I have moved past the 450 mark and have closed out a few more years as well. I should be able to reach my goal of 475 by the end of the year, still on pace to do that.
Hold Back The Dawn (1941) - Charles Boyer and the beautiful Olivia de Havilland star in a romance about a European wanting to marry an American woman so he can become a US citizen. Think Green Card but fifty years earlier. Charles Boyer woos Olivia de Havilland and gets her to marry him, only to find out that he is using her but he has fallen in love with her. She storms off across the Mexican border and gets into a car accident. Does it have a happy ending? It was made in 1941, what do you think.
This is a great movie in a year with lots of good movies. But seeing how the best picture of the year wasn't the best picture, this would have to compare to Citizen Kane. And there are only four or five movies ever made that could do that and this isn't one of them. But nevertheless still a very good movie.
In Which We Serve (1943) - Noel Coward did almost everything except the lighting and building the sets. A cheerful story about a English destroyer ship being sunk by the Germans in WWII and told in flashbacks of the survivors who are floating in the Atlantic dodging bullets. Standard WWII drama, more propaganda than movie, but powerful enough to be a good film. Movies like these were made partly for entertainment but mostly to fill people with hope and inspiration.
This is now the ninth film, out of ten nominated for the year, the last year until 2009 that had more than five. While it was a good movie, it lost to Casablanca. Do I need to say any more?
Alfie (1966) - What's it all about? Not much really. In fact the well known song was added for the US release and put over the closing credits. The story of a young man who is a womanizer and how he uses women with the main character breaking down the fourth wall and offering his own narration. Michael Caine is really good, the only reason to watch. And Shelly Winters too, but she's only in like three scenes.
This now closes out the year and A Man For All Seasons is clearly the best film, better than all the others combined and doubled. Second would be Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, a very intense powerful drama, try reenacting it at your next dinner party. Third would be The Sand Pebbles, an almost epic. Very close in fourth is The Russians Are Coming and fifth is Alfie.
The Fighter (2010) - The true story of boxer Micky Ward, or at least as close as Hollywood can get. It covers his career in the late 90's as he is trying to get the welterweight championship, dealing with his drug addicted brother former boxer Dicky Eklund, his crazy family, and everything else that can happen outside of Boston. Very well acted, fight scenes weren't too bad, but no Raging Bull.
This too is the ninth film leaving only one left which could be a game changer since it is a Coen Brother's film. But for now I will stick with Inception being the best but The Fighter is in the top five for now.
Our Town (1940) - A film adaptation of the Thornton Wilder play about the life in a small New England town at the turn of the 20th century. It's different than the play in that they use scenery and props and the ending is different. William Holden as a teenager still looks too old for the part. Not a very complex film but does offer a valuable message that life is worth appreciating every day and everything that happens.
This now closes 1940 and a tough task of ranking is upon me. Just like 1938, this year is on the down side of the peak of 1939 which means it was a great year for movies. Rebecca was the best film, a great job by Hitchcock and Lawrence Olivier. After that would be Kitty Foyle from the amazing acting from Ginger Rogers. Third is The Philadelphia Story another classic. All This, And Heaven Too is fourth from strong acting by Bettie Davis. Fifth is the Long Voyage Home, another great John Wayne film. The bottom half would go The Grapes of Wrath which I wish was more like the novel but they ended the film too soon in an attempt to try and give it a happier ending. A bad mistake that makes it sixth. Seventh is Foreign Correspondent another Hitchcock film but not as good as Rebecca. Eighth is Our Town, a nice film but not much more than that. Ninth is The Letter which to be honest was not that great of a film and didn't necessarily need to be nominated. And last is The Great Dictator, I am starting to think that Charlie Chaplin in his later years was seriously overrated.
The Front Page (1931) - A Howard Hughes film about news reporters in Chicago all trying to one up one another and involving a escaped murderer just before his execution. Well acted by Pat O'Brien and another great acting performance for Adolphe Menjou who is just so natural in everything he did. The more films I see him in the more I realize how great of an actor he was. Rather funny in parts, interesting to see a snapshot of life from over eighty years ago.
While this is the fourth out of five movies for this year, I am not sure if I will be able to see East Lynee anytime soon since it is in very bad shape and I believe there is only one copy at UCLA. So while I cannot officially close out this year I still see Cimarron as the best, The Front Page second, Trader Horn is third and Skippy sits at fourth.
The Quiet Man (1952) - The John Ford classic that took years to finally make and they did in the intense Technicolor of the time. John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara and the normal cast of John Ford regulars are in Ireland sometime in the early part of last century as John Wayne returns to Ireland to buy the home he was born in. Along the way he deals with the conflicts of rigid societal rules that creates one problem after another. It reminds you once again why the US is better than any other country in the world, especially any nation in Europe.
It is a great film, but is it the best for the year? Seeing how I saw the last movie I need to see for this year I will hold off to later in the post to rank the five films from this year.
Twelve O'Clock High (1949) - A great WWII film about the US Air Force in England 1942 flying bombing missions against the Germans. They used real footage from the war, it has been called one of the most accurate films from former veterans. Gregory Peck is a general who takes over a command to get them motivated and productive, which of course he does, and how they used that as a weapon of force against the nazis.
Another year is completed, I think this is going to become a more common trend from now on. While it was a weak year for nominated films I will stick with the academy and agree that All The King's Men was the best picture. It sticks with that theme of the late 40's of social conscious movies like The Long Weekend and Gentleman's Agreement. Second would be Battleground since it was an amazing war movie. A near tie for third but The Heiress pulls ahead from great acting from Olivia de Havilland and Montomery Clift putting Twelve O'Clock High right after it. And last, almost sixth is A Letter to Three Wives, a movie that probably should have not been nominated.
Moulin Rouge (1952) - A John Houston directed film about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and his life in Paris in the late 19th century and my 455th movie. Jose Ferrer plays Toulouse-Lautrec with trick photography, props and walking on his knees but does an amazing job. Zsa Zsa Gabor was horrible, but what else do you expect. I have to say that I was concerned about seeing this movie since I have seen the 2001 remake which was a flaming cat turd. Thankfully it wasn't anything like the horrible remake, this film covers Toulouse-Lautrec's life, the music is from the time period, not crappy songs from the 1970's, a good story and somewhat good acting. I am glad I did not see this verson first otherwise I would hate the Baz Luhrmann pile of garbage even more, which I don't think is possible.
So now I can properly close out this year and for the second year in a row the academy messed up and gave the best picture to the wrong film. The best film clearly was High Noon. There are few westerns that rank up to the level of this film. There are few films in general that rank up to this classic. Second would be The Greatest Show On Earth which was more of a life time achievement award for Cecil B. DeMille. Third would be The Quiet Man, it is John Ford and John Wayne, that automatically will always keep it out of last place. Fourth was Moulin Rouge since it was much better than I though it would be. Fifth is Ivanhoe, a good film but no where near as good as the other four.