The Best Oldies to Watch When You Need Cheering Up

Sunshine

Are there any movies you like to watch when you’re feeling happy, sad, bored, etc.? For me, it’s rarely my emotions that determine the movie I watch, although sometimes the time of year or even the weather can play a part. I mean, who doesn’t love to watch a good mystery when it’s storming outside?! Well, I do anyway! :-)

But when Frances stopped by my Facebook page and suggested I create a list of the best oldies to watch when you need cheering up, I thought it was a great idea. Even though I don’t usually pick a movie for that reason, I figured it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a few titles handy just in case I’m ever in need of some good cheer myself.

So after going through the list of all the classic movies that I have seen so far, I came up with the following movies that I think would put a smile on just about anyone’s face. (To learn more about each movie, click on the title which will bring you to its summary page on IMBd.com)

Laughter is the Best Medicine – Classic Comedies

It Happened One Night Hitchhiking Scene

It Happened One Night (1934) One of the first classic movies I ever watched, the hitchhiking scene with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert showed me early on that old movies can be just as laugh out loud funny as current movies. I never would have believed that before I discovered my love for classic film.

The Thin Man (1934) and the entire “Thin Man” series. This movie is just so much fun. I love the mix of comedy and mystery, and the wonderful chemistry between its two stars William Powell and Myrna Loy make them one of classic film’s greatest on-screen couples. Continue reading →

George Gershwin’s “But Not for Me” is Definitely for Me

Mickey Rooney Judy Garland Girl Crazy 1943

Yesterday I performed in a concert with my band (I play the saxophone in a community band), and by far my favorite of all the pieces we played was the jazz standard “But Not for Me,” which was composed in 1930 by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin.

I think it might be the most fun piece we’ve ever played. Well except for maybe the time we played songs from the musical Hair. “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” especially was an absolute blast to play!

Anyway, when I got home I decided to look up the history of “But Not for Me,” and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it has ties to classic film. Turns out it was originally written for the 1930 musical Girl Crazy, a play that by most accounts made Ginger Rogers a star and helped launch the career of Ethel Merman. On opening night of the play, the pit orchestra included the likes of Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, and Jimmy Dorsey. Boy, would I have loved to have been there for that!

The song was also performed by Judy Garland in the film version of Girl Crazy from 1943, and it appeared in the movies Manhattan (1979), When Harry Met Sally (1989), and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Continue reading →

Back from a Break! Random Movie Thoughts

Ahhh, it feels so good to be back writing for my blog again! I’ve been taking a bit of an unplanned break from blogging lately so it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. My writing skills have gotten a bit rusty so I thought I’d start with something simple just to get myself going again.

I’m basically going to list some of the movies I’ve watched recently and include some random thoughts and/or resource links related to each movie.

In no particular viewing order, here are a few of the movies I’ve watched recently:

Princess O’Rourke (1943)

  • I couldn’t believe it when I realized it, but it took me over half the movie to recognize Jane Wyman! I think it was because I’m so used to seeing her with bangs (like the picture on the left below) but instead her hair looked more like the picture on the right.
  • Jack Carson was someone I never really cared for in the past, but I really liked him in this movie! I suspect that I was unfairly overlooking his talent, and I look forward to watching more of his movies.
  • This was a charming comedy that I think fans of co-stars Olivia DeHavilland, Robert Cummings, Jack Carson, Jane Wyman, or Charles Coburn would really enjoy. The DVD is currently available for purchase from the Warner Archive.

Continue reading →

Christmas Entertainment: These are a Few of My Favorite Things

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I’m sure you’re probably aware that those are lyrics from a popular holiday song of the same name, and while I agree that it can be the most wonderful time of the year because of the joys I experience during the holidays, it can also be one of the most difficult times of the year for me, too.

Not because I get depressed over the holidays or anything, but it seems as if the shorter days, lack of sunlight, and the colder weather always zap me of most of my energy, motivation, and creativity. When I get home from work in the evening, I usually want nothing more than to relax on my recliner with a cup of hot chocolate, a blanket, my kitty cat on my lap, and a good book or movie. Continue reading →

The Glamorous Ocean Liner: Movies Set on Floating Palaces

I recently tweeted a link to an article about an event called  “Cinematic Passages: Ocean Liners on Screen” that was taking place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Sponsored by the ocean liner company Cunard, the event’s goal was to bring the golden age of ocean travel to life by showcasing the glamor of ocean travel in movies from the last 50 years. When one of my followers subsequently asked me for some recommendations of ocean liner movies that I love, it gave me the idea for this post highlighting a few of my favorites.

The reason that event caught my eye is that I absolutely love watching movies set on ocean liners (called “floating palaces” by some), and an event like that would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, I live far away from New York and could not attend. :-( I can’t really pinpoint the reason for my fascination with ocean liners, but there is just something about them that intrigues me. Perhaps it has something to do with my nostalgia for the tv show “Love Boat” which I loved watching when I was younger, even though I know cruise ships are different than ocean liners. Or maybe it’s just that I wish I had lived back in that era and experienced the glamor and excitement of ocean liner travel for myself. Continue reading →