I remain ridiculously far behind, so I’m going to try to speed through some of these.
Bonjour Tristesse – Jean Seberg stars in Otto Preminger’s film about a girl trying to break up her father’s relationship with an old girlfriend while they all live a decadent rich people life on the Riviera. David Niven plays her father and Deborah Kerr the girlfriend. It’s like that episode of Mad Men where Don Draper hangs out with rich homeless people in California, but with a bit of The Parent Trap thrown in. It’s lovely, the prettiest thing I’ve seen from Preminger. The #10 film of 1958.
The Moon is Blue – More Preminger, this a goofy sex comedy with the adorable Maggie McNamera playing a curious, brainy young girl who gets hit on by William Holden and David Niven. She shocks them with her frank talk about sex (theoretical sex she notes) and various comedic situations ensue. A fairly successful attempt at bringing the screwball aesthetic into the 50s, it helps that the leads are all pretty charming. The #17 film of 1953.
Ip Man – Donnie Yen is pretty dour and serious as the Chinese folk hero who resisted the Japanese in a variety of movies (Fist of Fury and Fist of Legend, for two). The action scenes are, as one would expect from Yen and choreographer Sammo Hung, spectacular. But the film is really depressing. Not in a psychotically dark Ong Bak 2 kind of way, that would be more interesting. More in a self-serious hero-worshiping kind of way. The #46 film of 2008.
Jewel Robbery – Kay Francis stars as a wealthy woman who hates her husband. When she’s robbed of her latest jewel during a store holdup, she falls for the thief (him being William Powell, this is entirely understandable). It’s a slight, but charming proto-screwball, though I think director William Dieterle doesn’t really have the lightness of touch needed to make a film like this soar. The #29 film of 1932.
Drunken Master – I watched the dubbed version Instant Netflix has of this seminal Jackie Chan film. Perhaps that’s why I found a lot of the comedy pretty lame. Directed by Yuen Woo-ping, and costarring his father Yuen Siu Tien as the old master who teaches Chan the revolutionary Drunken Style of kung fu, the fights are pretty great, as you’d expect, and the genius of the Drunken Style, invented for this film, (though it has antecedents in traditional martial arts) is undeniable. I wish I could see it in its proper form, because as is, I found it a little underwhelming. The #10 film of 1978.
Jane Eyre – The version with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine, two of my favorite actors. Welles I can believe as the imperious lord with a secret looked in a closet of his gloomy mansion. But I’ll never understand why Joan Fontaine kept getting these parts where she was supposed to be plain or mousy, instead of stunningly beautiful. Anyway, the film flits along like it’s adapting a book it assumes the audience has read and is therefore able to fill in all the details that make the characters and events interesting. But I haven’t read the book. I Walked with a Zombie is better. So is director Robert Stevenson’s work with Disney (Darby O’Gill and the Little People, Mary Poppins, etc). The #16 film of 1943.