Tuesday, January 14, 2014

10 Classics for 2014

Hey there, did you miss me? I spent most of December stressed out and on the verge of an anxiety attack so I took some time off from blogging (and from other things) to recuperate. However, my blogging break did not keep from working on a blog project. I've been watching as many Fritz Lang movies as I can in an effort to do more deep viewing and expand my knowledge of film history. I hope to do similar projects with directors and actors/actresses in the future. So far I've watched 14 Fritz Lang films, including all of the silents I could find on DVD, Netflix Instant or on YouTube. I won't be reviewing each film but I'll be doing two posts on the project. Stay tuned.

Another project I want to work on is inspired by Laura of Laura's Miscellaneous Musings. For the past couple of years she's been doing a 10 Classics project in which she picks 10 major classics that she has yet to see and commits herself to watching them and reviewing them on her blog before the year end. Check out her list for 2014. I was impressed by her commitment to broaden her film viewing horizons and decided to jump on the bandwagon. I came up with my own list of 10 major classics to watch in 2014. My list is a combination of American, British and Foreign films. I almost made two lists (one American and one Foreign) but decided to keep it just to 10 for now.


Norman Lloyd told me to watch this film. Well not me directly but to the audience at the TCM Film Festival last year. Leonard Maltin was interviewing Lloyd about another early Hitchcock masterpiece The Lady Vanishes (1938), which we were about to see, and Lloyd waxed enthusiastically about The 39 Steps. He said, "if you want to know how to shoot a film, watch The 39 Steps. Every shot, every camera set, every movement is perfection." (Here is my transcript from his interview) He recommends The 39 Steps to every film student he meets. I own a Criterion Blu-Ray edition so there is no excuse for me not to watch it.


My husband purchased the Blu-Ray of this some time ago and while we usually keep our DVDs and Blu-Rays separate, I put this one in my collection and have been eying it ever since. It's time for me to watch this classic! It's also time for me to stop calling it The Bridge OVER the River Kwai.


 I adore Sidney Poitier and he's my top choice for my next "deep viewing" movie project. It's embarrassing that I haven't seen this one yet and now I will finally get why everyone loves to repeat the famous quote "They call me Mr. Tibbs".



I've watched the first 20 minutes of this film on TCM once but haven't gotten around to watching the whole thing. Which is a shame because this is a much beloved classic. Jill of Sittin' on a Backyard Fence adores this film and I often see her tweeting about it whenever its on TCM. Her enthusiasm for the film makes this a top candidate for me!

Touch of Evil (1958)
The other day my husband asked me if Touch of Evil was a good film and I replied that I hadn't seen it yet. My husband was quite shocked. I took his response as a gauntlet thrown and the challenge was accepted.


A shout out to one of my readers Greg who recommended this film to me a long time ago. He emailed me after I had reviewed the film Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) which inspired Tokyo Story. My very emotional reaction (i.e. sobbing uncontrollably) to Make Way for Tomorrow made me put off Tokyo Story because I wasn't sure if I could handle it. But this year I want to watch it once and for all.

Gun Crazy (1950)
A classic, gritty film noir. I've seen parts of it but I need to sit my butt down and watch the whole thing. I have owned a copy for years so I have no excuse.


This was sort of a blind add. I saw it on the Sight and Sound list of best films and it's a film I missed at the last TCM Film Festival. Plus its got George Sanders so why wouldn't I want to watch it?


It's the film Fritz Lang was supposed to direct but didn't so in a way this would fit into my Lang project. I'm really loving German silents and Nosferatu has been screened with live musical accompaniment numerous times in my area and I have managed to miss every single one of those events. If it happens again come Halloween, I'm committing myself to going! If it doesn't, I'll just rent it on DVD.


The Wild Bunch (1969)
This film has three of my favorite actors: Edmond O'Brien, Ernest Borgnine and Robert Ryan. And I'm gradually warming to Westerns thanks to Robert Mitchum and the plot of this one sounds right up my alley.

