Admit it. You sang the post title when you read it, didn’t you. (I wouldn’t blame you. I sang it as I typed it.)
Nathan Bransford (whose blog amuses me) recently posted his top 100 favorite movies. When I saw that Casablanca was #1, I thought, “This dude’s got class.”
…then I read the rest of the list and realized that he rated Groundhog Day above The Philadelphia Story, and I began to seriously doubt his classiness.
Oh well. We can’t all have our priorities straight, I guess.
Here’s my list of my favorite classic (and classy) movies…in the order I thought of them while I was sitting in Starbucks.
My favorite movie of all time. Period.
Often when I’m getting too all-fire worked up about something and thinking I’m the center of the universe, I reflect on Bogart’s line: “It doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.”
…Ok, that’s totally not true. I never think that.
But it is true that Casablanca is the source of the most misquoted line in all of movie history.*
The Philadelphia Story
Lil’ Sis loves the remake High Society better, but I’m a stickler for the classics. You just can’t beat Hepburn and Grant.
His Girl Friday
Before there was Gilmore Girls, there was His Girl Friday. The witty repartee is second to none.
The King and I
…for which role, Yul Brynner first shaved his head. (His transformation for the movie was not as drastic as Deborah Kerr. Her gowns weighed 30-40 pounds, and she sweated off about 15 pounds during the making of the film. It’s called “The Melting Miss Kerr” diet now.)
One of the most iconic movie posters ever.
Not only is Charade hilarious, suspenseful, and classy, it contains one of my favorite quotes of all time ever.
Cary Grant is trying to introduce himself to Audrey Hepburn and she responds with: “I already know an awful lot of people; until one of them dies, I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.”
Gone With the Wind
Ok, so my Southern roots are showing. So what.
“Frankly, Scarlett…tomorrow is another day!”
Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Yes, the plot is old and completely unoriginal (and unrealistic), but the music is eternal.
“In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be…” was the soundtrack of my childhood.
(And who of us has never felt the inclination to burst out with “Ten minutes ago I saw you, I looked up as you came through the door. My head started reeling, you gave me the feeling the room had no ceiling or floor!” at some point in our lives?)
This movie made me want to go to culinary school and learn how to crack an egg with one hand.
“It’s all in the wrist.”
(Don’t bother watching the remake with Harrison Ford. It’s just disappointing.)
The Man Who Came to Dinner
If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s hilarious.
The Maltese Falcon
After watching The Maltese Falcon, I was convinced I wanted to be a Private Eye. There’s just something so romantic and irresistible about Sam Spade.
That Touch of Mink
Doris Day and her quintessential “good girl” image…
Quite possibly my favorite Cary Grant movie ever. Gangsters, Sailors (I’m a sucker for a good waterfront scene), Nuns, Gambling, Subterfuge, Unrequited Love…what’s not to like?!
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
My favorite western. (In case you haven’t noticed, I have a lot of favorites. They’re usually divided into genres and cross-referenced by actor…maybe another post, another time.)
The Flying Tigers
Until I googled to make sure, I always thought Clark Gable played in this movie with John Wayne. He doesn’t. Who knew?
This makes the list because it’s my mother’s favorite movie. …and because “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair!” is the best post-breakup song a gal can sing.
The Court Jester
Danny Kaye is quite possibly one of the most brilliant actors to ever grace the screen. (Also one of the highest paid.)
The snapping scene in this movie is hilarious.
The Five Pennies
Another Danny Kaye movie and quite different from his usual fare.
A Face in the Crowd
Call me morbid, but I rather enjoyed Lonesome Rhodes – who was pretty much Andy Griffith: the Dark Side.
“Those morons out there? Shucks, I could take chicken fertilizer and sell it to them as caviar. I could make them eat dog food and think it was steak. Sure, I got ’em like this… You know what the public’s like? A cage of Guinea Pigs. Good Night you stupid idiots. Good Night, you miserable slobs. They’re a lot of trained seals. I toss them a dead fish and they’ll flap their flippers.”
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Doris Day singing “Que Sera, Sera” at the top of her lungs taught me an important lesson: Never leave your child unattended in a hotel room.
It Happened One Night
Clark Gable in a rarely seen comic role.
(Fun fact: this is where Bugs got “What’s up, Doc?”)
The Sons of Katie Elder
Lil’ Sis’s favorite John Wayne movie. (It always makes me cry, but I try not to let people know. Gotta protect my tough image.)
The Magnificent Seven
(Contrary to popular belief, this is not a movie about a clueless, trusting princess who loves to clean and some really short dudes.)
During filming, Steve McQueen kept trying to do things to upstage Yul Brynner in scenes. Yul told him to cut it out, and that all he had to do was to take off his hat, and no one would even notice McQueen. To which McQueen replied: “Seemed like a good idea at the time.” (I got that story from my dad. It may or may not be true.)
The Great Escape
Another of Steve McQueen’s great movies…in which he wears a bomber jacket, drives a motorcycle, and throws a baseball against a wall.
There‘s an awesome scene in Red River where the wagon train is being attacked by Indians, the wagons are circled (…Pilgrim), and the lead chick takes an arrow to her shoulder. It pins her back against a wagon wheel, and she just sits there until John Wayne notices and comes to the rescue.
I remember thinking, “Dang, that’s some grit! If I got pinned to a wagon wheel with an arrow, I would cry like squalling baby!”
(She later hides a gun in her sling. She’s crafty and tough!)
This guy writes an entire book from his bathtub. [Comment redacted…my Mother was shocked that I was giving away a key plot point.]
This is where “Eye of the Tiger” really started.
My mother hates this movie. I love it. A woman rebuilds her life after her husband walks out on her, then is willing to give up everything to protect the ones she loves (even though they don’t deserve it).
It won Humphrey Bogart his one and only Oscar. You’ll never forget the slugs.
Olivia de Havilland plays an evil twin and her twin sister.
The Bad Seed
My mom always said the girl in this movie reminder her of me…I’m not so sure that was a compliment. (I dunno. That could be why I’m immune to manipulation.)
All About Eve
Ok, this time I mean it when I say this is one of my favorite movies. …Can I say it’s my favorite Bette Davis movie?
It’s also infinitely quotable.
~”Funny business, a woman’s career – the things you drop on your way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you’ll need them again when you get back to being a woman.”
~”I am nobody’s fool, least of all yours.”
~”Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”
Arsenic and Old Lace
“There’s a body in the window seat!!” …”Yes, dear. We know.”
(I really could keep quoting the entire movie, but I would hate to deprive you of the joy of experiencing it for yourself.)
…so it’s a few short of 100, but it’s not too bad for all that. (I’ve already thought of some I forgot to add, but I’m sure you’ll clue me in to a lost masterpiece in the comments section.)
*”Play it again, Sam” is never said in Casablanca. The actual line is, “You played it for her, you can play it for me!…If she can stand it, I can! Play it!”