A Classic Movie Starter Kit

I recently joined a group of 34 other similarly committed individuals on a 19 month ‘quest’ (more on this in a future post). While getting to know one another we shared our backgrounds, interests and hobbies etc., and when I told one of them that I wrote for TCM’s blog he asked “what classic movies do you recommend to novices such as myself?”, which is a very good yet challenging question to answer, I thought. In fact, in answering his question, I mentioned that I’ve compiled a list of more than 400 essential classics on my website to which he responded “Whoa, can you narrow it down a bit?” In other words, he was looking for a top 10 list of classic films which he could readily find in a video store, at the library, or via a DVD mail service like Netflix.


I’m guessing that each of us who professes to be a classic movie buff has (at one time or another) been asked to provide a similar list of recommendations. Most of the movies discussions in which I partake are with other TCM junkies – like many of you who read this blog and/or frequent message boards like the Silver Screen Oasis, or the channel’s own boards – so I wasn’t really prepared to answer his question as succinctly as I ought to be. While I can take for granted the fact that ‘you’ know about Fredric March, Douglas Sirk, Anthony Mann and Ida Lupino etc., the average person – if you asked them to name any one of their films – might try (and fail miserably), plead ignorance, say “who cares?” or just glaze over into a blank stare. However, those same persons may be able to identify Humphrey Bogart, Alfred Hitchcock, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, even if they can’t name more than a couple of their films. Perhaps, therefore, it’s incumbent on those of us with at least some depth to our classic film knowledge to be able to list at least 10 classics – that have wide appeal, as a starting point – for anyone that wants to begin or expand their classic movie education.

I typically ‘hate’ top 10 lists, especially movie top 10 lists, because I’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to narrow down almost any large category to such a finite number. However, I have recommended AFI’s original top 100 list as a good place to begin. Even though I don’t agree with all the choices on the AFI’s list(s), and certainly not the rankings therein, there are a lot of quality titles to chose from and most are available on DVD. That being said, I’m frequently frustrated by their demonstrable myopia with regards to Academy Award winning movies (or nominees), a malady from which I also frequently suffer. Still, while there seems to be a near cottage industry of Oscar bashing, one can’t ignore the quality of many (most?) of Oscar’s choices. But to limit one’s selections to only those films which received an Academy Award (or a nomination) would be to ignore movies like those on the list I compiled earlier this year.

So I started with my list of 440 essential films, and began paring it. For my first cut, I tried to eliminate the most dated ones, biographies (not just because most are inaccurate, but because there are usually other competing materials with the same information), and movies with limited appeal: silents, any that were too focused (e.g. with a political agenda) or from genres with specific audiences. My second try, which pared the list to 57, eliminated even more ‘message’ movies as well as those which were too long – I didn’t want to lose anyone with a short attention span – too sophisticated (requiring one to ‘think’ too much), or have been remade recently (in case the person has seen the remake). I decided that it was important not to ‘show off’, with selections like Dodsworth (1936) or Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), and also to avoid obvious choices like The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Casablanca (1942). Sticking to mainstream and readily available titles (I was able to pare my list to 53 by excluding 4 which aren’t yet on DVD), I wanted all to be good stories first, but if they highlighted a particular classic movie actor or actress, so much the better (if the requestor wants to see more, then I’d have their filmographies available). I should mention that I’d already cut out everything newer than 1969 – remembering the purpose of the list – and, though I didn’t intend to end up with a final listing that included only black-and-white movies, it just worked out that way. With 53 remaining (and needing to get to 10), I forced myself to be brutal and found that I had to impose artificial limits once I got down to 37: to get to 5 from 1930s, 10 from the 40s, 10 from the 50s, and 5 from the 60s – a top 30 list! At this point, I decided to categorize the remaining titles by genres and even eliminated some of my favorites if the actors or directors were already featured elsewhere within the list. Finally, even by forcing myself to include all but the sci-fi and horror genres, I still ended up with selections that are predominately comedies and dramas (oh well).

Here are twelve (I just couldn’t do ten;-)

The Thin Man (1934) is not just a terrific comedy; it also introduces the viewer to one of classic movies’ most enduring series (and endearing onscreen couples – William Powell and Myrna Loy)

Top Hat (1935) – in lieu of Singin’ in the Rain (1952), I thought this Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers classic was one of the best choices to represent the musical/dance genre. Next on TCM’s schedule – Oct. 8

The Little Foxes (1941) – so many Bette Davis classics, any starter kit that doesn’t include at least one of her films from 1938 through 1945 is a sham.

