Open Thread: Classic Discoveries in 2012

Speakeasy is currently on a holiday break, so it’s a good time to bring back the open thread: what were your “classic” discoveries in 2012? It can be movie, TV, an actor, a book, a DVD, music, a genre, a find for your collection, you get the idea, just so it qualifies as classic entertainment.

I’m easy to please and find something to like in most of what I watch, but the most memorable movies I saw this year were FRONTIER GAL with Yvonne DeCarlo & Rod Cameron, watched Warren William in THE MIND READER for the 3rd time just because I was writing about NIGHTMARE ALLEY for the upcoming Dark Pages special issue, and the two movies have a similar story. MIND READER never gets old, to me it’s even better than ALLEY. I went on a Douglas Fairbanks, Jr and Margaret Lockwood jag, hunting down and trying to find everything of theirs I could. Also recently got my hands on a stack of promising UK crime & heist movies, which led me to rediscover  the coolness of STANLEY BAKER. I ended up watching FALLEN ANGEL 5-6 times for my Dana Andrews blogathon article and only grew to love it more, and I saw one fantastically, epically, enjoyably awful mess of a noir that I currently can’t stop writing about, NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH. Had lots of fun co-hosting the Val Lewton event and connecting with new people, some of whom you’ll see guesting here in the near future.  And in 2012, this blog grew a lot, with many readers and fun stuff going on; thanks so much for reading, tweeting, linking, commenting and so on like that, I really appreciate it.

Speaking of those lots of new subscribers/readers, don’t be shy, even if you’re a newbie who just got into old movies this year, go ahead and tell which one did it for you. proceed to geek out about your favorite thing(s) of the year.

20 thoughts on “Open Thread: Classic Discoveries in 2012”

  1. A movie I had never seen before this year was “The Naked Spur” with James Stewart and Robert Ryan. Fantastic movie! Can’t believe I hadn’t even heard of it before.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours, and happy blogging in 2013.


  2. As the years go by I find myself revisiting movies I haven’t seen in more years than I care to admit. But I am still seeking out those that have never been available or the ones that just escaped me over the years. Obviously with TCM and many dvd labels bringing out more and more obscure titles it’s hard to keep up. Below are a few titles new to me as well as a round up of ones I rediscovered this year. Note some are newer titles that I had to mention.
    Talk of the Town, Fiend Without a Face, Captain From Castille, The Asphyx, Le Professional, Hugo, Frost/Nixon. Titles I rediscovered this year that stand out include Twilight’s Last Gleaming, Shield For Murder, Sands of the Kalahari, Horror Express, The Hill, Crack in the World and Man Who Would Be King.
    Highlight of the year just might be going to a major theater chain to see the Frankenstein/Dracula double bill on the BIG screen.


    1. thanks! nice highlights, and many of those movies you discovered I know & like, SHIELD FOR MURDER i saw pretty recently too. some great ones to discover from all kinds of genres. MAN WHO WOULD BE KING doesn’t surprise me, that’s one of my all-time faves. FIEND WITHOUT A FACE I’ve not seen, sounds cool. Captain from Castile is the one Zanuck rushed out to get people to forget Nightmare Alley and think of the “usual” Tyrone Power :) It’s the hunt & the seeking out that makes being a movie buff the best hobby ever, always more to see & you will never run out. cheers & happy holidays!



  3. I’m highly intrigued by FRONTIER GAL, FALLEN ANGEL, and THE MIND READER. I can’t see how I’m going to prefer the latter title over NIGHTMARE ALLEY though, as it’s one of my three favorite films starring Tyrone Power (along with THE RAZOR’S EDGE and THE BLACK SWAN). It definitely looks good though.

    Twenty-one of my favorite film discoveries of 2012 will be posted up soon over at: I don’t want to let too many out of the bag just yet, however two of them are PETER IBBETSON (1935, Henry Hathaway) and HELLFIRE (1949, R.G. Springsteen):


    1. thanks for the links! just to clarify, when I say I like MIND READER better, I’m only holding my fingers this far (a hair) apart, not my arms *this* far apart. The 2 movies make a great double feature actually. AND as a big NIGHTMARE ALLEY fan, be sure to stay tuned to this blog…

      THE RAZOR’S EDGE has a big admiration society here and with friends of this blog, Cliff at Immortal ephemera loves it , and Laura at MiscMusings just reviewed it If I ever get my hands on the poster for RAZOR’S EDGE, THAT will be the highlight of my year. HELLFIRE now goes on the list of things I need to see, looks good! PETER IBBETSON is good, I love Ann Harding- both should be better known. Thanks!


