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Old Movies You Should Probably Just Watch Right Now

You know how sometimes you look at the You of 5, 10, 15 years ago and can sometimes barely recognize yourself? Or you think how the people who've met you in the years since that time have no idea that certain things used to be The Most Important to you?

From about ages 10 to 20, I was very, very into old movies. It started with PBS showing them when I lived out in the country and we only got seven channels because of some malarkey about satellite dishes not working out there.

They'd show them late, and that's how I first saw Bringing Up Baby, the classic Katharine Hepburn/Cary Grant comedy, and arguably their best. I also caught The Philadelphia Story that way, and both of these spawned a Katharine Hepburn obsession that culminated in my friend and me starting this community.

I STILL LOVE THESE MOVIES. But our culture has switched to Netflix, so I basically never see them. I am, however, reading a book about 19th century murders, and it reminded me of my brief but intense obsession with a terrible Bette Davis movie, which made me in turn want to make a list of random old movies I got obsessed with. You should watch all of them if you have not.

Holiday. Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant again! Holiday is a fantastic movie about a poor guy getting engaged to a rich girl, then falling for her sister (Hepburn). His whole schtick is he wants to go "on holiday" (get it?) and THEN get to work. So like, retire young, then start working. Since this film came out when the Great Depression was still going, it was not a huge success. There's a pretty great almost-kiss between Hepburn and Grant, though.

This is one of the only scenes really worth watching in the movie:

Random Harvest. Greer Garson! And also Ronald Colman, but I don't care about him! Ok, Greer Garson is not that well known in our time, which is a shame, because she is damn great. Random Harvest is about a man with amnesia who meets a woman (Garson), they get married, have a kid, then he has some OTHER amnesia incident where he forgets his new life with Garson and only remember his old life, where he's a big rich guy. Then she comes to work for him as his secretary and oh, it is so angsty and great.

My Favorite Wife. People liked the plot of My Favorite Wife so much, it got remade into another movie in the '60s with James Garner and Doris Day called Move Over, Darling. I highly enjoy both versions. So in this, Cary Grant is married to Irene Dunne, but she's been lost at sea for years, so he's finally going to remarry. Then, of course, she shows up on his wedding day right after they've gotten married and OH the confusion and chaos! Also Irene Dunne and Cary Grant kiss in this and not in their other big movie, The Awful Truth. Teenage Alice rated a lot of things by how much kissing they contained.

Stage Door. Holy. Shit. Stage Door. Ok, imagine a movie with a bunch of awesome comedic actresses of today, all living together in a boarding house. Because that was Stage Door and it is MAGNIFICENT. So, Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Eve Arden, Ann Miller, Lucille Ball, ETC are struggling actresses who all live in a theatrical boarding house together and spend their days hanging out and being hilarious. Lucille Ball is a tiny baby in this movie. It's got an overly dramatic subplot, but omg just talking about it makes me want to watch it again right now.

All This, and Heaven Too. This is the terrible Bette Davis movie! Ok, Bette Davis is a governess in 19th century France, and she works for Charles Boyer, who has a terrible clingy crazy wife. Bette Davis is calm and reasonable, so Charles Boyer is into her, but TERRIBLE CLINGY CRAZY WIFE ruins things, and omg, it's so great. It's based on a real case from France in the 1840s about a duke who was tried for murdering his wife. You can read about the case here and man. You should probably watch the movie. Then listen to the unconnected Florence + the Machine song, because both are A+.

Ok, there's also Desk Set, All About Eve, Ball of Fire, It Happened One Night, The Palm Beach Story, Libeled Lady, The Thin Man, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Now Voyager, Blossoms in the Dust, WOMAN OF THE YEAR, In the Good Old Summertime, and so on for forever because old movies are great.

The viewings of these would go way up if Netflix would just acquire a bunch of good old movies, but for now, it's Desk Set ad infinitum for me. Which is actually kind of okay because Desk Set is one of the greatest movies ever made. Librarians versus the internet! In the 1950s! Fantastic.


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