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Thread: Favorite Black and White Movies

  1. #31
    Custom Woman
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    Aug 2003
    New York, NY
    AMAZING list, 4DK! I can't believe I didn't think to post "Roshomon," one of my all-time favorite movies, with absolutely gorgeous cinematography and great performances by the entire cast--a real classic; "Some Like It Hot," one of the funniest movies of all time, IMO, with a sparkling B&W Monroe who looks lit from within in some scenes; and "Night of the Hunter," one of the most eerily beautiful B&W films ever, way ahead of its time, with Robert Mitchum giving one of the great villian performances in film history. Such a shame that "Night of the Hunter" was not appreciated by audiences or critics at the time it was released. It was so derided that its director, the great actor Charles Laughton, never directed another film. It's not a well-known movie but definitely a must-see. I challenge anyone who sees it to ever forget a certain image of Shelley Winters (4DK, I'm sure you know the one I mean). Thanks for reminding us, 4DK, of movies such as "Night of the Hunter" and all the other great films on your list. Like Show, it makes me want to see them all right now!

  2. #32
    How long till the new season?
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Writing thank-you notes to GS for their kind hospitality......
    ...Add Dr. Strangelove to the list....Peter Sellers in a classic...

    Has anyone mentioned 'On the Waterfront'? One of Brando's best, IMO...

    Rgirl, ITA about the original monster movies. You just gotta love Boris, Bela, and Elsa Lancaster

  3. #33
    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    San Joaquin Valley, Ca.
    Oh my gosh, how could we forget the original "King Kong", "The Creature From The Black Lagoon", and all the marvelous "Godzilla" movies from Japan..............42

  4. #34
    On the Ice
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    Aug 2003
    North Carolina
    "It Happened One Night" - just divine. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert - doesn't get much better than that!

    "Adam's Rib" - Katherine Hepburn was just the greatest! Pair her with Spencer Tracy and she's even better!

    "Little Women" w/Hepburn

    "Jezebel" w/Bette Davis

    "Miracle on 34th Street"

    "It's A Wonderful Life"

    ...there are so many other old B&W films I hope to see one day....unfortunately, I'm stuck in what can only be described as a truly "podunk" town in NC....and, I'm in law school - so my rental options are extremely least there are ice rinks w/in 25 miles!!!!

  5. #35
    Custom Title
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    Jul 2003
    I just had to come back and expand on some of my favorite Hithcock movies. Has anyone seen Rope? Talk about twisted but brilliant. The movie was filmed as if it was a play. They kept going without stopping (or at least very little stopping). Also another Jimmy Stuart movie.

    Two recent college grads with great futures ahead of them decide to kill another college friend just to see if they can get away with murder. The leader in this scheme says it is because they are superior and should be able to get away with it. Turns out, the victim is engaged to the ringleader's ex-girlfriend. Sounds like jealousy to me.

    They stuff the body in a chest and then invite the victim's family and fiance over for dinner. They serve dinner over his corpse and "wonder" along with everyone else that the victim hasn't arrived at the party yet. Enter Jimmy Stuart.....

    Gruesome tale, but wow, well-done movie.

  6. #36
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    New York City
    From another thread, I am still waiting for a reply to my question of what the end of Jules et Jim is all about? Very disturbing ending.

    If you don't mind sub titles, rent Jules et Jim, look at it and report.

    Thanks - Joe

  7. #37
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    Aug 2003
    I never post on this board, but I love the old movies so I just had to chime in. Many of my favorites have already been mentioned, but I'll add these:

    Laura--Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price
    Double Indemnity--Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray
    Witness for the Prosecution--Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton
    Gaslight--Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer
    The Magnificent Ambersons--Joseph Cotten, Tim Holt (?)
    Palm Beach Weekend--Joel McCrea, Claudette Colbert
    Here Comes Mr. Jordan--Robert Montgomery
    How Green Was My Valley--Walter Pigeon, Maureen O'Hara, Roddy McDowell
    Strangers on a Train--Robert Walker, Farley Granger
    Gentlemen's Agreement--Gregory Peck, John Garfield
    The Best Years of Our Lives--Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, ???
    The Heiress--Olivia DeHaviland, Montgomery Clift

    I'm blank on the title of an Alfred Hitchcock film with Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten as her mysterious uncle. Anyone remember?

