This month was TCM’s annual Summer Under the Stars when they spend 24 hours each day honoring a different classic film actor. I made it a point to watch films featuring Ava Gardner, Melvyn Douglas, Shirley Temple, Buster Keaton and a couple of hard to find titles starring Irene Dunne. By default I also saw a few more of Randolph Scott’s and Robert Young’s films.
August 2019 Breakdown
29 films/series total
18 new classic films
5 TV series
Favorite Discovery:The Indian Doctor and Wee Willie Winkie
I’ve always considered myself a fan of the pre-war films. In particular, I love the movies of the 1930’s. In my mind, 50’s films are more gritty, less hopeful as well as dramatic. As a fan of comedies and happy endings, I’ve kind of put films from this decade in a box to avoid.
No one was more surprised than me however to discover how many 50’s pictures I’ve seen and actually loved. Talk about preconceptions! I didn’t think I could find enough films to participate in this blogathon. When in reality my problem is that there were so many great pictures, that it about killed me to keep this list at five. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.
There were so many films that I really love. But for the most part my deciding criteria was linked to nostalgia. The five movies on my list are ones I grew up watching. I’ve seen them all countless times and love them for their familiarity, the sense that I get that I’m re-visiting old friends and that happy cozy feeling of remembering my childhood experiences with them. Those that just missed the cut include Ivanhoe, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and To Catch a Thief. Painful, I tell you. Continue reading “5 Favorite Films of the 50’s Blogathon”
April was pretty busy for me as I watched 35 titles. Among these, one was a new theater release, one was a new Netflix release, one was a documentary. I saw six silent films, twenty two new to me classic titles including one foreign classic, re-watched six films for at least the second time and viewed three television series.
TCM chose to honor Greta Garbo this month, so I was able to catch seven of her films (including the documentary). My favorite of those was Love, a remake of Anna Karenina with John Gilbert. But I also discovered that I enjoy watching her opposite Nils Asther as well.
Kay Frances was also honored for a day this month and I saw six more of her movies. She was definitely at her best in the pre-code era.
Some of my favorite discoveries this month include Garbo and Asther in The Single Standard, the silent film Souls for Sale, the BBC’s mini-series Mrs. Wilson, The Teahouse of the August Moon and Kay Francis in The House on 56th Street. Continue reading “April 2019 Quickie Reviews”
I love a good meet-cute. You know, it’ the moment where two characters meet for the first time. In most films, the meet cute sets the stage and the tone for all that is to follow. It immediately tells you what type of relationship the two characters will have as they get to know each other better. Some meet-cutes are in fact cute, others are antagonistic. Meet-cutes are actually one of my favorite moments in a film.
So, this year was an extremely productive year for me when it came to watching films. I watched over 180 new to me classic films. Wait, what? That’s right almost 200 films. I honestly don’t even know how that is possible, especially considering I also read over 120 books while working as well. That number of course doesn’t include the new releases, documentaries, television series, Hallmark movies etc. which I didn’t bother to keep track of.
This year’s classic film binge included me filling in my filmography gaps for stars like Rita Hayworth, William Holden, Robert Mitchum, Elizabeth Taylor, George Brent, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando and others. I watched my first Esther Williams films and finally found one I liked. And I finally discovered why Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni are considered a great pairing. Continue reading “2018 Film Year in Review”
I have always been a fan of romantic comedies. I can appreciate a good drama, mystery or even tragedy, but it is the romantic comedy which I found myself drawn to over and over again. Perhaps it’s because in a world of uncertainty and chaos, I love escaping into a film that can make me smile. I love knowing the ending will always be happy, even if real life isn’t.
Many classic film fans are familiar with some of the more famous examples of this genre. Titles like Bringing Up Baby, The Lady Eve, Pillow Talk, My Man Godfrey, His Girl Friday, It Happened One Night are instantly recognizable and re-watchable. But being a fan of classic rom-coms means I’m always on the lookout for unheralded, but just as enjoyable films. It’s always a risk watching a film I’ve not heard of before, but definitely well worth it when I discover a new favorite. I’d like to share some under-rated and lesser known classic rom-com films. Continue reading “Twenty of the Most Under-Rated Classic Romantic Comedies”
There are few groups more loyal than classic film fans. Many of us have our favorite movies, genres, actors and actresses and can passionately articulate what we love about each. Equal to our love is our dislike of those things that don’t live up to our standards or that we find disappointing. Actors and actresses particularly earn our derision, though we usually only discuss this within our own circles.
George Brent is an actor I’ve often heard mentioned with disdain. Many classic film fans denounce him as wooden, his performances lacking emotional depth. I won’t deny that he is compared unfavorably to his contemporary counterparts. But unlike some, I’ve always enjoyed Brent’s films. I believe he has been unfairly and too harshly judged. I’m here today to convince you of the same. Continue reading “In Defense of George Brent”
François and Thérèse are happily married with two young children. During the week Francois works as a carpenter for his uncle and on the weekends the young family enjoys exploring the nearby countryside. Their life is full of bonheur (happiness) , perhaps even idyllic.
But then François meets Émilie to whom he is instantly attracted. It’s not long before they being an affair, even though she knows that he is married. François seems to believe that his affair with Émilie is not subtracting from what he has with his wife. He doesn’t love Thérèse any less. Instead, his love with Émilie only adds to his overall happiness. But when, he finally confesses to his wife about the relationship and his viewpoint, tragedy ensues. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Le Bonheur (1965)”
If you count only the new to me classic films I watched this year, I have seen just over 100 film titles. But once you add in foreign films, documentaries and new feature films, that number increases quite a bit. I marvel that I had enough time to watch so many movies! (Click on movie links for my reviews of these films.)
As mentioned I watched over 100 new classic films this year and that doesn’t include those which I have already seen more than once. Clearly, I love classic cinema. In 2017 I worked on filling in the gaps in filmography for Eleanor Parker, Rod Taylor and Alfred Hitchcock. I also managed to catch some of Carole Lombard and Audrey Hepburn’s earliest titles as well as watching several of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s movies together. Continue reading “Film Year 2017 in Review”
Aurora over at Once Upon a Screen has hit upon the genius idea of celebrating the joy of Christmas by recommending classic movies (see her post). This #PayClassicsForward prompt follows the theme of the carol Twelve Days of Christmas.
I have created my own categories and as requested am recommending movies which might appeal to non-classic film fans. Not only am I spreading the joy of classic films, but I’m also giving the gift of recommending many lesser known but entertaining titles.