Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

On this day of thanks, I am thankful for all the great films I have been able to see this year.

Since my last post, I was able to see five films on my list and made one substitution.

The Exiles - American Indian Film Festival
Hounddog - at the Roxie
A Throw of Dice - Third I
Maqbool - Third I
Om Shanti Om - Third I
Hell's Ground - Third I
The Glow of White Women - Third I
Slumdog Millionaire - Third I
The Yellow Handkerchief of Happiness - Cinema Japan
Vengeance Is Mine - Cinema Japan
The Passion of Joan of Arc - at the Castro
Shanghai Red - Chinese American Film Festival
Sparrow - Chinese American Film Festival
Gun of Mercy - Chinese American Film Festival
Ganglamedo - Chinese American Film Festival
Lola Mont├Ęs - at the Castro
Vera Cruz - Robert Aldrich
The Last Sunset - Robert Aldrich
The Show Must Go On - Korean American Film Festival
Secret Sunshine - Korean American Film Festival

I saw Slumdog Millionaire at the Landmark Embarcadero yesterday.

I passed on The Show Must Go On because I had to get to the gym that day. I skipped the gym five days in a row (dinner one night and movies the other four). In addition, I realized I had a discount pass to the Roxie that is expiring on December 15. Last Saturday, I saw the Academy Award winning film The Times of Harvey Milk. This film won the Oscar in 1984 for Best Documentary.

The Times of Harvey Milk shouldn't be confused with Gus Van Sant's Milk (starring Sean Penn) which received an exclusive opening at the Castro Theater yesterday and opens nationally tomorrow.

Looking to 2009, The Blue Angel (1930) gets a revival screening at Berlin and Beyond. This classic film was directed by Josef von Sternberg and starred Marlene Dietrich). I've been a Dietrich fan for many years. One of my favorite films of all-time is Destry Rides Again with Dietrich (a German playing a character named Frenchy) and Jimmy Stewart. Dietrich sings a song called "Little Joe" that is great fun.

I'm inspired to list my five favorite Dietrich films:

1) Destry Rides Again

2) Shanghai Express co-starring Anna May Wong; there is a great scene on the train where a pious woman tries to save Dietrich and Wong from their wicked ways and they refuse her with some cutting comments.

3) The Scarlet Empress - I saw this film for the first time earlier this year at the Castro. Dietrich as Czarina Catherine the Great and directed by von Sternberg...need I say more?

4) A Touch of Evil - this film is called the greatest B film ever made and stars Orson Welles, Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh. Heston has black hair and a Mexican accent. Leigh gets drugged and gang raped by a gang of Mexican hoodlums while dykish Mercedes McCambridge watches. Welles chews up the scenery as a drunken, fat corrupt cop. Dietrich has a small role as gypsy fortune teller (in a black wig) that tells Welles to lay off the candy bars.

5) Rancho Notorious - directed by Fritz Lang. What I remember most about this film is that it has a God awful opening ballad. Most of the film takes place in a Western badlands called Chuck-a-Luck. I believe the ballad is called "The Legend of Chuck-a-Luck" - a story of rape, murder and revenge (actual lyrics). If you are good enough to write a catchy tune with the phrase Chuck-a-Luck then you are better songwriter than the one hired for Rancho Notorious.

No comments: