- Guilt Trip (Anne Fletcher)
- American Hustle (David O. Russell)
- Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale)
- An Autumn Afternoon (Yasujiro Ozu)
- McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman)
- Gate Of Hell (Teinosuke Kinugasa)
- The Burmese Harp (Kon Ichikawa)
- Romance (Clarence Brown)
- The Virgin Spring (Ingmar Bergman)
- She Done Him Wrong (Lowell Sherman)
1- Sometimes I feel like a big-game hunter when it comes to watching movies. There are films that I track for years but never quite bag. McCabe & Mrs. Miller was such a movie. I had been trying to see it ever since I went nuts for Nashville when that masterpiece came out in the 70s. I finally caught up with McCabe & Mrs. Miller and it made very little impression on me. I wonder if my viewing of it suffered from the ‘checking it off a list’ mentality? Can one watch too many movies? Possibly. The Burmese Harp was another title I had been tracking for a long time. I made more of a connection with it than with McCabe & Mrs. Miller and I don’t know why, since it is far from a great film and the consensus is that McCabe & Mrs. Miller is a great film. Perhaps the Altman style hadn’t crystallized yet? Perhaps watching a master hone his craft not as interesting as watching him at the top of his form. I would be interested in hearing pros and cons concerning McCabe & Mrs. Miller .
2- An artist who always seems to be on the top of his form is Yasujiro Ozu. An Autumn Afternoon is his final film and it is just beautiful. It stayed with me for days.
3- The Virgin Spring holds up as well as I hoped it would. I hadn’t seen it in perhaps 20 years and since I have been playing around with a Bergman piece for this blog, I thought it would be good research. It is even more powerful and stunning than I remember. I was struck by the similarity of this film to Richard Strauss’ opera Elektra, not because of plot or style, but in the brutal single-mindedness of the conception and execution of both works.
4- I wonder how such a stunningly bad movie like Romance could have been made. Greta Garbo was one of the hugest stars of the time, and she had just made a sensational transition from Silents to Talkies just recently with Anna Christie. This looks like it was slapped together from some creaky, mid-Victorian potboiler just to get Garbo in front of the cameras again quickly. The melodrama is laughable and I am sure it was laughable in 1930. I am all for melodrama (see my rhapsodies on Sirk) but this was excruciating to watch. But try it, you might have fun!