It can’t all be sunshine and roses, so here are some things that didn’t work out so well in 2017. (For a more sunshiny outlook, here’s my best list.)
Last year, I had no shortage of terrible films to kvetch about but something strange happened this year: Most of the films I reviewed were good-to-great and there wasn’t a single film that I would think of adding to my All-Time Worst list. I’m not complaining but it does make this particular post a bit awkward, so this is going to be a pretty short list.
Click the titles to read my full reviews.
This picture feels primitive because it is. It would have been fine in 1907 or thereabouts but it is positively prehistoric next to other 1913 offerings. Still, the concept is interesting.
Sometimes hailed as a return to form for the old man, D.W. Griffith’s Lady of the Pavements is an attempt at the sort of sophisticated, winking romance that Ernst Lubitsch was producing. It doesn’t work. The cinematography is inconsistent, the talented cast is misused and the synchronized sound sequences can’t save it.
Douglas Fairbanks charms our socks off as per usual but the screenplay of this western comedy is unnecessarily bloodthirsty and leaves a poor taste.
An attempted farce that never really gets off the ground and never makes a lick of sense. Oh well, at least Marie Prevost is adorable.
Darn it, the talkies I reviewed were good too. Again, this is a good thing but it does wreak havoc with the symmetry of my year-end lists.
However, I do have two aces up my sleeve:
The Legion of Missing Men (1937) is a real stinker about the French Foreign Legion. It’s crammed with cliches and unintentional humor (the intentional stuff falls flat). Not recommended for viewing.
Love Nest (1951) is badly plotted and packed with unappealing characters. It’s about a whiny soldier who comes home to discover his wife has purchased a boarding house. Most people will see it for Marilyn Monroe. I was there for Leatrice Joy.
Like so many other things in life, comments on this site are 95% sweet, enlightening, smart and/or useful, often all of these things at once. It’s that little 5% that causes all the drama.
This year was reasonably wild by silent film blog standards. I had somebody accuse me of making up the myth of “tied to the railroad tracks” all by my little self and someone else claimed I was “fomenting hysteria” because I asked the AP for a correction. As fun as these incidents were, I think my favorite nasty comment was when I was accused of “trying desperately to be funny” but that my review was full of “vicious infective” which may be my new favorite malapropism. (I responded that I was pretty sure I had had all my shots.)
Other than that, there were a few film professors who failed to realize that I am not taking their class and it doesn’t matter if they give me an F for failing to be properly deferential to D.W. Griffith (that will be the day). There were also few “Do you know WHO I AM” incidents, pretty much par for the course, eh? Oh yes, and I was also accused of being a Nazi because I linked to a Bluray box that contained a Leni Riefenstahl short. That was fun.
But back to the positive: I have had a blast hearing everybody’s silent film experiences and their opinions on the films reviewed. Like I said, the 95% more than makes up for any issues with that 5%.
All in all, this was a really successful year. I found a ton of new-to-me movies that I love, only had to trip over a few films that I didn’t like and had overwhelmingly nice experiences with my commenters. Here’s hoping next year is as pleasant!
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