February didn’t prove to be a very productive month for me in watching films and series. Of course it is a short month and I was busier than usual, so I’m cutting myself some slack.
I finished fourteen films and two series in February, that includes a mix of classic and contemporary entertainment. I revisited some old favorites (Gone With the Wind, My Fair Lady and The Quiet Man), and watched some creative Shakespeare adaptations.
My favorite discoveries this month are the sweet classic Cheers for Miss Bishop and the extremely cute Netflix film To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
Bad Bascomb (1946) – I’m working my way through Margaret O’Brien’s films. She is cute as usual in this Western about an outlaw hiding out in a Mormon train. And I loved Marjorie Main as her sassy, take no prisoners, grandmother. However, Wallace Beery is the star, and I can only handle so much of him. So after the hour mark, I was just ready for this one to be over.
Street Angel (1928) – Ever since I saw Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell in Lucky Star, I’ve been wanting to see more of their silent films. I enjoyed this one, thanks to their excellent chemistry, but didn’t love it as much as Lucky Star.
Fog Over Frisco (1934) – I watched this for Bette Davis, but she only appears in about a third of the scenes. It’s a fast paced little crime drama which isn’t bad, but also isn’t particularly memorable.
Love’s Labor Lost (2000) – What a fabulously ridiculous adaptation this is. It’s a musical, comedy, romantic mashup set in the 1930’s. It shouldn’t work, but somehow it does, if you appreciate Technicolor cheesiness. I was entertained from beginning to end.
Much Ado About Nothing (2012) -I have mixed feelings about this version of Shakespeare’s plays. I appreciated the modern setting and the more dramatic performances. But it just didn’t have the same charm of the Branagh/Thompson version.
Resistance 2014 (French Series) – This series was rather slow, drab and often times depressing. But it helped give me a better sense to the experiences of the French Resistance movement during WWII. It surprised me how young some of the participants were. The series featured the stories of actual resistance members.
The Hour 2011-2012 – (British Series) -This slower paced drama took me a while to get into. But, I was fascinated by the look at news programming in the Sixties and how it intersected with the political and government arena. It stars Romola Garai, Ben Wishaw, Dominic West in really great performances.
Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) – I really enjoyed this sweet, touching film about a single woman who was a dedicated teacher for her whole life. Martha Scott was not only beautiful, but almost made me cry.
A Letter to Three Wives (1949) – This was a re-watch for me. This time around I found myself most interested in the relationship between Paul Douglas and Linda Darnell’s characters. I’ve just recently found myself realizing how compelling Douglas is as an actor, so it was nice to re-visit his first performance.
My Fair Lady (1964) – This is my favorite musical and one I’ve seen numerous times, including on the stage. But seeing it on the big screen was so amazing. I had to stop myself from singing along out loud and disturbing the other theater patrons.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) -I heard great things about the book, and then also about Netflix’s film adaptation. Well, the praise was well deserved. This YA film was downright adorable. I loved the actress playing Lara Jean and it’s always nice to see John Corbin pop up. He plays the sympathetic father. This is just the cutest and the plot surprised me a couple of times.
Mathilde (2017) -This Russian film about Nicholas the last Czar and his ballerina mistress did not get good reviews. But I’m always fascinated by that period in Russian history so I gave it a view. It is a visually gorgeous film and the costumes are beautiful. But it lacks substance and has a lackluster plot. Sadly, I didn’t finish it.
The Quiet Man (1952) – I’ve seen this a couple of times before, but its been a while. I remembered liking it, but this time I truly fell in love with this John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara collaboration. It presents the Ireland of my dreams in crisp, vibrant color both in the cinematography and the characters.
Sayonara (1957) – Overall, I found this films underwhelming. I appreciated the discussion about inter-racial relationships. But I thought Marlon Brando’s use of a southern accent ridiculous, not to mention he pretty much mumbles his way through the movie. James Garner was criminally underutilized and the slow pace coupled with the run time just felt too long.
Anna Karenina (2012) – I’ve been wanting to see this adaptation for a while, thanks to the actors involved and the stunning visuals. However, it just felt so shallow and empty, and the characters like cariacatures. I think it tried too hard to be artsy and important instead of focusing on a really compelling story. I had to make myself finish it. Of the four adaptations I’ve seen, this is my least favorite.
Gone With the Wind (1939) – No matter how many times I see this film, I always hope that the ending will be different…and happier. But, I never get tired of watching it, especially when it’s on the big screen. For the first time I was struck by Melanie’s inner strength and found myself respecting her immensely.
What are some of the films or series you watched in February. Did you find any new favorites?