Richard Brody shared a link.
A little late because of the tumult of movies and news, but a glance at the December TCM lineup yields treasures, some pretty rare, and some curiosities that I'm looking forward to discovering. In the latter category, tomorrow (Dec. 6), The Great Garrick, starring Brian Aherne as the great eighteenth-century actor (a personality who comes in for extensive discussion in Boswell's Life of Johnson). Busby Berkeley's For Me and My Gal (Dec. 7) is another stage story—combined with...a First World War drama; it's Gene Kelly's first movie role, and one of Judy Garland's most luminous ones. Speaking of firsts—Gregory Peck's first film, Jacques Tourneur's Second World War (Russian-front) drama Days of Glory—I haven't seen it since 1983, in Paris, when it played at the branch of the Cinémathèque that then existed on the top floor of Beaubourg (you'd come out of the movies and be on a splendid outdoor patio, with café, overlooking the city). My choice for best-rarest movie on the schedule: Fear, from 1954—the last film that Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman made together, a tense story of marital torment, all-too-apt for the situation. My favorite Marx Brothers film, Horse Feathers, Dec. 11 ("Whatever it is, I'm against it"). One of my favorite Howard Hawks films is Tiger Shark, from 1932; Raoul Walsh's 1941 remake, Manpower, also stars Edward G. Robinson, this time, alongside Marlene Dietrich and George Raft. The 1954 remake of A Star Is Born, directed by George Cukor, starring Judy Garland and James Mason; there, Garland gives what I consider one of the greatest performances in the history of movies.
Overflowing bounty on Dec. 17: Albert Brooks's Real Life (the brilliant parody of An American Family) and Modern Romance, F. W. Murnau's Sunrise (a legitimate choice, still, as best movie ever), and two more by Roberto Rossellini: The Flowers of St. Francis, in which he shows how radical Christianity remains; and Blaise Pascal, in which he drags radical Christianity into scientific modernity. Douglas Sirk's A Scandal in Paris (Dec. 19) is a diabolically funny historical adventure, starring George Sanders as Vidocq, the robber who became police chief of Paris. (It's got an extraordinary cast of émigré character actors who gleefully conjure the tangles of European history.) (I'll stop there for now and get to the end of the month later on.)
To celebrate the actress’s centenary, MOMA and BAM Cinématek are showing retrospectives of her greatest—and most infamous—films.
Ellen Houlihan what other Albert Brooks might you or others here in the group recommend? just getting into him
Elizabeth Lloyd-Kimbrel "Lost in America" (actor/director/writer) and "Broadcast News" (actor)
Ellen Houlihan I loved "Defending Your Life" recently caught it on tv
Elizabeth Blakeslee Defending Your Life is terrific.
Carlos Valladares His first four directed films are major, v worth your time. Real Life is screamingly funny; Modern Romance is painfully honest; Lost in America is acerbic and cutting; Defending Your Life is radically heartwarming!
Chris Karr I take Mother over any of them and all of them together. Masterpiece — flaws and all.
Richard BrodyGroup Moderator Yes—Mother: https://www.newyorker.com/.../richar.../the-front-row-mother
Albert Brooks’s 1996 film “Mother” is a comedy about a solitary artist’s creative exertions.
Okum Modern Romance is his masterpiece. One of Kubrick's favorites.
David Troia In addition to being extremely funny, Lost in America and Defending Your Life also reflect one's struggle to find purpose and happiness in life. For that reason, I'd start with those two.
Carlos Valladares I love The Great Garrick! One of the strangest films about acting and artifice I've seen—from the great James Whale.
Elizabeth Lloyd-Kimbrel And Aherne's magnificent voice.
Chris Schneider I haven't seen the film, so this wouldn't count as a recommendation, but ... FEAR is alleged to be based on a novel by Stefan Zweig. That's one more reason to see it.
Jamie Gorham Great post. Paths of Glory is magnificent,you messed up on Horse Feathers(though I love it),Night at the Opera is my favorite. Especially the song "Alone" in it. Harpo on his namesake very special. Thanks for the update and list okit movies. Many I haven't seen.
Barbara Fox Nothing against Grace Kelly - a lovely presence on the screen and a better actress than often credited - but really? Her frumping down in "Country Girl" over Garland's nothing-left-in-the-wings performance? Really?? One of Oscar's great mistakes. (And James Mason never winning one either is another).
And George Sanders as Vidocq is another great treat.
Jamie Gorham Can't believe James Mason never won one. Criminal.
Barbara Fox A great leading man, a suave villain, and a fantastic character actor. He was the complete package.
Jamie Gorham Cross of Iron,Deen it? Schell,Coburn,Mason. Eastern front WWII. Great movie,Mason has smaller role. Directed by Saying Peckinpah
Barbara Fox Yes, I have! Also a big Maximillian Schell fan.
Ralph Benner No one has anything to say about Ingrid? I’ll start with Ingmar Bergman’s “Autumn Sonata.” Their collaboration was tentatively in the works for years, each promising that one day they’d get together. Finally Ingmar wrote “Autumn,” which stacks the deck against Ingrid as a never-there mother to Liv Ullmann. Excepting “Fanny and Alexander,” Bergman rarely gives viewers much of an escape and in this one, meant to be a searing exposure of parental sins, watching in excruciating close-up Liv berate Ingrid for the long list of motherhood transgressions, the audience has to find ways to laugh it off as relief. As the Sins of Ingrid are cataloged, Ingmar unintentionally and Ingrid sneakily puts us on her side: we cheer her on when she plots to flee Liv’s domain of dreary dramaturgy, what with her ultra-neat Swede asylum and housefrau-braided hair. “Autumn Sonata” is Ingrid’s movie swan song—TV’s “A Woman Named Golda” was her lying-in-state kiss-off—and her heralded beauty hasn’t lost its extraordinary power; we get lost in it and if we must endure the closing in on faces, who better than hers to zero in on? One of the movie’s annoyances is that Ingrid’s character doesn’t have enough ammunition to give the alleged truth-revealing bangs really nasty firepower. Based on our own familial wars, there are plenty of penetrating bullets parents can shoot back at their adult children when the blame games start. But Ingmar isn’t into fair play, he’s into vengeance and incredibility—elements Ingrid, re her own experiences as frequently absent mother in real life, argued with him over and discusses in her autobiography. He remained blindly obstinate to his outcome: when Liv’s letter to mother arrives at the end, his house of love reconsidered has collapsed into a Nordic commedia dell’arte.
Patrick McEvoy-Halston "the audience has to find ways to laugh it off as relief."
Patrick McEvoy-Halston We should wish parents were more effective in shooting penetrating bullets into their children, only for some weird reason, Ingmar isn't into that?
Every parent who has loads of "bullets" they could shoot back at their children, is a parent who knows they've done wrong, and has experience knowing that their own mistreatment of their children has meant their children have had to decide at some level they must be bad, wrong, to blame, even if they had an essential correct sense they weren't actually at all, for they intuited immediately that reprisals for not seeing their parents as their parents required them to for their own emotional equlibrium meant possibly losing all of their support and love, as they withdrew it in retribution... which would be totally crushing at that age. Parents play on this to no end (see the results in "Lady Bird"), but something about 60s/70s culture enabled for a short while Ingmar to go where supervising inner parental altars in the brain, usually never permit. He didn't refuse fair play; for the first time until possibly today's #metoo, he showed things fairly... as they are.