1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die: The Update

A few months back, I mentioned my discovery of a book called 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. At the time, I was at 459 films seen out of the full 1,079 (78 other movies have appeared in updated editions of the book; ergo 1,079 and not 1,001). I’ve managed to tackle a few more since then, hopefully alleviating at least a few occurrences of “HOLY MOSES IN CHOCOLATE UNDERPANTS, YOU’VE NEVER SEEN THAT?!?!” that I hear occasionally. Since the first listing, I’ve seen:

Les Vampires (1915)
I mentioned my thoughts on this film, or film serial, at the end of February.

The Wheel/La Roue (1923)
Similarly, I tackled this silent epic in February, and left my comments here

The Unknown (1927)
This worked as one of the first Lon Chaney (Sr.) films that I’ve seen and his work was impressive. How impressive was it? He played the part of a man with no arms, and did most of his lifting with his feet, not unlike a monkey. I’ve picked up a dropped item a time or four with my foot but I didn’t do it while acting in a big budget thriller. 

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
I’ve registered some of my issues with the hokeyness of Frank Capra in the past and Mr. Smith fit right in. That said, the filibuster sequence was excellent and it’s impossible to dislike Jimmy Stewart. 

The Red Shoes (1948)
I watched this because I’m coming to trust Powell/Pressburger, and in the hopes that I’d find a ton of references picked up from this film by Black Swan. It delivered. One of the ballet scenes cast an LSD-type shadow, and the editing was really quite impressive throughout. 

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
Alec Guinness as a nerdy mobster? You bet. I dare you to not like this movie.

Some Like It Hot (1959)
This was one of the true revelations of my “1,001 Movies To See” viewing. Marilyn Monroe was Marilyn Monroe (nothing to dislike there), but the surprise was in the humor coming out of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.  

The Apartment (1960)
If Some Like It Hot cracked my eyes open with regards to Billy Wilder, The Apartment is the reason I’ve recently cast my gaze completely towards his films. It was nothing short of amazing and took really quite a dark turn, all things considered.

Marnie (1964)
Perhaps the real twist here is that in the end, it winds up being quite an un-Hitchcocky Hitchcock film. Oh, sure, all of the usual trappings were there but it wound up in a very different place from most Hitchcock films. Certainly not my favorite Hitchcock film, it was still very solid fair.

Straw Dogs (1971)
Wow. With each passing Peckinpah film, I find myself with a new favorite. In the very least, this one is a strong contender with Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia for my favorite. The buildup to, and release attained in, the last 15 minutes left me speechless. The trailer:

Frenzy (1972)
I was a bit leery here because it’s late-career Hitchcock. As it turns out, I had no need to be worried. In fact, go ahead and mark me down as enthused to see anything and everything Hitchcock ever made, even if I’m not even halfway there yet.

Enter the Dragon (1973)
Technically, I haven’t seen this yet but it’s sitting on my coffee table and I’ll have an update very soon.


Filed under Movies, Silent Movies

26 responses to “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die: The Update

  1. I was bought that book for Christmas a few years back. I flicked through (embarrassed that I had seen so few) then put it on the book shelf.

    Maybe I should look into broadening my horizons a little bit. I have only seen 1 of the films you listed…I am a shocker.


    • I bet if you saw the full list, you’d have a ton of them on there. I feel the same way you do- I haven’t even seen half of them yet.

  2. I’m always happy when someone discovers Billy Wilder for the first time. If you thought ‘The Apartment’ was dark, wait till you see ‘Sunset Boulevard.’

    • Huuuuge fan of “Sunset Blvd.”. It’s probably one of my five or ten favorite movies of all-time. For some reason or another, when I saw it and loved it as much as I did, I never put two and two together that I should watch more Wilder.

  3. Love Billy Wilder and while this book wasn’t what introduced me to those movies I’m doing the same as you, except a bit more in depth. I’ve decided to review every film mentioned in the book as I go through and discover some… maybe I should do a monthly update like this… hmmm

    I have Straw Dogs next on my to watch list next to Vertigo, can’t wait.

    • Very nice. Vertigo… you have good times coming. That’s a personal favorite of mine. Only Hitchcock could take a really creepy concept like necrophilia and bury it so deep into the subtext.

  4. I also just recently saw Some Like it Hot as a screening for my film class, and was very impressed by it. We actually watched it during our week on acting, so that says something as to how wonderful comedy it was. Often times so subtle yet witty, and it has a ton of messages about how we as a society view gender. It’s even more impressive that they were tackling such a subject during the 50s. Good film.

    I may have to look into this book… as if my Netflix queue needed to get longer.

