While you all have been wasting your lives on Twitter and FB, I’ve been watching movies. Tons and tons of movies. I’ve been reading, too, and a bunch of other stuff.
But at night, after a hard day of people being mean, people not saying thank you, people not honoring their commitments–after a hard day, in other words, of being me–since last March when lockdown began I have watched QUITE A FEW movies.
To that end, I’ve compiled a list of pairings of some perhaps lesser-known films—or old favorites—that have entertained, consoled, and delighted, both over the years and more recently. A few of the headings need to be fleshed out; e.g. Films in Which Weaselly Playboy Marries Dying Woman So He Can Grab the Dough—but I’ll get there.
You can find the whole insane list, which goes on and on, HERE (I spent so much time compiling that I’ve made it its own separate page). You may recognize the intro, which is copied and pasted from an Angelus column I did last year.
Anyway, a tiny sampling:
Bad Babysitter Movies: The Nanny (1965) Watch out, Master Joey! Dir. Seth Holt, Bette Davis at her most over-the-top, Wendy Craig, Jill Bennett, a Hammer Film Production that teeters between camp and genuine emotion; The Innocents (1961), prod. Jack Clayton. Based on the Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw. Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave, and the same scary kid, Martin Stephens, who’s in Village of the Damned (an “Evil Children” movie).
Movies About Japanese Prostitutes: (there are a million of these) When A Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960), dir. Mikio Naruse, Hideko Takamine, Masayuki Mori: Keiko, a young widow and Ginza nightclub hostess tries to open her own business; Street of Shame (1956) dir. Kenji Mizoguchi; several Japanese women of various personal and socioeconomic backgrounds work together in a brothel.
Films about Priests that Portray Them as Other than Venal Dotards, Power-mad Monsters, or Child Molestors: Leon Morin, Priest (1961) dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva. In a town in the French Alps during the Occupation, a lonely, sexually frustrated lapsed-Catholic widow, living with her little girl is also a communist militant. One day she enters a church and randomly chooses a priest to confess to and, while in confessional, attempts to provoke him by criticizing Catholicism. Instead he engages her in an intellectual discussion regarding religion and the two enter into a complicated Platonic relationship; The Prisoner (1955) Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins. “In an unnamed East European country where communist tyranny has recently replaced Nazi tyranny, a Cardinal (Guinness) is falsely accused of treason. The Cardinal had withstood torture when he opposed the Nazis, so the regime knows it will not be able to use force to get him to make a false confession. The Interrogator (Hawkins), an old associate of the Cardinal’s but now a Communist, is given the task of persuading him to make a public confession” [wiki]; Into Great Silence (2005) dir. Philip Gröning. The Grand Chartreuse, a monastery high in the French Alps, and the Carthusians who live and pray there. Possibly the greatest religious documentary ever made.
Films About Nuns That Portray Them As Other Than Repressed Nymphomaniacs Or Sadistic Lesbians: Help me out here.