Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939). Like an alternate-universe version of the Sarah Palin story, Capra’s crackling yarn tracks the progress of an actual innocent in the political works. The film’s fierceness in defending its ideological stance is echoed in the buzz of Capra’s brisk staging and forward motion.
The Corporal’s Diary (Patricia Boiko, Laurel Spellman Smith, 2008). Yes, the words “another Iraq documentary” are difficult to face, but this is another excellent one–Jonathan Santos took his diary and a video camera to Iraq and documented his last 38 days on earth, a saga that comes quietly yet furiously to life and ranges afield to include his mother, brothers, and buddies. (full review 10/3)
Desiree (Henry Koster, 1954). The Napoleon movies are about to end, but I had to take a look at Brando as the Emperor, surrounded by very tall actors (Michael Rennie among them). He looks pretty unhappy in the role.
And for those in the Seattle area, on Sunday at 2 I’ll be joined by Napoleon scholar J. David Markham at the Frye Art Museum for some talk and clips about movie visions of the Big N.