Tuesday, June 16, 2009

13 Classic Movies I've Never Seen...But Really Want To

Through the years when discussing classic movies with friends and fellow film lovers, inevitably I've been asked numerous times who and what my favorites actors, actresses and films are. I have had discussions on what my favorite Hitchcock films are, my favorite Bette Davis movies and so on. Then the other day I was chatting with an online friend and we started discussing the films we had always wanted to see but hadn't, either by lack of opportunity or as is often in my case, just let the opportunity slip by. So I thought I would share 13 such films. These are by no means the only movies that meet this criteria for me or even necessarily the ones I want to see the most, but it is a good overall example. When perusing this lineup one may ask "Why in the world is THAT on here?". We are all different, with our own likes and dislikes and our own special reasoning for those preferences. Some of the films listed are very famous, most are not.

(NOTE: These are listed neither alphabetically, chronologically nor in order of importance)

They Won't Forget (1937) Claude Rains, a red hot murder/rape trial in the deep South and Lana Turner in a tight sweater. Tell me that's not a combination for a swell sounding film.

Trade Winds (1938) Joan Bennett is one of my favorite actresses (hence her appearance more than once on this list) and this film changed the course of her career with a simple hair color change. Plus it sounds cute and has the irresistible Ann Sothern.

Citizen Kane (1941) I know what you're thinking, "A fellow writes about classic movies and he's never seen one of the MOST classic!." What can I say, I was never a huge Orson Welles fan, but I've heard so much about it, I'm intrigued.

Meet John Doe (1941) Two of my favorite stars, Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck at their peak with Frank Capra along for direction.

Forbidden (1932) Pre-Code Stanwyck directed by Capra and a really attention catching title.

Hotel for Women (1939) So elusive I've never even seen evidence of a television screening. This was Linda Darnell's film debut. Though no award winning classic, it sounds like fun with two long time favorites Ann Sothern and Lynn Bari in tow.

The Sign of the Cross (1932) Cecil B. DeMille directing a Pre-Code epic set in decadent, ancient Rome in which Claudette Colbert bathes in a giant pool of asses milk (no joke!).

House Across the Bay (1940) Joan Bennett again, this time in a drama with George Raft, whose usually very watchable.

Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) Classic film version of a classic tale. Basil Rathbone's first offering as the famous British sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. Lead to the long running movie series.

All Through the Night (1942) I like early 40's Bogart, but somehow missed this one. Also, my aunt, a big Bogie fan, had this poster in her home when I was a little tot. Good memories.

Hands Across the Table (1935) 1930's screwball comedy with Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray. Sounds great to me.

Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936) Another Fred MacMurray flick that from what I understand, is similar in atmosphere to Shepherd of the Hills, one of my favorite movies. Henry Hathaway directed both. I also feel that MacMurray was a much underrated actor.

Mandalay (1934) I like a good Kay Francis flick, though I haven't seen that many of them. From what I've been told, this is a perfect example of Kay at her pinnacle.

Some of these films are from Paramount Studios before 1948 and the MCA company bought this library with little distribution in recent years, therefore my lack of viewing opportunities. But others have been televised often or have been released on VHS and DVD for years now and I, alas, have just not taken the opportunity to fit them in to a busy and tight film viewing schedule. Whether you like the films on this log or in some cases don't, I hope you find it of some interest.


  1. Thank you so much for your comment! Its great to hear your thoughts. Your blog has great information, i may just try out some of the movies you suggest!

  2. Wonderful new blog! Citizen Kane is definitely a great movie; I saw most of it at work one night (We can watch TV there, though it was hard to catch up all). I would also like to see The Sign of the Cross, after reading about it.:)

  3. Hi Rupert! I really enjoyed this blog a lot. Citizen Kane is a good movie but I think it is overrated. The reason I say that because I don't think it is the number one film ever like some people think it is of course I think Casablanca is really good but overrated to. I don't get it being like one of the number one movies either. Gone With The Wind, yes. lol. Sign of the Cross is a good movie but the one I think you will really enjoy out of the ones I seen is Meet John Doe. that one I can watch over and over. Capracorn. All through the night is one of my bogey faves. Hands across the table and Mandalay are both good, well I like almost anything with Kay in it. lol. I haven't seen the rest but want to now.

  4. Mandalay: I think this film is excellent in the first part and deceiving in the second one, due to uneven quality of the script and the pairing of wonderful Kay Francis with uninteresting Lyle Talbot.William Powell would have given a more sophisticated and ironical personality to the charachter of an alcoholic doctor. Kay dominates this film in which she exudes sex appeal,in a very vulnerable but exotic way at first and then as an embittered very pre-code lost woman similar to some Marlene Dietrich's charachters.

