Classic Film Recommendations for March

Since the majority of my readers may not be overly familiar with classic films, I would like to recommend some of my favorites along with a few of the more famous titles playing on TCM this month, in the hopes that you will find one that interests you. So get ready to set your DVR’s friends, you won’t want to miss these. (All film times listed are Central Standard Time).

  • Waterloo Bridge (1940) -A beautiful romantic drama about a ballerina who falls in love with a soldier during WWI. The ending is unexpected and will haunt you. Showing March 2 at 12:15 PM
  • The Thin Man (1934) -This famous classic comedy about a detective, his wealthy wife and their dog Asta who must solve a crime is delightful. The chemistry and repartee between theWilliam Powell and Myrna Loy shot both of them into stardom another twelve films together. Showing March 10 at 10:30 AM
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) – One of my favorite musicals tells the tale of a group of redneck brothers who kidnap women to be their brides. So cheesy and yet so much fun to watch! Showing March 12 at 3:00 PM
  • The Gold Rush (1925) -If you have never seen a silent film you can’t go wrong with Charlie Chaplin. He’s the master of melancholy humor and his character, the Little Tramp is iconic. Showing March 14 at 6:45 AM
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941) -Well-known crime drama starring Humphrey Bogart as private detective Sam Spade who becomes embroiled in a mystery involving a statue of a Maltese Falcon. One of Bogart’s best films. Showing March 15 at 10:00 AM
  • The Quiet Man (1952) Filmed in color and in Ireland, it’s worth seeing just for the scenery, but also for the popular pairing of John Wayne and co-star Maureen O’Hara. Wayne’s American boxer must adjust to a new wife and culture. Showing March 17 at 8:30 PM
  • Gaslight (1944) -I can’t say I loved this drama about a man who intentionally tries to drive his wife insane, but it is a film that stuck with me. This film coined the phrase “gaslighting“, and is psychologically disturbing. Ingrid Bergman stars. Showing March 22 at 10:30 AM
  • The Birds (1963) – Since i just did a review of this Hitchcock film, I thought you might like the opportunity to see if for yourself. Showing March 22 at 4:45 PM
  • Casablanca (1942) -Arguably the most famous classic film of all time, it is a must see, which I discovered after years of avoiding it for some stupid reason. Starring Bogart and Bergman the story and characters are all perfect. If you only watch one of my recommendations, then make it this one. Showing March 23 at 5:00 PM
  • How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) -A romantic comedy about three working models who decide to pool their money to rent an expensive apartment in the hopes that they will meet some wealthy men they can marry. This is filmed in color and stars Bogart’s wife Lauren Bacall as well as Marilyn Monroe. Showing March 26 at 5:00 PM
  • National Velvet (1944) – Filmed in color, a beautiful film starring a young Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney, about a young girl who pursues her dream to race her horse in England’s Grand National. This is a great movie for the whole family. Showing March 27 at 4:45 PM
  • Roman Holiday (1953) -Audrey Hepburn’s first American film for which she won an Oscar, about a sheltered princess who escapes her royal duties for a day exploring Rome incognito with an American journalist. Showing March 28 at 1:45 PM
  • Ever in My Heart (1933) -This is an obscure drama which shows the difficulties faced by a German man married to an American woman during WWI. It explores the impact of prejudice and stars one of my favorite actresses Barbara Stanwyck. Showing March 30 at 10:30 AM
  • The Women (1939) -If you watched the remake of this film in 2008, do not judge the original by it. This is a bitingly witty film about the friendships between women and starred some well-known names of the time. It stars an all-female cast, meaning not a single man appears. Showing March 31 at 10:30 AM

 

Classic Film Review -Yes, My Darling Daughter (1939)

I think some people hesitate to venture into classic film territory because they believe the stories they tell may be outdated. But as a wise man once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

When Ellen Murray returns home from college and reconnects with Doug, an old flame, she makes a decision which will put her mother’s liberal morals and the rest of her family’s sanity to the test.

Ellen has been raised in a seemingly privileged and normal home, her father a banker and her mother an author. But it doesn’t take long to discover, that her mother was quite the hell-raiser in her time, having been involved with poets and women’s liberation and becoming quite familiar with the inside of the jail. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Yes, My Darling Daughter (1939)”

Book Review -Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning is the rewrite of a debut book originally published in 2010 by Ronie Kendig. It received good reviews at the time, but from what I can tell, it is garnering even better reviews since it has been rewritten.

This is not the first novel of Kendig’s which I have read and just like her other books, it is a wild ride which keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The story follows Shiloh Blake who finds herself caught up in an international intrigue after a hit squad attacks her underwater archaeology group. She then goes on the run and the hunt to determine why they were attacked and who is behind it, while also trying to stay alive and determining who she can trust, including undercover CIA agent Reece Jaxon.

Although, in the beginning Shiloh seems like your average twenty-something, as the book progresses you find she has a pretty specific skill set, which adds mystery to her backstory. Continue reading “Book Review -Dead Reckoning”

Film Review -Hidden Figures (2017)

Hidden Figures is a biographical drama which tells the story of three brilliant African-American women who worked at NASA in the early years of the space program and their struggles and success in contributing to that program in an era of segregation.

I often lament the fact that “they” just don’t make movies like they used to. Today’s films often seem short of a good story and rely too much on special effects and obvious, sometimes gross humor. The development of the characters is often lacking as well as interesting and witty dialogue.

