The #PayClassicsForward Challenge

I discovered the #PayClassicsForward Challenge on Aurora’s wonderful blog Once Upon a Screen (Click HERE to see the challenge!) and I thought it would be a fun challenge to take on this holiday season!

So here’s the challenge: There are 12 categories (in the same tradition as the 12 days of Christmas) that can literally be anything related to the movies. It’s all about creativity here which was a huge part of the fun! The idea is to spread the love of classic movies to others and particularly to those who are not already classic movie diehards like the rest of us. Therefore, if you are a serious classic movie fan, these movies probably won’t surprise you or be new to you. However, they are movies that I felt could be enjoyed by everybody, even by those who are not as accustomed to watching old movies.

My twelve topics were chosen pretty randomly so I wouldn’t dare you to try to make sense of it but I’ve tried to cover most genres and subjects to try to encompass all interests. I kept descriptions short and only posted one photo per film. I’ve also made sure that I chose titles that are easily available to watch. You can click each title and it will take you to the IMDb page if you are interested in more information on the film.

As TCM would say… Let’s Movie!

 One Silent Masterpiece

Wings (1927)

This one was really challenging but I finally chose to go with Wings. It is a beautifully shot film with just enough edge-of-your-seat action, romance, and friendship to entertain movie fans from all walks of life. Set during World War I, this movie contains a lot of awesome aerial footage of airplane warfare and dangerous stunt work (No green screens here!). It’s a film that can be enjoyed by those who aren’t necessarily fans of silent films which makes it a great film for introducing people to silent films. You can even share the fun fact that it won the first Academy Award for Best Picture! It stars Buddy Rogers, Clara Bow, and Richard Arlen. It also has a brief cameo of a young, unbearably handsome Gary Cooper.

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Two Murderous Love Affairs

For the next category I chose two films that feature a murder in the name of love (or lust). Each film approaches it differently but both are essential films that every film lover should see!

A Place in the Sun (1951)

I begin with one of my favorites: A Place in the Sun starring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Shelley Winters. In this film, a man (Clift) is accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend (Winters) after he’s fallen in love with the girl (Taylor) of a well to do family.

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Double Indemnity (1944)

The next murderous love affair occurs in the film noir Double Indemnity. This movie stars Barbara Stanwyck as a seductress that convinces an insurance man, played by Fred MacMurray, to kill her husband.

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Three platinum bombshells

What’s the mid-twentieth century without its platinum bombshells? For this category I picked three films featuring three different American bombshells.

The Misfits (1961)

This list would be incomplete without Marilyn Monroe, so I began with The Misfits which also stars Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach. This was a different kind of film for Monroe who was often subjected to dumb blonde roles. The screenplay was written by her then husband, Arthur Miller, and tells the story of a recently divorced girl that falls for an independent cowboy and the conflicts that surround their love.

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The Wayward Bus (1957)

My next bombshell is the tantalizing Jayne Mansfield in The Wayward Bus. This is the story of three very different strangers (a stripper, an alcoholic, and a salesman) that meet on a bus ride and grapple with their own life problems. Jayne Mansfield, often typified as a sexually charged, dumb blonde, gets to show off her acting chops in this John Steinbeck adaptation.

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High School Confidential! (1958)

And lastly, the beautiful Mamie Van Doren in High School Confidential! This movie is full of 1950s teenage culture. It basically sets out to warn against the dangers of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Yup, that’s Russ Tamblyn peeking in on Mamie!

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Four Fading Stars

Several movies throughout movie history have dealt with the downfall of a star. For me, these four films stand out the most.

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

I begin with Sunset Boulevard, which I know many have seen but it is the penultimate! If you have not seen it, you really must. It’s the story of a faded silent film star (Gloria Swanson) who believes she can still make a great comeback.

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The Entertainer (1960)

Up next is Laurence Olivier’s The Entertainer which tells the story of a former vaudeville star trying his damnedest to stay relevant.

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Limelight (1952)

On a similar note, Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight is another great film that grapples with a fading stage performer. When this fading vaudeville star meets a suicidal ballerina, the two learn the greater meaning of life. Buster Keaton also makes an appearance in this film.

