During this challenging season, The Classic Movie Blog Association is hosting the Classics for Comfort Blogathon and asking participants to recommend five movies that “soothe and comfort” us. And even though I’m not a member of CMBA, I was so inspired I decided to unofficially participate.
My time and mental energy has been limited by personal and national events this past couple of months. And while I have many coping mechanisms, classic films have always been one of my main sources of comfort when life gets to be too much.
It would be very easy to fill my list exclusively with Cary Grant, William Powell, or Ernst Lubitsch films, blockbuster hits such as Gone With the Wind or Casablanca, gloriously colorful and larger than life musicals such as My Fair Lady or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or even other film favorites I’ve written about regularly here on my site. But I wanted to challenge myself a bit to look beyond the obvious.
In light of recent events, both personal and national, my entertainment choices have been guided by a sense of comfort and escapism. Which is why, I have been re-watching so many of my favorite films and trying to choose new films which offer a high entertainment value instead of a lot of drama and intensity.
Supply Sgt. Eustis Clay (Steve McQueen) idolizes his friend and superior Master Sgt. Maxwell Slaughter (Jackie Gleason). The two men couldn’t be more different in temperament, personality or skills. Eustis is the male version of a dumb blonde. He is not the brightest of men, but has no problem running swindles, even if Maxwell often has to rescue him from trouble. Eustis never fails to scrounge up hard to find items for himself and Slaughter. He is also always full of new ideas of how he and Max can make “a million, maybe even a billion” dollars rather easily. Eustis is close to retiring from the army and desperately wants his friend to join him in an idyllic civilian life. As he tells Slaughter, “Max with your brains, and my ideas…”
In contrast, Slaughter is an Army lifer and has no desire to leave his only family. However, Eustis won’t take no for an answer. To that end he fixes his buddy up with the beautiful but very young and ignorant Bobby Jo Pepperdine(Tuesday Weld). Slaughter is not so easily convinced, especially since Bobby Jo is half his age. When she calls him Fatty and a host of other cruel names, it brings up all his past insecurities.
However, time is running out for Eustis and Slaughter’s friendship and Eustis is determined. He can not imagine life without Maxwell in it. Through thick and thin these friends stick together and balance each other out.
I grew up with old school Disney. Though I never understood the appeal of Mickey Mouse, I adored Donald Duck. And thanks to a well-stocked local video store, I also watched many of Disney’s live action movies from the 1950’s on. Films like Shaggy Dog, Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson, The Apple Dumpling Gang, The Monkey’s Uncle and others offered wonderful family entertainment for a girl whose mother was very careful about what she was allowed to watch. To this day these films also hold a high nostalgia factor for me. Which is why when choosing a film for the James Garner Blogathon, I had to pick The Castaway Cowboy.
Carole Lombard is much lauded for her skills as a comedienne, but not as much so for her dramatic performances. Perhaps, it is for this reason, that it took a while for her to grow on me.
Screwball comedy is my favorite genre, and Carole is one of its’ heroines. But when I viewed her popular films, like My Man Godfrey, Twentieth Century and Nothing Sacred, I felt I must be missing something important. To me, her performances were shrill, occasionally manic and sometimes painful for me to watch. And yet, everyone raves about her talent.
This year I decided to keep track of my viewing stats a little differently. In the past, I only kept track of the new to me classic films in my tally. But for 2019 I chose to also include re-watches, newer films and television series. I continued to leave out television films from my total count. All told, I watched about 300 films and series which is quite a lot.
NEW CLASSIC FILMS – 143 Total
I continued on from last year in watching the films of Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum and George Brent. I also actively sought out the films of Shirley Temple, Margaret O’Brien, Kay Francis, Greta Garbo, Jane Powell, Marion Davies and John Garfield. 2019 will also go down as the year I watched my first Elvis film.
Some of the more popular classics I finally made time for were Murder My Sweet, The Stranger, I Know Where I’m Going, Angel and the Badman, Ryan’s Daughter and Becket. Cleopatra was as much of a slog as I expected. However, I was happily surprised by great experiences with The Picture of Dorian Gray and Cat People. I had also put off watching the famous silent film The Big Parade but it completely wowed me! Continue reading “2019 Film Year in Review”
December was a month for indulging myself. Just over a third of my entertainment choices this month were re-watches, mostly of my favorite Christmas films. And still, I didn’t get to see all the holiday films I wanted to.
I also spoiled myself by going to the theater four times this month. I can’t remember the last time there were that many new releases I actually wanted to see. In fact, I think these four may account for a third of my total new release viewings for the whole year.
decemBER 2019 BREAKDOWN
30 Films/Series Total
12 Christmas movies (including While You Were Sleeping)
6 New Classics
5 TV Series
4 Theater Releases
Biggest Disappointment:Stand Up and Cheer – Shirley Temple’s brief presence was not enough to save this one.