Tuesday, February 25, 2014

5 movies I didn’t know I had

Here’s another unconventional route to Overlooked Films at Todd Mason’s blog Sweet Freedom. Hop over and read some real reviews of classic films over there.

Spring-cleaning unearths stuff you didn't know you had in the first place. It can be a tiresome task, but sometimes it pays off. Last weekend, on cleaning up the house, I found five movie CDs I had forgotten about. They were new and still wrapped in cellophane. The CDs are at least a few years old. I must have bought them on a whim, as I did books, films, and music in those days. Fortunately, these are the only CDs I haven't seen yet. By comparison, I have nearly a hundred unread books, mostly used paperbacks.

The five movies in question are...

1. South Pacific (1958)
2. Judgement at Nuremberg (1961)
3. How the West Was Won (1962)
4. Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
5. It Runs in the Family (2003).

It's likely that I have seen films 2 & 3 on cable, on the erstwhile TCM channel.

As I arranged and rearranged the other movie CDs into folders, most notably a precious collection of Laurel & Hardy and Charlie Chaplin, I thought about these films. Why did I buy them? Let me see.

I remember picking up South Pacific because a colleague strongly recommended it along with that other musical Oklahoma! (1955) which also I have yet to see. He had nice things to say about Mitzi Gaynor. I have enjoyed musical comedies ever since I first saw My Fair Lady (1964), The Sound of Music (1965), and Victor Victoria (1982). Julie Andrews was paired off well with Christopher Plummer and James Garner in the last two films.

I can think of at least three reasons why I must have bought Judgement at Nuremberg—multi-star cast, WWII film, and Maximilian Schell and Richard Widmark. People were in awe of these two fine actors. I haven't seen them in many films but I have read about them in film reviews on various blogs.

The epic scale of How the West Was Won probably got me interested in this multi-actor film. Besides, I'm curious about anything that is even remotely connected with the frontier.

I'm quite sure I purchased Everyone Says I Love You only because it was a Woody Allen film. I knew people who swore by his acting and direction. Personally, I have found his films to be rather boring. I can take only so much of dialogue. Considering the star lineup of Julia Roberts, Alan Alda, Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore, Tim Roth, Goldie Hawn, and Natalie Portman, this one might yet prove me wrong. Would you call his films esoteric?

I remember, the father-son duo of Kirk and Michael Douglas was the only reason why I picked up It Runs in the Family, a film said to be so-so.

Now there's my stack of films for the summer holidays. 

We talk about unread books and TBR piles all the time. What about the unseen and forgotten movie CDs and Blu-rays in your trunk?


  1. There is nothing like a dame... The songs are the best reason for having a copy of S Pacific. Frankly, I can't imagine Woody Allen crossing cultural boundaries like yours. The humor and content are so specific to a NY frame of reference, they hardly cross the Hudson in the US. I have enjoyed many of his films but am still grinding my teeth over Blue Jasmine. And you can't say enough nice things about Julie Andrews. Same goes for A Hepburn, but I wish the studio had taken a chance on Andrews for the movie. She created the role.

  2. IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY is the only one I haven't seen Prashant - I love the Woody Allen, a charming musical, and NUREMBERG is a bit dull but very powerful none the less. SOUTH PACIFIC has an amazing score and HOW THE WEST WAS WON bursts with stars so i think you're going to have a great time chum!

  3. Woody Allen is as far from esoteric as you can get, IMO. Overly intellectual at times but hardly esoteric. But he is a very American and very urban filmmaker. I can understand his films being inaccessible or confusing or misunderstood by any non-American. I'm not so sure his "New York-ness" is so dominant in his movies these days, but Ron does have a point about his earliest movies. The one you bought is extremely atypical of Allen's movies, something of a homage to that bygone era of MGM musicals in the Stanley Donen era. I liked it.

    There is no such thing as an unseen or forgotten DVD in my trunk. I don't buy movies. To me it's not like owning a book at all. But the uneaten and forgotten food in our freezer -- now there's a shameful and wasteful habit.

  4. That's never happened to me with movies, but books—sometimes I buy the same one three times over.

  5. Like Kelly, I have a Bad Habit of buy the same book multiple times. I don't buy the same Blu-ray very often (but it has happened). I have a stack of THE AVENGERS animated adventures that need to be watched.

  6. Saw South Pacific as a West End show years ago with my wife.......Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair! I think. Never seen it on film though.

    I'm not a big fan of Woodie Allen and have always avoided his films after being bored witless by a couple, the titles of which escape me. I do love Drew Barrymore though.

    Over at my place - I have the Godfather films in box set as yet unwatched!

  7. The only one of these I've seen is How the West was Won

  8. I only own two movies. One Todd gave me and IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, which I love.
    EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU is horrible. One of my least favorite of his films.

  9. We have the first three movies, don't know anything about the last two... Of the three we have, Judgement at Nuremberg is probably the only one we will rewatch much. Although both South Pacific and How the West was Won are both worth watching.

    As far as unwatched movies (and TV on DVD)... we have tons of them. We used to be less watchful of our movie purchases.

  10. My extended family tends to give my nuclear family DVDs every birthday and Christmas, so we have accumulated a huge number - we can easily be given 20 DVDs at Christmas, some of them boxsets. So we fall behind.... and am sure we have some duplicates. South Pacific is a sad disappointment compared to the stageshow, and I find recent Woody Allen a sad disappointment compared with the older ones (I know that's a clichéd view, but it is also true...)