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A Star is Born (1937)

Lastly, I chose A Star is Born not so much for it’s story of Vicki Lester’s rise to fame but for her husband Norman Maine’s demise and fall from stardom. When Vicki Lester (Janet Gaynor) arrives in Hollywood, she falls in love with movie star Norman Maine (Fredric March). As her career rises, his begins to dwindle and he becomes an alcoholic. Their relationship is significantly impacted by these events. I never leave this film with a dry eye.

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Five Dazzling Song & Dance Films

 As a dancer, I could not resist covering the topic of dance in the movies. Musicals are a rarity these days and it is even more rare to find one that lives up to the glitz and the glamour of the classic era. There’s a certain magic that is often lacking. So I’ve picked five movies that contain some of my favorite dance scenes and dancers.

Footlight Parade (1933)

Musicals hit it off big in the early 1930s alongside the creation of talkies. What better way to celebrate sound in the film than through song and dance? One of the early masters of musicals was Busby Berkeley. His choreography was more than just dance, it was a larger than life kaleidoscope of pretty girls, long legs, and massive sets. Trust me when I say there is nothing quite like a Busby Berkeley production. So to begin, I chose Footlight Parade starring Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondell, and Jimmy Cagney. Even if you aren’t a fan of musicals, I would urge anyone to watch this film. The musical productions are mind-blowing and mesmerizing to watch. And if you already do love musicals, then you are in for a treat. My favorite musical production in the movie is “Shanghai Lil.”

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On the Town (1949)

My greatest inspiration when it comes to dance is Gene Kelly so it is no surprise that I would include him in my list of dance films. Most people have already seen Singin’ in the Rain (right..?) so I am going to pick another one of his films to share. On the Town stars not only Gene Kelly but Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, and Vera-Ellen. In this musical, three sailors hit the city of New York on their one day of leave. The day is filled with friendship, romance, song and dance.

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Swing Time (1936)

Two other dancers that have greatly inspired me are Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Their dance partnership is one of the most iconic in film history and for a good reason! It’s nearly impossible to pick only one of their films to share but I chose Swing Time. This movie contains some of their most iconic dance scenes and an entertaining plot about a man (Fred Astaire) who needs to raise $25,000 to marry his fiancee but meets a beautiful dancer (Ginger Rogers) who captures his attention while doing so.

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Bells are Ringing (1960)

My next film choice is a musical starring Dean Martin and Judy Holliday. It tells the story of an operator (Holliday) who tries to make her clients lives more interesting by spreading gossip. She finds herself falling in love with a playwright (Martin) who believes that she is an old woman and comes to her for advice. Will she reveal her true identity in the name of love?

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Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

My final musical stars Ann-Margaret, Dick Van Dyke, and Janet Leigh. It’s the story of a teenage girl (Ann-Margaret) who is obsessed with the nation’s hottest rock star, Birdie. Birdie holds a contest to pick a girl to kiss goodbye before he gets deployed. (It’s all very Elvis based!) Ann-Margaret’s character wins the contest and conflict ensues between just about everyone!

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Six World War I Films

 My next category focuses on films about The Great War. The war began in 1914 in Europe and the United States entered in 1917 which means that we will be commemorating the centennial this next year in America. Either way, no matter where you’re from, 2014-2019 are the centennial years of the war and one way we can remember our fallen soldiers is by watching films that remind us of their heroism. I also chose to share World War I films specifically because it tends to get overshadowed by World War II.

Shoulder Arms (1918)

I begin with Charlie Chaplin’s 1918 propaganda film Shoulder Arms – a silent slapstick about a soldier who dreams of being a war hero.

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The Big Parade (1925)

Up next is the 1925 anti-war film The Big Parade starring John Gilbert and Renee Adoree. Beautifully directed by King Vidor, this movie captures the horrors of World War I and a soldier’s experiences in France, including romance with a Frenchwoman.

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All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

The next World War I film is the iconic All Quiet on the Western Front from 1930. This movie is told from the German perspective and is also an anti-war film. It’s a beautiful film that makes you question why we must kill one another in war. It stars Lew Ayres in the lead role and won Best Picture and Best Director at the 1930 Academy Awards.

