04 December 2018

Twice Watched Tales

Some people I know only watch a movie once. Once they know how it ends they have no interest in seeing it again. Other people like to watch movies over and over. I fit in the latter category. If there’s a movie I like I can watch it over and over and over. Sometimes I get new things from it. Sometimes I just enjoy the ride. This list just touches the very tip of the iceberg for me and is also heavily weighted towards classics from the 30s and 40s, with only a handful of more “recent” movies and little or nothing from the last few years, ‘cause I have to wait and see what sticks. There are more esoteric movies that I like, but this is a list of movies that I like to watch over and over and can pretty much do so from any point in the picture. So, here’s some movies I’ve seen multiple times:
Sui Genris:

Casablanca – my favorite movie, bar none. What more can I say, except, I’m shocked. Shocked.

Film Noir: I don’t have the time or space to put them all in here, but almost all classic film noirs would be on this list.

Double Indemnity – The ultimate film noir imho. Covers all the bases.

     —Walter Neff: How could I have known that murder could  sometimes smell like honeysuckle?

     —Walter Neff: Suddenly it came over me that everything would go wrong. It sounds crazy, Keyes, but it’s true, so help me. I couldn’t hear my own footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man.

Big Heat, The

Big Sleep, The

Blue Dahlia, The

Born to Kill – One of my favorites and has one of my favorite movie quotes of all time. It’s not said by either of the main characters, but by Walter Slezak, a sleazy private eye:

     Delivery Boy: My, that coffee smells good. Ain’t it funny how coffee never tastes as good as it smells.

     Arnett (Slezak): As you grow older, you’ll discover that life is very much like coffee: the aroma is  always better than the actuality. May that be your thought for the day.

Criss Cross

D.O.A. (original) – The ultimate high-concept flick…for my money

Dark Corner, The – Bradford Galt: There goes my last lead. I feel all dead inside. I’m backed up in a dark corner, and I don’t know who’s hitting me.

Dead Reckoning

Detour – Al Roberts: That’s life. Whichever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you.

Fear in the Night

His Kind of Woman

In a Lonely Place – Tied for my second fave movie in any genre (with Ghost World, yes, I love Ghost World):

     —Dixon Steele: I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.

Kiss Me, Deadly – Much better than the book

Lady from Shanghai, The – Mirrors, what else can I say but mirrors?

Maltese Falcon, The – The schtuff dreams are made of.

Murder, My Sweet

Narrow Margin, The

Nightmare Alley

Out of the Past

Postman Always Rings Twice, The (original)

Scarlet Street

Somewhere in the Night

To Have and Have Not (which may or may not technically be noir)

Touch of Evil

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Woman in the Window, The

Thrillers and Neo Noir

Clockwork Orange, A

Devil in a Blue Dress

Die Hard

Final Analysis – Doesn’t get a great rating on IMDB, but I like it.

Fracture – So clever, so good.

Kill Me Again

Last Seduction, The


Pacific Heights – Creepy.

Pelican Brief

Red Rock West

Sudden Impact – My favorite Dirty Harry movie.

Taxi Driver

Vertigo (and most Hitchcock movies)

Quirky (for lack of a better term)

And Now My Love (Toute Une Vie) – Though I’ve heard horrible things about the DVD version, which I have, but can’t bring myself to watch,

Art School Confidential

Crimes and Misdemeanors

Ghost World – I can’t get enough of this movie.

Lilies of the Field

Sideways – Can’t get enough of this one either.

Soldier in the Rain – Based on the book by the late, great William Goldman.

Tender Mercies

Newer Classics


Godfather Movies – All 3, the third one’s not as bad as it seems initially and if someone besides Sofia Coppola had played that part it would “read” much better.

LA Confidential

Holiday Movies

Christmas Story, A

Miracle on 34th Street

Shop Around the Corner

(since I’m posting on Christmas Day, more holiday movies then)

Where Does This Fit?

Born Losers (John Floyd) – The movie that introduced Billy Jack, before he got too preachy. This one’s just a biker movie. How Billy got his start. When I was younger, I loved going to all the biker movies. That’s how I got introduced to Jack Nicholson before his breakout role in Easy Rider

Screwball/Classic Comedy

Awful Truth, The

Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, The

Bringing Up Baby

His Girl Friday – Classic and hilarious


Libeled Lady – This and Love Crazy below, both with William Powell and Myrna Loy are terrific.