  8. #38
    Moving Forward
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    Jul 2003
    here and there from there and here
    Many of the posts here have served to remind me of all the wonderful old black and white films I watched as a youth and make me long to see them again. The problem I have is that the "chain" video rental stores in my area have such a lack of old classic black and white movies. Does anyone else have this problem and if so, how do they solve it without purchasing a closet full of older movies?


  9. #39
    Extinction is Forever 4dogknight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    In Idaho passing out AK47s to the wolves
    Grannyfan, you asked:

    I'm blank on the title of an Alfred Hitchcock film with Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten as her mysterious uncle. Anyone remember?
    The name of the film is Shadow of a Doubt (1943). It was remade in 1958 under the title Step Down to Terror and starred Colleen Miller and Charles Drake. The film is in B&W.

    The film was a made for TV movie in 1991 under the Shadow of a Doubt title and starred Mark Harmon and Margaret Walsh.


  10. #40
    Extinction is Forever 4dogknight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    In Idaho passing out AK47s to the wolves
    Because of the crummy weather, yes I know we needed the rain, my better half and I were forced to spend the weekend indoors with the three - four foots who are terrified of thunder storms.

    We started talking about the lack of intelligent programming on
    TV this weekend which led me to mention this thread about favorite black and white films. My better half was in the media business before retirment so I figured his favorites would be 'color' films. But we came up with an impressive and lengthy list of B&W favorite films. (I can't beleive I didn't include these films on my first list.)

