Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries 2014 - Rick Burin ""

Friday, January 2, 2015

Favorite Film Discoveries 2014 - Rick Burin

Rick Burin runs a blog called Advice for the Lovelorn and this list ran originally there:
Follow Rick on Twitter here:
Sommarnattens leende (Ingmar Bergman, 1955) aka Smiles of a Summer Night - Bergman does sex comedy - and the result is a deep, delicate, just about perfect movie, like the best of Lubitsch and Ophüls mixed with Partie de campagne.

Jeux interdits (René Clément, 1952) aka Forbidden Games - The children are both sensational, and the scenes concerning their obsessive friendship, their darkly comic quest and their wrestling with the biggest and most troubling questions in life are singularly and enduringly resonant, leading to a final scene that's as moving and powerful as cinema is ever going to get.

The Miracle Woman (Frank Capra, 1931) - By far the best of the five collaborations between future It’s a Wonderful Life director Frank Capra and the mercurially gifted Barbara Stanwyck: a blistering, beautiful Pre-Code masterpiece. Her final speech on the stage that may well be the best thing she ever did - at which point I should add that she stars in my favourite film of all time, Mitchell Leisen's Remember the Night.

Another Country (Marek Kanievska, 1984) - If you're interested in British history, class or sexual politics, it's completely fascinating, invigoratingly entertaining and extremely moving, with a hypnotically powerful, well-conceived pay-off.

Nightmare Alley (Edmund Goulding, 1947) - A stunning, staggeringly cynical melo-noir-ma about an amoral carnival huckster (Tyrone Power) using everyone he meets as he cuts a rapid path to the top. Gripping from first frame to last, it's simply one of the best of its decade: richly atmospheric, incisively intelligent and both fatalistic and unpredictable in the best tradition of the genre.

When the Wind Blows (Jimmy T. Murakami, 1986) - Hell. A devastating animated feature about the Atomic Age from the writer and director of The Snowman, which takes Peter Watkins' seminal drama-doc The War Game as its jumping off point, showing an archetypal, retired English couple as they prepare for an approaching nuclear strike.

Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown, 1927) - It's narratively simplistic, then, erotically confused and perhaps a little erratically played, but it's a visual feast like little before or since, and a fitting showcase for one of cinema's most beguiling, singular performers.

Three Strangers (Jean Negulesco, 1946) - Allergic to formula, yet richly and enduringly fatalistic in the familiar manner of co-writer John Huston, it's one film you won't forget in a hurry, right down to that classic final scene.

Wild Boys of the Road (William Wellman, 1933) - The overall effect is unforgettable, with Frankie Darro exhibiting a raw star power in the lead, and the film tackling its subject head on, anticipating The Grapes of Wrath in its story of desperate people forced to wander aimlessly away from their homes and happiness in search of a living.

Skyscraper Souls (Edgar Selwyn, 1932) and Employees' Entrance (Mervyn LeRoy, 1933) - I'm pretending this is a single film, so I can squeeze in an extra one, though in a way I suppose it is. Two slices of intensely enjoyable Pre-Code entertainment, with Warren William's tyrannical, twinkly-eyed businessmen ruling a skyscraper and then a department store with an iron fist, whilst causing problems for a pair of young couples. Both movies are cynical, malevolent and richly textured, providing a vivid portrait of Depression-era America.

Mary and Max (Adam Elliott, 2009) - An animated Australian wonder that eschews easy sentimentality with admirable vigour, lending the mesmeric Que, Sera Sera sequence a haunting power, before a climactic scene that may even make Max weep big and salty tears.

The Beloved Rogue (Alan Crosland, 1927) - An extravagantly mounted silent version of the story later made as If I Were King, in which John Barrymore - if not approaching his scintillating Shakespearean apex - is at least astonishingly good.


A Bucket of Corn said...

Twilight Time Blu-ray just released an amazing Blu-ray of the Animated Classic of When the Wind Blows. Its an amazing disc. Here is my review of it

the Trash Man said...

I remember discovering When the Wind Blows back in high-school, while I was working at our local mom'n pop video store. What an absolutely heartbreaking film.

George White said...

Damn I forgot to put Mary and Max, which I loved. I have Asperger's myself, and it was possibly the truest film about it. And Yes, I've tried spaghetti burgers. Well I actually had noodle burgers, but still...