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Dawn Patrol (1930)

The year 1930 also saw another anti-war film called Dawn Patrol. The movie starred Richard Barthelmess and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., as British pilots who learn the horrors of sending their fellow men on missions to their death. The psychological impact wreaks havoc on their lives and friendships.

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Paths of Glory (1957)

In 1957, yet another anti-war film came out starring Kirk Douglas. It was Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory which tells the story of a man who refused to follow orders to send his men into an attack that would have left most of them dead. In France, this was considered an act of cowardice and was punished by death. It’s a harrowing film that sticks with you long after you’ve watched it.

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One Hundred Percent American / The Bond (1918)

And for the sixth film, I decided to combine two propaganda shorts made in 1918. Charlie Chaplin stars in The Bond and Mary Pickford in One Hundred Percent American. The two stars played integral roles in raising Liberty Bonds in the United States and these short films were created to promote Liberty Bonds. Each short is under 20 minutes and can typically be found on YouTube. They are an interesting look into war propaganda and how our movie stars helped raise money for the war effort.

Seven Sizzling Pre-Codes

The pre-code era is one of the most fascinating periods in Hollywood history. It was a brief period of films between the fall of the silent era and the birth of the restrictive Hayes Code. The Hayes Code held movies to a strict standard and called for stronger censorship. But for a brief period in the early 1930s, movies were sultry, risque, and full of rule breakers. I picked seven pre-code films that are easily accessible and thoroughly entertaining.

Baby Face (1933)

I begin with one of the most iconic films of the pre-code era. In this film, Barbara Stanwyck plays a girl who has been mistreated by men her whole life and decides to use her feminine wiles to climb the social ladder. (If you look carefully, you’ll spot a super young John Wayne!)

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Design for Living (1933)

Up next is Design For Living starring Gary Cooper, Fredric March, and Miriam Hopkins. In this story, two men agree to move in with a girl they both pine for but agree to not sleep with her. Of course, it doesn’t quite work out that way!

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Hot Saturday (1932)

This movie stars Cary Grant and Nancy Carroll in a story about an innocent girl that falls prey to a nasty rumor that she spent the night with a well-known womanizer.

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Night Nurse (1931)

This pre-code stars Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, and Joan Blondell in a story about a nurse who seeks the aid of a criminal to help her stop the murder of children.

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Possessed (1931)

This is one of a few movies that stars real-life lovers Joan Crawford and Clark Gable.  It tells the story of a poor girl who falls in love with a rich man in hopes that it will solve all of her problems. Unfortunately, he has different ideas about what their relationship should be.

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The Blue Angel (1930)

And lastly, The Blue Angel tells the story of a professor (Emil Jannings) who is seduced by a night club performer (Marlene Dietrich), throwing his entire life off track.

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Eight Social Causes

The movies have never shied from addressing the social and political issues of their day. For this category I chose to highlight eight films that take on social issues head-on.

A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

During a significant portion of the twentieth-century, African Americans were kept out of white neighborhoods through intimidation and violence. But they were also kept out of those neighborhoods through systemic racism that existed in legal paperwork which barred certain houses from being sold to African Americans (Believe it or not, this language still exists on some paperwork for houses). A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sidney Poitier, examines this aspect of racism when a mother wishes to move her family from a small apartment to a house.

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Gentleman’s Agreement (1948)

The next movie addresses prejudices against people of the Jewish faith in the United States just after World War II. Gentleman’s Agreement is about a newspaper man who goes undercover as a Jewish man to investigate anti-Semitism in America.

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Politics (1931)

The next film proves that drama is not the only genre for social issues. Politics is an early comedy in which Marie Dressler plays a widow that decides to run for mayor against corrupt male politicians. All the other women in town take a stand and stage a strike within their homes. The town goes into chaos as the women stop cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the home. Polly Moran stars alongside Marie Dressler in this fun movie!

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A Patch of Blue (1965)

A Patch of Blue is another film that grapples with the issues caused by racism. It’s the story of a white, blind girl that falls in love with an African American man, making a point that skin color is only skin deep. The only struggles the couple runs into are caused by outsiders who view their relationship as wrong.

