6 FILMS ~ 6 DECADES

Today is NATIONAL CLASSIC MOVIE DAY. What we are tasked to do by Classic Film & TV Café is to list one favorite film from each decade from the 1920s – 1970s or from the 1930s -1980s.

I love the sweet torture of making lists. On the one hand, if some films don’t make the cut, I’m like… “Oh well.” Then on the other hand, if some films don’t make the cut I feel: “Am I really living withOUT this film?”

But the blood…and the sweat…and the tears…are all for a good cause…sharing my favorites with you and wholeheartedly recommending some pretty good films.

So, let me begin.

Now, in no way…shape…or form do I consider the 1980s part of the classic era. But I know I could not do justice to the pioneering era of the 1920s. This being said, I do have a favorite movie for this decade. Boy do I ever.

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THE 80s

“BODY HEAT” [ 1981 ] ~ Lawrence Kasdan

“Experience shows I can be convinced of…anything.”

  

William Hurt ~ Kathleen Turner 

This movie knocked my socks off. ( And socks are the least amount of clothes that come off in this movie ).

I was a big fan of Hollywood’s new kid on the block: William Hurt. Tall, blondish, handsome. Different kind of acting. I saw “Body Heat” when it first came out and it harkened back to my beloved classic movies, especially film noir. Then Kathleen Turner walked up the aisle of an outdoor concert in the beginning of the movie. What…the…hell!!!

The Story: A lawyer has a very steamy affair with a rich, married woman, and they plot to murder her husband. You know…cuz that’s what you do.

You’ve seen it a million times? Not like this.

“You aren’t too smart, are you? I like that in a man.”

It’s the femme fatale that always traps us whether we’re in the audience or the hapless lug on the screen. You know how that goes, what is he gonna do about what she is gonna do—

I just think Kasdan has got it so right with this movie and because it’s the 80’s, he can bring it all ( sex, murder ) to graphic, steamy fruition. He makes it all make sense in its execution. I’m loving John Barry’s sexy score, there’s suspense in the plot, and the film is well-acted. J.A. Preston stands out for me:

“Ned, youve messed up before. You’lmess up again. Thats your nature. But theyve always been small-time. This might not be. Shes trouble, Ned. The real thing. Big-time, major league trouble. Watch yourself.”

It’s not that he’s ‘the Black friend’ but because the way he’s treated in the script…he’s really just, ‘the friend’ who loves his friend ( Hurt ) and sees him getting into a world of shit.

It’s all soooooo right. It was a big hit at the time. Can this movie really be 40 years old?

Runners-Up The Terminator ( 1984 ) and Resurrection” ( 1980 )

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THE 70s

“NETWORK” [ 1976 ] ~ SIDNEY LUMET

You’re television incarnate, Diana – indifferent to suffering…insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You’re madness, Diana. Virulent madness.”

William Holden ~ Peter Finch ~ Faye Dunaway   

I don’t know if Paddy Chayefsky took a well-placed scalpel or a wild buzz-saw to television, but he certainly scalped it within an inch of its life.

The Story: A well-respected television journalist has a mental breakdown on live television, and the powers-that-be exploit him to get high ratings.

Faye Dunaway is the driven, force of nature pushing the boundaries of tv journalism off a cliff for ratings ushering in what we know today…in real life as “reality tv.” A well-deserved Academy Award for Dunaway’s efforts. Peter Finch plays the disturbed man who really is ranting against society. You simultaneously feel sorry for him, and angry with him. And for all those rather stuffy British roles he played, I see here he had a flare for farce/satire. William Holden is the man of integrity, though he’s drawn to the seductive and destructive force that is Dunaway. He’s so very good in this. Every body plays their part to a tee. The film is ferocious in its examination and I am simply riveted by this dark comedy.

When I first saw this movie on its initial release, my jaw dropped at the “What If” nature of the film as it explores what television can do. LOL! What if television had gotten that crazy. What if?

It has. 