Love Crazy

Monkey Business (Marx Brothers)

My Favorite Wife

My Man Godfrey

Philadelphia Story, The

Sullivan’s Travels

Thin Man series

To Be or Not to Be (original) – Proves you can laugh at Nazis, even at the time they were in power.

     —Colonel Ehrhardt: They named a brandy after Napoleon, they made a herring out of Bismarck, and the Fuhrer is going to end up as a piece of cheese!


Monte Walsh (both versions)

Shootist, The – I put The Shootist out of alphabetical order because I see it as a pair with Monte Walsh, both about people who’ve outlived their time, a theme I like to explore in my own writing.

El Dorado

Shane – If I had to show one western to a Martian to show them what the genre is it would be this.

Science Fiction/Horror – Not a big science fiction or horror guy these days. Liked them more as a kid.

Dracula (Lugosi)

Forbidden Planet

Haunting, The (original)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (original)

The Beatles

A Hard Day’s Night

Help! – Help me if you can I’m feeling down…

Let It Be

Newer Comedy

After Hours

Can’t Buy Me Love – Even though it’s named after a Beatles song, which is played at the end, it’s got nothing to do with the Beatles, but it’s still fun.

In-Laws, The (original)


My Cousin Vinnie – One of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen and no matter how many times I watch it I always laugh

Reuben Reuben – A treasure!

Sting, The


Ramones: It’s Alive – Okay, maybe it’s not a musical per se, but it is music and ya gotta love The Ramones: “One, two, three, four…

Singin’ in the Rain

Wizard of Oz, The


I could go on forever, but I gotta stop at some point. So:

What about you? What movies do you like to watch over and over again?


And now for the usual BSP:

I'm thrilled by the great reviews that Broken Windows has been receiving. Here’s a small sampling:

Betty Webb, Mystery Scene Magazine:  "Broken Windows is extraordinary."

Kristin Centorcelli, Criminal Element"Although it’s set in 1994, it’s eerie how timely this story is. There’s an undeniable feeling of unease that threads through the narrative, which virtually oozes with the grit, glitz, and attitude of L.A. in the ‘90s. I’m an ecstatic new fan of Duke’s."

"Duke and company practically beg for their own TV show."

John Dwaine McKenna, Mysterious Book Report:  "This electrifying novel will jolt your sensibilities, stir your conscience and give every reader plenty of ammunition for the next mixed group where the I [immigration] -word is spoken!"


I’m also honored and thrilled – more than I can say – that my story Windward appears in The Best American Mystery Stories of 2018, edited by Louise Penny and Otto Penzler. I wrote a blog on that on SleuthSayers if you want to check it out: https://www.sleuthsayers.org/2018/10/the-impossible-dream.html .

I’m doubly thrilled to say that Windward won the Macavity Award at Bouchercon a few weeks ago. Wow! And thank you to everyone who voted for it.

Please join me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/paul.d.marks and check out my website www.PaulDMarks.com


  1. Been a while since anyone mentioned TENDER MERCIES and REUBEN REUBEN. Love thos movies. I'll add LOCAL HERO (1983), a brilliant, quiet film by Bill Forsyth, IN BRUGES (2008) and TOMBSTONE (1993).

  2. Love your additional choices, O'Neil.

  3. Hey Paul. Good choices, and I've seen most of 'em. And BOY do I love Born Losers.

    Thanks for this great list.

  4. Thanks, John. And I think we're on the same page re: Born Losers!

  5. I don't like to see the same movie too often, or if I do, I like to allow several years to go by between viewings. That said ... The Producers (original), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Blazing Saddles. I'm fixing to buy a DVD of Forum to surprise husband for Xmas because he & I are planning to build a Roman bath in our basement, if we ever get the money together!

  6. We watch the classics, most of which are on your list, over and over, sometimes picking them up at the end or maybe the middle, and even sometimes just catching the first fifteen minutes. But they hold up which says a lot. We do check out Internet Movie Data Base for the Trivia or the Goofs in various movies and watch for them. Sometimes we find the goofs ourselves and get a laugh. But these guys were the first to do movies, so we cut them a lot of slack. And we marvel at what they created. Too bad some of the producers/directors/actors in newer movies didn't spend some time learning from the experts.

