One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2019 was to watch at least 12 classic films that I had never seen. I am happy to say that somewhere in the mix of my job moving to a new location (and thus extending my total commute by an extra hour each day), no sleep, and family time I was able to accomplish this goal. I even decided to challenge myself, with the Old Hollywood Best Picture Challenge, and have that to thank for the addition of 15 of these 34 films below.
I felt the need to include an asterisk in the title because some of these films I have actually watched before, but either not in their entirety (The Cheat, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Three Wise Girls, for example) or watched it so long ago that I completely forgot almost everything about it (The Cat and the Canary).
Thanks to a marathon on TCM, I added two Joan Blondell/Glenda Farrell vehicles to the mix (Havana Widows and Kansas City Princess), developed a new appreciation for Wheeler and Woolsey after seeking out and falling in love with Hips, Hips, Hooray! (not so nuts about The Cuckoos), and finally finished watching The Cat and the Canary and The Ghost Breakers (thanks to my husband for buying the Bob Hope box set) after seeing bits on TV of the former years ago.
5 of the 34 were silents (7th Heaven, The Cheat, College, Fatty’s Spooning Days, and Wings) and a couple were genres I seldom watch (westerns – Cimarron and war – All Quiet on the Western Front).
While a few of these films were complete duds (Telephone Operator and In Old Arizona), most I found completely enjoyable and am happy that they are now permanently part of my overall experience of classic film.
Without further gabbing, here’s the list (films I have reviewed include links to the reviews):
- 7th Heaven
- Adam Had Four Sons
- All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
- The Big House
- The Bigamist
- The Broadway Melody (1929)
- The Cat and the Canary (1939)
- The Cheat (1915)
- College (1927)
- The Cuckoos
- Dora’s Dunking Donuts (short)
- Fatty’s Spooning Days (short)
- Funny Face
- The Ghost Breakers
- Girl Crazy (1932)
- Havana Widows
- Hips, Hips, Hooray!
- The Hollywood Revue of 1929
- In Old Arizona
- It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- Kansas City Princess
- The Love Parade
- Pot O’ Gold
- The Racket (1928)
- Telephone Operator
- Tell it to the Judge
- That Uncertain Feeling
- Three Wise Girls
I have always loved a good song and dance sequence, so in conclusion, I leave you with two of the best ones I’ve ever witnessed in film – watched for the first time by me in 2019.
“Keep on Doing What You’re Doing” from Hips, Hips, Hooray! I love this because it begins with adorable Dorothy Lee and Burt Wheeler antics and ends with Lee swinging from a chandelier, an impromptu tutu worn by Bob Woolsey, and the trio plus Thelma Todd smashing vases and trashing a poor guy’s office. I can’t love this more.
“Let’s Be Common” from The Love Parade. Comedic brilliance meets acrobatics meets a ridiculously adorable duo. I think I’ve watched this about 30 times since first viewing and it never gets old.