Runner-Up:  “Blazing Saddles”  ( 1974 )

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THE 60’s

“SEND ME NO FLOWERS” [ 1964 ] ~ NORMAN JEWISON

“When he tells me hes dying and he doesnt DIE…wouldn’t he know that Id get SUSPICIOUS?!

 

Doris Day ~ Rock Hudson ~ Tony Randall   

If I ever feel sad or down, I merely have to look at any one of the trilogy of films by Doris Day with Rock Hudson, and a blanket of warmth comforts me. You might say they’re the King & Queen of ‘Rom-Coms’ but that’d be too reductive. I think they’re two fully-realized actors with good careers under their belt who came together for the first time in 1959’s “Pillow Talk.” And magic happened. The plot for “Send Me No Flowers is perfect.

The Story: When a hypochondriac husband believes he is dying, he tries to find the next husband for his wife.

I saw this movie when it came out in 1964 on a family outing to the Whitestone Drive-In in the Bronx. I remember longing for the suburban life-style in the movie; belonging to a country club. I remember liking the intimacy of marriage; at least of their marriage. In “…Flowers” the chase is over ( from their two previous movies ) and now they could be together in ‘every’ way, as far as my little 12-year old mind could imagine. The plot is just perfectly constructed, and what can I say about the teaming of Rock and Doris. Chemistry really can’t be acted. Tony Randall is never the third wheel. His characterizations are an integral part of the team. He is the cherry on top of all the fun.

The key word is fun. It’s infectious. They make you feel good. Who doesn’t want to feel good.

Runner-Up: “Strangers When We Meet” ( 1960 )

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THE 50’s

“VERTIGO” [ 1958 ] ~ ALFRED HITCHCOCK

  

James Stewart ~ Kim Novak ~ Barbara Bel Geddes   [ 1958 ]

Love.

 Death.

  Obsession.

“Why did you have to pick on me. Why me?!

The Story: A San Francisco detective is side-lined with vertigo. He’s asked by a college friend to follow his wife who he believes is on the way to a nervous breakdown and suicide. As the detective follows her…he begins to fall in love.

Love.

 Death.

   Obsession.

Runner-Up:  A Blueprint for Murder” ( 1953 )

P.S. I go into more detail on the movie:

♠  VERTIGO

♥  VERTIGO / NIGHT SONG COMPARISON

 VERTIGO: A RUBIX CUBE

 

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THE 40’s

“OUT OF THE PAST” [ 1947 ] ~ JACQUES TOURNEUR

“You build my gallows high, baby.”

 

Robert Mitchum ~ Jane Greer ~ Kirk Douglas

I know. I know. Everyone touts “Double Indemnity” ( 1944 ) as the ultimate film noir. But my sensibilities lean into “Out of the Past.” No doubt “…Indemnity” shines bright like a diamond these past 77 years and has the Wilder / Paramount sheen and star power. But I think “Out of the Past” works its tropes into more twists and turns as it follows our detective trying to escape his past, but goes down a rabbit hole of lust and murder.

The Story: A big-time operator hires a detective to find his lover who shot him and stole his $40K. When the detective finds her, he falls for her himself. 

I like the three leads in this movie very much. In his third movie, Kirk Douglas is quite menacing without getting his hands dirty. Big things to come in his career. Robert Mitchum is as smooth as black ice. He exudes tough cool as he uses his fists only when he has to. And damn, is that fedora and trench coat just made for his big, broad shoulders. Jane Greer is the movie for me. She doesn’t smolder obviously like Ava in “The Killers.” She walks in out of the sunlight, her allure cool, calm and in control. It’s her eyes. They’re devastating.

I love how there’s more of a world in “Out of the Past” and how it unfurls before us. I hope you give it a chance.

Runner-Up:The Strange Love of Martha Ivers”  ( 1946 )

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THE 30’s

“THE AWFUL TRUTH” [ 1937 ] ~ LEO McCAREY

“Marriage is a beautiful thing.”