    • With a lot of these films, I wish I had the guidance of a film school teacher. Whatever I pick up, I’m picking up on my own or from Wiki analysis or just dumb luck.

      • The guy who met Kevin Meany

        In college, I took the Art of Film. Our professor was some old kook that taught only that class. Our assignment was to write a one page report about the 39 Steps. I wrote a great paper supporting the idea that Richard Hannay was actually the leader of the 39 Steps. (sort of the same twist as No Way Out with Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman) He wrote on my paper, “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” Its okay, I made up for it with a kickass paper about Rashomon.

      • My class is called Art of Film as well, heh. And yeah, having a professor for screenings can be really great sometimes. If anything because you are “forced” to watch movies you wouldn’t otherwise see. For example, we just watched Run Lola Run and Island of Flowers. The latter is a 12-minute Brazilian documentary you can find on the web, the former a German thriller. Both were fantastic. My favorite movies in a while, and I would highly recommend them.

  5. The guy who met Kevin Meany

    I will not recognize any list like this that omits Cannonball Run Part 2.

  6. OF all those, I have seen only Enter the Dragon… sigh…

  7. I felt the same way about Marnie–solid, but not my favorite.
    I may need to watch The Apartment. I really enjoyed Some Like It Hot.

  8. Still haven’t seen Straw Dogs, it’s been on my shortlist for ages. I’m going through the Empire 5o0, starting from scratch as there’s not really enough times you can see a classic.

    • That’s such a great way of looking at it. I just re-watched “Fargo” recently and got a heck of a refresher on how really amazing that movie is, you betcha, darn tootin’, and so forth.

  9. Put aside any pre-conceived notions you may have about ’70s kung fu movies — Enter The Dragon is truly awesome. Decent story, above-average acting for the genre (aside from Jim Kelly –you’ll see), and fight sequences choreographed by Bruce Lee that still hold up. To quote his enemy Han, “Your fight with the guards was magnificent.”

    Just found your blog last week…love what you do. I plan to come back often.

    New review at FilmFather: Black Samurai
    Follow me on Twitter

    • I wound up watching it a day or two ago in a NyQuil-induced haze. I liked it quite a bit, Jim Kelly and all. It’s easy to see why it’s such an iconic, well-liked/loved film.

      I also caught “Drunken Master”- the original chop socky film with Jackie Chan, and not the 1990’s version- last weekend. I was taken aback by how much I enjoyed that movie. It was like watching a Three Stooges movie with kung fu and Buster Keaton influences.

      Thanks for visiting!

  10. Outside of the first three, I’ve seen each of the movies you’ve listed here. I kind of want to pick up a copy of that book for myself and make a real effort to get through each entry on it, but time is always an issue.

  11. StarkyLuv

    I tend to notice in your postings that you have an unhealthy, borderline obsession with what others think about movies you watch and/or like. You fret about conversations about movies and what someone might think of your opinions or what they might say if you haven’t seen such-and-such movie.

    I for one could care less what others think. Yes, I love to discuss movies, but I don’t get all anxious about what someone might think of what I like or what I’ve seen. I like movies because I personally enjoy them. I don’t care of some pseudo-intellectual has an opinion on my movie-watching habits. So if one of them pulls the “OMG, you haven’t seen THAT?!!” in a way that’s not actually meant to put you onto a movie but instead make you feels shame for not seeing it, stop discussing movies with that person.

    • A lot of the time, it frankly comes from the other direction- movie novices breaking my balls for not having seen the latest blockbuster flavor, or indie-loving hipsters acting incredulous because I haven’t seen the documentary du jour.

      As for the rest, to be honest, I’ve never really thought about it that much. I like to talk about movies a lot- it’s an easy conversation topic because everyone has a favorite film or film memory. So whether or not I’ve seen or liked _________ (fill in the blank) is something that naturally comes up often. It doesn’t bother me. Those conversations have introduced me to loads of films that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen. I’ll definitely cop to being a pleaser, though. I don’t like to piss anyone off and it’s a trait I have if I’m not careful. Ergo the loads of caveats and preambles when I say I didn’t like something.

      • StarkyLuv

        There are gonna be snobs in everything. Beer snobs, music snobs, book snobs, car snobs. But like you, I have friends that love movies as much as I do, and we put each other onto the latest whatevers.

        Movies I’m pretty dialed into so I tend to be the one how does the “If you like THAT, you should check THIS out”. But pretty much any book I read is recommended by someone else. New music (I tend to listen to music that’s not currently in the mainstream. Think old-school hip-hop, 90’s rock, etc) I get a lot of help with.

        Just don’t fret as much about what people think. You like what you like, others like what they like. Awesome blog, btw!

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