52 Authors: Week 52 - Jean Daniélou
From an Old Letter

52 Movies?

I should have brought this up a couple of weeks ago. The next-to-last day of the year is pretty late. 

Someone suggested 52 movies as a group project for next year. I'm willing, because I think it would be a good bit easier than 52 authors (52 books would have been more manageable). With movies, I could always come up with something if the person who had that week wasn't able to deliver. I could commit to doing one week out of every month, which would be a bigger proportion than with the books, but still leave 40 open for others. 

Let me remind you that Janet is also doing a 52 Saints at her blog and I know many or most of us plan to contribute that. She's going to be doing those on Sundays, so if we do the movies, I would publish them on Wednesday or Thursday.

So if you want to do this, speak up. No need to pin down specific weeks at this point. We can just start by seeing if there's enough interest to proceed.


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I'm pretty sure we were all assuming we were doing this, and I will tell you (in case by some unbelievable coincidence others are planning on writing about them) that I will write about 3 movies (at least) My Old Lady, The Bird People of China, and a Studio Ghibli film called Porco Rosso.

I think it would be nice if it's at all possible for us to know ahead of time what people are writing about so that we can watch some of them and be able to discuss them without worrying about spoilers.


I'll be happy to write about "Master and Commander." I'm not sure yet what others I would write about.

I think this is a great idea. I would volunteer to write about The Tree of Life, Magnolia, and Ostrov (unless someone else wants them).

I might be able to manage a few others too, but I'll think about which ones. As you say, writing about a movie is easier than writing about an author's whole body of work.

Count me in, although I'm not exactly sure which movies yet.

I'm in.

I will do mainly Ealing comedies

If we're going that far back I might do some Second World War propaganda films. It will keep me from giving in to the temptation to write about nothing but Cantonese and Korean action films.

I love the Battle of the Bulge and Dunkirk

All those John Mills films

Funny, Grumpy, I was just this morning remembering Ealing's The Ladykillers. Loved that movie, especially the little old lady, Mrs. Wilberforce. And I think it was maybe Alec Guinness’s best performance.

If you want The Ladykillers you can have it

I will do Kind Hearts and Coronets and
The Man in the White Suit

And some others

I love Kind Hearts and Coronets.


Oh, no, Grumpy, you do Ladykillers. I'd much rather read what you have to say about it.

You were wonderful on Mary Renault

My favourite by Janet was Rumer Godden

Ok, great, we clearly have enough interest to take the leap. I didn't remember, Janet, that there was such a definite commitment when we discussed it earlier.

I was going to lay claim to all of Bergman but it appears that that may not be necessary. Not that I'll write about *all* of them, but four or five, at least. I'll undoubtedly revisit some, and not only Bergman, that I've previously written about here.

So, on or around Epiphany, I'll start things off.

I believe I've seen those Ealing comedies. Several of them, definitely. And I found them ever so slightly disappointing--not that I didn't like them, but I didn't like them as much as I expected to.

Oh, and Paul, as for going back, as far as I'm concerned there are no restrictions on that. Maybe I'll do Birth of a Nation.

Anne-Marie did Mary Renault. It's the similarity between Marianne and Anne-Marie thing that does it. Sometimes when I see the Anne-Marie byline, even I think it's by me. ;-)


Anne-Marie and Marianne--I have that problem frequently--not so much when I read them and see your names, but when I'm trying to remember which one wrote what.

My real problem, though, is with Robert Gotcher and Rob G.


Yes, I sometimes do a double take when it seems Robert or Rob is agreeing or disagreeing with himself.

It's nothing to having a classful of French-speakers, half of them called Louise, Marie-Louise, Anne-Marie, Marie-Anne, Marion, Marianne, Claire, Marie-Claire, etc. etc.

Oh well, I work in a parish full of Hispanics and Irish Travellers. Every woman here is named Maria or Mary or Marie.


Maclin, about the definite commitment. Well, almost the moment that the 52 Authors got underway, there was a discussion about what we were going to write 52 things about next year. I don't think that could have been easily avoided. ;-)

I did not know at the time, however, that is was going to spread.


I disagree with myself all the time.

Me too.

Nice ambiguity there, Maclin.

Thank you, Grumpy.

I could do a couple--Jesus of Montreal and Raising Arizona come to mind.

"Robert and I sometimes disagree with ourselves." Is that ambiguous? Does the pope ever disagree with themselves. I wonder?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Yes, Happy New Year to all of you and yours.

And don't forget to go to Mass today, if you're Catholic, which I think most everybody who comments here is, though maybe not everyone who reads.

Happy new year, everybody!

