a quick, short list of films recently viewed with Lily (and sometimes the rest of the family)

My posts have been few lately. Life is full.

The following films I have recently viewed with my daughter Lily, and occasionally the rest of the family. As I have mentioned several times before, I am introducing Lily to the history of film as part of her education. I have been making an effort to teach her about key directors as much as is reasonable.

So far we have been focusing on Hitchcock, Ford, and Hawks. But, of course, we have been watching films outside of that list of directors as well. I have also been trying to include a documentary or two.

We have also been working our way through some genres. I am introducing her to westerns, musicals, and mysteries.

Fiction:
Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) I remember seeing this film when it first came out on video. Though it is not a great film, I find it thoroughly enjoyable for what it is. Lily is into mysteries at the moment, so I figured this might be a good choice. She loved it. Also, recently we saw some of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes stories, which Lily loved, and I love too. Those are the best Holmes adaptations in my book.

The Lady Vanishes (1938) In my attempts to educated Lily (and re-educate myself) in film language, we are watching some films from the 1930s and 1940s as a kind of level-set. Hitchcock is, of course, great for film language, story construction, and the thriller genre. The Lady Vanishes is a classic spy thriller at a time when some saw the coming troubles in Europe and others were dragging their heals.

Red River (1948) I have felt the need to introduce Lily to the Western genre. It is a genre so embedded within the American psyche. Red River is amazing; beautifully shot, acted, and paced. The ending comes up a little short, but overall a great example of the Western. This was Lily’s introduction to the Duke as well.

Jamaica Inn (1939) On a whim I threw this film in the list. It’s a great example of Hitchcock from his “British” period before moving to Hollywood. One can tell it is not a Hollywood film merely by how dark in tone and image it is. Lily found it interesting that she had already seen the two principle actors (Laughton and O’Hara) in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, especially that Laughton looks so different.

To Catch a Thief (1955) I have already written a post on To Catch a Thief when Lily and I watched it before. She wanted to see it again, so we watched it again. I like this film more and more with each viewing. Though it is often considered a more lightweight film from Hitchcock, I think there is a lot more there than at first glance.

Non-Fiction:
For All Mankind (1989) Documentary on the Apollo program.

Baseball parts I, II & III (1994) Ken Burns film on “America’s pastime.” The first several parts are the most interesting in my opinion.

The Endurance (2000) The story of Ernest Shackleton’s amazing test of fortitude.

Also, recently I showed Lily several episodes of The Muppet Show, which she had never seen. She has seen a couple of the Muppet films, but never the show. She was going “what is this?!” She loved it. I used to love it too (and still do), but I forgot just how brilliant it was.

In the dock we have more westerns: My Darling Clementine, Stagecoach, The Man from Snowy River, and High Noon. I am also wanting to introduce her to film noir. I’m looking for suggestions as well.

I see two temporary problems going forward, however. First, the weather is getting better and the days are getting longer. This means it is becoming harder to put in a movie at 6PM or 7PM so we can make bedtime on time. We still want to enjoy the light outside. Second, it’s baseball season. I’m not a baseball nut. I don’t yet have a favorite team, I don’t play fantasy baseball, and I don’t do stats, but I just love the game. And I particularly like MLB on hi-def. Sometimes it’s better to enjoy the pleasant mindless joy of baseball viewing than a mind-engaging film.

2 thoughts on “a quick, short list of films recently viewed with Lily (and sometimes the rest of the family)

  1. >I’ve always loved Young Sherlock Holmes. It was a favorite of mine when I was a kid (I believe it might actually have been the movie that introduced me to the character of Sherlock Holmes) and it’s interesting to look back on it now and see a lot of pre-Harry Potter elements present. You are right, Tuck, in that it’s certainly not a great film, but it has a lot to recommend it (including one of the very first completely CGI characters ever created for a movie). Incidentally, I hope you and Lily watched all the way through the end credits.As for examples of film noir, I doubt I’m going to remind you of any titles that you haven’t already thought of, but I can appreciate a parent’s position. I don’t know how old Lily is but I could see how you might not want to expose to her anything TOO dark and/or violent just yet. Thus, you’d probably want to avoid R-rated neo-noir titles like Body Heat, L.A. Confidential and Chinatown (although Lily might find the latter’s parallels to Who Framed Roger Rabbit interesting). Even some older noir films like Touch of Evil might be too much. Personally, I think you can’t go wrong with titles like Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard and Laura. I mean, they’re prime examples of the genre without being TOO strong in their content.

  2. >Damian, I knew you would have something to say about Young Sherlock Holmes. In fact, I’m sure we’ve discussed it at some point in the past. And now that you mention it, I don’t think we watched through all the credits. I forgot to do so.I have been thinking of Double Indemnity as well. That might be the first noir I’ll chose for Lily. We’ll see.

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