Sunday, November 1, 2009

ANOTHER FILM LIST

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
E?
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
J?
KEY LARGO
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
Q?
RED RIVER
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
U?
V?
THE WOMEN, WOMAN OF THE YEAR, WHITE HEAT
X?
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, YANKEE DOODLE DANDY
ZIGFIELD GIRL

6 comments:

-K- said...

Yes, indeed. Many of my all-time favorite films are on this list. Treasure of Sierra Madre, My Man Godfrey, Body and Soul, The Maltese Falcon, The Man Who Came to Dinner..virtually all of them.

Intellectually I know I'm watching something shot on a Hollywood backlot, some just a few miles from here, yet I always feel I'm in the middle of a honest-to-God time-machine. There are just so many social, economic, cultural, political as well as timeless issues that are put out there that I feel that whatever's going on with me right now is really just part of something greater.

Lately I've been watching "Lifeboat" (just about the only Hitchcock film I enjoy) for these reasons. Love and death among eight people of various backgrounds. And when I want to watch something completely over the top from that era I watch "The Fountainhead."

Butch in Waukegan said...

I am partial to 40s and 50s film noir and B&W crime drama B films. One of reasons I enjoy them is the street scenes, cars, clothing (remember hats?) and hair styles bring back some of my earliest memories.

Lately I have taken to reading about the films and players on my lap top while watching the movie. Sometimes you find stories and incidents that remind one how we are connected to the past, that what makes us human hasn’t changed all that much.

A couple of months ago I saw again DOA. I became interested in one of the hoods, played by Neville Brand, whose toothy smile reminded me of Gary Bussey. Brand was a very interesting person: a native Iowan, war hero, a respected actor typecast as a bad guy, a voracious reader, a genuine nice guy, an alcoholic not at peace with himself.

Ed Baker said...

all day yesterday tcm Karloff movies or "v"
his forgettable

VOODOO ISLAND, 1957

The Beachcomber (Laughton)

and

for "U" how about The U-boat (Das Boot) ?


I could go on, but I just fell asleep!

RJ Eskow said...

One that's gotta be in there for me is "Sullivan's Travels." I'm sure I can think of many more ...

harryn said...

"yes, indeed." to quote K - great list, and though i'm just a tad younger, i've seen most of them - and it was an interesting time - in spite of the difficulties ...
one of the prominent differences i've been noticing is the difference in curiosity and possibilities - and the story telling ...
being offspring of the first generation here in the u.s. and having had uncles that fought in ww2 - i'd hear the stories of what it was like in the 'old' world and exotic places - and the idea that one day i might be able to go there - or actually see the sierra madre mountains, desert, etc ...
the world was brimming over with possibility - and not something to be feared or looked down upon - but respected ...
sometimes old songs and movies just give me that hopeful jubilation that i felt when i was a yute ...

Lally said...

LIFEBOAT, yeah. And SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS which is on the list RJ. And one I saw part of today and forgot (I've seen it several times before but can always watch it with the young James Stewart singing Cole Porter and the young Buddy Ebson dancing to him etc. I think it's called BORN TO DANCE (the real dancing is Elenor Powell, the best female dancer in terms of tap and athleticism although she relied too much on spins and sort of wacky and almost weird-looking high kicks). Ed you must have skipped reading the criteria for the list '40s & '50s black and wahits.