This is my entry into The Classic Film and TV Cafe's annual National Classic Movie Day blogathon. This year's theme is 6 films - 6 decades. Click here to see more personal choices by some awesome movie lovers.
1910s: The Immigrant and The New York Hat: Big Apple Love and Longing
The main feature is one of my favorite Chaplin shorts, 1917's "The Immigrant." The second feature is 1912's "The New York Hat." Chaplin gazes at the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and Mary Pickford gazes longingly at a fancy New York hat in a shop window. There's always been something about New York.
|$10 is a fortune for Mary in "The New York Hat."|
Have you seen this film? This is a charming little short with a hefty pedigree. Directed by D.W. Griffith and written by Anita Loos and Frances Marion, it stars Mary Pickford and Lionel Barrymore in Mary Pickford's swan song to her Biograph association. I love everything about this film, including its sly and humorous take down of small town gossips, but mainly I am always - always - astounded by Mary Pickford's incredible star power. It is impossible not to take your eyes off of her or be enchanted by her. After 109 years, she is undeniably a bright and shinning and ever lasting star.
1920s: Our Hospitality and The Thief of Bagdad: Go Big.
The main feature for this decade would be Buster Keaton's great first feature, 1923's "Our Hospitality." I love the incredibly clever story and, of course, Buster's humor. But mainly I love this film for Buster's bravery and audacity in both his stunts and his incredible period recreation. The little guy went big in all ways.
1930s: City Lights and Love Me Tonight: I Humbly Apologize...
The main feature is Chaplin's great 1931 "City Lights." I've written way too much about it already, so let's just focus here on the beautiful story of a poor fellow who will stretch the truth about his humble conditions to win the heart of his lady love.
|Chevalier and MacDonald sizing each other up|
The second feature here is 1932's "Love Me Tonight." Ah, "the son of a gun is nothing but a tailor!" (so the song goes). Chevalier, the humble tailor who masquerades as a nobleman to win his princess, oozes his most cheeky French charm, Jeanette MacDonald is at her sexiest and least artificial, there's a score to die for by Rodgers and Hart, and it's all directed in the Lubitsch manner by Rouben Mamoulian. An added plus: A delicious Myrna Loy, Charlie Ruggles and Charles Butterworth are along for this joyous and carefree ride. "Love Me Tonight" is a perfect cinematic confection that tastes like desert but is as pleasing as a full course meal. Isn't it romantic? Yes!
1940s: Double Indemnity and Leave Her to Heaven: Pretty Poison
"Double Indemnity" (1944) is one of my all time favorites. What more can I say? It is Billy Wilder perfect - which is perfect x 10 (at least). Barbara Stanwyck's unforgettable femme fatale is poisonously fatal to everyone, including herself. But, she had us at the ankle bracelet.
|Please don't let Ellen take you swimming.....|
The second feature for this decade is 1945's "Leave her to Heaven." Talk about a poison femme fatale. This noir in glorious color has everything: great locations, sympathetic secondary characters, and an irresistible potboiler of a plot. However, it all bows in service to Gene Tierney's psychopathic Ellen. Beautiful to look at, deadly to hold. I can't think of a femme fatale more beautiful and ultimately more loathsome.
1950s: Sunset Boulevard and Strangers on a Train: Kooks and Unrequited Love
Kooks and unrequited love seems to be a theme that runs through this decade. Sunset Boulevard is my favorite film of any decade and Norma Desmond one of my most favorite characters. Period. Poor Norma.... fruitcake mad for Joe Gillis... and poor Max...fruitcake mad for Norma. More Billy Wilder perfection.
1960s: The Apartment and Charade: surrounded by baddies
Billy Wilder again! I guess all I need are Chaplin and Wilder films to feel happy. Aside from the complicated and adorable love story between Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, one of the uncomfortable aspects of "The Apartment" is the casual immorality of of all those guys at Consolidated Insurance.
|Seriously, what's not to love here?|
Thank you, Mel Brooks, for all the laughs.
If I were in a movie theater with any of these double features - or even at home - I'd aplaud at the end. You made perfect choices, in special for the 1910s. the New York Hat is a lovely little film, and Mary is indeed as wonderful now as she was last century.
Thank you, Le. I especially love Mary in those early films - her star power is intoxicating.
Oh you smart cookie! Picking double features is brilliant! I can’t argue with any of your choices, which include a few of my all-time favoritea. I actually wrestled myself yo the ground to not pick Sunset Blvd. only because I have lauded it often.
A fun read as usual.
I love your take on the topic and your amazing choices make my mind race at the complexity of our beloved classic films.
I love, LOVE the double feature idea! And what terrific double bills from each decade.
You make a good point about Mary Pickford. There was no way that gal WASN'T going to be a star.
Aurora - I feel so smart when someone as smart as you calls me a smart cookie!
CW - thank you my friend - so happy, happy, happy to see you here!
Ruth - yes - Mary was just undeniable. What a screen presence she was. After all these years, she still comes acrossoso fresh and natural.
Wait, this is 12 films for six decades! My fave of your double-features is the "Pretty Poison" one from the 1940s. These films features two women who knows what they want and how to get it. I'm a fan of Wilder's film, but I adore Leave Her to Heaven. Perhaps, it's the casting of Gene Tierney, who is not as hard as Barbara Stanwyck. But she is fabulous (especially in that scene with the kid swimming) and Vincent Price has a nice bit, too.
Haha, such a clever way to double the canon! :-) Great choices, too. I think you and I are classic movie "twins" when it comes to the films we love. Keaton's Our Hospitality is perhaps in the top three favorites of his, and I often cite Strangers on a Train as my favorite Hitchcock.
What a creative approach,and what an interesting "melange," if I may be pretentious. Pretty Poison and Surrounded by Baddies are the double features that whisper my name. Great concept, m'dear!
You have so many picks that I love. Chaplin's The Immigrants is my favorite short of his and remains relevant to this day. City Lights is an obvious masterpiece as is Keaton's Our Hospitality. I recently watched Strangers on a Train. One Hitch's best, but then he has so many.
Hey Rick... I know...I cheated, but what can I say? I'm a bad girl. Many thanks for highlighting this day and for hosting this annual must no miss event.
Jocelyn - thank you, movie twin. We certainly have good taste.
Thank you, Patty. Praise from the Lady Eve herself is the cherry on the cake!
Double features, what a great idea. I love your choices. And you really can't go wrong with some of the very best of Billy Wilder.
This is a great read! I'm totally with you on your picks for the forties and the fifties.
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