Films in 2015: August

August is easily my biggest movie-watching month this year as I watched 65 films total! I can’t imagine I’ll top the number in the following months…but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. That big number was really thanks to TCM (as usual), as I caught up with the rest of their films from the Summer of Darkness festival and their annual Summer Under the Stars program.

New-to-Me: 57

Re-Watched: 8

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 17
  • 1940s – 12
  • 1950s – 14
  • 1960s – 6
  • 1970s – 3
  • 1980s – 1
  • 1990s – 2
  • 2000s – 0
  • 2010s – 2

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. The Razor’s Edge (1946)
  2. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
  3. In This Our Life (1942)
  4. Suddenly (1954)
  5. The Blue Gardenia (1953)
  6. Desperate (1947)
  7. The Actress (1953)
  8. The Harder They Fall (1956)
  9. Get Carter (1971)
  10. Party Girl (1958)
  11. Black Widow (1954)
  12. The Great Garrick (1937)
  13. Alibi Ike (1935)
  14. The Tall Target (1951)
  15. Government Girl (1943)
  16. A Star Is Born (1937)
  17. The Happy Ending (1969)
  18. She’s All That (1999)
  19. Tommy (1975)
  20. Quality Street (1937)
  21. Undercurrent (1946)
  22. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
  23. Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)
  24. Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945)
  25. Forsaking All Others (1934)
  26. Sadie McKee (1934)
  27. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
  28. The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
  29. The Sundowners (1960)
  30. Thunder Road (1958)
  31. The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
  32. Little Caesar (1931)
  33. Room Service (1938)
  34. At the Circus (1939)
  35. The Big Store (1941)
  36. The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind (1988)
  37. The Fountainhead (1949)
  38. Hud (1963)
  39. A Summer Place (1959)
  40. The Brothers Karamazov (1958)
  41. A Yank at Oxford (1938)
  42. St. Martin’s Lane (1938)
  43. 21 Days (1940)
  44. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
  45. The Matrix (1999)
  46. Waterloo Bridge (1931)
  47. Lady Killer (1933)
  48. The Front Page (1931)
  49. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)
  50. Shanghai Express (1932)
  51. Stromboli (1950)
  52. Europe ’51 (1952)
  53. Fear (1954)
  54. Anastasia (1956)
  55. Divorce American Style (1967)
  56. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
  57. Downstairs (1932)

Monthly Tallies

  • Best Picture Nominees Watched: 4
  • Movies Watched from The Criterion Collection: 3
  • Movies Watched via the Watch TCM app: 52
  • Movies Watched on TCM: 7
  • Movies Watched on Hulu: 0
  • Movies Watched in theaters: 2

Trends and Notes

  • Watched 51(!) films from TCM’s annual August festival Summer Under the Stars, and 46 of those were new-to-me. Just like last year, I made the effort to watch at least one new-to-me film per star in the line-up. I’m usually playing catch-up on Watch TCM, so stars whose films I still need to see from their days are Greta Garbo, Monty Woolley, George C. Scott, Gary Cooper, and Shelley Winters.
  • Watched 8 films noir from TCM’s Summer of Darkness festival, 5 of which were new-to-me. And so ends a cool summer of films…can’t wait to watch more noir films for Noirvember!
  • Watched 3 films from the year 1954.
  • Watched 4 films from the year 1937, one was a re-watch.
  • Watched 3 films from the year 1949, one was a re-watch.
  • Watched 3 films from the year 1958.
  • Watched 3 films from the year 1940.
  • Watched 3 films from the year 1931.
  • Watched 4 films from the year 1951, 3 of them were in a row.
  • Watched 3 films from the year 1938, 2 of them were in a row and starred Vivien Leigh.
  • Watched 4 films starring Ingrid Bergman in a row for her centennial, 3 of them were directed by Roberto Rossellini.