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The Great Dictator (1941)

Charlie Chaplin had a strong understanding of what was occurring in Germany in the 1930s and made an equally as strong statement in the best way that he knew how – through comedy. The Great Dictator is about Hynkel’s (who is based on Hitler) rise to power and his persecution of the Jewish people of Tomania. In this story, a Jewish barber gets caught up in a case of mistaken identity and finds himself in a powerful position where his words have the ability to change the world. His speech is one of the most beautiful to have ever been spoken in a movie and the words are still relevant to this day. This one is not to be missed!

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Inherit the Wind (1960)

Inherit the Wind recounts the courtroom drama of the Scopes Monkey Trial where science teacher Clarence Darrow was taken to trial for teaching evolution in 1925. The movie focuses on the battle between the two famous lawyers, played by acting legends Spencer Tracy and Fredric March, who held completely opposite views.

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Imitation of Life (1934) & (1959)

I am actually going to do a twofer here and recommend both versions of the movie Imitation of Life. It’s a story about racism just as much as it is a story about women. In the 1959 version starring Lana Turner and Juanita Moore, a single white mother hires a black nanny and her daughter to help around the house. The white daughter and the black daughter are raised like sisters. As they grow up, the black daughter discovers her ability to pass as white and breaks her mother’s heart by rejecting her. She eventually realizes how wrong she’s been but it may be too late. The 1934 version starring Claudette Colbert and Hattie McDaniel differs slightly in that the two mother’s open a pancake shop together and equally benefit from it. However, the daughter rejects her mother just the same.

 

The Men (1950)

For my final film that reflects social issues, I chose one that sheds light on disability. The Men addresses the issues veterans face when returning home with life-changing disabilities. It tells the story of a veteran (Marlon Brando) who was paralyzed during the war and his struggle to relearn how to live without the use of his legs. For much of our history, physical disabilities were seen as a burden on society which often caused people with disabilities to live difficult lives and to be seen by others as “different.” Thankfully, times have changed.

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Nine Thrills and Chills

For my next category, I chose nine films of the horror and/or thriller genre that always give me the chills. In some of these films there are actual monsters and in others the monsters only exist within the mind.

The Devil-Doll (1936)

This movie was directed by the horror genius, Tod Browning. It tells the story of an ex-convict (Lionel Barrymore) who turns people into miniature humans and then uses them for revenge against those who he believes wronged him.

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Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte hoped to piggy back off the popularity of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and once again bring together Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Due to a number of reasons, Joan Crawford backed out of the film and was replaced by Olivia de Havilland. Bette Davis once again plays a woman who is losing her mind from having to keep a horrific secret most of her life. She descends further into madness when her cousin visits her at her southern plantation home.

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The Unknown (1927)

This silent horror film stars the great horror master Lon Chaney and a very young Joan Crawford. A man in a circus is willing to go to drastic measures to make his fellow performer, who has a fear of men’s arms, fall in love with him. While the premise may sound a little odd, it’s a creepy movie that shows off a lot of Chaney’s quirky skills as an actor.

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The Bad Seed (1956)

In this movie, a psychopathic little girl fools everyone by acting like the perfect child when in reality she is a remorseless murderer.

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Sudden Fear (1952)

In this movie, Joan Crawford plays a middle-aged playwright who marries a young aspiring actor. She grows increasingly paranoid as she starts to realize that her husband and his mistress are trying to kill her.

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The Monster (1925)

This is another Lon Chaney film that involves an amateur detective investigating a mysterious insane asylum. The amateur detective finds himself trapped inside alongside the girl he’s in love with and the man that loves her. Lon Chaney plays Dr. Ziska who oversees the operations at the asylum.

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I Confess (1953)

In this psychological thriller by Alfred Hitchcock, a priest (Montgomery Clift) struggles with what he knows about a murder and whether or not he should break the rules of confession.

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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

This German silent film was directed by Robert Wiene and is done in the Expressionist style. It tells the story of a hypnotist that uses a somnambulist to commit murders. This is one of my all-time favorite horror films and I’ve heard many non-silent movie fans confess that it is a silent movie they enjoy.

