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.
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.
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 the 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.
Foreign: 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.
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.