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10 Classics for 2014

For the past few years Laura of the wonderful blog Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings has created a list of 10 new-to-her movies to see and write about during that year. Raquel from the also wonderful Out of the Past blog has done the same for 2014.

It’s such a great idea, choosing several never seen classics and committing to watch and write about them, that I decided to be a copycat and follow their leads. So often I choose movies that are in my comfort zone — romantic comedies, musicals, “women’s pictures,” screwball comedies — or simply re-watch old favorites again and again. This is a nice way to break out of my movie-watching routine, expand my horizons, and check some “must see” films off my list at the same time.

I decided I wanted to see movies in certain categories, many of which I rarely seek out. Here are my chosen 10 for 2014.
39 Steps (1935)
Pre-Hollywood Hitchcock: The 39 Steps (1935) I love Alfred Hitchcock films and have seen many of them from his American movie-making days. I have yet to see any of his earlier movies made in Britain, however, so I chose one of the most highly-regarded from that time period.

Silent Comedy: City Lights (1931) I’ve gotten better about watching the occasional silent movie, but I must admit they’re still not my favorite. I know it’s ridiculous, but when I was young I would get the creeps watching voiceless, ghostly figures on the screen, speaking with no sound coming out of their mouths. It’s a weird hang-up, I suppose! That being said, I feel like seeing a Chaplin movie is a must for any self-respecting classic movie fan, so City Lights is going on the list. Anyway, I made it through the super creepy The Unknown on TCM the other night, so maybe I’m getting over my childhood silent movie phobia.

wings-1927-ivSilent Drama: Wings (1927) I’ve never seen a Clara Bow movie before, so I’m looking forward to that. This movie has the added benefit of Gary Cooper’s presence in a small but starmaking role.

War Movie: Sergeant York (1941) War pictures are a category I’ve never really sought out, though I’ve seen a few here and there. I know there are lots of great ones to see, though, so I wanted to add one to my 2014 list. I’m going a little easy on myself by choosing one starring an actor I adore, Gary Cooper.

Musical: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) I love musicals and I love Stanley Donen films, so you’d think this would be one of my favorite movies. However, it’s never appealed to me all that much. Time to give it a try and see if I’ve been missing out on something great all these years.

New Hollywood: Bonnie and Clyde (1967) I’ve never had much interest in movies from the late 1960s through thebonnie_and_clyde_ver5_xlg 1970s, although that’s always touted as one of the great periods in filmmaking. I like my studio-era films of the 1930s through early 1960s and have never been drawn to the violence and grittiness of the so-called “New Hollywood” era. Time to push myself out of my comfort zone! If nothing else, it’ll be good to see Faye Dunaway’s influential style.

936full-bicycle-thieves-posterForeign: The Bicycle Thief (1948) I like foreign films, but I don’t always seek them out as often as I ought to. The Italian classic The Bicycle Thief has been on my to-watch list for a long time, so I’ll be checking it out this year.

Western: Stagecoach (1939) Westerns aren’t my very favorite genre but I do like them now and then, especially if they star Gary Cooper or Joel McCrea. John Wayne I’m not so crazy about — I’m dreading the week of 24/7 John Wayne movies on TCM in April — but I think he was great in The Searchers and Red River. Stagecoach is such an archetypical Western and one of the many famous films to come out in 1939, so I thought I’d add it to my list.

Pre-Code: Baby Face (1933) I’ve really grown to love Pre-Code movies over the past few years. Their frankness about topics and behavior that would be taboo in movies before too long still manages to surprise me, plus I love seeing the early onscreen incarnations of beloved actors and actresses like Loretta Young, William Powell and, in this one, Barbara Stanwyck. 405px-Citizenkane

I can’t believe you’ve never seen that: Citizen Kane (1941) I threw this last category in as a way to capture one of the movies I’m embarrassed never to have seen before! I know it’s considered the greatest film ever by many people, but it’s just never appealed to me that much and there was always something else to watch instead. I’m glad to have this one on the list, if only so I can finally say I saw it!

So there they are, my 10 Classics for 2014. Thanks again, Laura and Raquel, for inspiring me to follow your examples! I’m excited to watch and discuss these movies. It’ll be a good way to ensure I post here at least 10 times this year, too, after neglecting the blog for far too long.