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Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For my last horror/thriller I chose a classic story that has been done many times by many different great actors. However, I chose the 1931 version starring Fredric March because it is probably my favorite of the ones that I’ve seen. It is the story of a scientist who creates a potion that turns him into the darker version of himself. As the monster version of himself he wreaks havoc on the town and other people.

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Ten Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.’s

This is a Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., blog so I decided to dedicate the tenth category to him. Here are ten Fairbanks, Jr. movies that I highly recommend.

Sinbad, the Sailor (1947)

Sinbad recounts eight of his greatest adventures that include treasure, romance, and evil villains. It’s a classic adventure tale shot in vivid technicolor. Maureen O’Hara plays alongside Fairbanks as the woman Sinbad falls in love with.

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Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

The next swashbuckling adventure I chose was the Prisoner of Zenda starring Fairbanks, Ronald Colman, C. Aubrey Smith, Mary Astor, Raymond Massey, and Madeleine Carroll. The story is an adventure of stolen crowns, revenge, and romance in which Fairbanks plays one of the greatest villains of all time.

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Gunga Din (1939)

Another classic Fairbanks film which also stars Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, and Joan Fontaine. This adventure, comedy tells the story of three British soldiers in India who must try to stop a deadly cult from taking over the country.

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Little Caesar (1931)

For my next Fairbanks movie, I chose the classic gangster film Little Caesar. Fairbanks stars alongside Edward G. Robinson in a story about a gangster that looks for more riches in the big city. As the rewards get bigger, so do his problems.

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The Young in Heart (1938)

Next is a heartwarming story of friendship, family, and love in its many forms. From 1938 it’s The Young in Heart starring Fairbanks, Janet Gaynor, Paulette Goddard, Billie Burke, and Roland Young. It tells the story of a family who lie about their identities in hopes of marrying the children into wealth. But when they meet an old, lonely lady, they are forced to rethink their ways.

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Joy of Living (1938)

In this feel good movie, Fairbanks teaches Irene Dunne’s character how to have fun and be carefree for the first time in her life.

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Having a Wonderful Time (1938)

Fairbanks stars alongside Ginger Rogers in this feel good romantic comedy. Ginger Rogers is sent on vacation to a camp for adults in the mountains. There she meets Fairbanks and falls in love. But trouble sets in when Ginger questions Fairbanks’ true motives.

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The Rage of Paris (1938)

Up next is a movie starring Fairbanks and French actress Danielle Darrieux. In this story, Darrieux’s character schemes to find a rich man to marry after running out of money to pay rent. She sets her eyes on Bill Duncan (Louis Hayward) and quickly gets engaged only for his friend (Fairbanks) to step in and cause trouble.

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A Woman of Affairs (1928)

Taking it back to Fairbanks’ early career in silent films, my next recommendation is A Woman of Affairs. This movie also stars the incomparable Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. Greta Garbo plays a woman whose life goes wayward when her childhood sweetheart (John Gilbert) marries someone else. Fairbanks plays her alcoholic brother.

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Our Modern Maidens (1929)

For the last Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., film, I chose Our Modern Maidens. This is the only movie he starred in alongside his then-wife Joan Crawford. It’s a wild tale of 1920s youth culture and is entertaining from start to finish.

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Eleven Heartwarming Tales

For this category, I looked to movies that leave you feeling warm inside. They often contain a hopeful or happy message and always end on a good note. Of course, a lot of Frank Capra films ended up in this section but I also included other types of happy, feel good films.

Meet John Doe (1941)

I’m beginning with one of my favorite Frank Capra movies that stars two of my favorite actors – Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Gary Cooper plays a man in desperate need of money who agrees to impersonate a man that a journalist (Barbara Stanwyck) created named John Doe. In a fake letter written by the journalist, Doe threatens to kill himself in protest of social issues and an entire political movement begins.

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Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917)

It is almost impossible for a Mary Pickford movie to not warm your heart but I narrowed it down to just one. In this movie, a young girl is sent to live with her two mean aunts. The girl must find ways to make her difficult life better and does so by helping others. This is a movie that is guaranteed to make you feel good!

