o/t: how noirish is a romantic countdown anyway?

Well, obviously noirish enough for me! Here are the latest essays in the marvelous Wonders in the Dark Romantic Countdown. With luck some publisher will have the gumption to think about making a book out of this series.

26. Trouble in Paradise (1932)
25. Love Me Tonight
24. West Side Story
23. 2046 (2004)
22. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

One of my odd little quirks is that, when articles on movies fail to bear release dates, I suddenly get a lot less interested in reading them. In part this is obviously because I might find myself rushing eagerly to read about, say, the thunderingly wrong version of a movie like Double Indemnity. (In fact I like both the thus-titled versions I’ve seen, but, y’know, bad examples make the point, thing.) More importantly, perhaps, is that I feel, if an author can’t be bothered correctly to identify the movie s/he’s talking about, then how much should I trust the rest of her/his opinions?

In fact, all of the essays in the Countdown so far have been pretty damn’ fine, but if I hadn’t been peripherally involved in the project I’d not have bothered to read some of them.

Look at those above. The undated Love Me Tonight. Is that a pre-Code wonder or a modern DTV crapola? How can we tell — or even begin to guess — without the date?


5 thoughts on “o/t: how noirish is a romantic countdown anyway?

  1. As ever, many thanks for posting these links. Just clicked through to the essay on 2046 – interestingly, I can remember very little of the film’s narrative, but I certainly recall the dream-like quality and lush imagery Tony mentions in his essay (‘fragmentation’ is a very apt description). Time for a re-watch, I think!

    I hope to see In the Mood for Love in this Romantic Countdown, preferably in the top ten…

  2. Jacquiwine: IN THE MOOD will indeed be appearing as it made the Top 10 and will also feature another Tony d’Ambra verse gem.

    Ha, John, I will now address your commentary concerning the matter of dates.

    I deliberately avoid listing the dates on my own essays because frankly I feel the start title comes across more powerfully without the added intrusion of a date. I added the date to my previous review of WUTHERING HEIGHTS, because there were many versions over the years. Still, that one could also have done without the date. Likewise I did not include dates in my many essays for the past musical, comedy and western countdowns for much the same reason. As to your fear that there would be confusion, I honestly think that everyone who participates and who reads (or both) knows full well what version we are talking about. We are talking here of the greatest romantic films of all time. The WitD readership know precisely what film, and furthermore the date of release. In every one of my essays I always mention the year of release very early in the review—in the first paragraph. The omission therefore is not irresponsible but a deliberate strategy to let the title stand alone. The large typography looks special when nothing interferes with the titles. Still, there is substantial room for disagreement, and as you can see some others favor your method. I am not immovable and would be willing to bend on future submissions for sure. 🙂

  3. As to the final quip about LOVE ME TONIGHT, I mean who seriously would even consider thinking that anything but the 1932 pre-code classic could achieve such a lofty position on an all-time list by some serious cineastes? There could never be any guessing of any sort. But in any case, starting today, the release dates will be included and during the course of the day I will insert them onto past post reviews. I do think all things considered it is a wise thing to do. 🙂

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