Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Must See Black and White

My understanding is that movies filmed in black and white require an artistry peculiar to the black and white film... an artistry that could not be appreciated if the movies were colorized.  I think that's why many movie-buffs threw a fit and fought colorization.  I think these are the same people that fought for the TV letterbox editions of wide screen movies.

Anyway, I'm leaving out black and white Casablanca, It's a Wonderful Life, Philadelphia Story, Dr Strangelove, Bringing Up Baby, Harvey, Sunset Blvd, and a few other movies that I figure... If you haven't seen them, there's no hope for you anyway.  I hope to include some lesser-known gems.

1.  You Can't Take It With You... Comedy 1938... Jean Arthur, Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold, Spring Byington, Ann Miller... What a cast!  I love Jean Arthur.

2.  The Snake Pit... Drama 1948... Olivia de Havilland was nominated for best actress in this look into an insane asylum.  When the poor souls sing "Going Home"... If you don't get a tear in your eye, you're an insensitive thug.

3.  Teacher's Pet... Comedy 1958... Clark Gable, Doris Day, Gig Young, and a young Marion Ross (Happy Days) ... Just a great movie.

4.  It Happened One Night... comedy 1934... Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert... Oscar's Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture... enough said.

5.  Sitting Pretty... Comedy 1948... Clifton Webb, Maureen O'Hara, Robert Young, and the always nasal Richard Haydn... Webb's 2nd best movie after Laura.

6.  Anatomy of a Murder... Drama 1959...  Jimmy Stewart, Ben Gazarra, George C Scott, Eve Arden, and a very young and sexy Lee Remick.

7.  The Plainsman... Western 1936... Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur... Wild Bill and Calamity, what fun!  I love Jean Arthur.

8.  Now, Voyager... Drama 1942... Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains... If you like cosmetic makeovers, you'll love this "best of" Davis.

9.  Arsenic and Old Lace... Comedy 1944... Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre... My mother's favorite movie, and in my childhood, the one "late show" offering deemed important enough for me to stay up and watch.

10.  The Shepherd of the Hills... Drama 1941... John Wayne, Harry Carey, Betty Field, Ward Bond, Marjorie Main... Early Duke, you just want to hug Betty Field.

11.  Love in the Afternoon... Comedy/Drama 1957... Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Maurice Chevalier... Spring-Autumn Romance, and the leads are so good you believe it... But watch the movie for Chevalier.

12.  Gaslight... Drama 1944... Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotton, and a very young Angela Lansbury... Origin of the psychological term, "gaslighting."

13.  Mr Deeds Goes to Town... Comedy 1936... Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur... Same Movie as Mr Smith Goes to Washington and Meet John Doe, but better.  I love Jean Arthur.

14.  To Have and Have Not... Drama 1944... Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan... Maybe B and B made a better movie when they made Key Largo, but you need to see this one.

15.  Ball of Fire... Comedy 1941... Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck... A hot chick falls in love with a geek, so I had to include this one.  Very funny movie!

16.  All About Eve... Drama 1950... Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter, Gary Merrill, and some newcomer named Marilyn Monroe... Just a great movie.

17.  The Day the Earth Stood Still... Science Fiction 1951... Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Sam Jaffe, Aunt Bea (Frances Bavier) with scenes of Washington D.C. before it became a sewer.  This film gets my vote for the best science fiction movie ever made.

18.  Angel and the Bad Man... Western 1947... John Wayne, Harry Carey, Gail Russell.  The influence of a good woman... And Gail Russell is 1940's-Drop-Dead-Beautiful.

19.  The Westerner... Western 1940... Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan... Oscar for best Supporting Actor went to Walter Brennan because he stole the show!

20.  Rebecca... Suspense 1940... Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Nigel Bruce, Leo G Carroll... Oscar's Best Picture, and Joan Fontaine's performance was so compelling... she was nominated for best actress... and lost to Ginger Rogers?

21.  Laura... Drama 1944... Clifton Webb, Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Vincent Price... Great murder mystery, Clifton Webb's best.

22.  Grand Hotel... Drama 1932... Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery... Great cast, great movie... If for nothing else, watch it for Garbo's face.

23.  Manhattan... Comedy 1979... Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway, Michael Murphy, Meryl Streep... Annie Hall was great, but this is Woody Allen's best film.  Gershwin tunes, New York, comedy... the best!

24.  The President's Lady... Drama 1953... Susan Hayward, Charlton Heston... Absolutely one of my favorite movies ever!  Andrew Jackson's life and his love... Heston also played Jackson in The Buccaneer, but that was in color.

25.  Sergeant York... Drama 1941... Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, Noah Beery Jr, and a very young June Lockhart... If you watch it with a liberal, he will say it trashes the concept of a conscientious objector.

26.  Rain... Drama 1932... Joan crawford, Walter Huston... Morality, bad girl, overbearing Christian... I loved it, but don't try to watch it with a full bladder.

27.  Suspicion... Mystery 1941... Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Nigel Bruce... Joan Fontaine won Oscar's Best Actress, probably because she should have won for Rebecca... One of Hitchcock's best. (Rear Window was his best, but in color)

28.  The Best Years of Our Lives... Drama 1946... Frederick March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Virginia Mayo, Cathy O'Donnell (who played Judah Ben Hur's sister)... An amazing movie about the men who came home from WWII.

29.  The Killers... Drama 1946... Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner...  I include this movie because this film-noir classic feautures Gardner's face... stunning, unforgettable...  
30.  Shane... Western 1953... Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Jack Palance... Jean Arthur was 53 years old when she made this movie... and still beautiful.  I love Jean Arthur.

I spent a lot of time on this list, (I love lists) but how many did I leave out?  How many have you seen?



SkyePuppy said...

I love Harvey, and I'm glad you put it on the No Hope For You Anyway list.

I think you missed The Creature from the Black Lagoon, which I saw about a gazillion times on Moona Lisa's Science Fiction Theater on Saturday afternoons. Oh, and The Monolith Monsters. The Eyeball Creatures wasn't nearly as good. Neither was The Deadly Mantis.

Most definitely Arsenic and Old Lace. And I've always been partial to the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup, especially the lemonade stand scene. Ah... Maybe I should see if that's available for streaming on Netflix.

Malott said...


Hail Fredonia... Yes, I should have included Duck Soup.

Hmmm... Creature from the Black Lagoon... Obviously my cinematic tastes are less sophisticated than yours... But you are from California and know all things...

My grade school late show memories are of Abbott and Costello movies on Friday nights... Did you like them?

SkyePuppy said...

Oh, yes, I loved Abbott & Costello, especially the Frankenstein one. I also liked Francis the Talking Mule.

Grammy said...

I'm ashamed to say that I haven't seen many of these. I'd better get busy. One B & W that I remember really liking was called "No Highway in the Sky" with Jimmy Stewart. I just looked at Jimmy Stewart on Wikipedia and that's an exercise worth your time. I didn't realize he was a Brigadier General in the Air Force in WWII. You'll be amazed at the litany of his accomplishments, both acting, military and personal. Married around 50 years. Now he was a celebrity that amounted to something. Wikipedia won't have nearly as much to say about any of our modern-day political pundit celebrities.

Olga said...

Adam and Evalyne!