FILMS… (Some of) My Best from the Rest

#1930s #1940s #1950s #1960s #1970s #1980s

 

Just one (more) favourite film for each decade…

 

Seeing as I have reviewed my (never changing) favourites already (at least once) here’s the best from the ones I have still to review.

 

 

As you know, I am constantly revising my decisions on my favourite films from the decades from the 1930s to the 1980s. I am now getting in the habit of adding these into subcategories to much broader categories.

If that description is confusing you already, here’s an example. Films on the 70s have since been divided into at least three subcategories such as favourite 70s disaster movie, favourite 70s Joan Collins movie and favourite 70s musical… for starters.

Here are a few of my yet to be categorised favourites… 

 

1930s…  Gone with the Wind (1939)…

Gone with the Wind (1939) Official Trailer – Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh Movie HD, Movieclips Classic Trailers

A 10 times Oscar-winning historical epic set at the time of the American Civil War and the time after this and tells of a plantation owner’s headstrong daughter, Scarlett O’Hara (Vivian Leigh) and her unrequited love for Ashley Wilkes (Trevor Howard). Ashley married her cousin Melanie (Olivia De Havilland). Scarlett then marries Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and it all leads to Gable saying one of the most iconic lines in the movies.

This is one of my favourite blockbuster movies – of nearly four hours running time – and one that I made a point of seeing the whole thing as a teenager. Its plot depicts slavery and marital rape in its plot and is now seen as politically and morally incorrect. But its all-star cast, sumptuous sets and costumes, melodramatic and soapy themes predated those Civil War themed 1980s mini-series. These including North and South parts 1, 2 and 3 (1985-1994) where the cast of this three-part epic mini-series also included Olivia De Havilland.

Max Steiner (who also composed for A Summer Place (1959)) wrote the score including the bombastic love theme, Tara’s Theme. This film also indirectly spawned Scarlett (1994), a reportedly guilty pleasure sequel… And after reading about it more, I for one frankly don’t give a damn about this follow-up mini-series despite Timothy Dalton, Joanne Whalley Kilmer and Sean Bean heading a fantastic cast.

 

1940s…  The Philadelphia Story (1940)

The Philadelphia Story (1940) Official Trailer – Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart Movie HD, Movieclips Classic Trailers
This film is one of those rare films that I also like in its musical remake, High Society (1956). This original film version of the Broadway play has the top-billed Cary Grant (later Bing Crosby in the musical version), as Dexter the ex-husband of the strong-willed Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn).  Hepburn had played Tracy on Broadway, with Joseph Cotten in the Dexter Role and Van Heflin as Mike. She was later replaced by Gracy Kelly and Heflin by Frank Sinatra in High Society.
 
I have only seen this film once, but Katharine Hepburn as Tracy is my favourite actress in this role. This Broadway play was specially written for Hepburn and Howard Hughes bought her the film rights. Interestingly, Hepburn wanted Clark Gable in Dexter’s role, and Spencer Tracy as Mike but both had other commitments at the time.
 
Hepburn and Grant have such fantastic chemistry that you want them together as a couple from the start. In the film Dexter’s arrival along with the press, “Mike” (James Stewart) and Liz (Ruth Hussey) causes all sorts of comic and romantic complications for Tracy. Tracy is torn between the three men.. but you will have to watch it to discover if Cary Grant is one of the marrying kind in this film.
 
 

1950s… Some Like it Hot (1959)

Some Like it Hot (1959) Movie Trailer HD, Movieclips Trailers

In 1929, Jerry (Jack Lemmon) and Joe (Tony Curtis) witness a gangland massacre and flee town in drag, under the aliases of Daphne and Josephine (respectively). They then join an all-girl band. Jerry falls for the band’s singer Sugar “Kane” Kowalczyk, (Marilyn Monroe) and he poses as Shell Oil Junior who romances her, and “Daphne” becomes the object of affection of a millionaire, Osgood Fielding III (Joe E Brown). Cue comic complications…

I watched this as a kid, even staying up until the wee small hours to watch it at Christmas. This as Scottish TV schedules were pretty bad back then (even at Christmas). Monroe is at her best in this movie, and the Billy Wilder script was based on another remake Fanfares of Love (1951). This was as the original film script was not available.

This film was reportedly filmed in black and white, as Lemmon and Curtis’s female characters reportedly looked “grotesque” and “ghoulish” in colour. I have seen coloured pictures made from this film, and it certainly loses a lot of its credibility and charm in colour. This black and white film also won an Oscar for Costume Design.

 

1960s… The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold – Trailer, Paramount Movies Digital

This Cold War spy movie was headlined by a favourite British actor Richard Burton. The film is an adaptation of a John Le Carre book. For these two reasons, it meant this film inevitably had to be reviewed here.

It tells of a British spy working for the West Berlin office, Alec Leamas, who – under advice from “Control” –  pretends to leave British Intelligence. However, he is on a secret mission, and is now “undercover”, and he appears to have become an embittered alcoholic. as a part of this ruse. He finds a job in a British library and starts to date Nan, a member of the Communist Party.

