I only watched 15 new-to-me movies in October (plus a few Halloween classics), which is why I'm breaking them out into 3 groups of 5. Here's the second group:

176. (713.) Khartoum (1966)
I enjoyed this semi-fictional story based on the Siege of Khartoum. You know, I've read multiple times in recent years that more movies have been "based on a true story" since 2000 than before. Wikipedia even has an article on it! But I don't believe that, and not only because this movie isn't on that Wikipedia list. Hollywood has always relied on the "true story" to inspire its never end crusade illuminating the human condition. Like snowflakes, every movie needs something real to crystallize around, whether it's a major battle in the fall of the British Empire or a ghost story told to the writer of The Exorcist.

177. (714.) The Sniper (1952)
I watched this movie because I saw its poster was included in a recent book about great noir movie posters. It's a pretty good movie, too, unusual in the fact that the protagonist is also the killer. That may be common in post-Sopranos America, but was unusual in 1950s cinema.

178. (715.) Gone Girl (2014)
Meh. Too long. Too much distracting product placement. Too reliant on unexplained character quirks. (The whole movie doesn't work if the protagonist isn't just an inexplicably horrible human being who lies about random things for no good reason.) But I will praise the stunning acting by Rosamund Pike. Her performance is Oscar-worthy if anything is.

179. (716.) Third Finger, Left Hand (1940)
A romantic comedy of errors featuring Myrna Loy. She's so dreamy.

180. (717.) Magic Boy (1959)
Shown during an animation marathon on TCM, this film is apparently the first anime film released theatrically in the US. The finale is great, but the rest is a little boring. While I can't really recommend the movie (despite an occasionally impressive scene, including the finale), I do recommend the theme song that spells out the entire plot.

"Deep in a spooky forest lived a boy
a wicked witch was trying to destroy.
He said, 'to fight a witch
who uses magic tricks,
I'll have to learn to be a maah-gic boy'!"

So, so good. Take a listen:

"Magic Boy"
written by Fred Spielman and Janice Torre
performed by Danny Valentino and Ray Ellis
from the 1961 MGM release of Magic Boy (aka Shônen Sarutobi Sasuke)

More to come.

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To be continued...


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