6 thoughts on “10 Classics for 2014

  1. Great list! We have The 39 Steps in common. The Bicycle Thief almost made it onto my list and Wings is something I hope to watch soon for the first time. I think you might like Bonnie & Clyde. It takes place in the 1930s so while it’s a 1960s film, it has older style which is good. I watched that for the first time last year and loved it! Good luck with your list and thanks for the kind shout out. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Raquel! I’m looking forward to comparing your take on The 39 Steps to mine, once we’ve both seen it. Good to know you liked Bonnie & Clyde so much. It makes me feel much less “meh” about watching it. πŸ˜‰

  2. MC, I’m so glad you and Raquel have decided to do this. It really is a wonderful way to stretch out of one’s “viewing comfort zone.” I’ve found with some films on my lists maybe there was a reason I’d put off seeing them as I didn’t end up caring for them, LOL — yet at the same time it was really good to finally see and consider those films firsthand. Very thought-provoking to analyze why some films work for me and some don’t. And some films started a positive chain reaction of viewing experiences — I now own three sets of Harold Lloyd films after trying SAFETY LAST! πŸ™‚

    SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS has always been one of my three most favorite films so I’m glad you’re going to give it a try. (The others, if you’re curious, are THE SOUND OF MUSIC and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS.) We discussed John Wayne a little earlier this week — I hope you find STAGECOACH enjoyable. If you do and are inspired to try more Wayne Westerns, I particularly recommend following up with ANGEL AND THE BADMAN, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON, and RIO GRANDE which help demonstrate Wayne’s underrated acting ability.

    BABY FACE is on my list too! I love pre-Codes but that’s an important one I’ve never seen. Stanwyck’s character sounds pretty “interesting” so it will be fun to see how I react to that one.

    While I had seen CITIZEN KANE in college, I knocked Welles’ THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS off my list a couple years ago. One of the things I think is fun about these lists is that hopefully everyone realizes there are so many films out there, everyone has famous classics they haven’t seen yet! I’ve definitely had movies on my own lists which prompted “I can’t believe you haven’t seen that already.” LOL. So no need to be embarrassed (grin). Bit by bit we’ll cross some well-known titles off our “to see” lists!

    Thanks for your kind words and link! I’ll look forward to checking in on your posts throughout the year.

    Best wishes,

    • Hi Laura! Funny that sometimes you find you’d avoided certain movies for good reason, since they wind up not being your cup of tea. You never know what you might end up liking, though, like you said about your newfound enjoyment of Harold Lloyd. The only way to know what you like or don’t is to give things a try!

      I hate to say it, because Jane Powell seems like the sweetest lady imaginable and I loved her in her TCM interview with Robert Osborne, but she’s the main reason I’ve avoided “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” for so long. Her singing style gets on my nerves a little bit. I’m willing to have my mind changed, though, so I’m happy to give the movie a chance.

      Thanks for the other John Wayne recommendations. I watched “Three Godfathers” in December (a random selection I made while browsing around Warner Archive Instant) and enjoyed it pretty well, so I’m not as 100% dead-set against his movies as I used to be. He’ll never beat out Joel McCrea as my favorite Western actor, though. Joel was a dreamboat, we all know that. πŸ˜‰

      I’m glad we have some crossover on our lists with “Baby Face.” It’ll be fun to see how our opinions on that one compare.

      Thanks again for linking to me on your blog and for giving me the idea to do this! It’s just the inspiration I need to get back into writing here again.

  3. Great list! I understand the hang ups with silent films. Never cared for them until i went to the SF silent film fest snd saw F.W. Murnaus “Sunrise”. Wow. So emotive, tender and beautiful. Check that out before “wings” as that is a longggg film, but super cool! Have fun!
    πŸ™‚ ps..i now go to the film fest every year, im hooked!

    • “Sunrise” is actually one of the few silent movies I’ve seen. It’s really good! I’m glad I put a couple of silents on my list, since hopefully it’ll help me get over my ambivalent feelings about them and really start to like them. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! πŸ™‚

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