Thursday, November 28, 2013

10 Good Old Movies (Up to 1950)

Welcome to a new post (it's been a while). Below I'm going to list 10 good old movies from the year 1950 and earlier. I hope that those of you interested in classic films will use this list as a guide for what you may want to watch. I had to pick a cut off point in order to clearly define what I mean by an "old movie", so I chose 1950 as it seemed "old enough" to me. Here are the films in no particular order:

1. Citizen Kane (1941)

Citizen Kane is a drama film starring Orson Welles who also co-wrote, produced and directed the film. It was the 1st feature film made by Welles and was nominated for nine Oscars, winning the award for Best Original Screenplay. The film has been heavily praised, specifically for its music, cinematography and for the way in which the story is narrated.

The plot focuses on the life and death of an entrepreneur in the publishing industry named Charles Foster Kane ("Citizen Kane"), played by Welles. The film consists of a lot of flashbacks and the story progresses by following a reporter who is trying to figure out what Kane's last word, "Rosebud", could mean. It's definitely one to watch.

2. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The Bride of Frankenstein horror movie and is the first sequel to the 1931 Frankenstein film. The movie was directed by James Whale and stars Boris Karloff (Frankenstein's Monster), Elsa Lanchester (the mate of Frankenstein's monster and Mary Shelley), Colin Clive (Henry Frankenstein) and Ernest Thesiger (Doctor Pretorius).

The events in the movie occur immediately after those in the 1931 film mentioned above. The movie is based on a subplot taken from Shelley's original Frankenstein book. The story follows Henry Frankenstein who pledges never to not create any more lifeforms like his Monster. The Monster (convinced by Dr. Pretorius) later forces the hand of Dr. Frankenstein to create a mate for him.

3. Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca is a romantic drama based on a play called Everybody Comes to Rick's which was never produced. The movie was directed by Michael Curtiz and stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid. Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Dooley Wilson, Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre also appear in the film. The story takes place during the second world war. It is centered around a man who is in love with a woman and who must decide whether to be with her or help her husband escape the Moroccan city of Casablanca so that he (the husband) can continue fighting the Nazis.

Casablanca won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and has been widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.

4. Gone with the Wind (1939)

Gone with the Wind is a historical romance based on Margaret Mitchell's novel of the same name. It was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming, George Cukor and Sam Wood. The movie is set in the southern United States during the 19th century. The story features Scarlett O'Hara, played by Vivien Leigh, and details her love for Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland) while she (O'Hara) is married to another man named Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). The story coincides with the American Civil War and Reconstruction era and is told from a white Southern vantage point.

The movie received 13 Academy Award nominations and won 8 of them in addition to 2 honorary awards. An actress from the film named Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Academy Award.

5. Modern Times (1936)

Modern Times is a comedy that was directed and written by Charlie Chaplin. It stars Charlie Chaplin, Henry Bergman, Paulette Goddard, Chester Conklin and Stanley Sandford. The story follows Chaplin's Little Tramp character and his journey in the newly industrialized world. The film was meant to bring attention to the poor working conditions that were present during The Great Depression. Chaplin thought that these conditions were caused by the efficient production created by industrialization.

In 1989, the film was found by the Library of Congress to be "culturally significant" and was consequently preserved in the US National Film Registry (NFR).

6. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Battleship Potemkin (or Battleship Potyomkin) is a silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein. It is a dramatization of the 1905 mutiny of a Russian battleship called the Potemkin. The film is a communist propaganda film (sailors rebelling against the old Tsarist government) and it has been called one of the most influential propaganda films ever made.

I personally find these kinds of stories interesting not for their content specifically, but rather for what they can tell us about the time period in which they were made.

7. The Third Man (1949)

The Third Man is a British film noir starring Alida Valli, Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten and Trevor Howard. It was directed by Carol Reed. The movie is notable for its superb performances, cinematography and score. The film has been considered by some to be one of the best of all time. The screenplay was written by Graham Greene who also wrote the short story of the same name. The short story was actually as a preparation for the screenplay.

The story takes place after WW2 and follows a pulp novelist named Holly Martins who travels to Vienna and ends up investigating his old friend's death.

8. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

I'm sure this movie needs little introduction. The Wizard of Oz is a fantasy film based on the L. Frank Baum novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It stars Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley. The story follows Dorothy as she is taken from Kansas to the land of Oz and her journey to return home.

This film was actually one of several Wizard of Oz movies. It was the most successful of all of them. The film was nominated for 6 Academy Awards and won 2 of them.

9. Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca is a psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was Hitchcock's first American project. The story was adapted from Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel "Rebecca". It stars Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson.

The story centers around a haunting memory of a woman named Rebecca who was Maxim de Winter's first wife that had passed away. The movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and it won two of them. Olivier, Fontaine and Anderson were all nominated for for the award.

10. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life is a Christmas fantasy drama film directed by Frank Capra. It is based on the short story "The Greatest Gift". The movie is a very much-loved one in the US and is an especially popular film to watch around Christmas time. The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey who is approached by an angel that helps him during a very tough time in his life.

The movie was nominated for 5 Academy Awards.

Thus ends my list of good older movies. If there's an old film that you like which I didn't include here feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

No comments:

Post a Comment