By Marilyn Ferdinand
Yes, it’s another meme, this one courtesy of MovieMan at The Dancing Image. The idea is to choose 12 hard-to-get films that we want to see, name them, and tell why we have chosen them as part of our holy grail. Pat at Doodad Kind of Town tagged me. I didn’t think I could do it, but I was wrong. Some of these films are very hard to impossible to get, others not so much. Here they are, in no particular order.
All I Desire (1953)
Director: Douglas Sirk
I had a chance to see this Barbara Stanwyck vehicle on the big screen and just totally blew it. The story of a mother who abandoned her family coming back into the picture sounded delicious, and it’s by Sirk, one of my favorite directors.
India: Matri Bhumi (1959)
Director: Roberto Rossellini
A very bad print of this film was brought to Chicago early this year for an extremely rare showing. It sold out, and another showing was added. I was out of town and missed my chance to see it. Reputed to be Rossellini’s masterpiece. Someone has to restore it someday…
Director: Roberto Rossellini
Another Rossellini I have been wanting to see since Martin Scorsese pointed it out in his documentary on Italian filmmaking. I can get a copy on VHS, but so far, I haven’t.
The Apu Trilogy (1959)
Director: Satyajit Ray
I tried to see this monumental trilogy once, but it was on VHS and the print was terrible. I gave up. It’s available on DVD now, but I haven’t laid my hands on it.
Flaming Youth (1923)
Director: John Francis Dillon
The film that supposedly defined Colleen Moore as a flapper is, like all her other flapper movies, said to be lost. I’ve only seen her comedic roles, and I’m dying to see her in another light. They said Her Wild Oat was lost, but it was found. I’ve got my fingers crossed on this one.
Saturday Morning (1971)
Director: Kent MacKenzie
This documentary (no picture available) is the only other completed film by Kent MacKenzie, whose The Exiles was such a moving experience. A week of group-therapy sessions featuring 20 teenagers from the California of the late 1960s may not sound like everyone’s slice of heaven. I’m sure that in MacKenzie’s capable hands, it’s a knockout.
Retribution (Sakebi, 2006)
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
This was the film that played at the 2006 Chicago International Film Festival I most wanted to see and didn’t. I’ll see it one day.
Invitation to the Dance (1956)
Director: Gene Kelly
One of Kelly’s few failures, Invitation to the Dance sounds like a bold idea. I suspect that I would love spending an entire movie looking at nothing but dancing. It’s probably available, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.
Director: Abel Gance
I missed my chance to see this at the Chicago Theatre palace with a live orchestra when the restored film was touring around the world. I want to see it live. Maybe I’ll get a second chance.
17th Parallel: Vietnam and War (Le 17e parallèle: La guerre du peuple, 1968)
Directors: Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan Ivens
I’m not too familiar with Joris Ivens, but he seems to have a very singular vision and the courage to go where others don’t. I’ve never seen the Vietnam War from the perspective of the peasants of the North, but I’d really like to. Not sure how available this is.
The Story of a Clumsy Clerk (Der Stolz der Firma, 1914)
Director: Carl Wilhelm
No other reason I want to see this than it stars Ernst Lubitsch in a dual role (that’s him above). It’s not lost, but not readily available.
The Wrong Box (1966)
Director: Bryan Forbes
Technically, I have seen this film before, but it was so long ago that I might as well not have. I loved this book and remember loving the film. I’d like to revisit my childhood with this English comedy with an all-star cast (Michael Caine, John Mills, Peter Cook, Ralph Richardson, Dudley Moore).
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