    So walk down memory lane with us and for those who have cable or satellite, TCM and AMC does show B&W and yes, silent films too, you just have to watch for them.
    Broken Blossoms – 1919 – Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess
    Way Down East – 1920 - Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess
    Little Lord Fauntleroy – 1921 – Mary Pickford (notable only because Pickford plays both the title role and Dearest)
    Orphans of the Storm – 1921 Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut
    Sparrows – 1926 – Mary Pickford
    Back Street – 1932 – Irene Dunne, John Boles (3 hanky movie)
    Imitation of Life – 1934 – Claudette Colbert (4 hanky movie)
    Manhattan Melodrama – 1934 – Clark Gable, William Powell
    (the last film John Dillinger ever saw, courtesy of the FBI and the lady in red)
    The Scarlet Pimpernel – 1934 – Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon
    The Glass Key – 1935 – George Raft, Edward Arnold
    Little Lord Fauntleroy – 1936 – Freddie Bartholomew
    Captains Courageous – 1937 – Freddie Bartholomew, Spencer Tracy
    In Old Chicago - 1937 – Tyrone Power (the cow did it, in a stable, on the South Side, with a lantern)
    Maid of Salem – 1937 – Fred MacMurray, Claudette Colbert
    Alexander’s Ragtime Band – 1938 – Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Don Amache, Ethel Merman (like ragtime, like 1920’s style jazz, then this is your film.)
    Angels With Dirty Faces – 1938 – James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, Humphrey Bogart
    Allegheny Uprising – 1939 – John Wayne, Claire Trevor
    Beau Geste – 1939 – Gary Cooper, Robert Preston, Ray Milland
    The Cat and the Canary – 1939 – Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard
    Union Pacific – 1939 – Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck
    Wuthering Heights – 1939 – Laurence Olivier, Merle Oberon (wind him up and watch him overact)
    Dark Command – 1940 – John Wayne, Claire Trevor
    Pride and Prejudice -1940 – Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson (not a bad film but Colin Firth does it better)
    Rebecca -1940 – Laurence Oliver, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders (at least Olivier doesn’t overact in this film, he leaves that distinction to George Sanders and Judith Anderson (Mrs. Danvers))
    The Ghost Breakers – 1940 – Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard
    Back Street – 1941 – Charles Boyer, Margaret Sullivan (3 hanky film)
    Charley’s Aunt -1941 – Jack Benny (funnier, I think than the Ray Bolger remake)
    Hold Back the Dawn – 1941 – Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland
    Penny Serenade – 1941 – Cary Grant, Irene Dunne
    Skylark – 1941 – Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland, Brian AherneBut
    The Strawberry Blonde – 1941 – James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland
    They Died With Their Boots On – 1941 – Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland
    (Hollywood’s version of actual events – we know better now)
    George Washington Slept Here – 1942 – Jack Benny, Ann Sheridan
    The Major and the Minor – 1942 – Ray Milland, Ginger Rogers
    Pittsburgh – 1942 – John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Marlene Dietrich
    The Outlaw – 1943 – Jane Russell, Jack Buetel (the bra that won the west. Actually the engineered cantilevered bra was never worn in the film)
    The Lodger – 1944 – George Sanders, Merle Oberon
    The Uninvited – 1944 – Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Gail Russell (my very favorite sci-fi, gothic mystery, don’t go up the stairs in the dark film. Also prompted the planting of four mimosa trees on our property.)
    The Horn Blows at Midnight – 1945 – Jack Benny
    Lost Weekend -1945 – Ray Milland, Jane Wyman
    The Egg and I – 1947 – Fred MacMurray, Claudette Colbert (Betty MacDonald’s book is better than the film but the film introduced us to Ma and Pa Kettle. These characters went on to star in 8 films extolling the simple life.)
    The Farmer’s Daughter – 1947 – Joseph Cotton, Loretta Young (a political film with a point and an accent)
    Arch of Triumph – 1948 – Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman
    Red River – 1948 – John Wayne (IMHO the definitive western)
    Wake of the Red Witch – 1948 – John Wayne, Gail Russell
    I Was a Male War Bride – 1949 – Cary Grant, Ann Sheridan
    It Happens Every Spring – 1949 – Ray Milland, Jean Peters, Paul Douglas
    Caged – 1950 – Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorhead (this Moorhead is not your familiar Endora, by a long shot)
    No Way Out – 1950 – Richard Widmark (the 1987 Kevin Costner film of the same name is actually a remake of the 1948 film The Big Clock with Ray Milland and Charles Laughton)
    Panic in the Streets – 1950 – Richard Widmark
    Cry the Beloved Country -1951 – Canada Lee, Sidney Potier (Good film but Paton’s book is worth the read)
    Rhubarb – 1951 – Ray Milland, Jan Sterling, Gene Lockhart
    Westward the Women – 1951 – Robert Taylor, Denise Darcel
    Room for One More – 1952 – Cary Grant, Betsy Drake
    The Blackboard Jungle – 1955 – Glenn Ford (defined a generation along with the films Rock Around the Clock and Rebel without a Cause)
    Somebody Up There Likes Me – 1956 – Paul Newman
    The Joker is Wild – 1957 – Frank Sinatra, Mitzi Gaynor (film is worth seeing just to hear Sinatra sing All the Way)
    Something Of Value – 1957 – Rock Hudson (okay film but read Robert Ruark’s book for a better understanding of the Mau Mau uprising)
    Time Limit – 1957 – Richard Widmark
    The Defiant Ones – 1958 – Tony Curtis, Sidney Potier
    The Left Handed Gun – 1958 – Paul Newman (one of the better told tales of Billy the Kid)
    A Raisin in the Sun – 1961 – Sidney Potier
    Pressure Point -1962 – Sidney Potier, Bobby Darin (the film that proved Bobby Darin was more than a pretty face that could sing, he was an actor)
    The List of Adrian Messenger – 1963 – Kirk Douglas ( film brought new meaning to who done it)
    The Bedford Incident – 1965 – Richard Widmark, Sidney Potier (Good film but Rascoulth’s Book is worth the read)

    Last edited by 4dogknight; 09-01-2003 at 09:12 PM.

  11. #41
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    Aug 2003
    Thanks, 4dk, for remembering Shadow of a Doubt. I wanted to add The Manchurian Candidate to my list, too. Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and a very wicked Angela Lansbury.

  12. #42
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    New Jersey
    It's not a favorite movie since I've never actually watched all the way through.....but I believe the original b&W Psycho was much better then the color re-make from a couple of years ago. There's just something so much more 'atmospheric' about B&W that can enhance a movie. Same goes for the original Cape Fear (with James Mitchum) vs the recent color version.

  13. #43
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    Aug 2003
    I've never seen the Psycho remake, but from what I've read, the original is better. I have seen both Cape Fears and prefer the earlier one. That's usually the case with me. Like heyang said, there's just something about the atmosphere in those old black and white films.

    Another good one for "atmosphere" is The Spiral Staircase with Dorothy McGuire and Ethel Barrymore. It has everything--big old house, stormy nights, mad killer lurking about...

