Friday, April 12, 2013

Simple Pleasures: Old Movies

Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in

I don't know what it is about old movies, but I'm crazy about them. They evoke happy childhood memories of family togetherness and make me feel nostalgic for the seeming simplicity of former times. Still, it's difficult to articulate what it is about the films themselves I love so dearly, but I turn one on whenever I crave warmth and cosiness. Somehow they make me feel all the comforts of home before the opening credits conclude.

Recently some new (or old) gems have been discovered. I saw The Shop Around the Corner (the film on which You've Got Mail was based) for the first time and found it to be a delight. My brother emphatically declared, 'This movie is feel-good awesome!' At my friend's insistence we watched The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer which also enchanted me. I heartily recommend both.

I do, however, feel that I need to delve into the wonderful world of classic film more thoroughly. Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart have always been firm favourites in our house, but upon reflection I see I've watched little besides iconic, popular classics. Which old movies do you love most? Please pass on your recommendations. I see an Old Movie Marathon in my near future!

15 comments:

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

The Shop Around the Corner is one of my very favourites! I love watching it around Christmas time, though it's a delight at any time of year.

I almost only watch old films so brace yourself for a load of recommendations: The More the Merrier (a romantic comedy based around the wartime housing shortage in Washington, DC), Sullivan's Travels (about a director who travels around the country disguised as a hobo), The Lady Vanishes (my very favourite Hitchcock with the best old lady character you'll ever encounter), Theodora Goes Wild (about a proper young lady who write a racy book and then tries to hide her authorship from her small town), The Thin Man (a life without Nick and Nora is a sad thing), Ninotchka (Garbo laughs!)...I could go on and on and on. Whatever you watch next, enjoy!

Leticia Austria said...

I, too, love The Shop Around the Corner and watch it every year around Christmas. Other black and white classics worth watching again and again: The Philadelphia Story (read the play, too, by Philip Barry), All About Eve, Holiday (the 2nd version, with Hepburn and Grant - again, based on a Philip Barry play), Brief Encounter (w/ Celia Johnson, not the dreadful remake w/ Sophia Loren), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (one of the sweetest love stories EVER - it's also a wonderful novel), Love Affair (the original version of An Affair to Remember), Old Acquaintance, Dark Victory, Stage Door, The Women (hysterically funny), and SOOOOO many more!

Jess McGraw said...

Also try In the Good Old Summertime with Judy Garland and Van Johnson. It's another version of The Shop Around the Corner. I like it better than The Shop Around the Corner.

Diana said...

All your recommends sound fabulous, Claire. Thank you for sending so many wonderful films my way. :)

Diana said...

Leticia, you've given me many viewing and reading ideas. Thank you. I had no idea The Philadelphia Story was based on a play. How delightful.

Diana said...

Jess, I didn't know there was yet another version of The Shop Around the Corner. I'm keen to check it out, as I've enjoyed both represntations that I've managed to see.

JoAnn said...

Can't think of many things more enjoyable than a day spent watching old movies!

amanda @ simplerpastimes said...

I just saw The Shop Around the Corner for the first time last Christmas and also found it delightful. Every time I see an old film I think I need to watch more, but it always seems to take me so long to get around to it. I'm afraid I don't have any recommendations at the moment, but I hope you have fun with the recommendations you've already received!

Diana said...

That's very true, JoAnn. I particularly love watching old movies when it's windy/rainy/snowy outside.

Diana said...

Yes, it's the same for me, Amanda. I'm planning a big marathon as an end-of-semester reward though. Having no work/distractions will make it all the more leisurely and enjoyable.

Ashley said...

I can't believe you just saw "Shop Around the Corner" for the first time! I failed you as a friend! That has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I highly recommend "Random Harvest." An older woman in the neighborhood once told my mom that "Random Harvest" was her favorite movie and one of the best romances of all time. It's pretty fantastic. I also love "How to Steal a Million" with Audrey Hepburn. Peter O'Toole was rather dreamy, if I do say so myself.

Diana said...

You have most definitely not failed as a friend. I blame this situation entirely on my own ignorance.

Random Harvest and How to Steal a Million have been added to my netflix queue. Thanks for the recommends. :)

Caro said...

Ohhh, I've been meaning to watch a few old movies for months (I have a horrible track record with movies - I barely ever watch any). The Shop Around the Corner sounds delightful.

(I wouldn't complain if you threw some recommendations my way, either!)

Betty said...

I've just recently discovered your blog and think I have found a new friend. I'm a huge fan of books and classic movies. I could go on forever with lists of movies, but will try and keep my movie picks to a few. Here are some of my faves:

1. Arsenic and Old Lace, you'll love Cary Grant and his two dotty aunts!
2. I too second The Shop Around the Corner and have watched it a zillion times and still love it. By the way, not only has this movie been remade a few times, it's also been made into a musical called "She Loves Me." I saw it on Broadway a few years ago and absolutely loved it.
3. The Uninvited. A spooky film with the terrific Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey. The two play brother and sister who've bought a house, which turns out to be haunted.
4. I would also recommend Random Harvest and I cry every time I watch the movie.

I'm also a huge fan of movies from the late 50s into the 60s that were shot in Europe, mostly Italy, and New York City. Some of my favourites in this genre are: Light in the Piazza; Roman Holiday; Rome Adventure; How to Steal a Million,Sunday in New York, Mary, Mary, Any Wednesday, The World of Henry Orient, Breakfast at Tiffany's (Three Coins in the Fountain, Mr. Hulot's Holiday, etc.

Enjoy

Anonymous said...

It's a wonderful life