Inspired by Dave Hicks’ excellent blog, I have decided to write about my favorite film for each year from 1926-2008.
1940: The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch)
The themes that probably affect me the most in film are loyalty, friendship, and unrequited love. Of all the films about unrequited love, this is at the very top of my list, along with Letter from an Unknown Woman, Holiday, Gertrud, and Splendor in the Grass. Like those other movies, this one pains me and moves me at the same time. It’s not during horror movies that I want to talk to the characters on screen. It’s during this type of film. I just want to save them from any more heartbreak.
This is another desert island film for me. I sold furniture for four years so the retail aspect hits especially close to home. And the romance connects with me as much as anything that’s ever been put on film.
What moviemakers can learn: Like any medium, cinema does certain things very well. Music has a tremendous power in movies, as does color and camera movement. Certain themes also lend themselves quite well to “talking pictures”, including the theme of unrequited love.
Other contenders for 1940: I have a couple of major gaps this year, including Frank Borzage’s The Mortal Storm and Disney’s Fantasia. At some point I’ll need to revisit Alfred Hitchcock’s two entries from this year, Foreign Correspondent and Rebecca. I enjoyed them both upon first viewing, but neither would initially contend for my top pick. From this year, I really like Disney’s Pinocchio. I love John Ford’s The Long Voyage Home. And my closest runner-up is Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday. It’s a film with so much that I find totally brilliant—Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, the dialogue, and everyone’s timing, to name but a few things. I finally gave the year to the Lubitsch because The Shop Around the Corner affects me as one of the most romantic films I’ve ever seen.
After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Jeffrey Goodman returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to direct The Last Lullaby. Co-written by the creator of Road to Perdition, and starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, The Last Lullaby was filmed entirely in and around Shreveport and financed by 48 local investors. Goodman is now at work, raising money for his next feature, Peril.