Films about Faith – a sequel

It’s been more than four and a half years since my first Morlocks blog on this topic, which is so long ago that Google no longer caches the page. While I’ve added a little bit to the original essay on my site (after watching Martin Luther (1953), A Man Called Peter (1955) – available via DIRECTV’s TCM on Demand this month, and One Man’s Way (1964) in fairly quick succession this fall), I haven’t written about the most deeply spiritual and openly Christian films I’ve seen, until now.

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Life With Father (1947) – underappreciated

Life With Father (1947) is a delightful, charming, cleverly written and, apparently, underrated gem. In a year in which anti-Semitism was apparently the focal point in Hollywood or at least of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a film about the life of a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant family in 1883 New York City didn’t really get the recognition it deserved when they were handing out nominations, or Oscars. Even the National Film Registry, which has many times “corrected” such gross oversights by A.M.P.A.S., has neglected to add this Warner Bros. classic to the Library of Congress. Then again, the National Film Preservation Board has only added two of 1947’s features films to the L.O.C. – the Santa Claus yarn Miracle on 34th Street and the venerated film noir Out of the Past – which is the fewest number of movies listed for any year from 1924 (Safety Last is the only listing for 1923) through 1965, from which only The Pawnbroker and The Sound of Music have made the cut thus far.
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Me Suzi, You Tarzan!

I have a soft spot for Golden Age movies that take place in tropical environments, which have left me with a life-long love of swaying palm trees, white sandy beaches, jungle birds cawing in the background, and exotic flora and fauna—giant snakes excluded. My love of tropical scenery and jungle locales began in childhood when I devoured the Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller that were frequently broadcast on one of the Cleveland television stations. Nothing seemed more adventurous and exotic to me than trekking through the jungle. In adulthood, I still enjoy these films, though the racist depictions of natives are difficult to watch. I enjoy them because they are not only an escape to an exotic Neverland filled with jungle animals, oversized tropical plants, and extra-large vines but also an escape from computers, cell phones, and those people who think they can’t live without them.

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Three to Remember

three direcotrs

What do André de Toth, Michael Curtiz, and Leo McCarey have in common? These three directors were represented at the last Telluride Film Festival thanks to Alexander Payne, a Guest Director who introduced films from these cinematic stalwarts as part of his presentation on Forgotten Hollywood. Payne got his start with Citizen Ruth (1996), and then gave Matthew Broderick a memorable role in Election (1999), he cast Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt (2002), and followed this with an Oscar win for Sideways (2004). Payne’s selection of films for TFF was, as he was the first to admit, a selfish one: these were all rare films that he, personally, wanted to see on the big screen. In his introduction to Curtiz’ The Breaking Point he mentioned how TCM was to blame, because one day he woke up, turned on TCM, and only managed to see the last third of the film, which blew him away. But he’s always wanted to see the rest of it, and it’s not on DVD. Toth’s Day of the Outlaw? That 35mm print had to be secured by the TFF staff from Martin Scorsese’s personal archive. McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow? Well… if you have a PAL player and don’t mind buying the DVD from France, you’re in luck. But if you were in Telluride last Labor Day weekend, you had a chance to see rare 35mm print screenings of all three films that were sure to put you in the clouds. [...MORE]

All Too Human a Father

John Wayne, looking worried,with good reason, in Trouble Along the Way (1953)“What do you know about love? I think love is watching your child go off to school for the first time alone… sitting beside a sick kid’s bed waiting for the doctor, praying it isn’t polio… or that cold chill you get when you hear the screech of brakes, and know your kid’s outside on the street some place… and a lot of other things you get can’t get out of books, ’cause nobody knows how to write ‘em down.”

~John Wayne as Steve Aloysius Williams in Trouble Along the Way (1953)
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