This thread provides some great recommendations and it proves that I'm not even close to scraping the bottom of the barrel. Many believe that I watch too many movies, while enjoying few. Also, I've already seen all the Great ones. There's nothing left to Discover. Here are experiences that say otherwise.
1. Deanna Durbin
In 2015, I got my first taste of Durbin's musical comedy talent in One Hundred Men and a Girl
. This year, she was the Queen of Music of May with 7 films and a lot of great memories.
1b. King Creole
Not worth its own entry, but this is the Elvis film that completely surprised me. A drama directed by Michael Curtiz with a slimy supporting turn by Walter Matthau, the one really good Elvis performance I've seen and a killer opening song, my favorite by The King that isn't a standard.
2. Mr. Skeffington
Bette Davis does a remarkable physical transformation, equal to her acting talent, while Claude Rains makes the movie a double act with quiet dignity and charm. Little seen because the film runs 145 minutes, but it's that last 45 minutes that's the best part. A costume drama that plays like a thriller, much like The Heiress.
Typically, the older the film the more you have to accept the theatrical style of acting. Virtue is pre-code, but the raw emotions sting as if it were set in modern times. Starring Carole Lombard at her toughest, Pat O’Brien at his most vulnerable and Ward Bond, stealing scenes like always.
4. Paris is Burning
From the Group LGBT June Marathon, a film I've been hyped about for over 20 years and it did not disappoint. An excellent look at the LGBT community, how they support and snipe each other just like any other family.
5. Comrades: Almost a Love Story
From 1990s Far East Bracket, a dance of fantasy, reality, pop culture and love with a strong sense of direction and terrific performances.
6. Cash on Demand
Looking for Christmas movies, I discovered this gem of a crime story starring Peter Cushing, playing sensationally against type. Tense, clever and quick.
7. The Long Gray Line
John Ford captures life in all its humor and heartbreak, with a sentimental style that you can only find in movies. I never think of Ford as much of a mushy director, but this is his mushiest, which is why I love it so much. Stellar work by Tyrone Power, Maureen O’Hara, Donald Crisp and Ward Bond.
7b. Abandon Ship
After hearing for years that Tyrone Power was a weak ‘pretty boy’ actor, these two films proved all that wrong. Looking and commanding the screen like George Clooney, this is a very interesting “what if” story involving survivors from a torpedoed luxury liner. Better than Lifeboat.
8. Arise My Love
Some classic Hollywood. The script by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett bounces between comedy, drama, romance, adventure and war propaganda. Stars Claudette Colbert and Ray Milland have no problem modulating their performances under the direction of Mitchell Leisen.
9. The Temptation of Dr. Antonio
Short film from Boccaccio 70, directed by Federico Fellini, who I usually don’t like. This time I liked it a lot, and for all the reasons people usually like his films.
The title you knew was going to make this list because I mention it about every other week. The jewel of my current Horror Marathon, my favorite version of the “let’s make her crazy” story and one of the best films from Hammer Horror.
10b. The Blood on Satan’s Claw
Runner-Up in that Horror Marathon is so much better than its title. A portrayal of evil, unstoppable because it’s so matter-of-fact. Belongs in the conversation with The Wicker Man and the White Ribbon, though I admit it’s not as good as either of those.
11. The Goodbye Girl
Top 100 Discovery from ses. More of a re-discovery, for screenwriter Neil Simon’s clever dialogue and the simple beauty of watching great actors who know how to use it.
12. The Beaches of Agnes
I keep promising myself that I need to do an Agnes Varda Marathon. This film gave me a sample platter of her work, with hints as to why such a Marathon would be enormously rewarding.
No film I watched last year was as deep in my comfort zone as this. Dancers against gangsters in a New York City nightclub, starring George Raft, Broderick Crawford, Pat O’Brien, Edward Brophy and S.Z. Sakall.
15. Miracle in Milan
17. Europa Report
18. The Innkeepers
19. Director Tetsuya Nakashima
20. Union Depot
I never wrote about this pre-code Discovery but it’s a wonderful ensemble crime film starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Joan Blondell, Alan Hale and Frank McHugh.