Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014 - Ariel Schudson ""

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014 - Ariel Schudson

Ariel Schudson is a film archivist and preservationist. She has earned two Master’s degrees from UCLA, one in Moving Image Archive Studies and another in Cinema and Media Studies. She was recently presented with the Nancy Mysel Legacy Grant from the Film Noir Foundation and will be working with them on future restoration projects. Until then she is working on various freelance assignments, film festival work and any journalism-driven work that may be thrown her way.
On Twitter: @Sinaphile.

See also her lovely Film Discoveries list from last year:
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1) WOMAN ON THE RUN - (Norman Foster, 1950) 
This is KINDA cheating. I saw this last year and I’m pimping it for this year. IT’S A GREAT MOVIE & a killer restoration. If you wanna write me hate mail, I’ll take it! So obviously this one is pretty special to me since I work for the Film Noir Foundation & this is our new restoration this year & I was there assisting (to what capacity I could) for the creation of this year’s glorious work. So, I’ve seen certain scenes of this film 30-50 times. Lost count. That’s how it goes. On the big screen? The premiere was a SMASH HIT in San Francisco at the opening of Noir City and in Los Angeles (next place Noir City hits) it promises to be another amazing screening. Get those tix early!! We turned away at least 100 people in SF. Dennis O’Keefe, Robert Keith (Brian Keith’s daddy) and the indomitable Ann Sheridan. Restoring this was amazing. It’s why I do what I do.
--Viewed on: 35mm (and other format stuffs due to restorationy-ness)

2) THE PICTURE SHOW MAN – (John Power, 1977) Ohhhh, I cannot say enough lovely things about this movie!!! RIP Rod Taylor, man. My little print of this is great and it’s just fantastic. Roadshowing silent films across Australia? The progress of film technology? A cute little dog? GENUINE old school projection equipment lent for the film by various archives & museums in Australia? OH YES. This is a goodie. Also, I managed to grab the Hungarian poster after falling in love with it so hard. Just lovely.
--Viewed on: personal 16mm print

3) WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH HELEN? – (Curtis Harrington, 1971) I’m afraid that if I say too much about this film I will spoil it. But I want to watch it over & over & over again. I am a GIANT Shelley Winters fan and I want to say that this may be one of my very top films of hers. It’s a genuinely good film. While some may shove it into a shlock or “camp” area, please don’t. I found it heart-wrenching and entirely too shattering and ultimately made me very frustrated that we don’t have more meaty films like this to offer for great actresses today. WATCH THIS. So damn grateful to TCM.
--Viewed on: TCM

4) NIGHTFALL – (Jacques Tourneur, 1957) 
Saw this on the David Goodis evening of Noir City last year. Once again we have a member of the Keith family (Brian Keith) only this time he’s playing the heavy. This is SO weird for me to see since I’m used to him as a nice guy! He’s the dad from Parent Trap and With Six You Get Eggroll, y’know?? But Aldo Ray and Anne Bancroft work Stirling Silliphant’s screenplay pretty well, and I thought it was a keeper!
--Viewed on: 35mm, Noir City Hollywood, Egyptian Theater/American Cinematheque

5) CRUEL GUN STORY – (Takumi Furukawa, 1964) OK. So what Robert Ryan is to me for American Noir? Jô Shishido is to me for Nikkatsu noir. And I will lay it all on the line and say that CGS may, in fact, be one of the darkest, most hopeless pieces of film work I have ever seen. In other words? I F**KING LOVED THE HELL OUT OF IT. There is zero light in this movie. This is the GERMANY: YEAR ZERO of Japanese film noir. Watch it, but make sure there’s a lot of cat videos or candy lined up afterwards.
--Viewed on: Criterion DVD

6) ANGELS OVER BROADWAY – (Ben Hecht, 1940) I guess this is almost a “no, duh” situation because…it’s goddamn Ben Hecht, right? But my man Thomas Mitchell. That guy is MY MAN. So seriously folks. In the world of character actors, he’s one of the guys I am so crazy about it hurts me. A few others are Roland Young, Charlie Ruggles, Felix Bressart & S.Z. Sakall. But I have LISTSSSSS of them. Please check this film out. Rita Hayworth is just superb. It may have made my “You gotta love this or you can’t love me” arena but I have to see it a few more times to be sure (yes, I have a group of those films. I call them “gatekeepers.”J
--Viewed on: 35mm, Noir City Hollywood, Egyptian Theater/American Cinematheque

7) THE NIGHT WALKER – (William Castle, 1964) 
So I got to see this on a big screen and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Some day I will get my “Castle profile” tattoo but for now, I’ll just be super excited to get to see this film with the inimitable Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck. An even more fascinating film since it was done after they had divorced (and it was a painful divorce from what I have been told), this film is super enjoyable. No gimmicks, but who cares? It was fantastic!
--Viewed on: 35mm, LACMA

8) A COLT IS MY PASSPORT – (Takashi Nomura, 1967) Yeah, another Jô Shisido Nikkatsu noir. Can’t help it. Just so great. Guns, mobs, gangsters, suits. What else do you want really? I dunno. I’m fulfilled.
--Viewed on: Criterion DVD

9) YOU’RE NO GOOD – (George Kaczender, 1965) Okay. This is also kinda cheating again, I guess. This is not a “full length feature film.” It’s a short. But it knocked me on my ass & it is coming from a filmmaker that I now consider to be possibly one of my favorites. This short “educational” film stars Michael Sarrazin waaaaaay before They Shoot Horses Don’t They? And manages to encompass everything I love about the British New Wave in a short film. Only it’s not British. It’s from Canada, by a man who is not Canadian, and is wholly original. This discovery for me was a dream. Juvenile delinquency, super-intimate and diverse Mod-rock dance sequences, all in one film that has a GREAT narrative? Yeah. I wish I could show this to everyone. It’s the magic of what a real 16mm in the 60s could do in Canada. Bless the NFB!!
--Viewed on: personal 16mm print

10) MAN ON FIRE – (Ranald MacDougall, 1957) 
So, this film has Bing Crosby in a dramatic role. And it’s really well done. Great performance by Inger Stephens and not overly cheesy. This film centers on divorce in 1957 and does NOT go towards melodrama. It’s an actual drama. And I was really refreshed by it. It was something that I found to be a real delight and well-made. Modern filmmakers- SERIOUSLY. Watch older films, guys. It’d help!
--Viewed on: TCM

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