  7. Thanks for this list. I’ve seen many of these more than once (with even more viewings coming) and now have some other movies to try as well. Glad to see Kill Me Again and Red Rock West on your list. Well-done movies but not well-known. Additional ‘newer classic’ and epic (i.e., long) crime movies I never tire of watching include Goodfellas, Heat, and The Departed.

  8. I found quite a few on your list that I like, Paul. As for my guilty pleasures: Help, Hard Day's Night and Yellow Submarine, for sure (Let it Be is a downer for me). The Comic--Dick Van Dyke as a self-destructive silent film star. He deserved as Oscar for this one. The final shot will make you bawl out loud. Haley Mills movies, especially The Trouble with Angels and Parent Trap. Looney Tunes Back in Action (although Steve Martin is badly miscast). The early Pixar films (Toy Story series, Monsters Inc.) But my tastes run heavily toward TV: I'd rather rewatch my fave TV shows than a movie.

  9. Love your choices, Paul! Many I would choose as well. Did you mention The Maltese Falcon? I loved the book as well as the film. Humphrey Bogart was a great Sam Spade. And yes, he was wonderful in Casablanca as well.

  10. Good choices, Elizabeth. I like them all, especially The Producers and Blazing Saddles, though I doubt that could get made today. And when you build that Roman bath please invite Amy and me over :-) .

  11. All good points, Gayle. Some goofs are more obvious than others, but as you say we have to cut them some slack. And that’s what I can do, come in at any part of these movies and watch a little or all.

  12. Thanks for your comment, Peter. I think John Dahl’s neo noir trio (Kill Me, Again; The Last Seduction and Red Rock West) are overlooked gems. And I love your additional choices too. It’s so hard to do lists like this because you inevitably leave things out.

  13. Thanks, Sally. Let It Be is kind of a downer in some ways, but on the other hand it’s interesting to see behind the scenes and also just see them doing the music. I’m sorry to say I’m not a big fan of Yellow Submarine though. I’d have to The Comic again, it’s been too long. And I like some Haley Mills movies, too. Had a crush on her when I was a kid. What are your favorite TV shows (besides The Monkees, of course :-) )

  14. Thanks, Jacqueline. I did, indeed, mention The Maltese Falcon: the schtuff dreams are made of.

  15. Oh, I've seen so many over and over: Double Indemnity (my all-time favorite), Detour, Out of the Past, Laura, Big Sleep, Lady in the Lake, Maltese Falcon (You can see I'm also a noir fan). Most Hitchcock and Woody Allen films. Miracle on 34th St, Christmas in Ct, Women in Love, Unmarried Woman, Turning Point, Julia. I could go on and on, but maybe I should do my own post on favorite films (I'm running out of posting ideas).

  16. Thanks for your comment, Maggie. All good choices, but I'm really sorry I forgot to put Laura on the list. I love that movie! Julia, too.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Citizen Kane. I teach film history and appreciation, so I've watched it probably 200 times over the last forty years, and I still see things I've never noticed before, every time I watch it. For example, I just recently finally noticed that, in the projection-room scene right after News on the March, if you look closely through the dimly lit room, you can see that many of the journalists are played by members of the cast who have significant roles later in the film, such as Joseph Cotton. Why did Welles have his actors do double duty in that scene? So he wouldn't have to pay extras and could spend the money saved on something else.

    And of course Kane really is a crime film, a classic film noir, with Thompson as the detective, tracking down not a criminal but the elusive "Rosebud."

  19. Another good choice, Josh. It's amazing how much we still find after watching a movie so many times. It's been a while since I've seen Citizen Kane so I think I need to watch it again. And I'll have to look for the background people in the projection room scene.

  20. Radio Days, Meatballs, Tender Mercies, and Cloudstreet for my top comfort food movies.
    The Great Beauty, Dr. Zhivago, The Emerald Forest, Cloudstreet (Australian miniseries), and Hannah and Her Sisters when I need to go somewhere else.
    Victor/Victoria - favorite musical.

    (Sorry I'm late to the party. Yesterday got wild.)

  21. Thanks for your comment, Eve. I'm not familiar with Cloudstreet. And I hope your wild day calmed down more today.


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>