Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2017 - KC (of a Classic Movie Blog) ""

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - KC (of a Classic Movie Blog)

Kendahl "KC" Cruver writes about movies at A Classic Movie Blog and as a regular contributor to ClassicFlix. You can find her all over the web:
Escape in the Fog (1945)
I’ve already forgotten a lot about this somewhat engrossing mystery, but for some reason it still sticks with me. It’s got a great look and a laidback feel that is odd for a suspense flick, but somehow works. I also like watching Nina Foch walk in the fog.
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The Rocket Man (1954)
I was thrilled to learn that George “Foghorn” Winslow, the frog-voiced child who made a play for Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starred in his own film. He plays an orphan who gets a ray gun from an alien that forces all in its beam to tell the truth. As wacky as that premise is, it gets shoved aside by a lot of more standard drama. It’s still a cute flick though and I loved Spring Byington as a feminist-before-her-time justice of the peace.
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Middle of the Night (1959)
It took me years to watch this May December romance starring Kim Novak and Fredric March. I’m glad I waited, because I don’t think I’d have gotten the full impact when I was younger. March is a widower who unexpectedly falls in love with a young employee. While the obvious issues of age difference and existing relationships present complications for the pair, the way they deal with them is always fascinating, rooted in the desire for affection and empathy, and the reality that love isn’t always enough.
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American Honey (2016)
I have my issues with this movie. In a lot of ways its heroine avoids the typical traumas she could expect in her position a little too easily. It has stayed with me though, because it made me uncomfortably aware of my own snobbishness about class. In loving these characters, I realized I am not as liberal minded as I thought and that I want to change that about myself. Sasha Lane is mesmerizing. I hope she gets the roles she needs to flourish, because a presence like this should not be wasted.
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A Patch of Blue (1965)
People rarely talk about how sexy Sidney Poitier is. There’s this weight on him of being a pioneer that tends to dim that light in him, but here you see it and it is deeply satisfying. This empathetic, funny, and romantic performance is one of his best.
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Cock of the Air (1932)
I saw this cheerfully erotic pre-code when I was running on fumes at the TCM Classic Film Festival. It was fun to watch Billie Dove and Chester Morris play games of seduction, each delighting in their own beauty and magnetism. My favorite part is when they play chess with champagne glasses on a table top made into a game board via the shadows of a checkered lampshade.

The Sicilian Clan (1969)
A standard mob drama becomes exciting because it stars Alain Delon in his underwear, pouty Jean Gabin as a mob boss, and smarter, and more tired than everyone Lino Ventura. Ennio Morricone wrote the feverishly exciting soundtrack and he totally goes there with the mouth harp. Great action scenes too.
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Haunts of the Very Rich (1972)
I watched a lot of classic TV movies in 2017 and this was my favorite. Lloyd Bridges, Cloris Leachman, Ann Francis, Ed Asner, Donna Mills and Robert Reed are trapped together on an increasingly less luxurious island getaway. It’s essentially a Fantasy Island/Lost hybrid years before either of those shows hit the air.

Harlequin (1980)
Justine Johnson recommended this on Instagram and I have gotten into the wise habit of always watching whatever she says immediately. Robert Powell is a magnetic man who enthralls an Australian politician, his trophy wife and their cancer-stricken son with magic and mesmerizing eyebrows. Powell keeps you off balance; you never know the extent of his power and he is seductive in a dangerously unpredictable way.
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Kind Lady (1951)
There are two screen versions of Kind Lady, one from 1935 starring Aline MacMahon and this one featuring Ethel Barrymore in one of her last roles. While MacMahon’s take on a wealthy woman who is the victim of a home invasion is stomach-crushingly good, Barrymore completely owns her performance in a surprising and majestic fashion. Instead of playing to the cowering old lady stereotype, Ethel swipes away dinner trays, finds and manipulates the weakest members of the gang and in every way lets her tormenters know how completely above them she is.


SteveQ said...

"A Patch of Blue" has one of my all-time favorite performances, and it's not Poitier or Winters, but Elizabeth Hartman - I was so impressed that I then watched every film she was in (sadly ending with "Walking Tall, Part 2").

Laura said...

What an interesting list, KC! I've only seen ESCAPE IN THE FOG, at a Noir City Fest. I agree, it wasn't especially memorable and yet I enjoy the memory of seeing it and Nina Foch walking on that foggy bridge. :)

I have copies of MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT and A PATCH OF BLUE I really need to get to! Given my enjoyment of Chester Morris I sure wish I'd seen COCK OF THE AIR -- I hope it becomes more easily available to see at some point!

Always fun to see these lists!

Best wishes,