Among some of my favorite things are black-and-white films from the 1940s and ‘30s. I can watch any black-and-white movie from that period and no matter what’s going on in my life feel truly satisfied.
They soothe me I guess by bringing me back to a time that, despite the obvious struggles and upheavals—The Great Depression, World War Two, not to mention racism, sexism, etc.—at least in terms of style and art and story telling, I find reassuring.
Maybe they remind me of my parents and older brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles (even though they rarely depict the real world of these people), and I find that lost world a pleasant place to lose my own self in for a few hours. They’re like comfort food for my soul.
So to help me fall back to sleep after waking in the middle of last night, I started making another alphabet list of my favorite black-and white films from the ‘40s and ‘30s (I put them in that order because they’re mostly from the ‘40s):
ALICE ADAMS, ANNIE OAKLEY (the one with Barbara Stanwyck), ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES, ALONG CAME JONES, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, ADAM’S RIB
BEAU GESTE, BRINGING UP BABY, THE BISHOP’S WIFE, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, THE BLUE DAHLIA, THE BIG SLEEP, THE BELLS OF ST. MARY’S, BODY AND SOUL, BOYS TOWN
CASABLANCA, THE CLOCK
DINNER AT EIGHT, DEAD END, DARK VICTORY, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, DESTRY RIDES AGAIN
FOOTLIGHT PARADE, THE FIGHTING 69TH, FORT APACHE
GUNGA DIN, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, GOING MY WAY, GIRL CRAZY, THE GLASS KEY, THE GREAT MCGINTY, GOLDEN BOY
HIGH SIERRA, HOLIDAY, HIS GIRL FRIDAY, HERE COMES MISTER JORDAN
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE, I MARRIED A WITCH, THE INFORMER
LITTLE WOMEN (obviously the black-and-white ‘30s one with Katherine Hepburn), THE LADY EVE
MORNING GLORY, A MAN’S CASTLE (early Spencer Tracy Depression realism), MY MAN GODFREY, THE MALTESE FALCON, MISTER DEEDS GOES TO TOWN, MISTER LUCKY, THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN’S CREEK, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE
NOW VOYAGER, NOTORIOUS
ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS
PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, THE PUBLIC ENEMY, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, THE PLAINSMAN, THE PALM BEACH STORY, THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
STAGECOACH, STAGE DOOR, SERGEANT YORK, SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, SO PROUDLY WE HAIL, THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA, STRIKE UP THE BAND, SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS, THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, SHADOW OF A DOUBT
TOPPER, TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT, THE THIN MAN, THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, THIS GUN FOR HIRE, THE TALK OF THE TOWN, THE THIRD MAN, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN
THE WOMEN, WOMAN OF THE YEAR, WHITE HEAT
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, YANKEE DOODLE DANDY