I saw 85 new movies in the month of October, plus re-watches of 5 TV show seasons. After completing the original 1,001 Movies list last summer I mentioned I might work on some “low hanging fruit” – lists where I had only a few entries to go to complete them. After a couple months of hardly watching any movies, the month of September got me re-energized with watching all the new additions to the 1,001 Movies list. In October I took aim at the Time Magazine All-Time Top 100 Films, as well as the Sight & Sound Directors (SSD) Top 100 Films. I completed both of them.
In the course of doing this I found a good source for a number of the foreign films I had not yet seen. This carried over to the Sight & Sound Critics (SSC) Top 250 Films list, every one of which is also in the They Shoot Pictures Don’t They (TSPDT) list, so even though I had more than 300 left to go on that one, things snowballed from there. Since some of these also crossed over with the 101 Genre films lists put out by the same folks who do the 1,001 Movies list, I also knocked off some of those.
Readers of prior monthly statuses may be wondering about my ongoing quest to see all of the Oscar Best Picture nominees. While I only saw a couple in October, I did check off Trader Horn (1931), which was the last one for which I had not been able to track down a source. It aired on TCM during the month. While there is still one film presumed to be lost, and one or two others that only exist as single copies in the UCLA film vaults, I should be able to watch all of the others I have remaining.
All of these different lists can be seen by clicking on the names of them. They link to my Lists from Chip posts on them.
THE FILMS I CAN’T FIND:
Now, I mentioned in the post title that you may be able to help me. Just like the 1,001 Movies list, critics like to name films that are difficult, if not impossible, to find. It’s especially difficult to find the TV miniseries that they can’t seem to help placing on top MOVIES lists. The apparent rule of thumb is that if it is long, then critics put it on the list, whether it is a 9 hour Chinese documentary on industry or a 1979 Portuguese six hour TV remake of Romeo and Juliet.
Here are the films that I simply cannot track down, but need to in order to complete these various lists. Note – the only pay service I have looked at so far is Netflix since I am already a member. I suppose if enough show up on another pay service it might be worthwhile to join to see them. I’m hoping to keep costs as low as possible, though. If you have a good source for them, but do not want to tell the world by leaving a comment here, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.
101 Genre Films:
City Streets (1931) – a gangster film with Gary Cooper, directed by Rouben Mamoulian
The Red Badge of Courage (1951) – a war film directed by John Huston
The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960) – a gangster film directed by Fritz Lang
Sight & Sound Critics Top 250: (I only have 7 films left, but 4 of them are trouble.)
Out 1, noli me tangere (1971) – a 12 hour “film” on the 1968 uprisings in Europe from director Jacques Rivette. (See also the TSPDT list for another Rivette film). I’ve actually found a downloadable version, but it is 30 freaking gigabytes. I just want to see it, not burn DVDs of it. I’m hoping someone might know of a reasonably sized version.
Kings of the Road aka Im Lauf der Zeit (1976) – an early Wim Wenders film. (See also the TSPDT list for another Wenders film.)
Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2003) – a nine hour documentary on the falling industry in a region of
from director Bing Wang.
aka Hai shang hua
(1998) – a period film from director Hsiao-hsien Hou. (See also the TSPDT list below for another
film from him.) Shanghai
They Shoot Pictures Don’t They:
Empire (1964) – Andy Warhol’s experiment to see if he could do anything and still get film critics to fawn over him. It worked. This is an 8 hour shot of the
from dusk to
3:00 AM. Empire State
Anatahan aka Ana-ta-han (1953) – a Japanese film from Josef von Sternberg
Minamata aka Minamata: The Victims and Their World aka Minamata: Kanja-san to sono sekai (1971) – a Japanese documentary on industrial chemical poisoning. I swear that this exists only on the TSPDT list and on IMDB and nowhere else on the internet. Even IMDB has little information on it.
Liebelei (1933) – an early Max Ophuls film
Flanders aka La kermesse heroique (1935) – a film
from director Jacques Feyder
Doomed Love aka Ill-Fated Love aka Amor de perdicao (1979) – a six episode Portuguese TV mini-series from Manoel de Oliveira retelling Romeo and Juliet. Believe it or not, I tracked down the video. Unfortunately it has Portuguese audio and hardcoded Italian subtitles only. I’ve searched and English subtitles do not exist, but I found one comment that said that someone had done a rough translation of the Italian ones embedded in the video and had posted them at karagarga.net. Unfortunately, that site appears to require that you be invited by someone else to even view the forums. I don’t need an invite, but if you have access to it, could you please save the English subtitles to someplace where they are available? Or you could email them to me since the files should be small.
Dust in the Wind aka Lian lian feng chen (1987) – another period film from director Hsiao-hsien Hou. (See also the SSC list above for another film from him.)
