Sunday, June 12

The Movie Thing

Courtesy eRobin, who also wanted to know why I'm always dissing Turner Classics. It's love. Simply out of love. TCM is the only channel I ever check the listings for, and when it lets me down I fall hard.

Total number of films I own: Depends on how you count. A conservative estimate is that there's 700 films stashed somewhere in the house, representing maybe 500 separate titles. I "stole" my first Betamax in 1977 or '78 for $500--it was a demo. I had around 200 titles on Beta when the format became untenable. Most, but not all, have been transferred. I have a filing system for VHS tapes but it's seriously behind at 427 titles. And that doesn't count teevee series like Crime Story, Wiseguy, and especially nearly every Simpsons episode. There's a lot of videotape lying around.

The last film I bought: Rules of the Game and Drôle de Drame (Bizarre, Bizarre) at some Border's 2 for 1 sale or something. I love DVD but it's a rare occurrence when, as above, I buy things I already have. I generally live with the videotape versions. In the case of Drôle de Drame the original screen aspect was so odd that the first videotape version I bought cut everyone's head off through the whole film, and the second wasn't much better. The DVD is thankfully pristine.

The last film I watched: By coincidence, the original 1945 version of The Big Sleep which was never shown in theatres (they decided to expand Lauren Bacall's part). Doghouse Riley, that's a funny sort of name.

Five favorite films I either watch frequently or that mean a lot to me: It has to be ten, and that's not nearly enough. The ten I've watched most often, I guess. are: Renoir's Rules of the Game, Jean Vigo's L'Atalante and Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons, all of which were famously lost or mutilated or both; the Coen's Blood Simple, Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, Fellini's The White Sheik, Sturgis' Miracle of Morgan's Creek and Hail the Conquering Hero, Leo McCarey's Ruggles of Red Gap and Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard. Which leaves out way too much.


julia said...

Honestly, I'm amazed you aren't a Sullivan's Travels kinda guy.

Cause, you know, wow.

James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

Yeah, but julia, if Eddie Bracken didn't exist it would be necessary to invent him.

And norb, I trust at some point you got to say, "Whatsuhmatter, Marty? Stick ye finger up the wrong person's a-uss?"

Anonymous said...

My husband's a Blood Simple fan. I can't watch it. I can't watch anything that makes me squirm. So, Bambi is pretty much my movie intensity threshhold.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I just saw 'The Big Sleep' for the first time on the hated TCM this weekend. Doghouse Riley, indeed! Was that the version you watched? I just read that Lauren Bacall had wanted the actress who played the thumb-sucking Carmen cut out of the film - did that lead to the "expanded Bacall" version? You're the guy who would know!

Actually, I just saw "Manos: The Hands of Fate." It really is the worst movie of all time.

James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

Kathy, Blood Simple is pretty squirmy, but it makes up for it with its maliciousness.

Pepper, The Big Sleep, shot at the end of '44, sat on the shelf at Warner's for quite a while while they tried to unload all their war-themed pictures. In the meantime Bacall's next picture came out and she was savaged by the critics. Her agent convinced Jack Warner to order reshots with an eye towards giving her more of the attitude she had in To Have and Have Not. That was the version shown in theatres. The old cut was discovered a few years ago in the vaults. TCM played them back to back last night.

That's the first I've ever heard of Bacall wanting Martha Vickers out of the film--I can't imagine she'd have had that kind of pull. Besides, Martha Vickers twirling her hair in her mouth is what our boys were fighting for.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Hey, I'm glad that the studio didn't cut Dorothy Malone!

eRobin said...

Pepper: did you ever watch the MST version of Manos? It was their pick for worst movie ever too.

DR: I've got to see Hail the Conquering Hero. And I'm glad you mentioned Strangelove, which I had forgotten. Thanks for playing :)

handdrummer said...

Saw both versions of The Big Sleep as well. I think, except for the horse racing dialog in the restaurant, I like the unreleased version better.

Either way it's a great movie. And 'Doghouse Riley' is a funny kind of name, isn't it?