Another week, another ten movies! This week, I’ve got lots of musicals, some silents that have only gotten better with age, and movies with some of my favorite snappy lines. Now, onto the movies!
20. The Band Wagon (1953)
What Singin’ in the Rain was to Gene Kelly, The Band Wagon was to Fred Astiare. Everything about this movie is so incredibly joyous and fun. I love Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse together, the Ava Gardner cameo is fantastic, and Fred Astaire making fun of himself is just classic.
19. Now, Voyager (1942)
My favorite Bette Davis performance. It’s just got such a simple message, that it is possible to rise above obstacles and become the person you want to be by just looking within yourself.
18. The Crowd (1928)
I’ve seen movies about a kid who is told that they’re going to grow up to be something special and then they do become something special, but The Crowd is the only one I’ve seen where the kid doesn’t grow up to be anything special. It’s a wonderfully acted poignant story with some truly spectacular direction from King Vidor. I think it’s even more relevant today than it was in 1928.
17. The Women (1939)
The Women is an hour and a half long knock down, drag out catfight and I love every minute of it. It’s full of fabulously snarky lines like, “I wouldn’t think that one suggested your personality at all. It’s called ‘Ooomph’,” and “There’s a name for you ladies but it isn’t used in high society…outside of a kennel.” Rosalind Russell was just fantastic as the incredibly over-the-top Sylvia Fowler. And you gotta love the scene stealing Virginia Grey! I really wish her character had more than one scene.
16. Modern Times (1936)
Another prime example of a silent film that has only become more relevant with age. Modern Times was such a genius satire on technology that I wish Chaplin were still around and able to do a sequel. I really wish I could see what material Chaplin would come up with involving cell phones, iPods, Twitter, and CGI laden movies.
15. North by Northwest (1959)
Alfred Hitchcock doesn’t get any better than this. There are so many classic Hitchcock elements at their best here. It’s got Cary Grant being wrongfully accused of something he didn’t do. And I love how the whole movie is played like Cary’s character is just waiting to go home and be like, “Seriously, you would NOT believe the day I have just had.” Eva Marie Saint is one of my favorite Hitchcock blonde characters. Plus it has just the right mix of suspense and comedy. It’s even got my favorite Hitchcock cameo!
14. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
You just can’t go wrong with Singin’ in the Rain. Even if I knew nothing about the silent film era, I’d love it just as a musical. But since I’m really into the silent film era, I also love to see all the references to the people from that era. My favorite thing about this movie is how they took songs originally used in early musicals and totally reinvented them for this movie. Even by the 50’s, a song like The Broadway Melody would have been thought of as creaky and dated, but Singin’ in the Rain took that song and gave it a whole new life.
13. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Usually, I’m pretty quick to say that gangster movies don’t glamorize being a gangster. But Bonnie and Clyde kind of makes me re-think that because being a gangster has never looked better than it does here.
12. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
I’m usually pretty good at spotting plot twists a mile away. But the thing I love about Witness for the Prosecution is that it takes people like me down a notch. It makes all the twist spotters think that they know exactly what’s coming and right when they’re ready to declare that they saw that coming, Billy Wilder throws in a whole bunch of stuff out of nowhere and it is brilliant. I’ve never felt taken down a peg by a movie before, but Witness for the Prosecution did just that and I have so much respect for it because of that.
11. Footlight Parade (1933)
When I saw Gold Diggers of 1933, I didn’t think Busby Berkeley musicals could get much better. But then I saw Footlight Parade and was in awe that he managed to outdo Gold Diggers of 1933. The musical numbers were absolutely spectacular. I loved James Cagney in it, he’s really a rare breed that can do both gangster and musical equally well. I especially loved Joan Blondell as the tough talkin’ secretary. Not going to lie, I’m just waiting for the day where I can do this to someone in real life: