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Rediscoveries: Rewatches in 2023



Rewatching a movie you haven’t seen in five, ten, twenty or more years gives you a unique opportunity to learn a lot about yourself. What’s most interesting is the fact that (usually) the films haven’t changed, but you have.


For most of these movies, at least five years separates me from the previous (often the first) viewing. There’s something in all of them that I appreciated more this time around.



 



Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971) Roy Ward Baker


One of the more interesting takes on the Jekyll and Hyde subgenre of horror. Having Jekyll transform into a woman creates all sorts of possibilities and most of them are handled well. The casting of Ralph Bates and Martine Beswick is spot-on. A Hammer film you should seek out.



Alligator (1980) Lewis Teague


The first time I saw this I was a senior in high school and found the film largely forgettable, other than seeing Jack Carter get chomped up. The premise (which I will not reveal here) is ridiculous, yet unique, possibly even brilliant. Nobody really does anything about the alligator killings until the monster literally starts eating the rich. But then it’s too late, right? John Sayles co-wrote the script. You should check this out. Seriously.



Things Change (1988) David Mamet


Is David Mamet’s Things Change the ultimate con game? I reviewed the film earlier this year.



Border Incident (1949) Anthony Mann


Everyone in this film is terrific, and for those people who think all Ricardo Montalbán ever did was Fantasy Island and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, you should see this film. I hadn’t rewatched this one since 2018 when I reviewed it.




Death on the Nile (1978) John Guillermin



Evil Under the Sun (1982) Guy Hamilton


Peter Ustinov made several appearances as Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot, but the two I enjoy the most are Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun. Death is flashier with a more impressive cast (Bette David, Mia Farrow, Maggie Smith, David Niven, Angela Lansbury, Jane Birkin… I could go on) and some lavish production values, especially before we get on the steamer. Evil contains some gorgeous scenery, but is a bit more scaled-down, still with a good cast with Maggie Smith and Jane Birkin returning as different characters this time. Evil also tends to be forgotten more than Death, but they’re both pure fun and great entertainment.



Force of Evil (1948) Abraham Polonsky



Road House (1948) Jean Negulesco


I made a short video (under 3 minutes) with thoughts on these two rewatches and a first-time watch, Ruthless (1948).





Act of Violence (1948) Fred Zinnemann


Here’s a film noir that doesn’t back down a centimeter, especially in its ending. An angry WWII veteran (Robert Ryan) tracks down a man he served with during the war (Van Heflin). I hadn’t seen this one in at least a dozen years, and it was like being hit by a brick. If you’re a fan of film noir and haven’t seen this one, do so right now.



Ikiru (1952) Akira Kurosawa


What a great film. One of Kurosawa’s best, another film I hadn’t seen in a long time, probably 20 years, but its impact was even greater this time. We discussed this at a recent Great Movies program.



Green for Danger (1946) Sidney Gilliat


I decided to revisit this British WWII “hospital noir” film after reading the source novel of the same name by Christianna Brand. The novel is terrific, but I believe the movie is even better.


So let me know what you revisited this year, maybe a film that didn’t quite do it for you back in the day, but knocked you out the second (or more) time around. Maybe a film disappointed you upon a rewatch? Let me know.

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