When I envision what a good movie should be, Hidden Figures is exactly what I am talking about. A quiet story about ordinary people of courage who are persistent in the face of rejection and defeat, who live their lives with integrity and honor while also challenging the status quo. Continue reading “Film Review -Hidden Figures (2017)”

Classic Film Review-I’d Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)

Every now and then you come across a movie that just warms your heart and leaves you feeling as cozy and full as a plate of apple pie. This is one such film for me.

I’d Climb the Highest Mountain is a color film shot in location in the northern hills of Georgia which follows a newly married minister and his city wife who are assigned to this rural location in 1910. It is based on a (semi- autobiographical) novel by Corra Harris.

SUMMARY

When Reverend William Thompson bring his new wife home to their first assignment she is eager yet unprepared for living in such an isolated area. This is a woman who not only doesn’t know how to cook, but also has her own doubts about her husband’s God. Yet, she makes every effort to contribute to her community and support her husband’s work.

Bill Thompson is the kind of man that almost no one could find fault with. He is generous with his time and resources, patient with his wife and wayward members of his congregation and yet he is not so perfect as to be annoying. No, he occasionally loses his temper, meddles in his neighbor’s business and even bets and races horses (although the bet is only to bring a lost sheep into the fold.) In other words, he’s the kind of minister I think many can relate to because he is human, as is his wife who never tries to camouflage her own failings. Continue reading “Classic Film Review-I’d Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)”

Classic Film Review -The Birds (1963)

I feel like I’m one of the few people on the planet who had not seen this Hitchcock classic. To be honest, even though I’m working my way through Hitch’s films, I had put this one off The Birds because I was afraid it might be too scary. I do not do horror films and I do not like to be scared.

SUMMARY

Just in case you are not familiar with the plot, wealthy Melanie Daniels played by Tippi Hedren (Melanie Griffith’s mother and Dakota Johnson’s grandmother) has a meet cute in a San Francisco pet shop with attorney Mitch Brenner who is portrayed by Rod Taylor. He plays a little trick on her in order to repay her for a prank she perpetrated against one of his clients. Strangely enough, they are both in the shop looking for birds.

This encounter intrigues Melanie enough to track down his name and address, drive out of town to his family home to retaliate. If Melanie’s behavior doesn’t creep out you a little, then don’t worry, the birds that begin to congregate in Mitch’s small town will.

MY THOUGHTS

Once the story has both Melanie and Mitch in the same place it gets to the gist of the plot which is basically a bunch of birds terrorizing an entire town.  I’m not kidding, that’s the entire story in a nutshell. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -The Birds (1963)”

Book Review -The Lady and the Lionheart

SUMMARY

When Charlie Lionheart burst into the hospital with a sick baby, nurse Ella Beckley is immediately drawn into the plight of this mysterious young man and his sick but precious charge. His presence instigates immediate changes in her safe, ordered life and lures her into the unfamiliar life of the circus.

Charlie is quickly drawn to the sweet but curious Ella, but the secrets he harbors make him hesitant to expose her to his life. As they jointly care for baby Holland, they each find their perceptions challenged and must find the love and courage to reveal their traumatic pasts.

REVIEW

The Lady and the Lionheart was probably my favorite read in the past year and will go on my list of all time favorite books. Continue reading “Book Review -The Lady and the Lionheart”

Classic Film Review -Storm Warning (1951)

Mob mentality or its’ kinder term group think has always fascinated me. Maybe because we all grow up hearing the old reprimand, “If your friends jump off a cliff does that mean you have to?” at some point in our lives. Of course, the logical answer is no, and yet many times we find ourselves following the crowd or the trend without much thought. In it’s cruelest form mob mentality will find many normally decent people doing terrible things as part of a group that they would never consider doing by themselves. What makes us follow like sheep to the slaughter over the proverbial cliff?

Storm Warning is a black and white film from 1951 which touches on the reality of how mob mentality can corrupt even decent people.

SUMMARY

Marsha Mitchell (played by Ginger Rogers) makes a brief stop in a small southern town to visit her sister Lucy Rice (played by Doris Day) and meet Lucy’s new husband. Before she even has a chance see her sister, she witness the murder of a journalist by a group of men in white robes. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Storm Warning (1951)”

Book Review -Princesses Behaving Badly

Thanks to fairy tales and Disney many little American girls grow up wanting to be a princess. We are shown this idealized, fantasy version of a woman who has everything she wants, is pursued by the man of her dreams and has nothing better to do than wear pretty dresses and sit around looking beautiful.

When I heard about the book Princesses Behaving Badly I knew I had to read it. I stumbled upon the PBS series Million Dollar Princesses, hosted by none other that Lady Cora Crawley of Downton Abbey herself. I enjoyed the look into the lives of American heiresses who wed into European nobility and when the book was referenced  I immediately put it on my Amazon wish list.

Princesses Behaving Badly is a collection of stories written about women throughout history (including those of legend) and how their positions of wealth, title and power impacted their lives. The book covers the lives of thirty women dedicating an average of about five pages per person. It is further organized by categories such as Warriors, Schemers, Floozies. It does not give a comprehensive study on each woman, but merely a general “wikipedia style” summary of each life.

I found this to be an easy read, a book I could pick up at random times when I had a couple of minutes to spare. Continue reading “Book Review -Princesses Behaving Badly”

Classic Film Review -Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)

Many, many years ago I saw Love with the Proper Stranger on television. I’ve been wanting to see it again ever since. Sadly, it is rarely aired.

I remember loving Love with the Proper Stranger although I couldn’t tell you much about it. I recalled the basic story line and of course am slightly in love with both Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen who play the main characters. Who wouldn’t like a movie with Natalie and Steve in it? They are both beautiful and talented and even if there was no story in the film I could stare at them all day. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)”