Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Tonight's Movie in 2019: The Year in Review

Happy New Year!!

It's time once more for my annual look back at the movie viewing year that was! 2019 was yet another terrific year watching movies.

I saw 238 films in 2019. This was my lowest number in several years for a couple different reasons, including extensive time undergoing training for new equipment related to my business.

For comparison, I saw 282 films in 2018, 284 films in 2017, 275 in 2016, 310 movies in 2015 (my record to date!), 286 movies in 2014, 277 films in 2013, 220 in both 2012 and 2009, 226 in 2011, and 211 movies in 2010.

I saw 92 films in a theater this year, which equates to roughly 39% of my movie viewing. That's almost a match for last year, when 40% of my viewing was in a theater. I saw 116 big screen films in 2018, 102 in 2017, 75 in 2016, 115 in 2015, 78 in 2014, 50 in 2013, and 55 in 2012.

16 of my theatrical viewings were brand-new films, down from 24 new movies each of the last two years. More information on the new titles seen follows below.

81 of this year's 238 films were repeat watches, with 35 of those repeat viewings coming on a big screen. Oftentimes my repeat watches occured at film festivals or at one of the many great repertory theaters in the Greater Los Angeles area.

For comparison, in 2018 there were 92 repeat watches (a personal record), while in 2017 there were 68 repeat films, 62 in 2016, 76 in 2015, 68 in 2014, 41 in 2013, 36 in 2012 and 2009, 15 in 2011, and only 13 in 2010.

Each hyperlinked title in the survey which follows links to a past review. While it's not possible to list every single movie seen in 2019 or to go into extensive detail here, it's my ongoing hope that the linked reviews will provide inspiration and resources for future viewing.

Each linked review includes a list of options available for watching each title, including DVD, Blu-ray, streaming, and even VHS, a format some of my readers continue to utilize, as do I!

Following my usual format, the next section of this post will look at some additional viewing stats, including films seen at festivals and lists of most-seen actors, while the final section of the post is a month-by-month review of additional notable titles not already mentioned.

Here's a look back at the movie viewing year which was 2019!

...I attended six film festivals this year, beginning with a pair of films at February's UCLA Festival of Preservation. At the festival I saw John Payne in THE CROOKED WAY (1949), originally reviewed here in 2013, and James Stewart in THE MORTAL STORM (1940). I didn't see as many films as I typically do at this biennial festival due to the new all-weekend format which featured widely disparate types of films, many of which were outside my areas of interest.

...In late March and early April I attended the Noir City Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, where I saw a baker's dozen of movies. First-time watches at Noir City: TRAPPED (1950), THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON (1949), APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER (1950), SUDDEN FEAR (1952), PLAYGIRL (1954), HELL'S HALF ACRE (1954), THE MIDNIGHT STORY (1957), and MONKEY ON MY BACK (1957). I really appreciated all these films for different reasons and would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite.

...I also saw several previously reviewed films at this year's Noir City Film Festival: SHADOW ON THE WALL (1950), CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS (1953), 99 RIVER STREET (1953), THE BIG COMBO (1955), and A KISS BEFORE DYING (1956).

...At April's TCM Classic Film Festival I saw 15 films, six of which were new to me; it was also my first time to see three of the nine repeat films on a big screen. As usual for TCMFF, I didn't have time to review the films individually due to attending three back-to-back spring festivals in a very short time span. Titles seen at this year's festival: GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953), THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947), HIGH SOCIETY (1956), MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940), ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (1979), TARZAN AND HIS MATE (1934), LOVE AFFAIR (1938), BLOOD MONEY (1933), SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949), HOLIDAY (1938), MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954), THE KILLERS (1964), and THE DOLLY SISTERS (1946), plus the previously reviewed WINCHESTER '73 (1950) and WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951). I also enjoyed a clip show on Republic Pictures serials at the festival.

...At the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival, held in early May in Palm Springs, I saw 11 films, four for the first time. New to me were: THE SCARLET HOUR (1956), ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW (1959), KING CREOLE (1958), and SHAKEDOWN (1950).

...Previously reviewed movies seen at the Arthur Lyons Fest were THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955), SOMEWHERE IN THE NIGHT (1946), FIVE FINGERS (1952), ALL MY SONS (1948), TRAPPED (1949), CALCUTTA (1947), and THE GLASS KEY (1942).

...On Labor Day weekend I returned to the Cinecon Festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, where I saw nine films, a two-reeler short, and a cartoon. I had seen one of the films, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE (1950), on TV many times growing up, but I'd not seen it for decades and never before in a theater; the other eight films were all brand-new to me: OH, MEN! OH, WOMEN! (1957), NIGHT OF MYSTERY (1937), THE SHAMROCK HANDICAP (1926), THE DELICIOUS LITTLE DEVIL (1919), MILLS OF THE GODS (1934), HIT PARADE OF 1941 (1940), CROOKED STREETS (1940), and CHATTERBOX (1943).

...As I have for the last several years, I traveled to Lone Pine in October for the Lone Pine Film Festival, this year celebrating its 30th anniversary. I saw nine films at the fest in 2019, eight of which were new to me: THE WAY WEST (1967), A DEMON FOR TROUBLE (1934), INDIAN AGENT (1948), MUSTANG COUNTRY (1976), HOP-A-LONG CASSIDY (1935), KING OF THE PECOS (1936), BLAZING DAYS (1927), and HOPALONG RIDES AGAIN (1937). I also saw the previously reviewed KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES (1953) on a big screen for the first time.

...There were several other special screenings this year, including a few at UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater. At UCLA's Fay Wray + Robert Riskin series I saw MEET JOHN DOE (1941), THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932), IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934), and THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD (1934). A few weeks later I also saw a pair of pre-Codes at UCLA, THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932) and ONLY YESTERDAY (1933).

...In January I returned to the Autry for the first time since 2011, seeing CANYON PASSAGE (1946) in the museum's ongoing What is a Western? film series. I wrote about the screening both here and for Classic Movie Hub; additionally, my 2013 review of CANYON PASSAGE may be found here.

...A few weeks later I went back to the Autry to see THE TALL T (1957), originally reviewed in 2006; there's more about the screening described here.

...Last January I made my very first visit to the Hollywood Heritage Museum, where I saw 40 POUNDS OF TROUBLE (1962). That movie is particularly notable due to its extensive filming inside Disneyland.

...I also returned to Disney's El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood twice this year, enjoying SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959) and CINDERELLA (1950). I'd previously seen each of those titles at the same theater five and six and a half years ago, respectively.

...I made my second-ever trip to the Aero Theatre in September to see a Marlene Dietrich double bill, MOROCCO (1930) and SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932). They were part of a series on pre-Codes and fashion hosted by Kimberly Truhler.

...In October I saw DODSWORTH (1936) at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater, part of a very special, star-studded tribute to the late Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne.

...In November I returned to the beautifully restored American Legion Post 43 Theatre in Hollywood, first visited during this year's TCM Classic Film Festival, for the screening of a restored 35mm print of THE RIGHT STUFF (1983). I look forward to attending more screenings at this gorgeous theater this year!

...Nitrate screenings seen in 2019 were THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947), SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949), and THE DOLLY SISTERS (1946) at the TCM Classic Film Festival, NIGHT OF MYSTERY (1937) (plus a cartoon, 1938's THE COBWEB HOTEL) at Cinecon, and REBECCA (1940) at the Egyptian Theatre.

...Feature-length documentaries seen last year: CHEF FLYNN (2018), THE GODDESSES OF FOOD (2016), APOLLO 11 (2019), and IMAGE MAKERS: THE ADVENTURES OF AMERICA'S PIONEER CINEMATOGRAPHERS (2019).

...I only saw six silent films this year, most thanks to film festivals: UNDERGROUND (1928), THE DELICIOUS LITTLE DEVIL (1919), CROOKED STREETS (1940), THE SHAMROCK HANDICAP (1926), BLAZING DAYS (1927), and the enchanting PETER PAN (1924). Seeing more silents is a good goal for 2020! I'd also like to see more foreign-language films, as I only saw two Japanese-language movies this year, which are noted in my monthly overview below.

...New movies seen in theaters in 2019 were: THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART (2019), CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019), SHAZAM! (2019), AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU (2019), TOY STORY 4 (2019), SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (2019), FAST AND FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW (2019), DOWNTON ABBEY (2019), MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL (2019), LAST CHRISTMAS (2019), FROZEN II (2019), FORD V. FERRARI (2019), MIDWAY (2019), JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (2019), and LITTLE WOMEN (2019). I currently anticipate that my first theatrical film of 2020 will be STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (2019). (January 2nd Update: Here is that review!)

...Hallmark films enjoyed in 2019: CROWN FOR CHRISTMAS (2015), LOVE, OF COURSE (2018), and CHRISTMAS IN THE AIR (2017). My Hallmark count was way down this year, and I'd also like to make time to see more of these in 2020, as I always enjoy them.

...The worst picture I saw in 2019 was MADAME X (1966), a pointlessly depressing melodrama. Past "winners" in this category: HULLABALOO (1940) from my 2009 list, FORT BOWIE (1958) in 2011, INHERIT THE WIND (1960) in 2012, a tie between DAVY CROCKETT, INDIAN SCOUT (1950) and FLYING BLIND (1941) in 2013, FORT YUMA (1955) in 2014, THE ROBIN HOOD OF EL DORADO (1936) in 2015, MAKE MINE LAUGHS (1949) in 2016, DEJA VU (1985) in 2017, and GOLDIE GETS ALONG (1933) in 2018. Fortunately it's quite rare when I don't find at least some aspects of a film to enjoy!

...Robert Ryan was my most-seen actor in 2019, with half a dozen films. Two other big favorites, James Stewart and Joel McCrea, were seen in five films apiece.

...Seen in four films apiece this year: John Payne, George Brent, William Boyd, and Brian Donlevy.

...Also seen regularly in 2019, with three films apiece, were Clark Gable, Randolph Scott, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Alan Ladd, Cary Grant, Bill Elliott, Gilbert Roland, Robert Young, Charles Laughton, and Clint Eastwood, who directed an additional film seen this year (SULLY, which I revisited via DVD). Hudson and Curtis only make the list of three titles due to their small roles in WINCHESTER '73 (1950)!

...It was a three-way tie for the most-seen actress of 2019, with Maureen O'Sullivan (seen here), Marlene Dietrich, and Virginia Grey each clocking in at five titles. That said, Grey only played a lead in one of those five films.

...Coming next, at four films apiece, were Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell, and Shelley Winters. I find it amusing that both Dietrich and Winters rank so highly this year, given that they've definitely been an "acquired taste" for me!

...And with three titles apiece: Kay Francis, Joan Bennett, Anita Louise, Jean Arthur, Myrna Loy, Margaret Lindsay, Evelyn Keyes, Fay Wray, Barbara Rush, Mamie Van Doren, and Dame Judith Anderson.

...Below is a month-by-month look at some additional titles not already listed above which I found especially memorable viewing in 2019.

...January began with a New Year's Day viewing of the Warner Archive's beautiful new Blu-ray of Errol Flynn in THE SEA HAWK (1940)...I revisited a pair of beloved TV-movies from my teen years, YOUNG PIONEERS (1976) and YOUNG PIONEERS' CHRISTMAS (1976), thanks to Kino Lorber's new releases...I loved rewatching the delightful sci-fi classic THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951), which I first fell in love with in 2015; I think I smile through most of that movie!...Jane Russell and Jeff Chandler are eye-catching in the melodrama FOXFIRE (1955), another film I enjoyed revisiting...Thanks to a new three-film Mamie Van Doren set I saw THE GIRL IN BLACK STOCKINGS (1957), a fun mystery filmed on location at the Parry Lodge in Kanab, Utah...I hadn't seen FRONTIER GAL (1945), starring Yvonne DeCarlo and Rod Cameron, since I was a kid and loved its beautiful Technicolor...HER KIND OF MAN (1946) is a fun (and sometimes rather bonkers) Warner Bros. film with Dane Clark, Janis Paige, and Zachary Scott...and I enjoyed taking a fresh look at Joan Crawford and Jeff Chandler in FEMALE ON THE BEACH (1955).

...In February I enjoyed the gorgeous Technicolor of HEART OF THE NORTH (1938), starring Dick Foran...I also enjoyed stewardess Sally Eilers landing the plane in WITHOUT ORDERS (1936), a forerunner of similar "airplane films" to follow in the coming decades...Another fun revisit was Joel McCrea and Maureen O'Sullivan in the fast-paced WOMAN WANTED (1935), with O'Sullivan escaping an unjust criminal conviction...O'Sullivan was also the lead in one of my favorite Robert Montgomery films, the charming HIDE-OUT (1934)...and I enjoyed Arrow's beautiful Blu-ray release of the short, spooky suspense film MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945).

...March brought another film from the Van Doren set, the fun GUNS, GIRLS AND GANGSTERS (1959)...Ginger Rogers was amusing as a goody-goody radio star who wants to cut loose in PROFESSIONAL SWEETHEART (1933)...I loved DESERT FURY (1947), a weird yet fascinating film with Burt Lancaster and Lizabeth Scott in gorgeous Technicolor...I always enjoy watching Susan Peters, seen in March in ASSIGNMENT IN BRITTANY (1943), which was based on a suspense novel by Helen MacInnes...and the comedy SNOWED UNDER (1936) is delightful, with a cast which includes George Brent, Genevieve Tobin, and Glenda Farrell.

...There wasn't much viewing outside of the Noir City and TCM Film Festivals in April, but I did make it to a local theater for my first viewing of Hayao Miyazaki's HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE (2004)...I also finished the Mamie Van Doren set with VICE RAID (1959).

...May featured another film festival, the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival, but my home viewing picked back up, starting with the Blu-ray release of one of my favorite Westerns, BEND OF THE RIVER (1952), starring James Stewart...I liked the "behind the scenes in Hollywood" angle of STAND-IN (1937), starring Leslie Howard and Joan Blondell...THE LAND UNKNOWN (1957) was a sci-fi adventure with Jock Mahoney...Arrow released a beautiful Blu-ray of a favorite suspense film, John Farrow's THE BIG CLOCK (1948), starring Ray Milland and Maureen O'Sullivan...THE MIAMI STORY (1954) was a favorite film this year, maybe nothing special but I love Barry Sullivan and Beverly Garland, who had good chemistry...Diane Lane was charming in Eleanor Coppola's late-life directorial debut, PARIS CAN WAIT (2016)...and Beverly Garland was seen again, along with "Wild Bill" Elliott, in the entertaining Western BITTER CREEK (1954).

...In June I revisited George Brent and Brenda Marshall in SOUTH OF SUEZ (1940), which has a marvelous supporting performance by Eric Blore...I had an absolutely wonderful time watching Gene Kelly and Judy Garland in SUMMER STOCK (1950) for the first time in years...TWICE BLESSED (1945) is a favorite MGM "B" movie, a forerunner of THE PARENT TRAP (1961) with Preston Foster and Gail Patrick as the divorced parents of identical twins (Lyn and Lee Wilde)...RETURN OF THE FRONTIERSMAN (1950) was a solid Western with Gordon MacRae, Julie London, and Rory Calhoun...I enjoyed Anne Shirley and James Craig in UNEXPECTED UNCLE (1941), with Charles Coburn in the title role, a practice run for his Oscar-winning performance in THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943)...THE PAINTED DESERT (1931) was an interesting Western with William Boyd and Clark Gable, before Boyd became Hopalong Cassidy and before Gable hit the big time...I hadn't seen a new-to-me film directed by Yasujiro Ozu all year and watched AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (1962), which was as good as his films always are.

...My July 4th holiday break included Tom Cruise in the original MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1996) film; I'm looking forward to catching more in that series...I really enjoyed GLAMOUR FOR SALE (1940), a 60-minute "B" movie starring Anita Louise...I saw Humphrey Bogart in ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (1942) for the first time; Runyonesque gangsters versus the Nazis was a very different concept...HOT CARS (1956) was a very enjoyable "B" film which, like GLAMOUR FOR SALE, was only an hour long...Madge Evans was excellent in the pre-Code melodrama BEAUTY FOR SALE (1933), where her heroine is courted by a married man (Otto Kruger)...THE MAN WHO FOUND HIMSELF (1937) is another very enjoyable "B" film, with Joan Fontaine as a nurse who helps a troubled doctor (John Beal) put his life back together...Constance Bennett was excellent in OUR BETTERS (1933), a pre-Code comedy-drama about life among the British upper crust, which Anita Louise discovers is not all it's cracked up to be...I loved spending time with James Stewart and Dan Duryea when I revisited THUNDER BAY (1953)...and while traveling I enjoyed streaming THE HARDYS RIDE HIGH (1939), which included brief guest appearances by favorites Marsha Hunt and Virginia Grey.

...August led off with 3 CHEERS FOR THE IRISH (1940), starring the adorable Dennis Morgan and Priscilla Lane...FOOTLIGHT PARADE (1933) is one of my favorite musicals, and I loved the chance to see it on the new Blu-ray from the Warner Archive...The first time I saw HOLD BACK THE DAWN (1941) years ago I had to watch it in chapters, on YouTube. What a thrill to now be able to watch it anytime I'd like in the gorgeous new Blu-ray from Arrow Academy!...I'm a huge Doris Day fan yet had never seen MIDNIGHT LACE (1960) before. Finally caught up with it!...EASY LIVING (1937) with Jean Arthur and Ray Milland is one of my all-time favorite comedies, so I was happy to see it again in August...Preston Foster is marvelous in the very good "B" mystery DOUBLE DANGER (1938), one of the films that made me a fan of his...Warner Archive released a gorgeous new Blu-ray of THE THIN MAN (1934) which made a perfect film even better.