The Maltese Falcon (1941) – my second selection from writer Dashiell Hammett (he wrote The Thin Man also) is also one of Humphrey Bogart’s best; John Huston’s directorial debut led to five more collaborations with the actor. Plus, the supporting cast in this early noir detective drama is one of the great assembles ever. Sept. 27

Double Indemnity (1944) – One of the best film-noirs stars Fred MacMurray? That’s right! Directed by Billy Wilder, it features one of the most insidious femme fatales in Barbara Stanwyck and an Oscar worthy supporting performance by the Academy’s most overlooked actor: Edward G. Robinson.

Notorious (1946) – I know many of you have probably been wondering when I was going to include one from the Master of Suspense – Alfred Hitchcock. Well, here it is. Finally, come mid-October, this one will be available on DVD. Cary Grant in one of his many underappreciated, as well as dramatic, roles (he made it look too easy) opposite a thirty year old Ingrid Bergman, and the immortal Claude Rains. Aug. 25

Adam’s Rib (1949) – much like The Thin Man (1934), it’s a classic comedy that features one of the screen’s most legendary couples – Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn – in their prime while at the same time it introduces arguably its best not-so-‘dumb blonde’: Judy Holliday. Aug. 31

A Place in the Sun (1951) – although I was tempted to use Random Harvest (1942), one of my favorites, in this romance drama category, I thought that this beautifully shot classic (one of Robert Osborne’s favorites) would have wider appeal. It features both Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in their most alluring and iconic years, and exhibits the talents of Shelley Winters and director George Stevens.

High Noon (1952) – the best Western? Perhaps not, but it’s certainly worthy of this list. Gary Cooper stars as the man who must decide whether to face up to evil, or run. Actually, he never had to decide because he knew what he must do despite the odds and the lack of support he received from everyone else. That’s my kind of role model! Sept. 30

Roman Holiday (1953) – My second William Wyler directed selection is not The Heiress (1949), which sadly means that I’ve left Olivia de Havilland off my list, but this one, in order for me to fill the romantic comedy slot. Of course, the fact that it stars “Mr. Reliable” – the trustworthy and dependable Gregory Peck – and features the incredible lead acting debut of Audrey Hepburn had nothing to do with it. Oct. 27

12 Angry Men (1957) – so many great courtroom dramas to choose from, but this one features actors that are more familiar to people today than Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton and Elsa Lancaster from the Billy Wilder directed classic that same year (Witness for the Prosecution (1957)). Aug. 24

Dr. Strangelove (1963) – it kills me to have the sole representative from the 1960’s not be one from that great year of 1962, especially because this hilarious black comedy is about as political as they come (at least it’s from an era gone by, for now), but I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy its caricatures. Sept. 8

I realize that I’ve neglected to include performances from some of my favorite actors – Cagney, Stewart, Holden, Douglas and Lancaster – and actresses – Garbo, Colbert, Dunne, Garson and MacLaine – and haven’t included a single film from some of my favorite directors – Capra, Ford, Lubitsch and (Preston) Sturges – but I know that I’ll have a plenty of additional selections for anyone that this list entices.

What classic movies do you recommend to people you know who aren’t aficionados?

28 Responses A Classic Movie Starter Kit
Posted By Hondo : August 18, 2008 12:32 pm

To our friends who know relatively little about classic films we often lend out our DVDs of “Random Harvest” (1942), Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” (1940).

12 Angry Men was a good selection. Very engrossing film, so well-written.

Posted By Hondo : August 18, 2008 12:32 pm

To our friends who know relatively little about classic films we often lend out our DVDs of “Random Harvest” (1942), Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” (1940).

12 Angry Men was a good selection. Very engrossing film, so well-written.

Posted By john august smith : August 18, 2008 4:29 pm

To the women I recommend WATERLOO BRIDGE, RANDOM HARVEST, LOVE AFFAIR and HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT. These movies would make a stone statue cry!

Posted By john august smith : August 18, 2008 4:29 pm

To the women I recommend WATERLOO BRIDGE, RANDOM HARVEST, LOVE AFFAIR and HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT. These movies would make a stone statue cry!

Posted By MDR : August 18, 2008 5:35 pm

Unfortunately neither HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT (1937) nor WATERLOO BRIDGE (1940) is readily available on DVD, though there are VHS tapes available (if you can find them). While the original Waterloo Bridge (1931) is part of the Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 1, at least we can be thankful that the Vivien Leigh/Robert Taylor version airs on TCM this coming November 5th at 8 PM ET.

