The Golden Age of Hollywood

Getting Through My Unwatched Movies

A few years back, I set myself a task of watching a long list of movies, some of which I wanted to watch but hadn't had the time to see, and some of which I felt I SHOULD watch, even though they weren't my cup of tea--westerns, war films, etc. I spent at least a year working on this task--not every night, because sometimes I just wanted to rewatch an old favorite and take a break from my dutiful viewing of unseen classics, but I kept at it steadily. I covered movies and genres I would normally never see, because I wanted my knowledge of classic films to be better rounded.

After several major life changes and years of being so busy with other parts of my life that I've hardly had time to watch any movies at all, the time has come to reacquaint myself with one of my loves, classic film. And once again, I have a long list of movies that I need to watch.

Some of the movies on my list are "must-sees" that have been sitting on my DVR for months if not years. Others are gifts of DVDs, still wrapped in plastic. It's a diverse assortment. Now begins the delightful task of working my way through this bounty one movie at a time. I expect this project to take several months at least.

To start off, I have made a list of some of the movies I have but have never watched. I intend to make a regular habit of picking a movie off this list, watching it, and then (I love this part) ticking it off. I also intend to write little reviews of each film so that I can remember later what my impression of it was, but like so many of my good intentions, this may never come to pass.

My list so far (to be added to over time):

Penguin Pool Murder (promises to be a fun little detective film with some humor; stars Edna May Oliver and James Gleason)

*Detour (well-reviewed film noir from Edgar Ulmer)

The Black Pirate (silent film starring Douglas Fairbanks)

City Limits (no idea what this is)

Party Girl (pre-Code)

Under 18 (pre-Code)

The Garden of Eden (pre-Code I've heard is good)

Fancy Pants (promises to be silly but fun; Lucille Ball and Bob Hope--can you wrap your mind around that?)

*The Keys of the Kingdom (Gregory Peck's first Oscar-nominated role, as a priest)

Eyes in the Night (have heard this is a good B thriller; the detective, played by great character actor Edward Arnold, is blind)

*Ministry of Fear (have heard this is quite a good little thriller, starring Ray Milland)

Algiers (Hedy Lamarr and Charles Boyer - how bad can it be? Besides, it was cheap.)

Number 17 (early Hitchcock talkie)

*Young and Innocent (early Hitchcock talkie I've heard is good)

*The Manchurian Candidate (essential viewing according to all)

*Elmer Gantry (serious drama of which I've heard only good things)

Female (Ruth Chatterton pre-Code)

Roxie Hart (Ginger Rogers black comedy)

The Front (film about the McCarthy era)

Sherlock, Jr. (essential viewing, Buster Keaton)

A Woman’s Face (Joan Crawford; have always been curious about this film)

The Big Parade (silent film about WWI)

The Fuller Brush Girl (comedy starring Lucille Ball)

One Hour With You (early Lubitsch musical)

Fast Company (detective comedy I know I will love)

Fast and Furious (ditto)

Thank Your Lucky Stars (wartime variety show)

Hollywood Canteen (ditto)

Whisky Galore (British comedy)

On An Island With You (Esther Williams)

Le Million (French comedy about a sweepstakes ticket)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (essential viewing I've never seen)

Shanghai Express (Marlene Dietrich, of course)

*Night Nurse (Barbara Stanwyck pre-Code everyone says is good)

Having Wonderful Time (Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.)

How do I choose one?? Maybe I should just close my eyes and place my finger on the list.


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Comment by kareng on June 23, 2013 at 5:58pm

Just sayin', it would have to be better than one with the Doug Fairbanks Jr!  Lol.

Comment by Rosie Sayer on June 23, 2013 at 5:08pm

Chris, the film you're talking about is not the one I have. The one I have is a pre-Code film (1930) starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. I'll file away your recommendation in case I ever get a chance to see the one with Cyd Charisse.

Comment by Rosie Sayer on June 23, 2013 at 3:24pm

Ktrek, that's an interesting idea for choosing a movie. I've heard of this method being used by a couple to pick a restaurant. Maybe I could just put the DVDs in a pillowcase, reach in and draw one out.

Philip, thanks for your recommendations. I actually have a free evening tonight, and I'm going to watch a movie! I like British humor, so I think I will enjoy Whisky Galore. I'm sort of saving it for a reward after watching some heavier movies.

Chris, you and Philip have such different opinions on Party Girl, you're making me very curious about it. That may have to be tonight's pick. On the other hand, I didn't know that The Black Pirate was in color, so that also has me curious. Or I could try Ktrek's method and see whatever the luck of the draw decrees. :-)

Comment by Chris Johnson on June 23, 2013 at 1:04pm

I won't give any spoilers, but you will love Party Girl Robert Taylor and Cyd Charisse at their best. Hands down in my opinion Cyd's best film, she finally was given something she could sink her teeth into.

Comment by Philip C Binstead on June 23, 2013 at 1:04am

Hi Rosie,

If it helps any of the films you have listed I can reccomend Whisky Galore it's just brilliant, but I'm not sure you don't have to be british to get the humour of it, a good appreciation of the times in which the film was made helps alot. Hollywood Canteen and Thank Your Lucky Stars are must sees not just because the cast reads like a who's who of stars of the 40's but these two musicals are fun, have some some great songs and dances they are kind of like the 'That's Entertainment' of Warner Bros in two movies and the Andrews Sisters sing the credits number in Hollywood Canteen nuff said I'll watch anything they are in love 'em. The Black Pirate is a stunning 2 colour technicolor movie, which I watch for the colour more than the performances, their are some dreadful washed out prints on available on dvd, but there are some excellent restored prints on dvd to so it pays to read the tech blurb before buying. Shanghai Express is Marlene looking her most glamourous good movie much style and some great performances. Party Girl is not the greatest of movies I bought my copy in a sale in a local food store here, the print isn't the best but the fact that it's been released at all on dvd is amazing, all I can say is watch it with an open mind I'd really like to know how you rate it after watching.

Comment by Ktrek on June 17, 2013 at 10:25pm

Looks like you have a lot of good viewing to work through there and a good variety. Should keep you from getting bored with any one genre. 

As for choosing I think you should just type them all in a Word doc, and cut each title out, close your eyes, and draw out the lucky winner.

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