Leamas’ unruly drunken behaviour and subsequent jailing, gets the attention of the East German Intelligence Service, who see him as a possible defector. In exchange for money, Leamus then offers false information about an East German officer, Mundt saying that this man is a paid informant for the British Secret Service. And there are a few twists and turns before the final credits…

I’ve only seen this recently but it’s a compelling British movie and has Richard Burton as his most enigmatic in this chilling script. Burton won many awards for this role including a BAFTA, but sadly only an Oscar nomination and no win. Burton heads a fabulous cast including Oscar Werner, Michael Hordern and Claire Bloom.

 

1970s… The Big Bus (1976)

The Big Bus – Trailer, Paramount Movies Digital

Another film I had heard of, thanks to my Dallas obsession, then watched for its all-star cast and outlandish plot including Larry Hagman (JR in Dallas) and now favourite Ruth Gordon. This all-star cast also including  Joseph Bologna, Richard Mulligan, Sally Kellerman, Ned Beatty and John Beck (Mark Graison from Dallas).

The Big Bus tells of a nuclear-powered bus – named Cyclops – which travels – without stopping – between New York and Denver. Needless to say, the characters have crazy backstories, unexpected dramatic events and there are a few nods to movies such as a certain Michael Caine classic late 1960s film that isn’t Alfie (1966).

The film is a parody of those 1970s disaster movies I adore, and it has an in-trailer reference to the more famous of these movies including Irwin Allen’s The Towering Inferno (1974) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972).

 

1980s… White Nights (1985)

White Nights (1985) – Trailer, Umbrella Entertainment

Nikolai ‘Kolya’ Rodchenko (Mikhail Baryshnikov) is a ballet dancer who defected from the Soviet Union. After his plane crashes in Siberia, he is hurt and recognised by a KGB officer, Chaiko (Jerzy Skolimowski). Chaiko wants him to dance at the Kirov on the new season’s opening night.

Rodchenko is placed under the care of a defected American tap dancer Raymond Greenwood (Gregory Hines) and his pregnant Soviet wife, Darya (Isabella Rossellini). The men initially don’t get on, then become firm friends, dance and then plan to escape the USSR, with the help of Rodenko’s ex-girlfriend Galina (Helen Mirren).

This was another film that had been on the to watch list ever since I heard the soundtrack. It’s another Cold War movie and has a young Helen Mirren (in the film where she met her future husband). There is also dancing from those two male leads, a fabulous soundtrack including Lionel Richie, Phil Collins and Helsinki in Finland standing in for Leningrad (now St Petersberg), Russia again. But both Finland and Russia, known for those long summer nights in the title… and this film was parodied in Archer (2009-)…

So to say me – these are my six of the best of the rest but don’t be surprised if these later become more in-depth posts coming to a Realweegiemidget review very, very soon – what say you???

 


6 Films 6 Decades Blogathon 2021, No 11

 

This post was added to For Classic Film and TV Cafe’s 6 Films – 6 Decades Blogathon. Other films with these casts include Clark Gable in Teachers Pet. Olivia De Havilland in The Love BoatThe Screaming WomanAirport 77 and The Swarm. Katharine Hepburn in Guess Whos Coming to Dinner and On Golden Pond. Cary Grant in Indiscreet, North by Northwest, An Affair to Remember and Arsenic and Old Lace. Jack Lemmon in Airport 77 and The Apartment. Richard Burton in his Blogathon, Anne of the Thousand Days and Where Eagles Dare. Michael Horden in The Medusa Touch and The Slipper and the Rose. Larry Hagman in The Return of the Worlds Greatest Detective and Dallas. Ned Beatty in Network, Supermanand The Fourth Protocol. He is tributed in Hopscotch. Stockard Channing in Grease and Heartburn. and Ruth Gordon in The Love Boat and Harold and Maude. Helen Mirren in Fate of the Furious


 

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18 thoughts on “FILMS… (Some of) My Best from the Rest

  1. I knew your list would be gold! Glad to see White Knights, which gets hardly any love these days, along with Some Like It Hot. Also, I’ll need to see The Big Bus ASAP. I know I’ll love it.

  2. It’s hard to appreciate now just how unique The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was when first released. It came out during the height of the spy craze ignited by 007 and bore zero resemblance to those films. Richard Burton is excellent and the black & white photography highlights the grim nature of the spy business. You have many fine choices on your list, but this one is my favorite.

  3. It’s fun when a film I picked shows up on another list – I also chose The Philadelphia Story! And The Big Bus sounds hilarious – I need to see this one ASAP (despite having grown up in the 70s I had not heard of this one!)

  4. Great choices! I also sat through all of Gone with the Wind as a teenager, and I also love The Philadelphia Story and Some Like It Hot. The Spy who Came in from the Cold is a compelling thriller / spionage movie, but I haven’t watched the two last movies you mentioned. My watchlist always grows when I pass by your blog.
    Cheers!

  5. I haven’t seen your ’60s-’80s choices, but Some Like It Hot and The Philadelphia Story are two of the films I love most in this world. I recently told someone that Hepburn and Grant are my favorite actor and actress and they were like, “Oh, so you must enjoy The Philadelphia Story.” I responded, “Yep, because Jimmy Stewart is my second favorite actor so it’s literally my holy trinity!”

Love your thoughts... but only if they are spoiler free!

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