|Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - 6:03 pm: |
I love old movies, especially those from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Golden Age films were released from the early 1930s to the early 1950s.
List your favorite, list one you like or list one you like due to something special in the film. I'll go with the latter: The Scarlet Empress from 1934. Not my favorite film and there are serious plot problems. Filmed in glorious black and white and directed by Josef Von Sternberg, I select this one because it's easily the best lit film I've ever seen. If I taught classes about film lighting, this would be the first film I'd require my students to view. Erotic, grotesque, and fascinating. The outstanding background score only adds to the experience. For sheer aesthetics, I've never seen a better film.
|Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - 6:16 pm: |
King Kong, Them! and Forbidden Planet come to mind.
|Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - 7:19 pm: |
I'll list several good ones from the era you describe.
- Hell's Heros - 1930
- Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - 1931
- Dracula - 1931
- Frankenstein - 1931
- M - 1931
- The Invisible Man - 1933
- Lost Horizon - 1937
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - 1939
- Gone With the Wind - 1939
- The Wizard of Oz - 1939
- Rebecca - 1940
- The Song of Bernadette - 1940
- Citizen Kane - 1941
- Double indemnity - 1944
- The Enchanted Cottage - 1945
- Gilda - 1946
- The Best Years of Our Lives - 1946
- It's a Wonderful Life - 1946
- Great Expectations - 1946
- The Stranger - 1950
- Miracle on 34th Street - 1947
- I Remember Mama - 1948
- The Big Sleep - 1949
- Sunset Boulevard - 1950
- Harvey - 1950
- D.O.A. - 1950
- Scrooge - 1951
- The Day the Earth Stood Still - 1951
- On Dangerous Ground - 1952
|Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - 9:21 pm: |
Great choices, Ed. And King Kong was highly influental and Willis O'Brian's special effects remain impressive.
Johno, that's a heck of list. And you named my three all-time favorites: Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, and Citizen Kane, in that order. M is one I'd forgotten. Great film!
A few more:
- Sullivan's Travels,1942
- Nothing Sacred, 1937
- A Star Is Born, 1937
- Gun Crazy, 1949 (Is Peggy Cummins sexy, or what?
- All About Eve, 1950 (I'm a sucker for great dialogue.)
- Maltese Falcon, 1941
- Casablanca, 1942
- I Walked With A Zombie, 1943
- Shadow Of A Doubt, 1943
- Philadelphia Story, 1940
- The Big Carnival, 1951 (jaundiced beyond belief but actually fairly true.)
|Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - 11:19 pm: |
All good films and All About Eve is definately a classic but a little too dailogue-driven for my taste. Peggy Cummins can't go wrong with a tight sweater and a good bullet bra. I'll submit a few more from that era.
- Come and Get it - 1936
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - 1938
- Wuthering Heights - 1939
- The Grapes of Wrath - 1940
- Honky Tonk - 1941
- I Married a Witch - 1942
- Air Force - 1943
- The Lodger - 1944
- I'll Be Seeing You - 1944
- Life Boat - 1944
- To Have and to Have Not - 1944
- Blithe Spirit - 1945
- Notorious - 1946
- The Bishop's Wife - 1947
- Sorry, Wrong Number - 1948
- A Holiday Affair - 1949
- Come Back Little Sheba - 1952
|Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 1:15 am: |
I don't watch movies as a general rule, but when my wife is watching an old one on television, even of a genre I don't care for, I'm often impressed. They didn't have much in the way of special effects back in the golden days, and were forced to make up for it by clever plotting and effective script writing. I could probably easily become addicted to those old classics if I allowed myself the luxury.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 7:44 am: |
Side note - Remember Cheetah, Tarzan's simian sidekick? He just turned 74!
|Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 1:56 pm: |
Cool! Cheetah has reached an age I'll probably never see. A serious happy birthday to him (or her).
One more which is interesting, as it deals with race relations and pulls no punches: No Way Out, 1950, (unrelated to 1987 film of same title). Widmark steals the thing, despite playing a character with disagreeable aspects. In some parts of the country, this film is nearly impossible to obtain outside of mail order. THAT is how powerful it is. I applaud Twentieth Century Fox for even making the thing. The "N word" is used about twenty times and for 1950, that was unheard of. The film also depicts racism in the form of blacks who hate whites, simply because they are white. This too was unheard of at the time. This is one of the most important films most people have never seen. Feature debut of Sidney Poitier, too. He's not bad but it's Widmark you remember.
Johno, you've listed some film noir titles. You beat me to most of the best of them but the following from the US film noir era I also like:
- Ride The Pink Horse, 1947
- The Killers, 1946 (best thing Hemingway ever wrote)
- Out Of The Past, 1946
- Dark City, 1950 (early pairing of Jack Webb and Harry Morgan)
- Lady In The Lake, 1946
- Follow Me Quietly, 1949 (involves a serial killer)
- The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers, 1946
Finally, an honorable mention to Dr. X, 1932. Not a great film but I like Lionel Atwill. More to the point, it's the first American sound film to feature a serial killer and how to catch him.
One more shout-out. I think the film (and its director) a trifle overrated but I include Freaks, 1932 (subtitled "Nature's Mistakes") as important. It amazes me that people used to pay money to see side-show freaks. Such a practice is a bit much, even for me. (A few years back, wasn't there a bar in Florida in which the patrons held a contest to see who could throw a dwarf the greatest distance? If the dwarf is twenty-one or better, hey, it's his body, let him risk injury. The whole thing just seemed a little strange.)
|Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 2:26 pm: |
One particularly powerful film I've seen from the bygone era is "Hallelujah"--the first movie with an all-black cast. The thing that struck me most about it was the depiction of raw emotion--I don't think there's been anything like it since.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 2:39 pm: |
Cheetah live out here where I do in Palm Springs. He is also a painter and his "artwork" is available for sale and a local gallery had an exibit of his "work" last year.
Actress Viveca Lindfors from the film Dark City was my father's 4th cousin. She was married to Don Siegel, the director of Dirty Harry. Their son Kristoffer Tabori is my 5th cousin. He took his step father's last name. I've never met Kristoffer being such distant cousins but would like to someday. Viveca has long since passed away.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 7:23 pm: |
Well George you picked my movie--Freaks is a classic--no special affects there..
there are two sides to the argument about the side shows..It gave "special people" a chance to get out of homes, institutions etc and be their own people, make a good living etc..there is a small town in fla. where many of them retired as happy and productive citizens//
|Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 7:49 pm: |
I agree with all the movies listed that I have seen (probably about half of what everyone has mentioned) but only a few comedies mentioned. I forget the exact years for each, but I would have to add:
Horsefeathers: Groucho as president of a college?
Duck Soup: Groucho as the president of a COUNTRY?
The Bank Dick: W. C. Fields at his best
My Man Godfrey: defines screwball comedy
Night at the Opera: the stateroom scene!
Sons of the Desert:you bet Laurel and Hardy were great
As Douglas mentioned with the serious films, moviemakers actually believed that instead of vulgarity and gross out scenes what you needed for comedy was a funny script, great acting, cinematography and score which added to the fun but did not distract, good film editing and tight direction.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 8:57 pm: |
I've always been a tremendous fan of Sunset Blvd., and am also a fan of its writer and director, Billy Wilder. Hitchcock's Spellbound also comes to mind.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 9:00 pm: |
Darn the luck! Johno already mentioned Sunset Blvd.! Still a great film, though!
|Posted on Thursday, June 01, 2006 - 4:59 pm: |
Doug, I saw Hallejuhah, 1929, for the first time a couple months back on TCM. (No Way Out, 1950, features similar brutal emotion, albeit primarily from Widmark). Someone on this board must have seen Kiss Of Death, 1947. If so, you'll recall the scene where Widmark pushes a wheelchair bound old lady down a flight of stairs. Child's play compared to his performance in No Way Out. It's his most brutal characterization and he's enitrely believable. It's chilling.
The director of Hallejuhah, King Vidor, also directed one of the few silents I love, The Crowd, 1928. But I'm becoming esoteric.
Johno, that's a cool zynchronicity about her being married to Don Siegel. While sentiment would preclude dollar signs and the scenario is improbable, imagine if Kristoffer had all the original posters, lobby cards, glass slides and so forth from Dark City? They'd have to be worth thousands.
Fredcasa, I liked Freaks. Just not as much as I thought I would. Author Danny Peary in his book "Cult Movies" raved about how great the film was, and that made my expectations very high before I'd even seen it. Also, the print of Freaks I viewed was grainy at times and that hurts any film.
