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September 20, 2008


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Definitely see La Chambre Vert-- I think it's the most underrated of all Truffaut's films, and one of the most heartfelt. Much more so than Day For Night, I think it captures the spirit of Truffaut's cinephilia in all its melancholy glory.

I know The Reluctant Debutante was on laserdisc at one point-- I dubbed a copy out of our school's media library-- so if you're interested, you might look on Ebay or the online movie source of your choice for a used copy.

Thanks for sharing a cool list-- I haven't even heard of half of these, but they all sound great, particularly the Borzage (I'm a big fan of The Mortal Storm).


Sometimes -- often, even -- I'm reminded that I don't even know what I don't know about movies. I mean, this list...sheesh. At least I know who pretty much all these people are, but I've heard of probably only half of the films themselves, and even though I know of Tashlin and Borzage and Losey, I've seen none of their work. How depressing.

I'm filling as many of my numerous gaps as I possibly can with greater speed now than ever before, but sometimes it feels like such a slow process. I need to find a big sack of drug money that fell out of a plane, so I can quit my job and really buckle down. I'll let you know how that goes.

Anyway, great list, Glenn, and thanks for taking part. Oh, and I have that Carlos Clarens book on my Amazon Wishlist, and it may have to be my next purchase.


Wow, I've seen films that Glenn Kenny hasn't! Not that it matters in the whole scheme of film criticism. I think The Reluctant Debutante has been on VHS, too...I know I've seen it, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't on TCM.

Tony Dayoub


I'm glad you got around to the meme. I had tagged you on this same meme back during your recent vacation, but I guess you missed it.

You should check out my list (I'm sure you've seen these, but I can't believe they're not on video yet):


Movieman0283 over at The Dancing Image (who comments here from time to time) actually originated this iteration of the meme. Here's his list:


Anyone else have some lists they care to share?


TCM does show The Reluctant Debutante from time to time, that's how I caught it. I will have to check out the Kehr thread. Fox Movie Channel has Wild River in rotation at the moment, I need to see that one too.

Bruce Reid

Just for fun I checked IMDB to see if what's probably my biggest auteurist blind spot could cover all 12--and it turns out Erich von Stroheim, whose works as a director I've never seen, is credited with a dozen movies.

Which leads less to regret for my misspent past than excited planning for my future.


Mazursky's ALEX IN WONDERLAND is definitely worth a look. This once appeared on vhs, but the colors were a bit off; a shame, as Laszlo Kovacs' fine lensing is one of the film's great assets. It is slow and has many dull passages, but there are three or four sequences that make the film worthwhile, at least for cineastes.

In a scene that must have been something of a thrill to shoot -- Mazursky discusses it in his memoir -- Donald Sutherland's Alex happens upon Fellini in his Rome cutting room and begins showering the director with inarticulate praise; the Maestro, unimpressed, just wants to be left alone to do his work. [There are Fellini allusions aplenty in the film.]

Later, in an apparent fantasy sequence, Alex is browsing film stills in front of Larry Edmunds' Bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard; Jeanne Moreau walks up. Alex is excited, practically reciting her credits to her. She smiles enigmatically, and starts to sing a song; they ride off together down the boulevard in an elegant horse-drawn carriage.

The film's major fantasy sequence is the Vietnam war scene, set on Hollywood Blvd. (we see that the Vogue is showing LET IT BE), replete with explosions, smoke, flames, soldiers, bodies, villagers, scored with Doris Day's recording of "Hooray for Hollywood." We see Alex both trapped in the warfare and also on an impossibly high camera boom overseeing and apparently directing the action. Then, with the battle at its height, Jeanne Moreau reappears and begins to sing again...

The other sequence people remember from the film is Alex's lunch with the MGM producer (played by Mazursky) who proposes several hilarious projects for the hot new director, including a film about a girl who has a heart transplant (don't ask), and when Alex admires the Chagall on his office wall, he tries to give it to him. I don't know whether the scene works very well, but it makes its point, and one can imagine that Mazursky had taken quite similar meetings after his success with BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE.

I like this film very much as a product of its time. [You will need to put your mindset pretty firmly in 1970 to get much out of this.] It's terribly interesting, even if it is a movie about a director who can't decide what picture, or even what _kind_ of picture, that he wants to make. Sutherland is good -- he certainly does everything Mazursky asks of him -- and Ellen Burstyn is funny, affecting, and lovingly annoyed. She makes a great deal out of a relatively minor part; this certainly got her the LAST PICTURE SHOW role. NY theatre director Tom O'Horgan composed the film's odd but effective score.