  14. #44
    Custom Title
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    Aug 2003


    Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Dean Jones.
    How cool that we are still watching and talking about when shows are actually funny and silly without including sex, swearing and violence. Do you ever notice their flow of speech was different back then. They were not in such a hurry to get done with their lines or were they rushed to get a show done. I can watch them without rewinding because their words were clear
    and not to fast

  15. #45
    Custom Woman
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    New York, NY
    Here's my interpretation of the ending of Truffaut's "Jules et Jim." First some general background for those who don't know the film. Jules and Jim come to be friends through their work (they translate each other's writing -- one is Austrian, the other French). At the opening of the film the time is the belle epoch of pre-WWI Paris. Into their friendship comes the beguiling and fetching Catherine. (The film is worth renting, imo, if nothing else than to see the performance of the inimitable Jeanne Moreau at the height of her cinematic powers.) Catherine becomes lovers first with one man, then the other, and eventually the arrangement becomes a menage a trois. (I'm not giving anything away; it's not a "surprise" kind of movie.)

    As for Catherine's final act, let me say a few things about what I think of her character. For one thing, I think the title in and of itself is revealing of Catherine's nature as in, she isn't there -- in the title, that is. Even though Catherine is the key character in the film, she's not even mentioned in the title. My opinion is that without Jules and Jim, Catherine has no character. Like many women, she loses herself in the men she loves, but Catherine does so to an iconic extreme. Throughout the film, Catherine takes on many different personas: tender, intellectual, harpy, even masculine, as if she were playing roles of herself to see how much she can get away with. Ultimately I think the reason the film is not entitled "Catherine" is because her personality is empty. Catherine really puts Jules and Jim through the ringer, yet she (and we, the audience) knows they will stay with her. The only person who is not there for Catherine is Catherine herself. Also, I think one of the existential questions Truffaut deals with is the ultimate dissatisfaction with romance. One lover is never enough; two lovers is too many.

    As for the ending, note that the atmosphere of gathering gloom with which the film ends matches the storm clouds gathering over Europe for WWII. "They left nothing behind them," is the commentary's epitaph after the death of Catherine. The chaos of life continues, but not the world made up of these three friends and lovers.

    I think of Catherine as an embodiment of the spirit of her time, sinking into fascism, or perhaps of the existentialist philosophy that grew out of a despair caused by too many wars. Notice that just prior to her last desperate act, which strikes me like an artist slashing her own canvas, she was seen a book burning in a newsreel. To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, "If they start burning books, you can bet that soon they will be burning people." I think Catherine has never faced the true reality and true cruelty of war until that moment. Also, she is older. The spirit and idealism of her youth has been burned out by war. There were several occasions for the youthful feeling of "This is the war to end all wars" and yet here comes another one. Without a strong internal self to shore her up, the realization of a bigger, deadlier, longer war cranking up is more than Catherine can bear. She is used to living through her lovers, but what are they in the face of war? Catherine takes herself away before war can take her.

    Catherine is a mystery to be sure and these are just my musings on your question. Certainly there are other far more insightful evaluations. But "Jules et Jim" is a great film to be sure and considered by many to be the apex of the French New Wave Cinema movement. Even if you don't like subtitles, the movie is visually stunning as well, imo.

    A rental double feature suggestion from RgirlMovies is "Jules et Jim" and Fellini's picaresque "Nights of Cabiria." The musical "Sweet Charity" was based on "Cabiria," it stars Fellini's wife, the glorious and charming Guilietta Masina as Cabiria. Where "Jules et Jim" is about a woman who ultimately cannot deal with the vicissitudes of life, "Nights of Cabiria" is about a woman for whom vicissitudes are just another day at the office. Although both women are dependent on men, Cabiria's indomitable spirit is the polar opposite of Catherine's. I don't mean to paint "Jules et Jim" as gloomy; most of the movie is full of idyllic and delightful scenes, unforgettable ones, too. It's just that "Nights of Cabiria" is downright funny, even in the face of a tragic life for the title character. And with faces like those of Jeanne Moreau and Guiletta Masina, who cares about subtitles? Finally, one is a classic of the French New Wave, the other is a classic of Italian Neorealism. Get some pizza (I know, it's not really Italian) and a good bordeaux and enjoy!

    I hope I addressed your question, Joe.
    PS to Heyang: Picky note re the original "Cape Fear": It's Robert Mitchum, not James (I do the same thing all the time with actors' names; I drive myself nuts).

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