Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns

A couple of weeks ago I was tagged by the inimitable Fox of Tractor Facts for another 12-movies meme and politely declined having just finished up a 12 movies meme for another inimitable blogger, Mr. Pat Piper. Then I was tagged for the same meme again by the ... hmmm, what's a good adjective I can use here... oh, I got it! - inimitable Dennis Cozzalio of Sergio Leone and the Boston Red Sox Rule. So, I'm finally going to do it but like Dennis, I don't really care about following the rules on these things. The original meme can be viewed here, courtesy of MovieMan0283 of The Dancing Image.

Okay, first, I'm just glad I've got all that linking out of the way. Second, I'm listing 12 movies I haven't seen but I don't know how available or unavailable they are, just that I want to see them and still haven't. Also, in a twist on the rules, I gave myself a twelve year period from which to choose, 1928 - 1939. Some years are not represented at all while others have multiple listings. Let's get started. Here they are in chronological order with a short blurb for each:

Sadie Thompson 1928 - I thought of this for two reasons. One, Dennis mentioned Raoul Walsh's White Heat as one he hadn't seen and this is directed by Walsh as well. Second, I haven't seen a lot of Gloria Swanson's classic silent work and this is one of her most famous.

Atlantic 1929 - Is this movie any good? Probably not. I've never heard anything particularly good about it and the first two years of the sound period produced some real duds but it's got Madeleine Carroll and is a fictionalized telling of the Titanic so that's enough for me. It's curiosity more than anything else.

The Big House 1930 - See my post here.

M├Ądchen in Uniform 1931 - No, I've never seen it. Not even the remake. And unfortunately, from what I've read, the film was cut and censored so heavily after it's initial release that a good original print no longer exists. It's been released on video in the U.S. but this is not the complete original version.

Blonde Venus 1932 - Morocco, seen it. The Blue Angel, seen it. Shanghai Express, seen it. The Scarlet Empress, seen it. Blonde Venus, haven't seen it. It's a gap in the Josef von Sternberg, Marlene Dietrich catalog that I hope to fill soon.

The Count of Monte Cristo 1934 - I love adventure movies and I love this story but I've never seen this version. I saw the 2002 version. Couldn't. Stand. It.

Death Takes a Holiday 1934 - Fantasy film about Death coming to Earth in human form as played by Frederic March. Like Cristo, also remade but that one I avoided.

The Gay Bride 1934 - Carole Lombard with the recently discussed here on Cinema Styles, Chester Morris. Interestingly The Gay Divorcee was released the same year and became a smash hit, thus destroying any chance The Gay Bride had of using the title for a sequel.

Werewolf of London 1935 - I love horror movies of the thirties but this represents a definite gap in my viewing. The estimable Jack Pierce did the make-up, giving the werewolf a sleeker look than the makeup he used six years later for The Wolfman with Lon Chaney, Jr.

Secret Agent 1936 - There's not much Hitchcock I haven't seen. This is one.

Of Mice and Men 1939 - No strong urge here, but curiosity. Definitely curiosity. Especially to see Lon Chaney, Jr play Lennie, a role he seems perfectly suited for with his size, voice and demeanor.

Beau Geste 1939 - And we finish up with another adventure film, this one Beau Geste from 1939. It was directed by one of my favorite directors on the twenties and thirties, William "Wild Bill" Wellman, although no one talks about him or remembers him much these days. But he had a great talent for pacing and getting a story across in stripped down form that never made it feel unfinished or rushed.

So there's my list. This is usually the point where I tag everyone in general because I hate tagging people and forcing them to do something they don't want to do. And so I'll tag everyone again, but to keep the classic movie motif alive I'd like to offer up a completely optional tag to any classic film blogger that wants to do a list themselves, from Raquelle at Out of the Past and Carrie at Classic Montgomery to Amy-Jeane at It'll Take the Snap Out of Your Garter (actually Amy-Jeane never does stuff like this but I just wanted to put the link there because if you're not visiting her site and you love old movie and celebrity stills, you're missing out). Start listing.