Posted By MDR : August 18, 2008 5:35 pm

Unfortunately neither HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT (1937) nor WATERLOO BRIDGE (1940) is readily available on DVD, though there are VHS tapes available (if you can find them). While the original Waterloo Bridge (1931) is part of the Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 1, at least we can be thankful that the Vivien Leigh/Robert Taylor version airs on TCM this coming November 5th at 8 PM ET.

Posted By Laura : August 19, 2008 1:18 am

This is a good list which includes a couple of the titles I regularly recommend as a “starter list,” THE THIN MAN and NOTORIOUS (sometimes I choose NORTH BY NORTHWEST instead). The humor in THE THIN MAN usually surprises and then wins over new fans, even teenagers. ADAM’S RIB has worked well too (the “gun” gets ‘em every time).

I usually include SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, again because of the humor. As an alternative I suggest SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS because the humor and the stunning, energetic dancing capture the audience, even people who think they don’t like dancing.

A must-include: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938). The timeless characters, acting, color, music, humor, etc. work every single time. It’s a “can’t miss” movie. Second choice in this category: THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940).

The above titles are all movies which my classic film fan kids have used to help win over their friends. At least with the younger set, good humor is timeless and helps “sell” the concept that classic movies are also timeless. Some of their friends have seen virtually no black and white movies before watching films at our house.

For a Western, I’d go with Hawks’ RIO BRAVO; otherwise I’d pick THE SEARCHERS or another Ford film (SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON is my favorite) over HIGH NOON, which I’ve always found a bit dry, though worthy. Even a rousingly good film like RIO GRANDE, though perhaps not a top-tier classic, hooks viewers and lets you lead them to more. :) RIO BRAVO tends to go over very well.

A comedy which may not be a four-star classic (though it’s close in my book!) but is very popular with our non-film fan guests: James Garner’s SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! which is the same year as your 1969 cutoff. Again, if they like this they may want to know about other comedies you recommend.

As much as I love THE LITTLE FOXES, I’d be more inclined to go with ALL ABOUT EVE for a Davis film.

Mystery: I’d go with LAURA over the somewhat better-known (among film “newbies”) MALTESE FALCON. Fabulous dialogue, music, etc. etc.

Have fun! Hope you win over some new classic film fans. :)

Best wishes,
Laura

Posted By Laura : August 19, 2008 1:18 am

This is a good list which includes a couple of the titles I regularly recommend as a “starter list,” THE THIN MAN and NOTORIOUS (sometimes I choose NORTH BY NORTHWEST instead). The humor in THE THIN MAN usually surprises and then wins over new fans, even teenagers. ADAM’S RIB has worked well too (the “gun” gets ‘em every time).

I usually include SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, again because of the humor. As an alternative I suggest SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS because the humor and the stunning, energetic dancing capture the audience, even people who think they don’t like dancing.

A must-include: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938). The timeless characters, acting, color, music, humor, etc. work every single time. It’s a “can’t miss” movie. Second choice in this category: THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940).

The above titles are all movies which my classic film fan kids have used to help win over their friends. At least with the younger set, good humor is timeless and helps “sell” the concept that classic movies are also timeless. Some of their friends have seen virtually no black and white movies before watching films at our house.

For a Western, I’d go with Hawks’ RIO BRAVO; otherwise I’d pick THE SEARCHERS or another Ford film (SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON is my favorite) over HIGH NOON, which I’ve always found a bit dry, though worthy. Even a rousingly good film like RIO GRANDE, though perhaps not a top-tier classic, hooks viewers and lets you lead them to more. :) RIO BRAVO tends to go over very well.

A comedy which may not be a four-star classic (though it’s close in my book!) but is very popular with our non-film fan guests: James Garner’s SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! which is the same year as your 1969 cutoff. Again, if they like this they may want to know about other comedies you recommend.

As much as I love THE LITTLE FOXES, I’d be more inclined to go with ALL ABOUT EVE for a Davis film.

Mystery: I’d go with LAURA over the somewhat better-known (among film “newbies”) MALTESE FALCON. Fabulous dialogue, music, etc. etc.

Have fun! Hope you win over some new classic film fans. :)

Best wishes,
Laura

Posted By Al Lowe : August 19, 2008 6:18 am

This is a good list.