...September began with an excellent Bill Elliott Western, the saga WYOMING (1947)...Edmund Lowe and Madge Evans were a delightful team in the thriller ESPIONAGE (1937)...One of my all-time favorite films, WAGON MASTER (1950), came out on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive; I can never see that movie too many times!...It was surprising watching Jeanne Crain as a villainess in MAN WITHOUT A STAR (1955)...I liked Billy Wilder's A FOREIGN AFFAIR (1948) much better on this second viewing, proving the value of sometimes revisiting films I didn't care for the first time around...The recent film MARSHALL (2017), starring Chadwick Boseman, was an engrossing legal drama...I watched the snowy Western DAY OF THE OUTLAW (1959) for the second time in a year and enjoyed it just as much this time around...I loved COUNTERSPY MEETS SCOTLAND YARD (1950), a somewhat silly yet completely entertaining "B" film which is just "my" kind of movie...and I really enjoyed seeing John Wayne, Randolph Scott, and Marlene Dietrich for the first time in THE SPOILERS (1942), a very good film.

...October started with one of my all-time favorite comedies, James Garner in SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! (1969)...Walter Matthau had a memorable role in MIRAGE (1965), also starring Gregory Peck and Diane Baker...Arrow Academy continued its string of superb, extras-laden releases with the classic comedy THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR (1942), starring Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland...While I was in Lone Pine I streamed Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson in THE HIGHWAYMEN (2019) when I wasn't otherwise occupied watching Westerns; the story of the retired Texas lawmen who ended Bonnie and Clyde's reign of terror was excellent...I also loved the offbeat BRONCO BILLY (1980), about a runaway heiress (Sondra Locke) and an ersatz "family" of carnival workers, starring and directed by Clint Eastwood...NEVER FEAR (1950) was one of a couple films seen this year directed by Ida Lupino, starring Sally Forrest and Keefe Brasselle...I caught up with Angelina Jolie as MALEFICENT (2014) and found it much more enjoyable than I'd anticipated.

...In November I saw PITTSBURGH (1942), another film with John Wayne, Randolph Scott, and Marlene Dietrich...THE HOUSE ON 56TH STREET (1933) was a superior pre-Code melodrama with Kay Francis...NOT WANTED (1949) was the next Lupino-Forrest-Brasselle film I saw...Lupino starred with Stephen McNally and Howard Duff in the enjoyable Universal Pictures film WOMAN IN HIDING (1950)...I revisited Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in SWING TIME (1936) for the first time in a number of years and was blown away all over again by their great "Never Gonna Dance"...Preston Sturges' CHRISTMAS IN JULY (1940), starring Dick Powell and Ellen Drew, is a charmer...CHARLEY VARRICK (1973), with Walter Matthau in the title role, was every bit as engrossing this time around as it was when I first saw it a couple years ago.

...December has been a busy month but I enjoyed revisiting James Stewart in Anthony Mann's THE FAR COUNTRY (1954)...I also saw Robert Ryan for the very first time in Robert Wise's THE SET-UP (1949) Christmas I rewatched the British holiday drama THE HOLLY AND THE IVY (1952) for the first time in a few years...and I also watched TRAPPED (1949) for the third time this year, thanks to the wonderful new Blu-ray from Flicker Alley/Film Noir Foundation/UCLA Film & Television Archive.

...Coming soon: My annual Favorite Discoveries piece for Rupert Pupkin Speaks. I'll be adding the link here as soon as that post is up! (March 5th Update: Here is the list!)

...I also anticipate my annual "year in review" movie poster video will be ready later in January. (February 4th Update: The video is now posted!)

...This past year I was delighted to continue contributing a monthly Westerns column for the terrific Classic Movie Hub site. My Western Roundup columns may be found here.

As always, I'd like to sincerely thank everyone who visits this blog, both occasional visitors and "regulars." Your readership, friendship, and support are all appreciated more by me with every passing year.

I wish everyone health, happiness, and many wonderful movies in 2020!

Previously: Tonight's Movie in 2009: The Year in Review; Tonight's Movie in 2010: The Year in Review; Tonight's Movie in 2011: The Year in Review; Tonight's Movie in 2012: The Year in Review; Tonight's Movie in 2013: The Year in Review; Tonight's Movie in 2014: The Year in Review; Tonight's Movie in 2015: The Year in Review; Tonight's Movie in 2016: The Year in Review; Tonight's Movie in 2017: The Year in Review; Tonight's Movie in 2018: The Year in Review.


Blogger Unknown said...


3:59 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks much for stopping by and checking out my recap!

Best wishes,

9:01 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

The cheetah and I noticed a lack of "creature features" and we would love to see you watch and review at least one this year!

We love Myrna Loy.

We also enjoy Hallmark movies as well!

3:38 AM  

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