Out 1: Spectre (1974) – Jacques Rivette’s shorter companion to Out 1: noli me tangere (1971) (see the SSC list above for the other.) This follow-up is “only” 4 hours long. Unlike the other one, I have not found any source for this.
Under the Bridges aka Unter den Brucken (1946) – a film from Helmut Kautner
Variety aka Variete aka Jealousy (1925) – a film from E.A. Dupont
The Italian Straw Hat aka The Horse Ate the Hat aka Un chapeau de paille d’Italie (1928) – a film from Rene Clair
Any help you can provide in tracking these down will be most appreciated.
THE FILMS I SAW IN OCTOBER:
Here are the 85 new movies and TV show seasons I saw in October. Highlighted movies are ones to which I would give at least three stars out of five. I will single out the four and five star films, as well as the worst films, in the paragraphs below the lists.
Oscar Nominees (2):
San Francisco (1936), Trader Horn (1931),
101 Genre (4): Army of Shadows (1969), Chelsea Girls (1966), The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933), Ivan’s Childhood (1962)
Time (12): Band of Outsiders (1964), Nayakan (1987), Ulysses’ Gaze (1995), Mon oncle d’Amerique (1980), Leolo (1992), The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936), Mouchette (1967), Pyaasa (1957), The Last Command (1928), TV – Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980), Baby Face (1933), TV – The Singing Detective (1986)
SSD (3): Opening Night (1977), Husbands (1970), I Am
SSC (23): Tropical Malady (2004), Death in Venice (1971), The Turin Horse (2011), The Devil, Probably (1977), Werckmeister Harmonies (2000), A Moment of Innocence (1996), Day of Wrath (1943), I Was Born, But… (1932), Blissfully Yours (2002), Touki Bouki (1973), The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005), By the Bluest of Seas (1936), Histoire(s) du Cinema (1998), Sicily! (1999), Floating Clouds (1955), Stromboli (1950), The River (1951), The Life of Oharu (1952), Love Streams (1984), Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987), Imitation of Life (1959), The Passenger (1975),
Year Zero (1948) Germany
TSPDT (33): Tale of Tales (1979) (short), Rose Hobart (1936) (short), Le sang des betes (1949) (short), Un chant d’amour (1950) (short), The Seasons (1975) (short), Not Reconciled (1965), Numero Deux (1975), The Green Ray (1986), El (1953), India: Matri Bhumi (1959), Charulata (1964), The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974), Man of Aran (1934), French Cancan (1954), The Wind (1928), Teorema (1968), My Friend Ivan Lapshin (1986), Passion (1982), Accattone (1961), El Sur (1983), Que Viva Mexico (1979), Late Autumn (1960), Placido (1961), Vive L’Amour (1994), The 47 Ronin (1941), Wild River (1960), Antonio das Mortes (1969), Chikamatsu Monogatari (1954), Days and Nights in the Forest (1970), The Executioner (1963), From the Clouds to the Resistance (1979), La Region Centrale (1971), The Tiger of Eschnapur (1959)
Other Movies (8): The Revisionaries (2012), Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 (2012), The Whale (2011), Clark Gable: Tall, Dark and Handsome (1996), This is the End (2013), Your Sister’s Sister (2011), Jack Reacher (2012), Much Ado About Nothing (2013)
TV Series (5): All re-watches: The Big Bang Theory Seasons 2-6
I had no five star movies in October. Here are the four star films I saw:
The Last Command (1928) is a very clever “meta” film from more than 80 years ago. It is loosely based on the true story of a Russian general who after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution ended up in
Hollywood as a film
extra. This movie stars Emil Jannings
and he justifiably won the first Best Actor Oscar ever handed out. I was expecting nothing and got a very moving
Placido (1961) is my best surprise so far from the TSPDT list. It’s a screwball comedy from
Spain. It may have the fastest dialogue I have ever
encountered in a foreign film. I had
never heard of director Luis Garcia Berlanga, but he also did another dark
comedy in the list that I liked – The Executioner (1963).
Your Sister’s Sister (2011) is a far better than average comedy/drama about complicated relationships and it works despite the somewhat out there concept. Mark Duplass (Safety Not Guaranteed) scores again, and this film also features the best performance I’ve seen from Emily Blunt.
Jack Reacher (2012) features one of my favorite characters that Tom Cruise has ever played. I don’t know if there will ever be another movie, but it’s made me interested to check out the book series that the character comes from.
I just reviewed Much
About Nothing (2013). You can read it here. Ado
I had several one star films in October, but I will only mention one of them. La Region Centrale (1971) is from Michael Snow – the man who brought us Wavelength, a 45 minute zoom at a wall, which is the 206th best movie ever made according to a critics' consensus. Now comes this film. Forget about a puny 45 minutes of wasting our time. This features THREE HOURS of nothing but a camera rotating in place and sometimes spinning. And it's the 425th best movie ever made, according to a critics' consensus. And they wonder why people think they are out of touch.