I only argue with one choice and I know I am in the minority on this one. Heck, I may be totally alone on this opinion.
Although I love Billy Wilder and Stanwyck, I’m not a Double Indemnity fan. First of all, I prefer The Postman Always Rings Twice, with Garfield, Turner and Hume Cronyn at their best. (Wilder got a lot of turn-downs trying to get a male lead for Double Indemnity; did he consider Garfield?)

Also, there are other things that make this tough for me to watch.
Stanwyck wears a bad blonde wig.
Watching Fred MacMurray trying to be sexy both amuses and rattles me.
That supermart where they meet should have brand names displayed; there’s probably some stupid reason why it doesn’t.
The scene where Edward G. doesn’t see Stanwyck in the hall reminds me of bad farce.

The movie gained high regard because it was a trailblazer and trendsetter. But there are better examples of that genre.
I also like Angel Face, a film that is consistently underrated.

But other than that choice that everyone loves but me, it is a fine list.

Although I don’t know if it would really appeal to nonbuffs, just because the nonbuffs I meet don’t like black and white films and think the classics move too slowly.
But that’s not your fault.

Posted By Al Lowe : August 19, 2008 6:18 am

This is a good list.

I only argue with one choice and I know I am in the minority on this one. Heck, I may be totally alone on this opinion.
Although I love Billy Wilder and Stanwyck, I’m not a Double Indemnity fan. First of all, I prefer The Postman Always Rings Twice, with Garfield, Turner and Hume Cronyn at their best. (Wilder got a lot of turn-downs trying to get a male lead for Double Indemnity; did he consider Garfield?)

Also, there are other things that make this tough for me to watch.
Stanwyck wears a bad blonde wig.
Watching Fred MacMurray trying to be sexy both amuses and rattles me.
That supermart where they meet should have brand names displayed; there’s probably some stupid reason why it doesn’t.
The scene where Edward G. doesn’t see Stanwyck in the hall reminds me of bad farce.

The movie gained high regard because it was a trailblazer and trendsetter. But there are better examples of that genre.
I also like Angel Face, a film that is consistently underrated.

But other than that choice that everyone loves but me, it is a fine list.

Although I don’t know if it would really appeal to nonbuffs, just because the nonbuffs I meet don’t like black and white films and think the classics move too slowly.
But that’s not your fault.

Posted By MDR : August 19, 2008 11:35 am

More great suggestions, most of which were in my final 30 (or were eliminated due to my obtuse guidelines). Thanks Laura (who recommended LAURA(1944), naturally, a movie which is revelation for those who only know Vincent Price’s later horror genre works) and Al; I like Otto Preminger’s films too! Perhaps a future list of Technicolor classics is in order (for those that are put off by B&W)?

Posted By MDR : August 19, 2008 11:35 am

More great suggestions, most of which were in my final 30 (or were eliminated due to my obtuse guidelines). Thanks Laura (who recommended LAURA(1944), naturally, a movie which is revelation for those who only know Vincent Price’s later horror genre works) and Al; I like Otto Preminger’s films too! Perhaps a future list of Technicolor classics is in order (for those that are put off by B&W)?

Posted By Jenni, St. Louis : August 19, 2008 8:06 pm

Hmmmm. What films would be on my list? Westerns: Who Shot Liberty Valance?, The Searchers( a technicolor choice,) Shane, and the one starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, Red River.

Comedies: Bringing up Baby(I let my kids watch this one last year and they all loved it,) My Favorite Wife, It Happened One Night,Pillow Talk-I believe that comes in under the 1969 rule,Life With Father, Mr. Blanding’s Builds his Dream House.

Dramas: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Letter to Three Wives, Penny Serenade(I know some think this is a
silly tearjerker,but I love it,)A Patch of Blue,Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,Mildred Pierce,A Woman’s Face,The Best Year of our Lives.

Noir/Suspense: Night of the Hunter, North by Northwest,Ace in the Hole,Out of the Past,Stalag 17,Laura.

There are many more great old films I love and would recommend to a novice viewer, but here’s where I’d start.

Posted By Jenni, St. Louis : August 19, 2008 8:06 pm

Hmmmm. What films would be on my list? Westerns: Who Shot Liberty Valance?, The Searchers( a technicolor choice,) Shane, and the one starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, Red River.

Comedies: Bringing up Baby(I let my kids watch this one last year and they all loved it,) My Favorite Wife, It Happened One Night,Pillow Talk-I believe that comes in under the 1969 rule,Life With Father, Mr. Blanding’s Builds his Dream House.