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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

This is the story of three veterans that each experience the after-effects of the war in different ways. The men struggle in different ways to return to civilian and family life. One of the men, played by real-life veteran Harold Russell, must learn to live again with hooks for hands. Each of their stories are touching and show the great effects of war on soldiers.

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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

Before Adam Sandler remade this into a comedy, there was Gary Cooper and Frank Capra. Gary Cooper plays a folksy fellow from Tennessee who inherits millions from a deceased uncle from New York City. He moves to New York to settle the estate and is met with a host of toxic characters that want to take advantage of his money. A newspaper girl, played by Jean Arthur, is sent out to cozy up to Deeds and write a gossip column. She finds herself falling in love with him as she discovers that Deeds is an honest, good man that wishes to help others by using his inheritance.

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The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

Gregory Peck plays a family man that works hard to support his wife and children. When opportunities arise at his job that would involve more time away from his family, he must choose between dedicating himself to the company or to his family.

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You Can’t Take it With You (1938)

This is yet another heartwarming Capra movie starring Jean Arthur, Jimmy Stewart, and Lionel Barrymore. It’s the story of a girl from an eccentric family who falls in love with a man from a strict, rich family. The two families must come together before the two lovers can marry.

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Now and Forever (1934)

This is a heartwarming story about a man (Gary Cooper) and his wife (Carole Lombard) whose marriage is on the rocks because he can’t seem to shake his criminal lifestyle. His wife desires having a family and living a calm life but can’t seem to get her husband on the same page. That is until his young daughter (Shirley Temple) comes back into life and forces him to reconsider his way of life.

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Sounder (1972)

This movie is a coming of age story about a boy who grows up in a family of African American sharecroppers. When his father is arrested for stealing food and sent to a prison work camp, the boy goes on a journey to try to find his father and meets an inspiring schoolteacher on the way.

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My Man Godfrey (1936)

This movie is one of those that has it all – comedy, romance, and drama. It’s the story of a zany socialite (Carole Lombard) that hires a homeless man (William Powell) to be the family butler. The man ends up teaching the socialite a lot about life and herself.

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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

A classic Capra movie that I suspect most people have seen, but I strongly recommend it to those who haven’t. Jimmy Stewart plays an average guy who is appointed to the United States Senate and puts up a strong fight against political corruption.

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The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

With Christmas being just a day away, I decided to finish with one of my favorite Christmas classics. In this story, an angel (Cary Grant) descends from Heaven and into the life of a bishop (David Niven) and his wife (Loretta Young) whose marriage is falling apart as the bishop struggles to build a cathedral in his town.

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Twelve Classic Comedies

If I had to choose, comedy is probably my favorite film genre. It’s a great escape that takes a perfect formula of good writing, great actors, and the right director. Because there are so many comedies that I enjoy, I saved this category for last. These comedies range from slapstick to screwball to romantic and span from the silent era to the end of the classic era.

One Week (1920)

Silent movie fan or not, this less-than-thirty-minute comedy short is sure to bring a smile to your face. It’s got all the typical Keaton stunts and antics and is centered around newlyweds attempting to build a portable house. It’s a great way to introduce someone to Buster Keaton before graduating on to his more epic feature films.

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 Some Like it Hot (1959)

Sometimes there are films that just seem to get it right in nearly every possible way. This is one of those films. The writing and directing was spot-on and the casting was perfect. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon deliver the laughs as two guys trying to fool gangsters by disguising themselves as women in the 1920s. They join a traveling group of all-female musicians and one finds himself falling for ukulele player and singer, Marilyn Monroe, while the other finds himself the object of another man’s affections. As you can probably tell, the situation becomes quite messy but all in good fun!

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The Philadelphia Story (1940)

 There’s just something about Cary Grant that absolutely does it for me. He’s good in every type of role he’s ever been given. The better question would be: what can’t he do? And he shines even brighter when given the right cast. Because of that, I chose four comedies starring Cary Grant. I begin with The Philadelphia Story which also stars Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart. It’s basically a messy love triangle (or square?) that results in a whole lot of comical situations.

