It’s time for more new-to-me classic movies, you guys! If you’re new around here, let me explain: I recently got the idea to watch all those classic movies that everyone has seen or should have seen but that I had so far neglected. I asked for suggestions and you guys came through with a ton! These movies don’t have to be old, black-and-white movies from the days of yore, necessarily. Some suggestions I got are more current, and I have also been including some contemporary classics in my round-ups. You can see all the reader suggestions in the comments to this post, and my first two movie round-ups are here and here.
Well! Without further ado (yes, it really is “ado” and not “adieu“):
Paris when It Sizzles – I loved this movie. It was a great mix of witty banter, post-modern meta-fiction, and romance. The view of Paris and the great fashion just made me love it more. I had already seen the contemporary remake of it (Alex & Emma), which I didn’t think was so bad, really, but in comparison the original is approximately forty-seven times better. Truth.
The Omen – Another creepy kid movie in the vein of The Exorcist (which I also saw recently). It’s a good thing I have already seen Rosemary’s Baby or I’m sure that would be coming up soon in my queue, too! Anyway, I liked this one, I think especially because I hadn’t known the story ahead of time so it really was all new to me. Definitely creepy, suspenseful, and intriguing.
Psycho – This is one of those movies that I never bothered seeing because I felt like I already had “seen” enough of it via clips, parodies, and cultural references. What I found out when I finally watched the whole thing was that I had already known what happened at The Bates Motel, but I hadn’t known anything else about the plot at all! That added another level of intrigue that I hadn’t been expecting. Even though I was prepared for the shower scene and the reveal of the Bates family secret, I still enjoyed the hell out of this movie. A classic for a reason!
North by Northwest – Oh mah gah. WHY HAD I NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE? I loved it just beyond description. I have seen tons of Hitckcock films in my time (I think Psycho and North by Northwest are on a VERY short list of his movies that I had never seen), so I don’t know how this one escaped my attention for so long. It is nearly 2.5 hours, but I never even noticed the time going by. I loved the intrigue, the frustrating Kafkaesque set-up to the plot, the cases of mistaken identity, the espionnage, the stylish femme fatale, the gorgeous furniture and architecture, the witty banter, and the rugged western landscape in the second half. This hit pretty much every one of my pleasure buttons. Five stars for sure.
The White Ribbon – Another contemporary film that made it into my queue in the midst of the classic movie project. This one received so many accolades I figured I could declare it a modern classic and include it here. Plus, it echoes a lot of the creepy-kid qualities of The Omen and The Exorcist (though in a very different context, to be sure). I always enjoy watching German movies because I find it so comforting that even though I don’t speak the language much anymore (I mainly read things like Heidegger and Nietzsche in German for work – don’t be jealous of my exciting life), I can still comfortably listen to the language in a film without having to rely on the subtitles. All that said, I wasn’t wowed with the film. It sort of seemed like something a German version of Paul Thomas Anderson would make. Good quality, well written, and well made, but not my cup of tea. (And way too long!) Still, I’d recommend seeing it because I feel I may be being picky about this. It is definitely a fine film.
OMG! North by Northwest is one of my favorites! I have probably seen it 20 times. We’ll have to have a classic movie night sometime soon!
I’m so glad you liked Paris–When It Sizzles! I haven’t seen it in years and years, so I may have to revisit it. It’s probably one of the most quotable movies I’ve ever watched.
“The plains! The PLANES!”
“I’ve got an idea. I’ve got an idea! First good one I’ve had in four months. No, that’s not true. A few weeks ago I had an idea to give up drinking, but it didn’t photograph.”
D – Yes, definitely! A big movie night, with wine and snacks and such! That would be awesome.
K – It was such a fun movie. I love the witty dialogue in movies from the 60s – it seems like everyone’s a fast talking, snappy character. That’s what I noticed about the older (70s) Woody Allen movies I’ve been watching, too. Something about the pacing and the sort of dry wit just gets me.
Yes. Yes. Snappy dialogue. And snappy hats. This is why the 1950s was awesome, and the movies were especially awesome.
I’m fondest of Hitchcock’s British movies: ‘The Lady Vanishes’, ‘The 39 Steps’.
I don’t think I have seen The Lady Vanishes. I will have to add that one to my queue!
“The Omen” was/is underrated, and one of the things that makes the trilogy scary is the strong attempts to keep the script somewhat Biblically accurate with regard to prophecy. Not saying it will convince anyone, but they didn’t just go all Buffy and make stuff up.
If you want to go further, skip II and go straight to The Final Conflict.
However, I would put in a vote for something very much overlooked from the same era, “The Changeling” with Melvyn Douglas and George C. Scott.
Love this! I am so going to put these on my to-watch list. Several of my co-workers are always telling me of the “classic” movies that I must watch and which were way before my time. I think I’ll do North by Northwest first; I’ve heard lots of good things about that one!