What do you think about my choices? Do you think I'll like them? What would you pick as your 10 classics for 2014?


29 comments:

  1. Great list! I still have to watch The Best Years of Our Lives, too. Journey to Italy, unfortunately, was spoiled in a Rossellini documentary!
    Nosferatu is very good. Watch it with the lighrs on! :)
    I also love The Wild Bunch, Touch of Evil and The 39 Steps (ti's originally a book, I own it but haven't read). And I must say that I tried to watch The bridge on the River Kwai when I was in high school... and slept. I was tired of studying.
    Kisses!

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    1. Lê - Thanks for all your comments. I might see Nosferatu in the theatre so it might be in the dark. LOL. Uh oh. I didn't realize The 39 Steps was a book. I'll have to check that out.

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  2. Raquel, I'm really thrilled you decided to do this! :) I hope you find it as valuable and enjoyable an experience as I have.

    I loved reading your post and the list itself. Great ideas here. I've seen exactly half of your listed titles. It's been years since I last saw THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES and I've been meaning to revisit it. I've found my feelings toward it have gradually changed since I first saw it as a child -- much as Will McKinley desribed in a recent post at Cinematically Insane.

    The others I've seen are THE 39 STEPS, THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, TOUCH OF EVIL, and GUN CRAZY. GUN CRAZY and TOUCH OF EVIL each have a couple minutes of the most interesting cinematography ever!

    I'm looking forward to reading your responses to all the films on your list! I'll be especially interested to hear what you think of TOKYO STORY. I loved my introduction to director Ozu last year but like you was kinda worried I'd find TOKYO STORY really sad, so I chose his LATE SPRING for this year's list. I'm also interested in JOURNEY TO ITALY since first hearing about it via the TCM Festival. George Sanders is always a good thing!

    I'm also looking forward to your Fritz Lang posts! I've gradually been catching up on his films (though no silents to date). One night last spring I watched SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR and HOUSE BY THE RIVER back to back which made for a very "gothic" evening!

    Good luck and have fun!

    Best wishes,
    Laura

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    1. Thank you Laura for your support and for coming up with this wonderful idea! RE: Best Years of Our Lives, I think its amazing how time can make us look at films differently. Whether we forget most of the film and watch it again like it were brand new or our opinions change. If I don't like a film, I always try to give myself time and keep in mind that I might like it in the future.

      I'm looking forward to the cinematography in Gun Crazy and Touch of Evil!

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  3. Well, I've seen everything here except Tokyo Story, Journey to Italy and The Wild Bunch and all I can say is that you are definitely in for some good times.

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    1. Rich - I'm looking forward to these good times. :-) Thanks!

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  4. Great choices. Wishing you much enjoyment on your journey.

    I think I've watched "Best Years of Our Lives" probably once a year, every year, since I was a teenager. It's like a religious experience.

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    1. Jacqueline - Everyone loves Best Years of Our Lives so much that I really feel like I'm missing out on something special. I'm glad it's on my list!

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  5. "The Best Years of Our Lives" was by far the best new-to-me movie I watched in 2013. I hope you love it, too. Looking forward to your take on it and the other movies on your list. I'm tempted to follow Laura's lead myself, and come up with a 10 movie challenge for the year. I could definitely use something to motivate me since I'm basically the laziest blogger ever.

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    1. MC - Another fan of Best Years. Okay I'm definitely excited about this now. Thanks for your comment!

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  6. I agree with everyone above, such a good list, seen all except Tokyo Story & Journey to Italy. I kind of envy first time viewers of movies I already love :) you will have fun

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    1. Kristina - I'm thinking we should all watch Tokyo Story and Journey to Italy since many who have responded haven't seen them yet. Thanks for your comment!

