Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Quick grades

Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975, A-)
Shane (George Stevens, 1953, B+)
Arizona (Wesley Ruggles, 1940, B+)
The More the Merrier (George Stevens, 1943, A-)
Too Many Husbands (Wesley Ruggles, 1940, B)
Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen, 1985, A)
Hollywood Canteen (Delmer Daves, 1944, B)
The Show (Tod Browning, 1927, B-)
Kapo (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1959, A-)


Nate said...

We'll have to discuss your giving one the quintessential American films a B+. Doesn't Shane get extra credit for being a Christian allegory? ;)

The Derelict said...

Heh, what can I say, I'm not much of a Westerns person!

Seriously though, I only give films an A- or better grade when they really get to me on an emotional level. Shane, for all its greatness and iconic moments, just didn't do the trick for me. I'm trying to get more into Westerns because I feel like they're a blind spot in my filmic knowledge, but Westerns, like War movies, are just really not my thing. So, for a genre I'm really not that into, a B+ is pretty high praise.

I have not seen many of John Ford's Westerns, so I'm withholding judgement on the genre for now. But I have to be honest, give me Stagecoach over Shane any day.

I know, I'm a heathen. ;)

Nate said...

Actually, the burden of proof is on me! Most of the critical elite would choose a John Ford over a George Stevens every single time.

BTW, the diversity of your picks is nothing short of inspiring. (Any list that finds room for a Tod Browning and a Delmer Daves is alright by me.) I'm especially interested in the Italian film. Sounds like it could be gripping.

The Derelict said...

Kapo was very good, but I'm an easy target for Holocaust movies -- I mean, how can you not be deeply affected by a Holocaust movie?

I thought Susan Strasberg's performance was fantastic (and why didn't she make more films???), and it's a testament to Pontecorvo's abilities as a director that he can make unabashedly Leftist films and I can still love them. What was great about Kapo, though, was that while the political prisoners (aka, Communists) and the Russian soldiers were meant to be the good guys, they weren't flawless saints of the proletariat, nor were the Nazis cartoon villains. Everyone in the movie was a human being. And there was a nice religious moment at the end.

The Tod Browning was exciting because it was the Turner Classic Movies Young Film Composer Competition's winning score, and it also had a nice redemption storyline and some effective religious imagery. Plus I'm a sucker for circus stuff (this movie had "ARACHNIDA! The Human Spider!" which is all I needed to know to know I'd like it).