Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top 10 - Classic Movies

I've just realised I haven't talked much about movies on this blog. Which is a shame because I really love cinema. Here are my favourite "classic movies". By "classic movies", I mean movies released before 1970. I don't like the term "classic" much because I think lots of movies that came afterwards are already classics (to my eyes at least, only think about The Godfather for example, which I love, but was released in 1972) but it's convenient.

1. The Shop Around the Corner (1940) - Ernst Lubitsch
At long last a true love story : they know each other first, share the same tastes and passions, and as a consequence fall in love. I think that's the best kind of attachment. Margaret Sullavan is one of my favourite actresses.

2. Brief Encounter (1945) - David Lean
I can't think of another movie which has shaped my opinion about love and life so much. For years I saw the end as frustrating and conventional, now I realise it couldn't have been otherwise and it isn't because the end is conservative that the rest of it is. I think the end makes it all worth even more. Made me realise how many barriers we put on ourselves when happiness is really at arm's reach. Celia Johnson's impeccable in this, no wonder she was Humphey Bogart and Lauren Bacall's favourite actress.

3. Seventh Heaven (1927) - Frank Borzage
Diane is picked up on the street by Chico and manages to find the strength to go on and finally she's the one who cares for her husband. Quite a revolution in 1927. Borzage's direction is breathtaking as usual. Janet Gaynor well deserved her Oscar for her career, she did wonderful movies.

4. Casablanca (1942) - Michael Curtiz
I don't like everything Bogie's done but he's really good in that one. Ingrid Bergman is perfect as usual and could do no wrong in my eyes. Memorable lines and music, and most certainly the only movie that makes me feel a little patriotic (the Marseillaise scene makes me cry).

5. Three Comrades (1938) - Frank Borzage
Borzage has always done films in which war and poverty are transcended by love and care. This is no exception. Very beautiful relationships. The end is particularly good, as always with Borzage.

6. All About Eve (1950) - Joseph Mankiewicz
I absolutely need to have a bit of Mankiewicz in here, he's fantastic. Bette Davies at her best. One of the best movies about the movies and quite a challenge when you think about it.

7. History is Made at Night (1937) - Frank Borzage
Now you know who my secret lover really is ! I've been in love with Charles Boyer for what seems like forever - he had quite a romantic death too as he committed suicide two days after his wife died of cancer. I love this movie, it's so well done. It's a got such intimate moments (a sock used as a puppet to make her laugh, them dancing and taking off their shoes). I was surprised by the end, in a good way.

8. Waterloo Bridge (1940) - Mervyn LeRoy
I don't like much of what Vivien has done but I really enjoy this particular one. The DVD will finally be released on Jan. 27.

9. Letyat Zhuravli (1957) - Mikhail Kalatozov
I think everybody's who's seen it remembers it. Beautifully shot, too.

10. Cluny Brown (1946) - Ernst Lubitsch
What a funny funny movie, I love Lubitsch. A woman who's a plumber, you don't see that everyday and yet Lubitsch did it in 1946. Charles Boyer again, irresistible as usual.

Excellent essay about Frank Borzage here on Senses of Cinema. It's a great shame I don't have access to the American version of TCM, their schedule is so tempting. I'll be watching a lot of movies these days as I'm on holiday so you can expect some more cinema entries.
To the powers that be, please please please release more Borzage at affordable prices.

Obscure Classics - Obscure Classics - Obscure Classics