Cary Grant ~ Irene Dunne ~ Ralph Bellamy

This is my recommended gateway movie for someone tiptoeing around classic films. If you can’t like this one, I can’t even talk to you about movies. But listen…what’s not to like. There was none more dashing than Cary Grant in 1937 though his best is yet to come. For this being his first comedy, he does a really good job; partly b’cuz he’s teamed with Irene Dunne, newly trying comedy herself. Their great chemistry was wonderful, and they’re beautiful to look at.

The Story: The misunderstanding a married couple faces about trust leads to a spat which leads to divorce. They’ve got X-amount of time to realize they still love each other and get back together, before their divorce is final…inspite of what other love interests they drag into their lives.

I like the movie because it makes me laugh. The lines are funny, Dunne and Grant are naturals and the situations humorous. See Grant break in on Dunne’s recital. See Dunne crash the private soiree of Grant’s future in-laws. ( And while you’re at it, read the blog post in Once Upon A Screen where Citizen Screen makes a case for Irene Dunne ).

Yep, this is my favorite movie of the 1930’s. It is my recommended gateway for someone tiptoeing around classic films. If a person can’t be charmed by this comedy…they’re out of their continental mind.

Runner-Up:Bombshell” ( 1933 )

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As you can probably tell from my list, I like to laugh a lot…and murder and drama are my thing as well. I hope my favorites don’t scare you off, but encourage you to watch classic films ( if I’m not already preaching to the choir ). And by the by, if you’re curious and care to peruse previous National Classic Movie Day Blogathons held by Rick at Classic Film and TV Café, you need only click the photos below: 

         

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33 thoughts on “6 FILMS ~ 6 DECADES

  1. You included three of my favorite movies! Body Heat is the best neo-noir and it’s not even close and–in my opinion–Out of the Past is the finest film noir ever made. Vertigo is Hitchcock’s masterpiece and a truly unique film. It easily ranks in the Top 5 of my favorite all-time movies and, on most days, it occupies the top spot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Tonya. The 40’s was the decade that caused the most angst. But it’s all in good fun…right? I mean Bette and Joan won’t really be mad at me…right? Right?

      Oh No.

      And let me know, if you get a chance, what you think of “BODY HEAT.” Thanks again!

      Like

      • Ha ha!! Dare not dream of getting either one of them upset!! Lol!! I’ll definitely do so… haven’t seen it on ages, so it’ll be with older eyes, that’s for sure! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How nice to see Send Me No Flowers on your list! That nearly made mine, too. Good choices and I equally like your runner-ups. Your description of Body Heat hooked me, I’ll have to watch that one now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading about my favorites Constance. I adore “Send Me No Flowers.” If you’ve not seen “Body Heat” before I’d really like to know what you think of it. Let me know, won’t you?

      Like

    • Hi there Ruth ~ I’m so sorry for the delay in my responding. All I can say is…life got in the way. I hope you’re well…and I hope you’ve seen “BODY HEAT” by now. It’s a Neo-noir that really gets it. “VERTIGO”…simply put, it’s my favorite motion picture.

      I’m hosting a blogathon after all these years. If you’re interested in talking about a movie you’ve seen UMPTEEN times, then THIS is the place to be. Hope all’s well. Take good care.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Of course your list is top shelf! Loved everything you wrote, but my heart melted at the applause for Tony Randall. In my book he deserves a whole day to himself – he just makes everything better by being there. I have been a blogging baddies for so long and I have missed visiting many of my favorite blogs (yours included). I hope to shake off the dust soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shake off the dust? I’m the one who’s shaking off the dust. My apologies for not replying sooner. Life and laziness and a list of sundry things got in the way. I’m glad you liked my list. This was a fun easy one to do.

      I’m trying to get the eye of the tiger back again by hosting a blogathon. I’m calling it FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME and if you’re just a little bit curious, the link is in the title. Hope all’s well!!

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  4. I just finished a re-watch of Send Me no Flowers recently and couldn’t understand why I had always considered it the lesser of the Day-Hudson comedies. It’s just as funny and clever with great supporting performances. Also, you’re right on about The Awful Truth.

