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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let Me Entertain You

I really am working on another post, one that actually involves writing and/or thinking, but I keep getting distracted so in the meantime I started this little endeavour based on a recent meme on Willow's blog.

The idea of the meme is to list your favorite films, one for each letter of the alphabet. I started to do that and realized that 1. there were too many for me to select just one of each letter, and 2. I wanted to make it a bit more challenging and interesting.

So I decided to list at least one silent film and one film noir per letter, plus another classic film (maybe a screwball comedy) or another film that's not been as widely seen as it deserves. For the most part, I was pretty successful. Taking mental stock like this made me realize that I've seen quite a few good films in my life. And I love to share them.

Most of these movies are what I would call "desert island films," meaning that I'd have to have a very large island with a small movie theatre because I wouldn't be able to pick just one or two to watch until my rescue a la Robinson Crusoe.

I hope you enjoy this list, and perhaps are nodding your head in agreement with some of the choices, or are at least checking out the links because this took me so long to do that it's not even funny. A person likes to feel that all of their extra-curricular hard work did not go to waste.

Within this list are the treasures of our cinematic heritage. Joan Crawford when she was beautiful. Carole Lombard at her funny sexiest. Jean Harlow in the gown that made her famous. Barbara Stanwyck in her best drama and her best comedy. Why Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton should never be forgotten. The reason why people are still infatuated with Louise Brooks, and the only film where Katharine Hepburn is not annoying. There were still so many other films I could have included but then I'm already getting out of control.

And with that, I go back to finish my cuppa and ponder what I really will say next.
Happy Tuesday.


The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Awful Truth and The Asphalt Jungle
Barry Lyndon, Baby Face and La Belle et La Bete
Casablanca, The Conversation and Cabin in the Sky
Dr. Strangelove, Dinner at Eight, Diary of a Lost Girl and Double Indemnity
An Eastern Westerner
The Freshman, Freaks, and Fallen Angel
Grand Hotel, Girl Shy, The General and Gun Crazy
Harold and Maude, His Girl Friday, and Holiday
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, It, and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
Jane Eyre, La jetée
Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Kid Brother, Key Largo and The Killing
The Lady Eve, The Ladykillers, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Laura
Midnight, My Favorite Wife, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Modern Times and The Mummy
Nosferatu, Night and the City, and The Narrow Margin
Our Man in Havana, Only Angels Have Wings
Paths of Glory, Pandora's Box and Picadilly, Pickup on South Street
Queen Christina, Queen Kelly
The Royal Tenenbaums, Red Dust and Rififi
Stalag 17, Safety Last! and Sweet Smell of Success
Trouble in Paradise, Twentieth Century, and Thieves Highway
Unfaithfully Yours and The Unknown
The Vikings
Way Out West, White Heat, and Witness for the Prosecution
X (???)
You Were Never Lovelier and Yankee Doodle Dandy
Zorba the Greek


robinbird December 16, 2008 at 10:18 AM  

good thing you posted this.... i was just about to jump in my car and come down the coast to find out if you were still grouchy and needed a friend to cheer you up. I will still come though if you want company....

paris parfait December 16, 2008 at 10:21 AM  

So many of these are my faves too. Great list. Good job you weren't here shopping today - explosives in Printemps! Imagine! Thankfully, no one was hurt and the French police are always vigilant. xoxox

Iasa December 16, 2008 at 10:42 AM  

Oooh, lots of great films listed there. Just introduced my sons to Pickup on South Street last night.

Char December 16, 2008 at 10:59 AM  

obviously you need a bit more Hitchcock on that list! ;-P

there are some really great ones there.

tangobaby December 16, 2008 at 11:05 AM  

Hi Char,

Actually, I love Hitch and have his entire collection. I didn't want this list to have movies that I know most people have seen, so aside from some lesser films I like, say Saboteur or Topaz, I didn't include them because my list was getting way too long.

I just assume that people have seen all the standards: Rear Window, North by Northwest, Vertigo, Rope, la la la. But I'm trying to put down the films that go largely unknown.

But you are welcome to make your own list!

Hi Iasa,

That is SO cool that you guys watched Pickup on South Street. That is such an awesome film and I LOVE love Richard Widmark in that film and Thelma Ritter is genius. I love her character in this film.

robinbird December 16, 2008 at 11:09 AM  

look at these quick responses.. your friends were obviously sitting on the edges of their seats awaiting your newest post :)

julochka December 16, 2008 at 11:12 AM  

strangely, i see no asta nielsen and the abyss should totally have been there among the a's, right? even if you left it in danish---"afgrunden." she was, after all, the very first person they called "movie star." but i'm sure you knew that...


p.s. i studied silent film at the university of chicago, you know...

tangobaby December 16, 2008 at 11:14 AM  

j, you need to make your own list, hon. I can't add any more to mine. My a's are my a's and they stay that way. It was hard enough narrowing it down to those because those are my true true faves. Movies I watch over and over again.

Elizabeth December 16, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

TB, Have you seen "Born Yesterday" with Judy Holiday and, I think, William Holden. Funny, smart, and so darling.

tangobaby December 16, 2008 at 1:55 PM  

Hi elizabeth,

Yes, I have a copy of it, and she's adorable in it. I question the Academy Award for it, because her competition was quite worthy that year (including Anne Baxter AND Bette Davis for All About Eve AND Gloria Swanson for Sunset Boulevard! WTF?!)

I also like her in It Should Happen to You with Jack Lemmon.

Geert Groote and his urbane double egg. December 16, 2008 at 2:45 PM  

Thanks for the list! I will definitely have no chance to get bored this December :D
This summer I had a lot of free time, and ended up a TCM (Turner Classic Movies) junkie, it was amazing.

I don't know if they still do it, but TCM used to show silent films on Sundays at midnight.

It's such a good place to see great movies you may not have heard of otherwise.

tangobaby December 16, 2008 at 3:52 PM  

Hi Geert,

I don't have a tv so unfortunately I'm not able to enjoy TCM, although I do read their programming with envy. Good for you for getting addicted to classic films at such a young age! I hope you'll be giving me some of your favorites someday.

On a happy note, SF is chock full of theater revivals, as well as the world-class Silent Film Festival and Noir City, the film noir festival, every year. And I have a projector and movie screen home theatre set-up, so we generally are never without a comfy place to watch a good film. We buy a lot of them, so my collection is starting to rival a nice, small video rental place.

Maybe I should start Tangoflix and see if I can rent some out?


Insults December 17, 2008 at 10:34 AM  

Harold and Maude is my favourite film of all time... Great blog, x x

Relyn December 17, 2008 at 3:16 PM  

Holy S*&^!! What an amazing list. I can't imagine who much time this list represents. What fun I shall have with it. I won't tell you how few I've watched. I'll trust you, though. I adored You Were Never Lovelier. If you must pick your single all time favorite, where should I start?

tangobaby December 17, 2008 at 3:27 PM  

Oh Relyn, honey, I can't do that. That's why I ended up adjusting each letter to three or more in the first place.

Maybe if you tell me what kind of mood you're in, then we can start from there.

I could never go to a desert island if you can only have one thing. I can't decide.