Today is National Classic Movie Day. Hurrah! But honestly, I don’t need a particular day to celebrate classic films. I watch ‘em all the time. But this day is a swell chance to join other classic film fans in that age old question: “…write about the five classic movies you’d want to have with you if stranded on a deserted island. (Yes, you can assume you have electricity, a projector, big screen, and popcorn!)” though I prefer Raisinets.
Rick of Classic Film TV and Cafe is giving us this chance with his blogathon. Now, if I can’t while away my time with a tall dark and handsome hunk helping us get rescued, I might as well lay back and enjoy it…with movies. These five films should keep me going ‘till then. So, in no particular order:
VERTIGO ( 1958 ) ~ [ Alfred Hitchcock ]
This sick twisted romantic folly of obsession is my favorite film. Hitchcock constructed l’amour fou brilliantly. For it to be the same girl is genius. Kim Novak is utterly and achingly sublime…and poor James Stewart is a goner. I’m drawn to her quiet sadness. Her vulnerability and mystery is quite seductive. This movie taps into my longing. The mini-travelogue around San Francisco will take my mind off this desert isle. And put it where it belongs.
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THE AWFUL TRUTH ( 1937 ) ~ [ Leo McCarey ]
I’ll need a lot of laughs on this deserted island and this film has ‘em. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are glamorously charming together as they try their oneupmanship on each other to prevent their divorce from going through. There are all sorts of comic set-pieces in this film, i.e. Grant busting in on Dunne’s recital, sitting on motorcycle cops’ handlebars, Dunne’s “Gone With the Wind” dance, Grant and D’Arcy running through Dunne’s apartment and Dunne dancing with Ralph Bellamy. Ralph Bellamy’s a perfect foil and Cecil Cunningham has some good one-liners. This movie is a lot of fun. Yeh…put it on a loop. Woo! Woooh!
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OUT OF THE PAST ( 1947 ) ~ [ Jacques Tourneur ]
I wouldn’t pick an out and out horror movie ( “Psycho” ) to while away my time on this desert island. I’d be a scaredy cat in this setting. But, film noir is a genre I love so much. And this is the perfect puzzle to continue to decipher; keep my brain active. I love the darkness of the plot and the triangle. I love all three leads Mitchum, Greer, Douglas. I love that the femme fatale is so baaaad, that against their better judgment these men believe her and she still betrays them. Why that warms the cockles of my heart is something I can spend time figuring out while on this blasted island. Jane Greer as the Angel of Death. I want to see her be bad. So sue me.
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SEND ME NO FLOWERS ( 1964 ) ~ [ Norman Jewison ]
This is one of my favorite films. Just a sweet perfect comedy. For me it feels like the culmination of the trio of films Rock Hudson and Doris Day did together. In “Pillow Talk” and “Lover Come Back” Rock Hudson chases and wins Doris Day. Now with “Send Me No Flowers” we finally get these two married and living in suburbia. Hudson’s a hypochondriac and thinks he’s going to die. So he tries to find a second husband for Doris. The plot is perfectly constructed. I don’t mean that in a pre-fabbed, predictable, tv-sitcom way. I mean the pieces fit like a glove. The cast is perfect. Day’s and Hudson’s chemistry is undeniable. They look like they’re having fun and you have fun too. You feel their camaraderie, you feel their love. I envy their “married” life on screen. And Tony Randall…an integral part of the triumvirate with his dead pan wise cracks is the perfect- every-man-comic-foil to the beautfiul couple. This film is such a perfect little package, it makes me yearn. [ I’ll write in more detail about “Send Me No Flowers” in my contribution for the Classic Movie Ice Cream Social Blogathon at the end of the week. ]
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MARKED WOMAN ( 1937 ) ~ [ Lloyd Bacon ]
Folks I was torn with choosing my fifth island pick. I don’t know HOW long I’ll be stuck on this island and how long I’d be without my two divas of classic film. I’ll have to do without Stanwyck on this journey…so I hope the rescue soon. If I needed inspiration to help me claw my way out of this situation…I’d have to choose BETTE DAVIS. But WHICH way do I want her?
I could go with the weepy “Now, Voyager” or the rapier wit of “All About Eve” and her Queen Margo role. I could have a cathartic cry with “Dark Victory” sadly and bravely laying herself on her pillow for that final big sleep. Do I want to see her as the goody two shoes in “The Great Lie”? Or bad to the bone in “In This Our Life” ( Oooh, she was horrid! ) I’d better save “The Letter” for dry land.
I choose “Marked Woman” because it’s a good, fast-paced Warner Brothers crime drama ( my favorite kind ) with Bette Davis at her kinetic best. In “Marked Woman” she and her posse ( Mayo Methot, Lola Lane, Isabel Jewell and Rosalind Marquis ) are a-hem, “hostesses” in gangster Eduardo Ciannelli’s nightclub. When Bette’s kid sister (Jane Bryan) is killed at the club, she is pissed. Trust me…you don’t want to get Bette pissed. She turns on the whole rotten mob. Here, check out Davis’ moment:
Davis is a hep gal in this one, smoking cigarettes, wearing sparkly revealing clothes and making with the snappy patter. I love her energy and Bette Davis-ness in this film. The camaraderie among the women is good to see. They’ve all got a story of how life brought them to this point. And look for Bogie as the sympathetic attorney. An energizing and empowering movie to keep me company. I really especially love the women walking down the court house steps together at the end of the movie…and then, arm-in-arm into the foggy Warner Brothers’ night.
Do you have five favorite movies you’d like to take on a desert island with you? Let me know what they are. And check out the other entries in this blogathon. Luckily I don’t need to be on a desert island to enjoy these gems.
[ H O M E ]