone lies to one another because they are too busy lying to themselves about how they feel or what they want to recognize the truth. Ugh. That's not entertainment. That's life. I don't need to waste my time watching someone else's boring life. I have one of those myself, thank you very much.
More to come.