Almost forty years after its release, ALICE'S RESTAURANT is still one of my favorite movies; I hope you like it when you see it. Remember, if you see BACHELOR FLAT, you will need to see it in 'Scope -- skip the flat transfer. THE GREEN ROOM is small but good; this was Truffaut's most ambitious film performance, and he is quietly moving. WILD RIVER is really good and very original; it's much different from your little description. [For one thing, the "intense" performance in the film is by Jo Van Fleet.]

THESE ARE THE DAMNED was a great recent revelation -- don't bother with the short version; the long version is the one to see.


My list can be found here:


It was amusing when I finally put it all together: I think the film I really want to see the most is "Pulgasauri", just because everything about it is completely mad.


BACHELOR FLAT also turns up on Fox Movie Channel from time to time.

WILD RIVER is probably my favorite Kazan--an utterly spellbinding film. And if you must watch it on TV, only do so when letterboxed (it, not you).

I'm pushing Sony to release THESE ARE THE DAMNED on DVD next year for the Losey Centennial. Stay tuned. (But hasn't it run at the Film Forum once or twice?)

As for SANDS OF IWO JIMA...well, you simply have no excuse, private.

craig keller.

You -- and all of us -- are in luck, Glenn. Rossellini's 'Louis' + six or so of the "history" films will be coming out via Criterion some time next year, it seems -- across standalone-Criterion and Eclipse box-set releases (non-overlapping). Yes, 'Louis' is a masterpiece... but all of them are. And 'Il Messia' / 'The Messiah'... there are no words. (Metaphorically I mean; there is, very much, logos.)

As for Truffaut, man, talk about being ill-served on Region 1, past 1963 (and the 'Fahrenheit' and 'Day for Night' releases, and the marvelous Doinel box from Criterion). I don't know what's taking so long to get 'A Gorgeous Girl Like Me' / 'Une belle fille comme moi' out here, for example...

And wondering whether we'll be waiting another 10 years for the next Rohmer box.



@craig keller

Where'd you get the word on Criterion's upcoming Eclipse release schedule? I know Rossellini had been hinted at on the blog but info is maddeningly sparse on that line, a problem right from the beginning. I can understand why, of course, they don't want to promise something and have the rights yanked (I heard a rumor that this was why the Shepitko set was only two discs), but I love the anticipation of a new release.


Craig, do you know if "Paisan" will be part of that?

D Cairns

I was moved to quote from Robert Parrish's autobiography, in reference to History is Made at Night. Might contain a slight spoiler if you don't know about THE SHIP:

The movie has the most extraordinary first half -- romantic beyond words. I struggled slightly with the ending, but I suspect I'll be fine with it on a second viewing. "The triumph of love over plausibility" being one of Borzage's abiding themes.
Moonrise is the Borz film that blew my hat off. Not like anything else, but more like a silent film, or Night of the Hunter, than anything else.

D Cairns

Actually, I might list 12 of my own, even if nobody tags me. It sounds like fun, and I could definitely appall some people with the stuff I haven't caught.


"Moonrise is the Borz film that blew my hat off. Not like anything else, but more like a silent film, or Night of the Hunter, than anything else."

Awwwww, damn it, not on Netflix. I'm intensely curious about this one now.

Mike Grost

The news about Rossellini is great!
I saw "Louis XIV" at the campus film society in 1973. But so many others have never had a chance to see.
My list of unseens would go into 1200 or 12, 000! Other people are way ahead here of me...
Rosenbaum's wonderful list is full of post-1970 movies that are so hard to see: not out on DVD, never shown on cable... I'm seeing more and more of his list, but have so many more to go. The Good News: this means lots of good viewing ahead.
Read A. Merritt's novel "Seven Footprints to Satan". It opens with plot events that bear a family resemblance to the opening scenes of "North By Northwest". Not real close: second cousins. Have never seen the movie.


David, I was going to tag you! I am working on mine, should be up tomorrow.

Jim Flannery

I haven't seen the Christensen, didn't even know it existed (sigh ... another Grail for the file ... darn ya), but at least in the A. Merritt novel it's based on (and named after), the Foot*prints* is a definite plot point (yes, related to the stairs in the still) that'd be unnecessarily spoilerish to explain. But it's not an error.

