January Birthday Girls
It's been real, ladies of January! And thanks to all the readers and commenters who turned out for these 14 reviews. If all keeps hewing to plan, we'll get another set of 14 in February, and hopefully a lot of them will be valentines.
For the record, the best of the movies I watched for this project in January was William Wellman's Heroes for Sale (1933, with Loretta Young), which would also qualify as my favorite of the reviews if I hadn't taken such saucy, thunderstruck pleasure in writing about Tim (1979, with Piper Laurie). Runners-up for the best movie were The Fountainhead (1949, with Patricia Neal), Rumble Fish (1983, with Diane Lane), and, for all my misgivings, Gaslight (1940, with Diana Wynyard). I'm proud of the pieces on The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937, with Luise Rainer) and on The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996, with Geena Davis), even if the State of the Union at the end of the latter one made me sad. Putting The Actress (1950, with Jean Simmons) to rights came easily, but thinking my way through my mixed reactions to The Little Drummer Girl (1984, with Diane Keaton), Barfly (1987, with Faye Dunaway), and The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004, with Emily Watson) was gratifyingly tough. Along with Gaslight, The Glass Menagerie (1950, with Jane Wyman), Twelfth Night (1996, with Imelda Staunton), and The Sea Gull (1968, with Vanessa Redgrave) offered auspicious occasions to ponder the relations between a superlative play and a strained film.
I hope you'll all be back in February, where profile subjects will include the lovely Laura Linney, the grand dame Edith Evans, the intimidating Kim Stanley, the amazingly eclectic Laura Dern, the tough cookie Stockard Channing, the under-valued Joanne Woodward, and the most recently deceased of all the Best Actress nominees, two-time winner Elizabeth Taylor.