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    2. That's a great idea, and I will do that! :)

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  7. Good to have you back. Love the list, especially Journey to Italy. I've never heard of that one, but it looks like a great cast. I'm going to do this too! I think I'll get my picks up next week.

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    1. KC - I look forward to seeing your list!

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  8. A list like this is a very good idea indeed. I should do one myself. Your choices are great, and I can tell you you have good stuff ahead. I'm particularly fond of anything Fritz Lang and Orson Welles. Almost all of David Lean's films are also favorites of mine. I haven't seen Ryan's Daughter properly though. I should also watch more Japanese films. I have not seen many of those really.

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    1. Jonas - One of my 2014 challenges is Watch-every-movie-Jonas-ever-sent-me. LOL! Ryan's Daughter is stunning. Not the best plot-wise but visually a four course meal!

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  9. I'm really excited to see the 10 Classics idea catching on! So much fun. I'd love to link to anyone else's list from my original post, as I have done with Raquel's -- just let me know!

    Best wishes,
    Laura

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  10. Nosferatu was effing GREAT! The rest of your picks for 2014 are going straight on my list too! They all sound wonderful and there are a couple on there that I've started watching before but never got around to actually finishing. Welcome back darling xx

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    1. Vanessa - Thank you. I'm really excited for Nosferatu and I'm glad that it comes highly recommended by you.

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  11. Thanks for Sharing Classics. Here all the Collection are Great i like it.
    Asiangirlswiki

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  13. Touch of Evil - You'll have three options, and the Reconstructed Version is the way to go. The original theatrical cut, while the only one for 40 years, really is now just a curiosity, a clumsy movie with great moments and scenes. This one is a whole movie. Also, I would recommend viewing in 1:85. This version was projected locally with James Naremore, who helped with the reconstruction, and Peter Bogdanovich in attendance, the projector run by film preservationist Eric Grayson. They ran it in 1:85. In addition, it just looked right. Masters of Cinema have it on blu-ray, all versions together. It's region 'b', but a good reason to get one of those hacked players now that they've become affordable.

    (Sorry for the earlier anonymous. Google is weird.)

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    1. W. David L. - Wow! Thank you so much for all the information regarding Touch of Evil. I'll make sure to watch the Reconstructed version like you advise.

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  14. Hi, Raquel! Love your pics -- I'm especially looking forward to finding out what you think about Touch of Evil, Gun Crazy, and The Wild Bunch. I would probably never have seen The Wild Bunch, but I watched it during a William Holden obsession I experienced several years ago, when I tried to see almost everything William Holden I could get my eyes on. I'm really glad I did. I've never seen Bridge on the River Kwai, though -- during my Holden phase, I just couldn't bring myself to check that one out! I'll be interested to read your take on that one, too. Maybe it will change my mind.

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    1. Hey Karen - Can you believe I've never seen Gun Crazy? It's shameful considering I love Film Noir so much. Thanks for your comment!

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  15. Thanks for turning me on to Make Way for Tomorrow. I had reviewed Tokyo Story previously but I hadn't seen anything in my reading about the earlier picture. They're both fantastic.

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  16. The only one of these I've seen is Touch of Evil which is so, so good and I maintain that it's better than Citizen Kane (though maybe not as *important*). Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Re: Lang - are you familiar with Woody Allen's Shadows and Fog? I'm a massive Allen fan, and he made a handful of homage films (Manhattan Murder Mystery - Hitchcock; Interiors - Cassavetes; Stardust Memories - Fellini; Another Woman & September - both Bergman). Shadows and Fog is his Lang film and this has always delighted me.

    Trent

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  17. i've seen 6 out of those 10 and they're all well worth a look! how many have you knocked off the list so far? btw the first time I saw the Wild Bunch was on the big screen at Trinity College in Hartford CT, i went twice in one day, lol! imo its one of the dozen best non-John Ford westerns ever made.

    i still need to see River Kwai and like you with Gun Crazy, I;ve had that here for years and still havent watched it...no excuse!

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