I never said little people couldn't lead productive lives and never would I say something like that. Earning money is earning money and as long as it's legal, people of all sizes can do what they want as far as I'm concerned. Nor do I condemn those who might pay money to see a "sideshow." What I meant about people and their paying to see such shows was that now, in 2006, it seems unusual. However, the "car wreck" dynamic is in play. You want to look, you don't want to look. In early April on Rt. 66 near Front Royal, VA, I saw the results of a fatal crash about thirty seconds after it occurred and almost lost my lunch. It's the ghastliest thing I've ever seen. She'd suffered a head injury, I'll leave it at that. Thank God no one else was in the car. So, there is a certain desire to see dark - for a time - in all of us. The word "dark" doesn't apply to carnivals such as depicted in Freaks; rather, I'd use "grotesque." I understand human curiosity and in 1932 things were entirely different, certainly. No slight was intended.
OK Mike: I cannot believe I left out the Marx Bros! Some of those lines, -- "I'm Beatrice Ryner. I stop at the hotel." -- "I'm Ronald Kornblow. I stop at nothing." Or -- "Marry me and I'll never look at another horse." And -- "You've disgraced the family name of Wagstaff, if such a thing is possible," and hundreds more are just as wonderful. You're absolutely right. I liked Field's It's A Gift but The Bank Dick ain't bad either. A lesser-known Fields film which I found hilarious is You're Telling Me, early thirties. My Man Godfrey and Nothing Sacred are my favorite screwballs. Always thought those two superior to Bringing Up Baby.
I agree. Great screenwriters, comedic or otherwise, are a dead breed. And it's our loss.
Scott, yes on Sunset Boulevard! Sure it was mentioned but it deserves mentioning again. The film is beyond brilliant. As Erich von Stroheim's 1920s films appeal to me, it was especially jarring to see him, in Sunset Boulevard, "directing" the newsreel sequence near the end. And I'm sure you know that the silent film they watch is Queen Kelly, Gloria by the candles, the incompleted film directed by...Erich von Stroheim. My favorite line has to do with Stroheim, too. He, Joe and Norma are driving along, Stroheim at the wheel. He glances at Norma in the rear view mirror for a nanosecond and says, "Madame will pardon me, but the shadow over the left eye is not quite balanced." Implied beautifully is that he still has the eyes of a genius filmmaker from the silent days (I concur) but is now a willing servant. The movie just gets better every time I see it. And remember next New Year's Eve to wax your floor: Valentino said there was nothing like tile for a tango.
Wilder's my favorite director. His later films aren't as good as when he was in his prime. Still, Avanti!, 1971 I like and The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes, 1970, I love.
I've always enjoyed Spellbound. An early scene is amusing. Rhonda Fleming, a nymphomaniac, is being discussed between Ingrid and another doctor. As the Production Code wouldn't allow the word "nymphomaniac," screenwriter Ben Hecht used the term "love veteran." In a way, agreeing with Doug and OK Mike, self-censorship in the form of simple decency probably made these films better than they would have been if every other word was a cuss, blood flew and gratuitous sex was filmed at length. Not that a little nudity, an occasional oath or a measure of violence bothers me, but a little restraint wouldn't hurt.
|Posted on Thursday, June 01, 2006 - 9:18 pm: |
George I first saw Freaks at a midnight movie in Westhampton Beach Long Island..under who knows what influence. Loved it and thought it was one of the most provacative movies ever made. Unique--One bummer is the original had a scene of the armless and legless man in a sack rolling his own cigarette with his lips, and then lighting it. Great scene--don't know why it was cut/
Sunset Blvd--one of the greatest ever..
|Posted on Sunday, June 04, 2006 - 10:48 pm: |
George, You are the Film Noir expert so I thought you may be interested in the Palm Springs 2006 Film Noir Festival that we had over the weekend. It's not big like the Palm Springs International Film Festival that has over 200 films in 10 days but the Noir Festival is nice because you get to see these older films up on the big screen. There were only 12 films and here was the line-up:
- The Mask of Dimitrios - 1944
- Madonna's Secret - 1946
- Crossfire - 1947
- Riffraff - 1947
- T-Men - 1948
- The Crooked Way - 1949
- Ace in the Hole - 1951
- The Blue Gardenia - 1953
- The Steel Jungle - 1956
- The Killing - 1956
- The Brothers Rico - 1957
- Shock Corridor - 1963
I went to two of them that fit into my schedule, The Mask of Dimitrios and The Crooked Way.
|Posted on Monday, June 05, 2006 - 7:43 pm: |
The 50's sci-fi films were a trip. One that I enjoyed was Invasion of the Giant Grasshoppers. It looked to be filmed in Nevada.
|Posted on Monday, August 07, 2006 - 6:47 pm: |
To kill a mocking bird
Of human bondage No thats not an S&M film.
Of mice and men