July 2019 Breakdown:
- 24 films/series total
- 16 new classic films
- 4 foreign films
- 3 mini-series
- 2 re-watches
- 1 documentary
Most watched actor/actress: Jane Powell and John Garfield with three films each
Biggest Disappointment: Don’t Make Waves
Favorite Discovery: I watched a lot of great entertainment this month, so it’s hard to pick just one favorite. But it has to be Yesterday.
The Wounded Heart (2016) – This Russian mini-series had so much potential. I loved the main story line about a self-made man who returns home for his ex’s funeral only to discover a daughter he never knew. The parts of the series that focus on this relationship are sweet and touching as the two learn to adjust. But the rest of it is disappointing.
The Girl Most Likely (1957) – First of all, Jane Powell is stunning in this Technicolor remake of Ginger Rogers, Tom, Dick and Harry. In fact, I think I prefer this version. I love the serious, but snarky little sister. I wasn’t crazy about the songs, but I did enjoy the choreography.
Cleopatra (1963) – I’ve put off watching this one for a long time due to less than stellar reviews and a long run time. It’s pretty much an empty spectacle. Elizabeth Taylor is gorgeous as usual in colorful but historically inaccurate costumes. This is not her best performance. Richard Burton is overrated as an actor in my opinion and his portrayal of Marc Antony as a whiny, love-sick soldier did not impress me. Read my full review over at The Silver Petticoat.
Don’t Make Waves (1967) – I watched this thinking it was another vehicle for Rock Hudson and Claudia Cardinale. Wrong! It stars Tony Curtis in a weird parody of the 60’s California beach culture. Sharon Tate appears also, and while she is beautiful, I wouldn’t call her an actress.
Never a Dull Moment (1968) – I found this Disney film about a man who gets mistaken for hit man for the mob pretty entertaining. Dick Van Dyke plays the man of mistaken identity well. I also enjoyed Edward G Robinson as a mob boss who’s gone high class.
Beauty for the Asking (1939) – I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lucille Ball in a dramatic role and she handles it fairly well. I liked how the movie didn’t pit her against her “rival”. It’s rare to see movies where two women who love the same man don’t end up as enemies.
The Female Animal (1958) – This drama stars Hedy Lamarr in her last role and Jane Powell in an unusual dramatic part, playing the adopted daughter of Lamarr’s aging film star. They both perform ably and the film isn’t bad, but it also isn’t that memorable.
Three Daring Daughters (1948) – Another Jane Powell film, this time a musical. As usual I skipped through most of the music, except the cute Dickey-Bird song and also the one about Route 66. I was amazed by how much Powell resembled her onscreen mother played by Jeanette McDonald. I loved Edward Arnold’s role as the fairy godfather, but I decided Jose Iturbi may have been an excellent musician, but his acting skills leave much to be desired.
The Glass Key (1942) – My second viewing of this left me in shock over how much better this film noir is than I remember. Alan Ladd is one of those actors who can convey so much through his facial expressions and body language. I got a kick out of Brian Donlevy as the political boss who wants to reform, but I felt Veronica Lake was pretty much wasted in her role.
Green Dolphin Street (1947) – I’d seen this Van Heflin, Richard Hart, Donna Reed and Lana Turner film once before. But I couldn’t remember much about it. Now I know why. It’s long and not very interesting, as much as I’ve always loved Lana Turner. I think the problem is Richard’s casting in a lead role. He’s rather dull. Tyrone Power would have been a much better choice.
Endeavour Season Six (2019) – Wow! Aside from Morse’s ill advised moustache (we hates it!), this season was amazing. I wasn’t sure how I would feel with the “gang” all split up and demoted, but their individual journeys of redemption were made even more interesting by the times they did end up working together.
The Heritage of Love (2016) – This Russian film is beautiful, romantic fluff missing something important which would make it a good drama. The actors are gorgeous and I liked the idea of a split timeline of the lovers and their descendants, but it lacked soul.
Only You (2015) – The English version of this film is one of my favorite 90’s films. So of course I had to see how this Chinese film compared. On it’s own merit it’s rather good, but I couldn’t help but compare it unfavorably to the original and so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.
Finding Mr. Right (2013) – This Chinese film stated out as a cute little rom-com about a spoiled mistress, but ended up showing surprising depth and understanding.
The Lady in Question (1940) – I watched this to see the first pairing of Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth. But they took a back seat to the performance of Brian Aherne as a Frenchman with high regard for the law, but also a blind spot to purported guilt. Ford and Hayworth are young and beautiful, but more of an after thought.
Ex-Lady (1933) – This early Bette Davis programmer is a remake of Illicit which starred one of my faves, Barbara Stanwyck. But I liked this version better. This is one of the softer roles I’ve seen Davis in though she is still a strong woman who knows what she wants. Also, her chemistry with co-star Gene Raymond is sweet and enhances the story about a woman who doesn’t want to marry the man she loves. I’m also re-evaluating my opinion of Raymond after this movie.
The Doctor and the Girl (1950) – I watched this for Charles Coburn but was impressed with Glenn Ford’s sensitive performance of a man who defies his father’s expectations in order to serve as a doctor for the poor. This is a really well done medical and family drama.
1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year (2009) – Though I didn’t learn as much as I hoped to from this documentary, it was still a very interesting look at this important year in movies.
Becket (1964) – Um wow! What a great film this was exploring the relationship between King Henry II and his one time friend and Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket. The performances of Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton are what make this so outstanding.
Juarez (1934) – To be honest, I thought this film was a bit slow. But since I knew little about the subject matter, I also found it interesting. Bette Davis is the headliner, but not the main star. That honor belongs to Brian Aherne as the doomed Maxmilian I and Paul Muni as freedom fighter Benito Juarez.
The Breaking Point (1950) – I’d read good review about this John Garfield film. I think I watched it in the wrong frame of mind. It was good, but it just didn’t resonate with me. However, the final scene at the end was very powerful. And it reminded me of how dangerous desperation can be.
Yesterday (2019) – I love The Beatles and was excited for this film about a musician who wakes up in a world where no one can remember their band. It did not disappoint. In fact, the main character’s story was even better than the fact that the movie included the Beatles songs. It’s definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen at the theater in a long time. Read my review over at The Silver Petticoat.
Charles II: The Power and the Passion (2003) – At first I wasn’t crazy about the soap opera approach to this story, but it crescendoed into a stunning story about the battle for power between King Charles and his Parliament. Rufus Sewell is amazing as the titular king.
They Made Me a Criminal (1939) – I loved all the characters and the actors portraying them in this movie about a boxer turned murder suspect on the run. The Dead End Kids, the gruff May Robson, Claude Rains as a cop, Ann Sheridan as a party girl and the young John Garfield whose innocence still shines through his tough demeanor. I loved the relationship his character develops with the Kids and Robson. It’s rather sweet.
What did you watch in July? Any favorites?