Dramas: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Letter to Three Wives, Penny Serenade(I know some think this is a
silly tearjerker,but I love it,)A Patch of Blue,Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,Mildred Pierce,A Woman’s Face,The Best Year of our Lives.

Noir/Suspense: Night of the Hunter, North by Northwest,Ace in the Hole,Out of the Past,Stalag 17,Laura.

There are many more great old films I love and would recommend to a novice viewer, but here’s where I’d start.

Posted By Jeff (Atlanta) : August 20, 2008 10:16 pm

I can’t fault your list as an entry point for classic film novices. All great choices. The only one I would switch out for personal preferences only would be HIGH NOON with THE SEARCHERS because the latter film marked the first time I began to view John Wayne as a good actor and prior to that I avoid his movies because I hated his politics. Plus the movie had a grimness to it that many westerns avoided in their eagerness to deliver the expected chases and showdowns. Although there are things about HIGH NOON I admire – the performances, the real time aspect, the central premise – it still feels self conscious and too regimental in design compared to Ford’s vivid epic about the type of men who really won the west but didn’t really fit into the society they defended and protected.

Posted By Jeff (Atlanta) : August 20, 2008 10:16 pm

I can’t fault your list as an entry point for classic film novices. All great choices. The only one I would switch out for personal preferences only would be HIGH NOON with THE SEARCHERS because the latter film marked the first time I began to view John Wayne as a good actor and prior to that I avoid his movies because I hated his politics. Plus the movie had a grimness to it that many westerns avoided in their eagerness to deliver the expected chases and showdowns. Although there are things about HIGH NOON I admire – the performances, the real time aspect, the central premise – it still feels self conscious and too regimental in design compared to Ford’s vivid epic about the type of men who really won the west but didn’t really fit into the society they defended and protected.

Posted By mjryan : August 20, 2008 10:41 pm

A solid list. It’s difficult to argue against any of these selections. But, I’ll try. ;)

I’ve been watching all of Hitchcock’s movies this year, a little goal I set for myself last October. While I haven’t watched all of them, of the ones I’ve watched Rear Window stands out. I’ve always thought that Notorious, while good, is overrated. When the appeal of the leads is a push – Kelly and Stewart versus Grant and Bergman – I think the story and suspense should win. Notorious’ plot is just too thin, IMO.

Since I haven’t seen The Little Foxes I can’t argue against that per se. But, I will say that of the Davis movies I’ve seen, Now, Voyager is by far my favorite.

I think any list of top 10 should include The Best Years of our Lives. I would think twice about suggesting it only because of the length.

In lieu of including silents, I would at least include The Great Dictator by Chaplin. It might just encourage the new viewer to request a suggestion for a Chaplin silent, to which I’d reply Modern Times.

To give a little variety, I’d add a war movie to the bunch. Probably They Were Expendable, Run Silent, Run Deep or On the Beach.

I also think Capra’s work before the war is accessible to newbies: Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Meet John Doe, Mr Deeds Goes to Town.

Posted By mjryan : August 20, 2008 10:41 pm

A solid list. It’s difficult to argue against any of these selections. But, I’ll try. ;)

I’ve been watching all of Hitchcock’s movies this year, a little goal I set for myself last October. While I haven’t watched all of them, of the ones I’ve watched Rear Window stands out. I’ve always thought that Notorious, while good, is overrated. When the appeal of the leads is a push – Kelly and Stewart versus Grant and Bergman – I think the story and suspense should win. Notorious’ plot is just too thin, IMO.

Since I haven’t seen The Little Foxes I can’t argue against that per se. But, I will say that of the Davis movies I’ve seen, Now, Voyager is by far my favorite.

I think any list of top 10 should include The Best Years of our Lives. I would think twice about suggesting it only because of the length.

In lieu of including silents, I would at least include The Great Dictator by Chaplin. It might just encourage the new viewer to request a suggestion for a Chaplin silent, to which I’d reply Modern Times.

To give a little variety, I’d add a war movie to the bunch. Probably They Were Expendable, Run Silent, Run Deep or On the Beach.

I also think Capra’s work before the war is accessible to newbies: Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Meet John Doe, Mr Deeds Goes to Town.

Posted By MDR : August 21, 2008 11:15 am

Thanks for your additional selections everyone!

