I haven’t seen many classic films so I figured this category would be a breeze when choosing my top three, BUT I was wrong. There are so many good films from that era, I truly miss the way films used to be made. Most, if not all of the ones I’ve actually seen have been through the film classes that I took at school. I’m going to cheat a little and list four movies instead of three.
THE APARTMENT (1960)
Directed By: Billy Wilder
Starring: Jack Lemmon & Shirley MacLaine
I LOVE this movie and everything about it. The acting is amazing and both Lemmon and MacLaine were Oscar nominated. It won an Academy Award for best picture in 1960. It has a good combination of humor, romance, and drama. Lemmon’s character (Baxter) is very awkard and goofy, but in my opinion that is what makes him so likable. Lemmon and MacLaines chemistry is unbelievable, you really can’t help but root for the both of them by the end of the film. I remember the first time I watched this, I could NOT believe that that was Jack Lemmon! I really had no idea he had been in such good movies and he just looked so young. I really fell in love with him in this film and it is a must see for everyone out there. I can not wait for this to be on Blu Ray.
THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)
Directed By: John Huston
Starring: Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor
I think this was the first Humphrey Bogart film I had ever seen and also the first film directed by John Huston that I had ever seen. What a combo! Although, it sure isn’t an unusual combination, Bogart is in so many of Huston’s films, they definitely made quite a duo. This is, in my opinion the epitomy of a classic hollywood film. It’s got the right kind of dialogue; quick and wordy and a typical ending of a film made in that era. The ‘bad guy’ has to get caught and it must convey some kind of appropriate punishment. I would kill to have a real ‘Maltese Falcon’ in my possession. Although a decent replica would also be pretty sweet. I thought the story was a little confusing when watching for the first time, but it was definitely a film that left me with a lasting memory.
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine
I’ve only seen this movie once, but how can I talk about classic hollywood without mentioning Hitchcock! I need to see more of his films, but out of the handful that I have seen, this one sticks out in my head the most. They released this on Criterion, but it is extremely hard to find now because it is currently out of print. My good friend Kelly was lucky enough to snatch it up before it was gone. They’ve gotta release this on Blu Ray some day, and when that day comes, you bet I will be there to buy it the day it comes out! And yes, some day…
What can I say, this is another magnificent Hitchcock film with twists and turns that you may or may not expect. I do find it somewhat different than his other movies, but it’s a classic Hitchcock film at best.
Directed By: Victor Fleming
Starring: Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh
Again, this is only a film I’ve seen once. But, really how can you forget a 4 hour movie! Okay, maybe easily, but I made sure to absorb as much as I could because realistically when would I ever have to time to watch this again. I watched it in several parts during my ‘Classics of Hollywood Cinema’ class in college. I wish I could actually remember how many class periods this took to get through. It was only an hour and 40 minute class. Such a good story overall, I probably never would’ve watched this otherwise and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to watch it in class. There are so many different levels to the film, I mean there have to be in order to keep you interested. It takes you to many different places and times, it’s unbelievable that a film of this length was made successfully. I usually cringe a little bit when a movie is more than 2 hours long because most of the time it is unnecessary. This movie impressed me because it actually held my interest and I wanted to know what was going to happen.