When Baph was a baby I watched a movie almost every afternoon while he napped. I could fold or iron laundry at the same time, so I didn’t feel like a complete slacker. These days it’s much harder to find the time for movie viewing, but I managed to watch several this past week, and there wasn’t a dud in the bunch. Well, there was, but that was a special case. I’ll get to it.
But to recommend the winners:
The Unholy Three: Lon Chaney plays a con man and a thief who disguises himself as an old woman. Harry Earles, best known from “Freaks” (same director – Tod Browning), is a con man as well, disguised as a baby. Forget the Wayan brothers. There is something genuinely disturbing about watching a grown man (tiny though he may be) so convincingly play an infant. There’s also something unsettling about watching him as he’s toted and tossed around by the other actors. It’s not a great movie, but the central characters are certainly fun to watch, and it’s a treat to see Lon Chaney in a sound production – and in drag.
Peeping Tom: Creepy. A thriller which isn’t simply about a deranged killer, not by a long shot. It’s also about film making itself, and about the watching we all do…and while it’s not for the faint of heart, I thought it was very well done.
Winter’s Bone: Finally. I know I’m late in getting to it. Excellent. When I described the film to Striker she asked if the central character was similar to Mattie in “True Grit”. It was not a bad connection, really. Ree and Mattie are both older than their years, tougher than nails, and determined to reach their goals at almost any cost. But Ree’s motive is ultimately a far more admirable one. Jennifer Lawrence was every bit as good as I’d heard.
I also got to see lots of Cary Grant on TCM this week, enjoying old favorites like “His Girl Friday” and “The Philadelphia Story”, as well as one “new” one, Room for One More. Grant and his then-wife Betsy Drake play a married couple who take in troubled foster children. The movie is a bit sticky-sweet in spots, but still witty. And it has a lengthy Eagle Scout ceremony sequence which I’m pretty sure brought Mr. Right to tears. Memories, you know.
My only disappointment was in thinking that I was going to see a recovered copy of London After Midnight on TCM. Nope. It’s still lost, and still photos do not equal a restored film.