Jenni, I also considered B&W westerns RED RIVER (1948) and THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962), which is one of my favorites. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) was in my top 30 (as was LIFE WITH FATHER (1947), but I went with ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953) instead for my romantic comedy choice. I wish that A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (1945) was available on DVD! Most of your other picks are among my favorites too, some great recommendations; it was obviously very hard for me to narrow it down to just 10 (er, 12;-)

Jeff and others who’ve suggested THE SEARCHERS (1956), though I like this undeniably great classic, I’ve always thought it a bit too dark to suggest to first timers as an introduction to the genre (it’s almost an acquired taste) and tend to recommend the two Wayne B&Ws I’ve mentioned above before it.

mjryan, though I’d probably go with NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) before REAR WINDOW (1954), both are terrific Technicolor Hitchcock picks. As you’ve probably surmised, I eliminated THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) because of its length, but perhaps I should have considered NOW, VOYAGER (1942) for my Davis film. I love Capra and probably should have found a way to include one of his on the list for introduction purposes alone.

Posted By MDR : August 21, 2008 11:15 am

Thanks for your additional selections everyone!

Jenni, I also considered B&W westerns RED RIVER (1948) and THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962), which is one of my favorites. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) was in my top 30 (as was LIFE WITH FATHER (1947), but I went with ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953) instead for my romantic comedy choice. I wish that A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (1945) was available on DVD! Most of your other picks are among my favorites too, some great recommendations; it was obviously very hard for me to narrow it down to just 10 (er, 12;-)

Jeff and others who’ve suggested THE SEARCHERS (1956), though I like this undeniably great classic, I’ve always thought it a bit too dark to suggest to first timers as an introduction to the genre (it’s almost an acquired taste) and tend to recommend the two Wayne B&Ws I’ve mentioned above before it.

mjryan, though I’d probably go with NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) before REAR WINDOW (1954), both are terrific Technicolor Hitchcock picks. As you’ve probably surmised, I eliminated THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) because of its length, but perhaps I should have considered NOW, VOYAGER (1942) for my Davis film. I love Capra and probably should have found a way to include one of his on the list for introduction purposes alone.

Posted By Patricia : August 22, 2008 12:48 pm

Over the last few years my teenage daughter has developed a strong interest in classic film (I’m sure part of that is a survival instinct). Her moto is: If Ward Bond is in it, I’ll watch it!

Posted By Patricia : August 22, 2008 12:48 pm

Over the last few years my teenage daughter has developed a strong interest in classic film (I’m sure part of that is a survival instinct). Her moto is: If Ward Bond is in it, I’ll watch it!

Posted By K : August 22, 2008 11:42 pm

I have a movie question unrelated to this post. I am trying to remember the name of a romantic comedy from the early sixties. It is about two men in New York City that are fighting over the same girl (I thought Cary Grant was one of them). One of the later scenes involves the couple traveling to a log cabin in upstate NY and of course both of them show up. One of the men has also hired the girl to decorate his apartment. And at the end of the movie the man that wins carries the girl down a couple blocks in New York to his apartment over his shoulder. Any help would be appreciated.

Posted By K : August 22, 2008 11:42 pm

I have a movie question unrelated to this post. I am trying to remember the name of a romantic comedy from the early sixties. It is about two men in New York City that are fighting over the same girl (I thought Cary Grant was one of them). One of the later scenes involves the couple traveling to a log cabin in upstate NY and of course both of them show up. One of the men has also hired the girl to decorate his apartment. And at the end of the movie the man that wins carries the girl down a couple blocks in New York to his apartment over his shoulder. Any help would be appreciated.

Posted By moirafinnie : August 23, 2008 7:50 am

“I am trying to remember the name of a romantic comedy from the early sixties.”

Hi K.,
I think you may be referring to Any Wednesday (1966) with Jason Robards, Dean Jones and Jane Fonda.

HighHurdler,
This is a thought-provoking article and the suggestions for a list of movie classics chosen by others is always fun and revelatory.

Posted By moirafinnie : August 23, 2008 7:50 am

“I am trying to remember the name of a romantic comedy from the early sixties.”

Hi K.,
I think you may be referring to Any Wednesday (1966) with Jason Robards, Dean Jones and Jane Fonda.

HighHurdler,
This is a thought-provoking article and the suggestions for a list of movie classics chosen by others is always fun and revelatory.

Posted By Dusan : December 8, 2008 7:42 pm

@K
I was searching google for the same movie as you, and eventually found out that name of that movie is Pillow Talk, enjoy… :)

Posted By Dusan : December 8, 2008 7:42 pm

@K
I was searching google for the same movie as you, and eventually found out that name of that movie is Pillow Talk, enjoy… :)

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