Friday, March 22, 2013

1928 - 2011

Nope the post is not a memorial to Jack Kevorkian or Juan Maria Bordaberry the thirty sixth President of Uruguay, but to the fact that I have now seen every best picture with the exception of Argo which just won this year.  It also means that I have finally watched Schindler's List.

Schindler's List (1993) - The last best picture for me to see, somewhat fitting since I swore years ago before I started this project that this would be the one best picture that I wouldn't see.  But I got to watch it and can honestly say that I do not ever need to see this movie again.  Is it a bad movie?  No, it's one of the most powerful movies I have ever seen.  But the subject is so depressing, the acting is so incredible, the film is so intense that it is one of the best movies ever made.  If you watch this movie and you are not sad or depressed, you don't have a soul.  It is based upon the life of Oskar Schindler during WWII as he tried to profit off the war and went from exploiting concentration camp prisoners to helping save their lives.  If you've seen it you understand, if you haven't you should see it once in your life.

As I now have seen four of the five films, it's obvious that Schindler's List is the best picture of the year.  I still have to see The Piano but I can't imagine it betting better than Schindler's List.

One Night Of Love (1934) - An opera musical that is also a romance film.  Staring Grace Moore as a woman who loses an American Idol type of opera contest on the radio and decides to still go to Europe and make it big.  She does as a singing waitress who is discovered by an opera teacher who then trains her under the condition that they won't fall in love.  Don't think I need to go any further in the plot, I'm sure you can guess how it ends.

This being the only year besides 1935 to have twelve films nominated, I have now seen ten of them and honestly this is down in the lower ranks.  It's no where as good as It Happened One Night or The Thin Man or Here Comes The Navy and I have to say The Gay Divorcee was much better and I am not a fan of musicals.  It's not the worst film that I saw that year, that is a death match between The Barretts of Wimpole Street and Flirtation Walk for that title.

Ruggles Of Red Gap (1935) - This is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time.  Charles Laughton plays an English butler who is lost by his employer in a poker game to a cattle baron from Washington State.  As a result he has to travel back to America and become their butler but is mistaken for an English Army officer.  Great acting, great script and Charles Laughton reciting the Gettysburg Address is amazing.  This is a lost gem that people should watch.

This too is the tenth movie I've seen from a year that had twelve movies, and while it may not be as good as Mutiny On The Bounty, which also has Charles Laughton in an terrific role, it is up there.  I would put it in the top five easily, it's just that good.

Disraeli (1930) - Biopic from 1929 actually since back then at the start of the Oscars they would have the movies across two years, like a hockey season when they are not on strike.  George Arliss won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal as English Prime Minster Benjamin Disraeli during the 1870's as England is attempting to purchase the Suez Canal.  Not the greatest picture you'll ever see but it is fascinating to see a movie from the 1920's.

As the third film for the year, it isn't as good as All Quiet On The Western Front but much, much better than The Love Parade.  Right now it's in the middle and I'll see how it will compare to the remaining two which will be on TCM in a few months.

The Pied Piper (1942) - My 434th film and ironically another one based in Europe.  An Englishman on vacation in France tries to get back to England when Germany invades.  He is asked to take the children of the inn he is staying at with him, and while he tries to get to England the number of children he has keeps increasing, hence the title.  The interesting thing is this is another war movie made during WWII so it has a different feel than movies made about WWII after the war ended.  Somewhat silly and sappy at times, but nevertheless a good movie, well acted.  Has Roddy McDowell years before he played his greatest acting role as Dr. Cornelius.

I am now at nine out of ten movies for this year and there is a lot of competition.  Also being three years from 1939 makes it still in the era of great movies.  As compared to Mrs. Miniver, another movie taking place during the war, it's not better.  Clearly it's not the worst movie, but it will have trouble climbing to the top five for the year.  I can finally place it when I see the last movie from that year I haven't seen, Wake Island.

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