Happy new year! (a day late...)

I'll probably sit this one out, I don't watch too many movies (although there's one I might consider). I'll be interested to see what people have to say, though.

I am in. There will probably be some violent ones. I'll try not to be overly descriptive. But I'll start with Woody Allen and Annie Hall.

Happy New Year to you all! I have been out of town, out of pocket, with limited computer use available.

Spent the first two nights away at the Jesuit retreat house in Grand Coteau, Louisiana and left there on the 27th to drive up to Missouri through the maelstrom of flooding, water, etc. Made it okay, but when you are at a Jesuit retreat house you get zero information about the outside world.

All is well that ends well.

Maclin, I thought it could also mean that you disagree with Robert all the time.

Happy new year!
We went to mass, which turned out to be a very simple mass even though it was a holy day. The pastor has scheduled the main mass for noon, forgetting that the Nigerian chaplaincy would be using the church for its 12:30 mass.

Glad you made it without mishap. Also glad to hear that a Jesuit retreat house takes the retreat part seriously.:-)

I went up to north AL and back through some *really* heavy rain, and stayed on a mountain. There was so much rain that it couldn't even run off the mountaintop fast enough to keep the roads from being under water here and there.

Funny, I was thinking the other day about watching Annie Hall again and wondering if it was really any good. I'll look forward to hearing what you have to say. I don't think you need to worry about discussing a violent movie.

Godescalc, I doubt that every week is going to be filled far in advance, so if you do see something you want to discuss, feel free to jump in.

Oh, and a by the way for everybody who wants to participate in the movie discussion: we've been assuming single movies, but if there is a distinct set of related movies that you want to discuss as a group, we can make an exception for that. This occurred to me the other day as I started watching the "Apu" trilogy (Indian, from the '50s, and considered classic), and which I will most likely write about if no one else does first. The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Godfather, et. al. (none of which I have designs on, so feel free to claim them). The first two of those especially would be hard to discuss other than as a group.

We cross-posted, Anne-Marie. But I'm glad you made it, too. :-)

I thought that was what you meant, and I meant, sort of lamely I guess, to be expanding the muddle to include all four possibilities: each disagreeing "all the time" with the other as well as himself.

Recent popes have dropped the "we" bit, which I'm glad of.

I'd be inclined to ask to do One of Our Aircraft is Missing and The Flemish Farm as a pair, even though they aren't strictly linked.

That's fine with me. I only vaguely recognize the first title, the second not at all.

Is One of our Aircraft about Malta?

I don't know the second one.

"Recent popes have dropped the "we" bit, which I'm glad of."

Me too, really. I forget why they used to say that.

Set in occupied Holland, Grumpy.

I'm thinking of Malta Story - where someone does go missing in an airplane

I recently watched The Dawn Patrol, a 1938 movie about the aviators of the first war. I expected it to be just a quaint period piece, but it's actually pretty good.

Louise, I always assumed that the papal "we" was borrowed from the practice of royalty. But I don't know.

Saints have started.


The sidebar is so weird. It looks like everyone is asking questions.


I am doing one for Janet in January, in August and in September.

So I will do one for Maclin in any of the other months - for instance, February, June, July, October, November, December.

I think my plan is for
Kind Hearts and Coronets
Man of Marble / Man of Iron
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Les Enfants du Paradis
Au Revoir les Enfants

But I have not completely made up my mind yet!

Passport to Pimlico is another favourite.

And July.


Au Revoir les Enfants is a brilliant film. I haven't seen it since it was in the cinemas, but I remember it so clearly!

Yes, it is.

Anybody want to commit to the weeks of January after this one? i.e. the 13th, 20th, and 27th? I don't feel so anxious about laying out the schedule well in advance, since these should be easier to write. I don't expect mine to be very long though of course I may get carried away sometimes.

I'll do the 13th. If I commit to something, it will make me finish what I've started writing.


"How do I know why there were Nazis? I can't even figure out how to use the can-opener!"

Sure, put me down, Mac. That line is actually from Hannah and Her Sisters, not Annie Hall, but I'll stick with Annie Hall to begin.

Ok, thanks to you both. Stu, you get the 20th. I'll start a schedule page.

A belated Happy New Year, everyone! I was out of town and largely offline for the weekend.

Mac, I'll take Jan. 27 and do Kurosawa's 'Yojimbo.' I got the DVD for Christmas, but I haven't watched the movie in quite a while, and want to, so this'll kill two birds with one stone.

OK, that is Bonaventure, Janet. Do you want to do Saint James? I know you have a strong devotion to the camino. If you want me to do it, I can

I could do something, if you need me.

