Inspired by Dave Hicks’ excellent blog, I have decided to write about my favorite film for each year from 1926-2008.
1958–Bonjour Tristesse (Otto Preminger)
When I first started this countdown, I mentioned that some of these entries would come from memory, and would be things I haven’t seen for a very long time. Rightly or wrongly, I have always given great value to the lasting impression a movie makes. Some movies almost evaporate as if I never saw them. Others expand and become forever embedded (even if in some other form) in my movie memory.
For instance, I can’t remember that much that is tangible about Bonjour Tristesse, yet it is the impression of it that remains so strong. I can remember Jean Seberg as being one of the most alluring screen presences I’d ever seen. And I can remember a certain uncharacteristic “softness” in the cinema of Preminger, something for him that seemed far more romantic, more poetic, more tender.
I can’t even fully remember the story well enough to say much more; instead I am trusting the abstract, intangible impression it has left. For whatever it’s worth, I remember loving it after I watched it, but now that I can hardly remember it, I love it even more.
What moviemakers can learn: Sometimes all your movie needs is one interesting face. Once you have that, you can do almost anything as long as you can keep that face at the forefront. Jean Seberg had one of those faces.
Other contenders for 1958: Like other years, I still have some things to see. These include: Orson Welles’ The Fountain of Youth, Douglas Sirk’s A Time to Love and a Time to Die, Nicholas Ray’s Wind Across the Everglades and Youssef Chahine’s Cairo Station (also known as The Iron Gate). I probably should revisit Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo at some point soon, as I’ve never connected with it on the same level as other movies of his. From this year, I love Anthony Mann’s Man of the West, Irving Lerner’s Murder by Contract, Jacques Becker’s Modigliani of Montparnasse (also known as Montparnasse 19) and Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil. And as one of my closest runners-up yet, and one that slightly pains me to not have as a top pick, there’s Vincente Minnelli’s Some Came Running.
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.