        1. thanks! that’s amazing, how very spoiled we are as movie fans, stuff is mostly readily available, the kids today will never know the feeling of staying up to catch a movie on tv or go to the other side of town to rent a video. (get off my lawn!) It’s a great time to be a voracious movie-eater nom nom


  4. My favorite discoveries of the year have been Auntie Mame, Johnny Belinda, The Heiress and The Circle if I had to narrow it down to just a few. I’ve watched over 600 films this year (including the re-watches) so I’ve made a lot of great discoveries! Happy holidays :)


    1. those are good picks, HEIRESS never gets old. and I am agog (& a little jealous) you saw so many movies this year! I need to step up my game. or clone myself.
      Thanks & happy hol’s to you too!


  5. I watched many films in 2012, but the best classic for me this year was “Body and Soul,” which I paired with TCM’s “The John Garfield Story.” It’s a great film and it’s great that this is back in “print” as a Blu-Ray in the US. I also enjoyed “No Man of Her Own” with Barbara Stanwyck caught in a classic cinematic lie. Favorite re-views are Garfield again in “Force of Evil” and the wonderfully tragic “They Live By Night” with Kathy O’Donnell and Farley Granger.


    1. all excellent ones, I notice a lot of people watch movies in groups, by actor or director. NO MAN OF HER OWN I saw long enough ago to forget it, so I want to rewatch now, John Lund was underrated. and there you get such a great cast & director. Thanks so much for stopping by


  6. My greatest discovery was without a doubt The Last Command, and amazng silent amde in 1928. I also paid more attention do Barbara Stanwyck and Tyrone Power, two new favorites.
    Happy blogging in 2013, Kristina!


    1. thank you & same to you! and please visit more often! well just in this thread you got some suggestions for Stanwyck & Power movies that people love. LAST COMMAND I should check out, I admit to not being big into silents but the plot looks good


  7. “It’s the hunt & the seeking out that makes being a movie buff the best hobby ever, always more to see & you will never run out.”

    Love that! It makes me happy to see my stack grow, and it’s kind of a thrill each time picking out the next title to watch! Also like you saying you’re easy to please and generally find things to like in what you watch — that’s me, too! So great to have kindred spirits among fellow classic movie fans.

    Wow, someone watched 600 movies! I’m doing good to get to somewhere around 220 each year — my goal is a minimum of 208 (four per week).

    So glad you liked FRONTIER GAL and SECRET OF CONVICT LAKE, Kristina!!

    Three of my favorite discoveries were relatively little-known Westerns, COPPER SKY, MAN OR GUN, and COW COUNTRY. I thought the Boetticher-Scott film RIDE LONESOME was one of the best Westerns I’d ever seen. I also saw a whole lotta great noir for the first time this year, including KISS OF DEATH, NIGHTMARE ALLEY, THE BIG COMBO, CRISS CROSS, THE DAMNED DON’T CRY, and GUN CRAZY, among others. Wonderful stuff! THE MAN I MARRIED was a very interesting anti-Nazi film with Joan Bennett. And I started to become acquainted with the “B” Westerns of Tim Holt and George O’Brien.

    I’ll stop there but it was a very good year for movie viewing, which I intend to recap in my annual “Year in Review” post on New Year’s Day.

    Thanks for this fun thread, I’m enjoying everyone’s contributions!

    Best wishes,


    1. and I have YOU to thank for both FRONTIER GAL and CONVICT LAKE, Laura! It’s true, about the hunt, I have way more movies than I will probably ever see, but always want more, and love “tending” to my collection. oh well, there are worse addictions. and to me having all this stuff is made even better when you can trade & share with other movie nuts. Haven’t seen a couple of the westerns you mention there, but those are all great noirs, BIG COMBO is one of the best. I love your year end review posts and have the last few bookmarked for when I need more movie suggestions (yes we always need moar). Thanks for the visit & cheers!


      1. Yes! “Tending” to the collection, I like that. I’ve had a pleasant time adding my new acquisitions — from Christmas and *you* to my Excel inventory this week. :)

        Thank you so much, I’m delighted to know you enjoy the year end posts and find them useful! They are really fun to do.

        Best wishes,



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