Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Hooray for Hollywood"

I've always loved the "old" movies.  You know the kind....made before 1970, maybe even black and white,  movies without blood, gore, non-graphic, sweet, simple, or funny....sometimes even a musical!  (Oh no, horrors!)

In its heyday, Hollywood made a gazillion of  'em.  Some are still considered among the best movies ever made.  But whether or not considered great by anyone else, there are several from that classic film era that I consider my favorites.  The reasons they are favorites vary all over the place and usually have nothing to do with the things that film critics look for.  It's not the technique, or the artistry, or the symbolism, or any of the other buzzwords, film snobs use.  Nope.  For me its all about films that pull an emotional reaction from me every time I see them.  They can be funny, or romantic, or touchingly sad...but something about them "speaks" to me.  I can see (and have seen) them over and over again to the point where the dialogue is so familiar I can say most of the lines right along with the actors!  These are the ones that make me say "Hooray for Hollywood"!

That is not to say, of course, that there are no films made after 1970 that I have enjoyed and could watch again.  It's just that there are fewer of them.

Would you care to know what those films are?  Well, I'm going to tell you anyway!  The list is in chronological order, except for the last two, which are  simply the best of the best!

15.   "It Happened One Night" ~~ Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, 1934 comedy.  One of the very first and best of the romantic comedies.  Gable doing comedy, priceless.  A classic!

14.   "The Philadelphia Story" ~~ Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, 1935 comedy.  Three great actors in their prime and perfectly cast.  (Interestingly enough, both of these films revolve around an enormously wealthy young woman's wedding day.)

13.  "12 O'Clock High" ~~ Gregory Peck, Dean Jagger, 1949 drama.  WWII  film about aircrews in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force who flew daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the early days of American involvement in World War II.  Jagger won an Oscar, Peck should have!

12.  "We're No Angels"  ~~  Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray,  Peter Ustinov.  1955 Christmas Film.   Perhaps my favorite Christmas movie,  with 3 very unlikely "heroes".  A delight!

11.  12 Angry Men" ~~ Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Ed Begley. 1957 Courtroom drama.  Another classic.  Magnificent performances by all, especially Cobb and Begley.

10.   "Auntie Mame" ~~  Rosalind Russell.  1958 Comedy.  Funny film, chock-full of memorable characters and unforgettable lines, the most famous of which is probably "Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

9.   "Some Like It Hot" ~~  Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon.  1959 comedy.   Directed by Billy Wilder.  Wonderful!  Monroe is sexy, Curtis is gorgeous, and Lemmon is at his frenetic best!
8.   "McClintock" ~~  John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara.  1963 Western (!)   Classic tongue-in-cheek cowboy movie with two actors who were great together.  You could practically see the "sparks" flying between them.

7.  "Come Blow Your Horn" ~~  Frank Sinatra, Molly Picon, Lee J. Cobb. 1963 Neil Simon comedy.  Worth seeing for Molly Picon's performance alone, much less Lee J. Cobb in a comedic role. 

6.   "Father Goose" ~~  Cary Grant, John Mills, Leslie Caron.  1964 Comedy/drama.  Another film about WWII, but one of the most quirky love stories ever.  It also has my favorite line of all time.  "Married!?!  Goody-Two-Shoes and the Filthy Beast??"

5.   "Dirty Dancing" ~~  Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey,  Jerry Orbach.  1987 Love story.  What is not to love??  Music, dancing, and Swayze??  Be still my heart!

4.    "Ghost" ~~  Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg.  1990 Love Story.  Oh my, just about everything in this film is the best it could be.  Makes me cry and laugh and has the sexiest love scene ever!

3.  "The Birdcage"  ~~  Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, 1996 Comedy.  I have never laughed as much as I do with this film.  Williams and Lane are just inspired as two aging gay lovers, with Gene Hackman perfect as the hypocritical, bigoted Senator.  Funniest film ever, bar none. 

And now.....(big drum roll, please).....the creme de la creme:

2.   "The Trouble with Angels" ~~  Hayley Mills, Rosalind Russell.  1966 Comedy.  This one has a lot of personal meaning to us.  We saw it when I was pregnant and chose one of the character names for our  newborn daughter.  Ratchlet and I have watched this film at least 50 times together.  There are some parallels to her life that strike a cord in both of us.  Know the dialogue to this one and still laugh when we see it.  Mills and Russell are outstanding and perfect.  This one is my top two favorite movies of all time.

1.   "Two for the Road"  ~~ Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney.  1967 Love Story/Comedy.  The perfect movie in my opinion.  It is the best story of marriage ever filmed.  Just the best ever! 

If there are any of these that you haven't ever seen, do yourself a favor and watch them very soon.   I can't guarantee you'll love them like I do, but you just might!  After you've seen them, I pretty sure you'll understand why they make me say, "Hooray for Hollywood"!!

Isn't it a shame that Hollywood can't get it right every time??


  1. Some of my favorites are listed here too. I'd also add To Kill a Mockingbird and It's a Wonderful Life. Hooray for Hollywood! laurie

  2. I am a total black-and-white movie fan. When I was in junior high, we were on split shifts so I would come home around 1:30 in the afternoon. I'd make myself a turkey pot pit, close the curtains, and turn on Channel 9 which always had a 2:00 classic movie. Robert Mitchen, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, David Niven, Judy Garland, James Garfield. And to this day, a perfect afternoon would be sitting on the couch, raining outside, and a good old black-and-white on the tube. Oh, yes, and I would be all alone to enjoy it.


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