My “Noirvember” picks will be continually updated as the month wears on and I make my next choice!
Noirvember is upon us. I love film noir, so every month is “Noirvember” for me, but I thought I’d try to actively participate in the event this year. Previously, I lurked in conversations and posts and read about it, but didn’t actually contribute.
For those who are unfamiliar with “Noirvember,” it is simply a portmanteau of the words “Noir” and “November.” It is a term used to describe what is essentially a month-long celebration of film noir. Noirvember was invented by a poster (@oldfilmsflicker on Twitter) who just wanted an excuse to catch-up on film noir. It has since evolved and become a full-fledged event.
I have seen a lot of film noir and have a lot of favorite films and performers. While I definitely want to revisit some old favorites, I also want to watch some “new to me” film noir. I don’t have a particular list of 30 film noir to watch, as I wanted my list to flow organically. However, so that I had some semblance of organization and didn’t spend my entire evening trying to decide what to watch, I’ve decided to play a game with my selections. Each successive film will feature a performer from the previous film. E.g. “The Big Heat” features Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame. “Sudden Fear” features Grahame and Joan Crawford.
It is my hope that my final film of the month will link back to the first.
Despite all the numerous avenues for physical media (Studio releases, Criterion, Kino Lorber, Olive Films, Warner Archive MOD, etc.) there are many classic films that seemingly have fallen through the cracks. Some films appear to have never received a VHS release, let alone DVD! One such film, sadly, is The Very Thought of You, released in 1944.
The Very Thought of You is a World War II homefront romantic drama starring Eleanor Parker, Dennis Morgan, Faye Emerson, and Dane Clark. Parker and Emerson play Janet and Cora, respectively. Janet and Cora are friends and co-workers at a parachute factory. Morgan and Clark play two Army sergeants, Dave and “Fixit,” respectively, who are visiting Pasadena (home of Dave’s college alma mater, Caltech) on a three-day pass during the Thanksgiving weekend.
One day, Dave and Fixit are riding a bus at the same time Janet and Cora are riding the bus home from work. Dave and Janet get to speaking and realize that they know one another from college. Dave used to frequent a malt shop near Caltech where Janet worked. Realizing that Dave has nobody to spend Thanksgiving with, Janet invites him to spend the holidays with her and her family.
The Thanksgiving dinner is a nightmare, to put it kindly. Janet’s mother, Harriet (the amazing Beulah Bondi) does not approve of Janet getting involved with a man in active duty, because she doesn’t want Janet spending all her time alone. Janet’s sister, Molly (Andrea King), is married to a sailor, but she’s cheating on him behind his back. Molly gives the excuse that he’s always away and she’s lonely. Janet’s brother, Cal, was classified 4-F and seems self conscious about this. He’s rude to Dave for no reason. Only Janet’s youngest sister, Ellie, and her father (Henry Travers, who is seemingly in every movie ever made) support Janet and Dave’s relationship.
Meanwhile, throughout the film, Fixit and Cora hit it off and spend a lot of time together, while having a lot of fun. They seem like a couple who aren’t particularly in love, but love to have fun together. One could assume that Fixit and Cora will probably “hook up” when he visits while on leave.
Janet and Dave’s growing relationship is the focal point of the story. During Dave’s initial three-day pass, he and Janet fall in love. They end up marrying during Dave’s leave, despite opposition from Janet’s mother and sister. Throughout the remainder of the film, Janet and Dave deal with separation due to the war and later, the effects and consequences of being in an active war.
I absolutely loved this film. I love films that are true, intense romances–not contrived rom-com films (some are okay, but some are so generic and bland). A true romantic film may or may not have a happy ending. I love when a romantic film has an organic ending, whether happy or sad. I love Eleanor Parker and I thought she did a fantastic job. She’s also so beautiful too. She really deserved to be more well known. Eleanor and Dennis Morgan (who is adorable in this film) make a great pairing. I also really like Faye Emerson. She has a very unique look, but she is very beautiful. Dane Clark is always a lot of fun (Does anyone else confuse him with Tom D’Andrea?).
ATTENTION WARNER ARCHIVE: This is a plea. Please release this film on MOD (Manufactured on Demand)! This is such a fantastic film and deserves to be better known. The Very Thought of You airs on TCM on occasion, so I know it’s available.
Thank you, I look forward to seeing this film available in the near future.