  5. Michael Curtiz is discontinous as usual but here he follows the decreasing quality of the script. He creates in the first part beautiful images and perfect rythm. The heavy steamy atmosphere of Rangoon and the night club/ brothel is perfectly given. Kay also sings (three times, true, but only few stanzas each time, with beautiful deep and not operatic voice, which now sounds much more acceptable then the usually squeaky voices so well liked in the 30's. Kay's own voice was labelled "audible velvet" and even though she had little troubles with "r" I think hers was the most elegant & sexy voice of all stars of her time. ( by Attilio F.)

  6. I love Citizen Kane, but Agnes Moorehead gets on my nerves after a while!

  7. ah! you haven't seen Forbidden or Meet John Doe? Two of my favorite films! (Stany is my favorite actress) Meet John Doe might very well be Capra's best-- definitely rent it/buy it/watch it the first chance you get!! I think there's a crummy copy on DVD (like the dollar store kind) on amazon, but I just taped it off TCM.

    Citizen Kane was pretty good-- I'm no Orson Welles fan either, mostly because of his later work like Touch of Evil, etc. but Kane is a good film. I personally only like the first half, since Welles turns into a bit of a ham at the end and really overacts. But it's worth watching if only because it IS such a classic :)

  8. I love seeing your pics and hope you'll comment again when you see these. I think it's easy to say an old film is "overrated" but it should be viewed in the context of the era in which it was released. That's why I love your blog--it transports me back in time.

  9. GASP re citizen kane. ;) definitely worth a view imo. and meet john doe is one of my favorites of the lesser capras, watch for the amazing crowd scene towards the end if not for babs turn as a spunky newspaperwoman or cooper's all american..ness. forbidden is rather fascinating as a look at the start of two great careers, and contrary to popular opinion i think claude rains is amazing in they won't forget.

  10. Citizen Kane was just on TCM last night!

  11. Citizen Kane is a masterpiece, and you might be disappointed in how little screen time Basil Rathbone has in the first Sherlock film. (He hasn't even the top billing!)

  12. "Kane" broke so many of the "rules" for filmmaking when it came out, so it's difficult for us to recognize just how revolutionary it was. You may not love it (though it's one of my all-time favorites), but you'll definitely appreciate it.

    "Forbidden" is a good Capra-Stanwyck vehicle, while "Hands Across The Table" was the first Paramount film where Lombard really shined (her breakthrough film, "Twentieth Century," was made at Columbia). It's available on the "Carole Lombard Glanour Collection" Universal issued about three years ago.

  13. only saw Meet John Doe but I prefer Stanwyck in The Lady Eve

    haven't heard of any of the others except for Citizen Kane which I would have seen it but it didn't intrigue me plus I already heard of the ending

  14. Haven't seen any of these, either, but I plan to remedy that. Thank goodness for Netflix! Thanks for stopping by my blog today--welcome anytime to the retro world of forrestina vintage.

  15. Hi, Rupert.

    I'm enjoying your blog, and even though I'm a few days late for this party, I wanted to make a quick rec. After you watch Lombard in "Hands Across the Table," consider viewing "The Princess Comes Across." Lombard does this terrific, spot on send-up of Garbo. It's hilarious. A breezy, funny movie with an interesting murder mystery twist. Definitely worth watching.

  16. Don't feel badly - I haven't seen "Citizen Kane" yet either. *grins* I found "The Sign of the Cross" rather dull (unfortunately) but the bathing scene is worth it.

    Great blog, I'll be following!

    Jen ^_^

  17. "Meet John Doe" could so easily be applied to the present age of newspaper monopolies and going after the buck and not caring about the truth. I loved that they addressed the moral code that we are all called to live by. The evolution of Barbra Stanwyck character as a cynic to becoming compassionate is beautifully done.

  18. THEY WON'T FORGET was good. It was based on the Leo Frank murder case that happened here in ATL. In the movie, they changed a few names/places. Lana was cute as a brunette. And yes, she wore that tight sweater!Claude Rains is always good!

  19. Of the intriguing films you list, I've seen only "Citizen Kane" and "Hound of the Baskervilles." "Kane" is a special film, no doubt about it, yet frankly I'm not sure that I wouldn't personally prefer an evening with Rathbone and Bruce on the moors with their obstreperous canine friend...

  20. I'm glad to see you give credit to Joan Bennett. She is also one of my favorites. I enjoyed House Across the Bay, but have yet to see Trade Winds. Very nice blog. Always a pleasure to read.




Related Posts with Thumbnails