Film 5 for the Letterboxd Season Challenge. The other films I plan to watch for the challenge are here.
Week 5: PUNQ Week
Challenge: Watch an unseen feature that ranked in the top ten on any of PUNQ’s pre-1940 lists.
Film I Chose: The Big Parade
PUNQ is a Letterboxd user who’s concentrating on watching pre-1940s films, and he watches a LOT of them. This guy has Top 100s for every year from like 1896 to 1939. I watch a lot of old movies, but that’s crazy. Anyway, that gave me a bunch of options for this week, and initially I had chosen Fritz Lang’s Spies, which I still hope to watch soon if I get time, but it may not be this week. I ended up watching The Big Parade for an upcoming Flickchart blog post anyway, and since I’m short on time this week, decided to count it for the challenge as well.
I’m fascinated by WWI, so I’m surprised I’ve never gotten around to this before – I’ve seen both All Quiet on the Western Front and Wings multiple times, but this one has slipped by me (despite being on my DVR for the past like two years, no joke). In any case, I’m really glad I got to it now, because this is one great film.
Continue reading Letterboxd Season Challenge: The Big Parade (1925)
The tightest scheduling block I attempted was between How Green Was My Valley (see here) and this film, and I was extremely lucky to get in – I was, in fact, the LAST person into a very full theatre. I felt kind of bad (and still do, since I know several people who tried the same schedule and didn’t make it in), because this was initially a filler film on my schedule. It’s short and fit in between How Green and Hat Check Girl, the Pre-Code comedy and MOMA restoration that I expected would be my favorite discovery of the festival. For some reason I didn’t read the program carefully on this film, and I thought “the stranger” was an aging man coming home to be with his family and their struggles in accepting him. I have NO IDEA why I thought that based on this program.
In the end, though, I’m very glad I did make it in, because THIS, not Hat Check Girl (though that’s fine too, post forthcoming), turned out to my gleeful discovery of the fest. Unlike the description I gave above, the story actually concerns a quick-witted and cantankerous old gentleman played by Lionel Barrymore sporting a gruff-looking beard, whose dubious excuse for a family is basically waiting around for him to die so they can take over his lucrative farm. The “stranger” of the title is his orphaned granddaughter from the city (Miriam Hopkins), who has never been to the farm but is cut from the same cloth as Grandpa.
Continue reading 2014 TCM Film Festival: The Stranger’s Return