Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish, and today's list is about favorite movies or television shows. I love old films, and as you'll see from my list, I also love Cary Grant and comedies!

Here is my list of top ten favorite classic movies:

39 Steps (1935) is an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Robert Donat is Richard Hannay who is falsely accused of murdering an agent. The agent was trying to uncover information about a ring of spies known as the 39 Steps. Hannay flees London and is on the run across Scotland with Pamela (Madeleine Carroll). 

42nd Street (1933) is about a stage production with backstage intrigue, lots of dancing and great songs. There is plenty of innuendo since this is a pre-code film. While I'm not a big fan of Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers and Una Merkel are hilarious.

The Awful Truth (1937) stars Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as a husband and wife in the process of getting a divorce but who spend lots of energy trying to thwart each one's love life. 

Ball of Fire (1941) Gary Cooper is Professor Bertram Potts, who lives in relative seclusion with seven other bachelor professors, while they are in the process of writing an encyclopedia of human knowledge. Professor Potts ventures out to conduct research on the use of slang and encounters Sugarpuss O'Shea, a burlesque dancer, played by Barbara Stanwyck. She's on the lam from the Mob and needs a place to stay.

Merrily We Live (1938) is a screwball comedy that includes mistaken identity, a bit of romance and all kinds of things that add up to a comedy of errors. The cast is excellent and includes Brian Ahearne and Constance Bennett.

Notorious (1946) is a Hitchcock thriller which stars Ingrid Bergman who is the daughter of a former Nazi. She and FBI Agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) work to break up a Nazi spy ring in Brazil. The only trouble is, she marries a member of the ring, Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains), even though she loves Cary Grant. Cary Grant is the best looking g-man in his tailored suits, and Ingrid Bergman is glamorous and sophisticated. 

Philadelphia Story (1940) is the story of Tracy Lord (Katherine Hepburn) who is about to be the bride in the society wedding of the year. Her ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) arrives unexpectedly. He tries to pass off reporter Macaulay Conner (James Stewart) and photographer Liz Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) as his friends even though they are there to report on the wedding for a tabloid magazine. I love Cary Grant in this film, but the real star is Virginia Weidler as Tracy's younger sister, Dinah.

Singin' in the Rain (1952) is a musical set against the backdrop of Hollywood as it makes the transition from silent films to talkies. Great dancing by Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and Cyd Charisse. My favorite character is the one who does no singing or dancing--Jean Hagen as Lina Lamonte, the shallow, egotistical leading lady with the nasal voice.

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) is just as good as the book. Gregory Peck is perfect as Atticus Finch. The moment when Scout meets Boo Radley (Robert Duvall) brings tears to my eyes every time.

Top Hat (1935) is a screwball comedy starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I chose this film for the list, but I love all the Astaire/Rogers films. The plots don't really matter to me--I love the dancing.

What are your favorite classic films?


  1. I didn't have time to participate this week, but I love the classic movies you picked. Today's Hollywood films with all their special effects are not so compelling to me as the great writing and charisma of the actors in the old ones. Barbara Stanwyck is a recent discovery; I thought she was also terrific in The Lady Eve and Christmas in Connecticut.

  2. I totally agree with you about older films, and I never get tired of watching them. When I was growing up, I only knew Barbara Stanwyck from reruns of The Big Valley. It's been fun to discover her work as a film actress. The Lady Eve and Christmas in Connecticut are both great films! Thanks for your comment!