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

The Great Garrick (1937)

The Great Garrick (1937), directed by James Whale

I hadn’t heard of this movie until I saw it on the TCM schedule dedicated to Olivia de Havilland, but I’m glad I checked it out! It’s a delightful farce in which Brian Aherne (who would become de Havilland’s real life brother-in-law in a couple of years) plays the title role of 18th century British thespian David Garrick. Aherne is usually an actor whose presence can be easily overlooked in a movie thanks to his more well-known co-stars, but he pulls through here as his character is a perfect mixture of charm and arrogance, making every scene he’s in enjoyable. In the 1930s, de Havilland often played the love interest, and she does her usual best in getting both the main character and the audience to fall in love with her. And Edward Everett Horton of course plays a great supporting player and brings a lot of laughs. Director James Whale is best known for Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, as well as more dramatic films, so it’s great to see that he excelled in the comedy genre as well.

Hud (1963)

Hud (1963), directed by Martin Ritt

You can never go wrong with Paul Newman, especially in movies that feature his most revered performances, and Hud features many great ones alongside Newman’s. Newman was nominated for Best Actor as the title character, but he didn’t go on to win the Oscar for his work on the film, unlike his co-stars Melvyn Douglas (won Best Supporting Actor) and Patricia Neal (won Best Actress). Douglas has always been one of my underrated favorite actors, and I always look forward to seeing any movie he co-stars in. And Neal is an actress that has always intrigued me, so I’m glad TCM dedicated a day to her for Summer Under the Stars this year. In this film she’s only on-screen for about 20 minutes, but her presence is so strong that I can see why she was awarded in the lead actress category over supporting. Also of note is Brandon De Wilde, best remembered for his Oscar-nominated performance in Shane. All four actors play well on their own and with each other, elevating an already great story. The film won three Oscars in total, with the third going to James Wong Howe for his brilliant black-and-white cinematography.

The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix (1999), directed by Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski

Between all my TCM viewings, I watched The Matrix for the first time (hard to believe I hadn’t seen it until now right?), a modern classic I’m glad to have finally seen. I posted my eighth entry for my 2015 Blind Spots series earlier this week on the film, which can be found here.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968), directed by Robert Ellis Miller

Most of what I’ve seen from Alan Arkin are his supporting roles in modern films, and I’ve unfortunately only seen Wait Until Dark and The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming as far as his early work goes. I had heard a lot of good things about The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, mostly regarding Arkin’s wonderful performance as a deaf-mute named John Singer. His character of course never speaks a word, but Arkin says so much through his mannerisms and subtle facial expressions to get the audience to care for him. This film is worth seeing for Arkin’s performance alone, but his is not the only one worth checking out. This is the only film I’ve seen Sondra Locke in, so I don’t know what she’s like in other films (such as the ones she did with Clint Eastwood), but here she gives a heartfelt performance as a Southern teenager named Mick. Her character has the most development in the movie, as someone who initially wants noting to do with the deaf-mute Singer to someone who really grows to love his company.

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4 thoughts on “Films in 2015: August

  1. Of the noirs on your list, I think ‘Desperate’ would be my favorite, a small one with a lot of neat things going on. As far as new films go, I really enjoyed the latest ‘Mission: Impossible’ entry. And what did you think about ‘The Razor’s Edge’? It’s one I’ve always wanted to see. And 65 films last month…good lord, I’m lucky to get through 5!

    • I agree with your thoughts on Desperate, it has some really great cinematography too. And yes, the newest Mission: Impossible is a lot of fun! I like the series overall, but I really enjoyed the latest two movies the most.

      I actually liked The Razor’s Edge a little more than I thought I would. It’s a little long, but the pacing isn’t too slow so that’s good. I’d say check it out especially if you liked Laura, if only because Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb share some good scenes together. And speaking of Tierney, she plays a great sort of antagonist to Tyrone Power.

  2. I’ve never seen The Great Garrick – actually, I’ve never even heard of it. I’m glad you featured it because it sounds charming, but also because you’re right about Brian Aherne being largely overlooked these days. He’s a handsome, talented actor who deserves more attention these days. #GoTeamBrian

    • I think there’s only a couple other movies that I’ve seen where Brian Aherne was in one of the leading roles, but I’ve always thought he was a charismatic actor even in smaller roles, so it was nice to see him playing the main character. He’s certainly an underrated actor from the classic Hollywood era. Hopefully you get a chance to check it out soon!

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