"Yo, Jimbo!"

Rob, I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about 'Yojimbo.' I'm not familiar with that one, but we watched 'I Live in Fear' year before last and I really liked it--although "like" probably isn't the right word.


Looks like we could probably come up with 365 Movies--not that I'm suggesting that.


I'm sure we could. But I'm very definitely not suggesting it.

Michael, are you referring to movies or saints?

Michael is referring to movies but he might make time for saints to if Janet orders him about.

Is Michael a friend of mine on Facebook? If he is, then I will definitely order him around.


He should write about somebody obscure and fascinating.


In any case, he's quite welcome to contribute a movie, or movies.

Michael, there aren't any strict rules: a single movie, or possibly a set of related movies such as a trilogy, some reasonable word length. I think one of the 52 Authors series touched the 3000-word mark, which is fairly long for a blog post.

Naturally I reserve the right not to publish something grossly offensive, but I really doubt anyone interested in reading this blog, or writing for it, would be interested in publishing something grossly offensive--I'm thinking of out-and-out pornography, or what I have heard called "horror porn", or gross falsehoods. I wonder if Jack Chick ever made any movies?

I guess I better go ahead and formally reserve Winter Light and Wild Strawberries for myself. I'll probably do some other Bergmans, too, depending on whether anyone else does them first.

Mac, I just watched Fanny and Alexander, and I'd like you to write about it. Start with why it's called Fanny and Alexander!

Well...it's been a while since I saw it and I don't remember it all that well, but maybe because it's about Fanny and Alexander? :-) Or is it not much about Fanny? I don't remember as much about her as about him. In fact now that you mention it I may vaguely recollect thinking that she didn't play that big a role.

I wasn't planning to write about it, though. I wasn't very keen on it.

I've just emailed a piece on The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp that I hope you can use.

Paul, You're so industrious.


Not at all. That's the thing.

Haven't read my email yet but I'm quite sure I can use it. Thanks.

Mac--I'll take "Wings of Desire" (name a week)

Janet--Edith Stein? (hopefully not the same week Mac names)

That's just it, Mac. Fanny is in the movie, but she's awfully peripheral: just a few lines, not much screen time, and no influence on the story as far as I can see.

I didn't much care for the film either. Alright, I withdraw my request.

Excellent. Interesting film. I put you down for Feb 10.

I've just slapped together a schedule and put it on the sidebar, in the "Here" box. Maybe I can take some time tomorrow and replace that 52 Authors schedule with a page of links to the pieces (kindly provided by Janet).

Cross-posted, I was replying to Michael. That is kind of weird, Craig...but when you asked about it earlier I glanced at the Wikipedia article on it and saw that it was originally 5(!) hours long. If you/we didn't see that version--I'm quite sure I didn't--maybe she was more prominent in that one.

Janet, although I like Kurosawa's films of contemporary life like "I Live in Fear," I'm more partial to his historical movies, of which "Yojimbo" is one.

The one exception would be "Ikiru," which is contemporary, but is one of my favorite films. The only A.K. film I life more is "Ran," his take on "King Lear." "Ikiru" is in my top ten all-time, "Ran" in the top five.

It's too bad they aren't more easily accessible.


Michael, Edith Stein is already spoken for. You can see the list here and the schedule so far here. As you can see, not all saints have been scheduled for a definite week. This is a link to the blog itself, and the above links are also on the sidebar there. 

I think people have taken some other saints on this thread and I am writing about Pier Giorgio Frassati in February. I'm going to update the lists later today.

Thanks for volunteering--or being volunteered.


Grumpy, James is one of the saints I have already written about on the blog, so I don't plan on writing about him again, although you are welcome to do so if you wish.


"It's too bad they aren't more easily accessible."

Most of the ones I've watched I've gotten through the library. Criterion seems to have released almost all of AK's films, so they're out there, but you have to do a little hunting.

And pay a few dollars. I'll check my library. I guess I could get them through inter-library loan.


Yeah, that's what I've done. My local library had quite a few of them, but outside of those I went through ILL.

I don't mind Michael doing Edith Stein. I'd be interested to read what somebody else has to say.

Yojimbo is on Netflix, Janet, along with a good many other Kurosawa films.

Which is the one where the same story is seen from several different points of view? I've seen that one, and Seven Samurai, and didn't wasn't that crazy about either one. I should try them again. I think part of the problem was that they were somewhat murky VHS tapes.

Well, the one I saw was a murky DVD.


"the same story is seen from several different points of view"


The most recent Criterion DVD release of this, which I watched not too long ago, is very good quality-wise.

You can count on Criterion to make the picture quality as good as it can be made.

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