Nathan Duke

Hey Glenn,

Great post. "Alex in Wonderland" and "Wild River" are available at Kim's on St. Marks. Maybe you can help with some of these impossible-to-find films that I've searched for for years:

City of Sadness, A Brighter Summer Day, Manila in the Claws of Brightness, The Revolutionary (1970), Adalen 31, India Song, Hanyo and The Asthenic Syndrome.

Peter Nellhaus

Of your twelve, I have not seen three (Bunuel, Christensen, and Truffaut). I could have seen the Truffaut theatrically but didn't. Losey is very under-represented on DVD. I have a Borzage on my list, by the way. Too bad you can't see Bachelor Flat on a theater screen to enjoy the glory that is Jessica Dachshund the way she was meant to be seen.

D Cairns

Combining Region 1 and Region 2 releases, nearly everything by Losey is available! Well, maybe I exaggerate slightly, but when I decided to get into his work in a big way, there were only a few films that I had to source through unofficial channels. Of course, the quality of the Assassination of Trotsky DVD is so bad you might as well watch a VHS off-air...

What is frustrating is that it's easier to get a minor/unsuccessful Losey like A Doll's House than a major one like The Damned.


Glenn --

Thanks for the tag -- that was fun. My post is up.


Herman Scobie

Of Glenn's list, I've seen 2-7 and 9-12 but only because I'm the 38th oldest person on the planet. I've seen part of 8 but am embarrassed to say I've never been able to make it through anything by Rossellini, despite five tries. My 12 would come from the films Max Ophuls made before The Exile. Had a chance to see some of these at the Film Society of Lincoln Center a few years back but had the flu. Encourage listmakers to consider Angel on the Amazon and Shack Out on 101, two of the most fascinating bad films ever made.

Jim Gerow

I've seen all of these except the Christensen, and all but the Mazursky are must-see. In addition to Clift's performance in Wild River, Lee Remick and Jo Van Fleet are breathtakingly good, as are Kazan's remarkable Scope compositions. I remember Truffaut's Green Room being quite odd and powerful, but I haven't seen it in some time.

I've been an amateur cinephile since about 1970, so my list, aided and abetted by Rosenbaum's essential list, is much rarer than the average, but here goes (in chronological order), and I had to stretch it to eleven:

Griffith's The Avenging Conscience
Lubitsch's Three Women
Renoir's La Nuit du Carrefour
Ophuls's Sans lendemain
Potter's Hellzapoppin'
Gremillon's Lumière d’été
William Castle's When Strangers Marry
McCarey's Good Sam
Schroeter's The Death of Maria Malibran
de Oliveira's Doomed Love
Edward Yang's A Confucian Confusion

I'd throw in several silent Ozus and some Sacha Guitry if there was more room. The Griffith is coming soon to DVD from Kino, along with some unseen early 30's Borzages in that Fox box set.


Oh, I forgot to mention, Glenn, if you haven't heard it already, seek out the Austin Lounge Lizards' hilarious "The Illusion Travels by Stock Car". Just go in cold. You'll love it.

R. Hunt

"Alice's Restaurant" is one of the best and saddest films about "the end of the Sixties" and would make a great double feature with "The Big Chill". "Alex in Wonderland" is a mess, though i wonder if how it compares to "The Pickle". And "The Green Room" is an excellent and dark look at death, and a worthy interpretation of "The Beast in the jungle".



It looks like my first post didn't go through - I wanted to thank you for responding, but also throw out my original post (I see Tony did that for me - thanks, Tony). One of the original "rules" (in fact the only one) was that participants give a shout-out to my blog, as well as Out 1 & Lazy Eye Theatre for getting the ball rolling. Could you add this to your intro?

Sands of Iwo Jima seems to be on TCM every now and then, but like you I have yet to catch it.


Eep. Sorry, Movieman, I didn't know that rule. I'll go add those links...

Stephen Bowie

Well-chosen: Wild River, These Are the Damned, and Bachelor Flat are all underrated gems. Alice's Restaurant, not so much -- dated hippie oddity, alas.

Ellen Kirby

I recall enjoying Alex quite a bit when I was a young sprout but seeing how my relationship to its inspiration has mutated over the years I don't know if I'd feel the same now: I came away impressed by my first viewing of 8 1/2, then spent three more viewings over the years growing increasingly annoyed, and in the middle of the third one, finally turned it off. Can't completely articulate why, though a line from Robert Christgau (writing about Lou Barlow) covers a big chunk of it: "...Barlow, who I only wish did like Ann Powers says and paraded his faults to prove his honesty. As with all self-made wimps, the hustle is more insidious--his honesty is supposed to justify his faults."

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