I love classic movies. I learned a love of old movies from a young age. My mother is a fan of old movies, musicals, movie stars and the studios. She and my aunt are super fans.
I always loved musicals but developed an appreciation of older classics when I was in college. I attended the “Mom School of Movies” my entire life but when I started taking cinema classes at Pasadena City College and USC, movies had so many more stories and information beyond the silver screen.
I have far more than five movies that are in my faves, but I’m starting with a solid group of five. They are all amazing movies in cinema history and are a pretty good variety.
5. The Quiet Man, 1952. I’m not a John Wayne fan, but this film is not his typical Western genre. This romantic comedy in a Technicolor Ireland is packed with many charming characters and beautiful scenery. John Ford is the director and captures a 1950’s Ireland with a brilliant color palette. It was nominated for seven Oscars and won two – Best Director and Cinematographer. I saw this film before I was in college but then was privileged to view it on the big screen for a USC class. I have yet to go to Ireland but when I do, I’m sure the soundtrack will be in my head during my travels.
4. You Can’t Take It With You, 1938. This movie was a Frank Capra film with as much quirk as my own family at times. Perhaps that is why it is an endearing movie to me. I’ve walked into my parents house before and each person was doing a unique activity. I suppose we all tend to beat to our own drum some days, similar to this family and friends. This film was nominated for seven oscars and received two, Best Director for Frank Capra and Best Picture.
3. How Green Was My Valley, 1941. John Ford directed this movie and frames each scene so beautifully. I think if you just took screen shots through this film, you’d have a gorgeous array of black and white photographs. It was nominated for ten Oscars and won five including Best Picture. It was filmed during WWII so they could not shoot in Ireland. A Welsh mining village was recreated in the Santa Monica Mountains.
2. Gaslight, 1944. There was color available at the time of this movie for sure but the director chose to film in black and white. The dramatic effect of the lighting in this film is as much a character as the incredible actors Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. It was also a introduction of an 18 year old Angela Lansbury. Nominated for seven Oscars and won two for Best Actress and Best Art Direction. I first saw this in a film class at Pasadena City College. My teacher had been a cameraman for Taxi Driver and was showing us one of his favorite movies. I watched it on the smallest TV in an uncomfortable desk but it quickly became one of my favorites too.
1. Jezebel, 1938. For some reason, I always find myself watching this movie during the Christmas season? It is not a Holiday movie but I think it’s a favorite escape to a great movie while all the mayhem of Christmas planning, shopping and decorating happens. It was released in 1938, a year before Gone With the Wind. Bette Davis, like all of the other actresses of the time, wanted to secure herself as the quintessential Southern belle, Scarlett O’Hara. As we know, she was not cast. I think this movie was offered to Bette Davis when Tallulah Bankhead couldn’t take the roll due to illness and Bette wasn’t cast as Scarlett. This little consolation prize got five Oscar nominations and won Bette Davis the Academy for Best Actress and Fay Bainter for Best Supporting Actress.
These movies aren’t my only favorites. There are so many great movies in the universe to choose from! Eventually I’ll share more faves. If you haven’t seen one or any of these films, try them out and let me know if you liked them too?