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    • Hellllooooooo there. Long time no see. I’m so sorry I have not replied to your comment here. I’ve had the will to write in months, so again, my apologies. Thank you for your comments. Glad you came around to “SEND ME NO FLOWERS.” I think it’s a great concept and seeing Doris and Rock progress their relationship from wolf chasing single gal, to being a married couple in suburbia was wonderful. Their chemistry is off the hook. “THE AWFUL TRUTH” still holds up … even from 1937. Can’t say I get tired of Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.

      In my trying to get my feet wet again, I’m going to host a blogathon entitled: FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME. <——All you need do is click on this link to join the fun. Hope you can make it, and thanks again for your comments here. 🙂

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  5. So many good picks! I love what you said about Tony Randall — so true. And Kathleen Turner! I absolutely love her, even though I’ve really only seen a small fraction of her work. Someone else recommended Body Heat the other day, but before I could watch it I heard Eddie Muller mention that it’d be on TCM soon as part of a neo-noir series he’s hosting so I’ve decided to wait until it pops up there (hopefully I’m remembering that all correctly!).

    Like

    • Hi Michaela . . . my deep apologies for not replying to your comment sooner. My life got in the way and I’m just getting motivated again to dive into the blog world.I hope you’ve seen “BODY HEAT” by now. What did you think of it? Isn’t a dead-on descendant from classic film noir. I think Lawrence Kasdan nailed it.

      And Turner and Hurt aren’t bad to look at either. Let me know if you’ve seen the film.

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  6. What a list! The minute I saw Body Heat at the top (and that you included one of my favorite quotes of all time, (“You’re not too smart are you? I like that in a man”) I knew this was a list I was going to love. And then Network, Send Me No Flowers, Vertigo, Out of the Past and to top it all off, The Awful Truth. Perfect.

    Like

    • THANK YOU! Thank you!! It took me long enough, huh? Hi there Lady Eve. I’m so sorry it took me so long to get back to my comments. I’ve been such a slacker in that regard, but busy as a bee and as unmotivated as a sloth. I’m happy you enjoyed my list. I think it’s pretty perfect too, if I say so myself. But so many good lists in this particular blogathon. Thank you for pointing out mine.

      Oooooh, and speaking of blogathons, I’m finally trying to get back in the swim of things by hosting the UMPTEENTH BLOGATHON. Read more about it. Perhaps there’s a movie YOU have seen umpteen times and haven’t tired of it. Thank you again for your comments

      Like

  7. Why am I not surprised at these spot-on choices by Tex? Seem ’em all. Snappy writing, as always. Glad she’s back. Perhaps one day, Theresa will do an article on Patricia Highsmith’s novels turned to film. (hint/wink)

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    • “REAR WINDOW” is no doubt a masterpiece but my emotional connection is to VERTIGO. First I have to apologize for not getting back to responding to comments since May. A lot going on in my life and I didn’t carve out time to tackle my blog or even to concentrate on writing. Thanks for your patience and for commenting on my post.

      Rebecca…if you’re seeing this, I’m jumping into the blogathon pool after years of not hosting or having the time to participate. But if you’re interested, why don’t you please check out this link <——to my foray back in to the blogosphere.

      Thanks again for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love how you made the list as a countdown, chose runner-ups and added quotes: that’s dedication! The Awful Truth appeared in more than one list that I saw, showing how good it is. I’m happy o see Network and Vertigo there, two brilliant movies.
    Cheers!

    Like

    • Hi Le! Thanks so much. Where’ve you been? L0L! No it’s me…where have I been. Lots of traveling, visiting friends, starting quarantined, riding my motorcycle and my laziness has kept me busy and off my blog. My apologies for such a delay in responding. Thank you for liking my countdown style. Hard to stand out from the rest of these great bloggers.

      In other news…I’m wading back into the blogathon pool…Are there any movies you’ve seen umpteen times? Movies that you always watch no matter what? Here, I explain it better here—–> UMPTEENTH BLOGATHON <—– Maybe you'd like to join?

      Like

  9. Pingback: Classic Film and TV Café: Feiern Sie den National Classic Movie Day mit den 6 Filmen - John Hockenberry [DE]

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