by Ginger Marin
Lotta thinks watching the oldies is as comforting as snuggling up in bed with a hot cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s night. Here, she clues you in to some of her personal oldtime movie favorites, classics with Hollywood’s greatest stars and best storylines. Put them on your DVD/video rental list today.
ANCHOR’S AWEIGH: 1945, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra on shore leave from the Navy. Contains Kelly’s famous dance number with Jerry, the cartoon mouse.
BEN-HUR: 1959, Charlton Heston, Steven Boyd. This is one of the greatest movies ever made with its drama, historic and biblical themes. The great chariot race has got to be seen but this it has many wonderful characters supporting Heston’s tour de force performance.
BRINGING UP BABY: 1938, Katherine Hepburn as a socialite and Cary Grant as a paleontolgist. High humor that includes a wandering leopard. This is hysterically funny.
BRIGADOON: 1954, Gene Kelly and Van Johnson make their way to the magical Scottish town of Brigadoon and nothing is the same every again. Quite beautiful.
CASABLANCA: 1942, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Raines star in this classic WWII drama. If you haven’t seen this one, you don’t deserve to see any movie.
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL: 1951, Of all the sci-fi / horror genre movies of the 1950s, “The Day The Earth Stood Still” was perhaps the most intelligent. It centers around Klaatu (Michael Rennie), an alien who comes to earth to deliver a warning. Although he has come in peace, he is shot and wounded shortly upon landing his ship in Washington D.C. Once taken into military custody, Klaatu comes to realize what he is up against in the era of Cold War politics and worldwide mistrust. This is the movie that introduced the famed faceless robot called Gort and it contains the movie’s most famous line: Gort! Klaatu, barada, nikto!. The film, with its political, social and biblical messages received a Golden Globe for Best Film Promoting International Understanding. It was directed by Robert Wise who later made his mark directing “West Side Story” and “The Sound of Music”.
FORBIDDEN PLANET: 1956, Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pigeon, Anne Francis, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson. A must see for sci-fi fans. Introduces the fabulous Robby the Robot and was the inspiration for many effects later seen in the original Star Trek TV show. Astronauts travel to Altair 4 to “save” a stranded group of scientists only to find a lone survivor scientist and his now grown daughter amid a dynasty of alien artifacts and technology, including a treacherous monster of the “id”.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY: 1953, Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine. A military drama and love story with unparalleled scope that takes place on Hawaii at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
HEAVEN KNOWS MR. ALLISON: 1957, Robert Mitchum as a marine and Deborah Kerr as a nun stranded on a Pacific island during WWII as Japanese troops land. Touching and humorous, this is an absolutely beautiful film.
HIGH NOON: 1952, Gary Cooper plays the stalwart sheriff in this beautifully made drama where he alone must face a gang of bandits. Grace Kelly plays his wife, a Quaker, who opposes violence of any kind.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: 1946, James Stewart stars as George Bailey, Bedford Falls’ most loved resident. His story is magnificently told and this is one of the best films every written. Also stars Donna Reed. A Christmas favorite to be sure.
NOTORIOUS: 1946, This is one of my all time favorite films by Alfred Hitchcock. It centers around a group of German scientists and industrialists in Rio de Janiero during the war. It pairs Ingrid Bergman as Alicia Huberman, the daughter of a convicted German traitor with Cary Grant as Devlin, the American agent who hires her to go undercover. It also stars Claude Raines as Alexander Sebastian, a wealthy industrialist in whose house all the intrigue takes place.
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY: 1940, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart – it doesn’t get any better than this. High society, wedding shenanigans, and newspaper reporters. Slick and very funny.
SHANE: 1953, Starring Alan Ladd, this is a classic tale of a lone gunfighter trying to find a new life. Instead, he uses his skills to save a group of homesteaders trying to survive against a unethical cattle baron.
SINGING IN THE RAIN: 1952, One of Gene Kelly’s best, with Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. This musical has great scope, terrific music and dance.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: 1962. Gregory Peck stars in this somber story of a racial incident in the south. The story is sublime as are the child actors playing his kids. Peck is at his best. A must see.
THE WIZARD OF OZ: 1939, Pure magic and delight with Judy Garland as Dorothy journeying to the land of Oz where she meets the Munchkins, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the wicked old Witch of the West. The songs and the characters are all classics, indeed.