Looking Forward – and Back

A slightly belated Happy New Year to all. I’ve been thinking I’ll try something a bit different on the blog this year and choose a theme for each month, either a star, director or a particular type of film. For January I’ll carry on writing about Frank Sinatra, since I was so busy in December that I didn’t manage to cover many of his films – and I was also lucky enough to get a box set of his movies for Christmas. Watch this space to see what comes next after that!

Albert Dieudonne in Abel Gance's Napoléon

Albert Dieudonne in Abel Gance’s Napoléon

My movie viewing fell to slightly lower levels than recent years in 2013, but I still saw around 130 films over the year. The biggest highlight for me was seeing Abel Gance’s silent epic Napoléon (1927) at the Royal Festival Hall in London with The Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Carl Davis. The final sections with the triptych, creating a widescreen image on three screens, are amazing. Author Kevin Brownlow also signed his book on the film for me!

James Stewart and Donna Reed

James Stewart and Donna Reed

I was lucky enough to see several other classic films on the big screen over the year, including It’s a Wonderful Life just before Christmas, and one of my favourite pre-Codes, Grand Hotel (1932), with its all-star cast including Greta Garbo and both John and Lionel Barrymore. Others included the noirs Notorious (1946) and Out of the Past, aka Build My Gallows High (1947), Marcel Carné’s great French drama Le Jour Se Lève (1939) starring Jean Gabin, and more recent classics Babette’s Feast (1987), and The Last Picture Show (1971). Hoping to see more classics in the cinema during 2014, as well as on DVD and Blu-ray.

I hope everyone visiting my blog has a good year in 2014 and thanks to all of you for your support and friendship during 2013. What were your film highlights over the past year?

12 thoughts on “Looking Forward – and Back

  1. By coincidence I’ve just discovered Frank Sinatra did a radio series called ROCKY FORTUNE in 1953 – 25 episodes in total. I listened to the first one yesterday and Frank did a great job as someone who goes from job to job finding adventure.
    Do you know it?


    • No, I didn’t know it, Vienna – thanks for that, I will definitely check it out! It’s amazing how many great radio shows there are from this era – hoping to listen to more of them in 2014. Happy New Year!


  2. A theme for the month is a great idea!

    Looking forward to reading (and learning) more about Frank Sinatra as an actor. Also, I noticed Vienna’s comments on the “Rocky Fortune” radio show. I’ve only heard a couple of episodes, but Sinatra is really very good in this. I’ve heard him in guest spots on other radio programs, e.g. Burns & Allen, etc., and thought he was mediocre. But on “Rocky Fortune” he is really terrific.


    • Now I’ve doubly got to hear that show. I haven’t heard much of Sinatra’s radio work at all, but definitely want to do so – I have heard one or two spots where he sings live and is fantastic, but not radio acting. Glad you approve of the themes, Ruth – I’ve seen some other bloggers do it and am hoping it will encourage me to post more. Many thanks!


  3. Happy New Year to you and your lovely family Judy!!!

    Another year gone, but so many memories to cherish forever. One was meeting you in person back in August near the BFI store and London Eye. it feels it was just yesterday. I love the idea of a monthly theme. Who can blame you for choosing that incredible venture, watching NAPOLEON in that fashion. Such a once-in-a-lifetime experience would surely make Number 1 on anyone’s list. I was thrilled to be reminded that you had seen one of my favorite films ever – THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, and that you took in the timeless classic IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE on the big screen. Lucille and I have enjoyed many movie, theater and opera highlights over the past year, but the trip to the U.K. will always be seen as the most monumental endeavor of 2013.


    • Thanks so much, Sam, and a Happy New Year to you and your family too! It was great to meet up with you in August and is hard to believe it is already so long ago. It’s good to know that your trip gave you so many memories and that you were able to fit in so much during your time in England. I hope you see many great cultural highlights over 2014 – I’m sure you will!


  4. Pingback: The Invisible Woman and Kill Your Darlings on Monday Morning Diary (January 6) | Wonders in the Dark

  5. Judy, I’m so jealous that you were able to see Napoleon in such a fantastic forum. And I’m pleased to see you saw Babette’s Feast, a truly wonderful movie. I’m excited to follow your new format! — Jason


    • Jason, I hope you get a chance to see ‘Napoleon’ on the big screen(s!) some time as it really is memorable. And yes, totally agree on ‘Babette’s Feast’ – it made me hungry to watch it and it is a film which has stuck in my mind. Thanks so much – I decided I needed something to encourage me to post more often!


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