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Bringing Up Baby (1938)

The next film has Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn together again. This time, Cary Grant plays a paleontologist who is in need of money for his museum so he pursues a rich socialite, played by Katharine Hepburn. Bringing Up Baby was one of the first Cary Grant films I ever saw and it’s one of those movies you can watch again and again. Oh, and Baby is a leopard!

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The Awful Truth (1937)

This movie stars Irene Dunne and Cary Grant and is another one of my first experiences with early Hollywood. The dialogue is quick, witty, and hilarious. The basic premise is that a newly divorced couple do everything they can to ruin each others chance at remarriage. It is another comedy that never gets old.

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The Long, Long Trailer (1953)

Up next is the classic comedy duo Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The two play newlyweds who decide to make their first home an RV rather than a house. This humor will not be lost on anyone who has ever spent any amount of time traveling by RV. If you love Lucy, you’ll love this movie.

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Holiday (1938)

As I’ve said before, this list will probably make it clear that Cary Grant is one of my favorite actors of all time. He always makes me laugh. My next comedy is Holiday and stars Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn yet again. This time Grant plays a man that falls in love with a rich girl (Doris Nolan) and decides to take a long holiday early in life rather than wait to retire and be too old to enjoy life. He meets his fiancee’s brother (Lew Ayres) and sister (Katharine Hepburn) who think more like him, forcing him to reconsider his future with his fiancee.

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The Kid (1921)

What would any comedy list be without the silent geniuses that started it all? For my next comedy I chose The Kid starring Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan. In this story, the tramp ends up caring for an abandoned child and begins to love him as his own. This mixture of comedy and pathos will both make you laugh and pull at your heart strings.

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The Apartment (1960)

Up next is a timeless comedy by director Billy Wilder. While Wilder never really considered it a comedy, it definitely has all the makings of a comedy while being serious at the same time. Jack Lemmon plays a man that unintentionally finds himself renting out his apartment to the executives of his workplace for their extramarital affairs. Much to his surprise, he discovers that his boss (Fred MacMurray) is having an affair with the elevator girl (Shirley MacLaine) from work whom he has a crush on.

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Safety Last! (1923)

My next comedy is another silent film starring comedian Harold Lloyd. This is one of those films that you’ve probably seen references to without even realizing it. It’s fast paced and will make your palms sweat but it is so much fun! Lloyd plays a store clerk that plans a publicity stunt for his department store. In a crazy turn of events, he finds himself having to perform the stunt.

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You’re Never Too Young (1955)

As a fan of Martin and Lewis, I had to pick one of their films to add to my list of comedies. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were the comedy duo of the late 1940s through the 1950s. Their stage show, television series, and movies were hugely successful. I chose their movie You’re Never Too Young in which Jerry Lewis disguises himself as a child after getting involved in a major theft accidentally. He teams up with Dean Martin for a lot of laughs.

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Show People (1928)

For my final comedy, I chose another silent film that never ceases to entertain. It is King Vidor’s Show People starring Marion Davies and Billy Haines. Marion Davies heads out to California to make herself a star. She begins by working at a comedy studio alongside her best friend and beau Billy Haines. Before long, she is promoted to a studio that focuses on drama and art films and begins to look down on comedies. She leaves behind Billy Haines and becomes increasingly pompous. But Billy refuses to let her go without a fight. One of my favorite aspects of this film is that it provides a peek into 1920s Hollywood movie-making.

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And that’s a wrap on my #PayClassicsForward list of movies for 2016. This was no small task but it was fun to do nonetheless! Hopefully it will inspire even just one person to check out some of these great titles.

Happy Holidays and Happy Movie Watching!

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2 thoughts on “The #PayClassicsForward Challenge

  1. Epic post, I especially enjoyed your 12 comedy selections. I love The Apartment, Bringing Up Baby and especially The Philadelphia Story. I mean Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart! Does it get any better?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It absolutely does not! Those are three of my favorite actors and the 1930s has some of the best comedies. And of course, most things Billy Wilder are phenomenal. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this post. It was a ton of work but so much fun to do!

      Liked by 1 person

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