..but, I guess I need to get it down to 1 per decade. Really difficult, especially for the 1950s. And the 1960s even more so. Even the 70s…oh darn it, all the decades are tough calls. Oh? What it is? Yes, right, I forgot to tell you. I need to list my favourite movie from each decade starting with the 1920s to the 1970s or, we’re allowed to shift it from the 1930s to the 1980s. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do because, and I’m really sorry (I need to rectify this asap), I just haven’t seen more than one or two movies from the 20s. And, well, the 1980s, need I say more about that decade? But, let me stop waffling along and get to the point:The 1930s brings to mind one of my absolute best, and not only of the 30s, but in general. Ask a Policeman. Sergeant Dudfoot (Will Hay) and his two constables, Albert (Graham Moffat) and Harbottle (Moore Marriott) proudly boast that their village has had no crime for 10 years, 5 weeks and 4 days. But, this means that the quaint little police station is no longer required. So, to justify their positions, Dudfoot and Co are so busy trying to stage some fake crime that they are oblivious to the real thing happening right beneath their very eyes…quite literally so too. A great comedy that you should really try to see.
Moving along to the 1940s which brought many gems but, for those of you who know me, it should be no surprise that one of my all time favourites is Yellow Sky. Without even a second thought. It has Gregory Peck as Stretch heading up a gang of bank robbers on the run across the desert. Parched and close on dead, the stumble upon a ghost town. Not so abandoned after all, they are surprised to find Mike (Anne Baxter) and her (yes, “her”) Grandpa prospecting there. The gang slowly unravels when greed, love and priorities come into play. A brilliant western.
Now, the 1950s is where I really struggle as there are a number of excellent movies here and my favourite really does sway from time to time. But, I need to go with nostalgia and the start of my love for movies. The one that brings my earliest classic movie memories to the fore. Therefore, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers just has to feature as my favourite here. Or, rather, as the favourite of the little girl I once was. I’m sure most of you know the story of how the 7 Pontipee brothers found their 7 brides. For me, though, it was about Milly (Jane Powell) and her beautiful dresses, her wonderful personality, her on-screen presence. Yes, of course I loved the singing and dancing but at that point I would have loved nothing more than to be Milly. Thinking back, I think it was because she could hold her own yet be the perfect romantic lead. Childhood memories aside, today, I’d probably say my 1950s favourite is Vera Cruz.
On to the 1960s. I really have a problem here as I have a whole lot of childhood favourites here which I cannot simply ignore…so, I’ll do a quick detour before finally coming to my real favourite. So, The War Wagon was how I fell in love with the Western and made John Wayne my movie star hero (no brat pack guys for this teen back then). I watched this over and over until I discovered The Reivers in my parents’ Super 8 collection. But, Mutiny on the Bounty and the adventure that came with it was also amongst those prized reels. And then I fell in love with Andrew Craig and his Nobel Prize Ceremony antics i.e. Paul Newman in The Prize. To this day, these movies, now on DVD, have a special place in my heart. But, one of my all-time favourites (ever) has got to be The Magnificent Seven. You all know the story so I won’t go into detail but who can resist the Western version of the Seven Samurai with none other than Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen heading a cast of favourite cowboy actors? I never tire of this one.
The 1970s brings on a similar situation as the 1960s. Gut feel, right now, says my favourite is Big Jake, another one I grew up with. To this day I know line for line of this kidnapping/ransom demand Western and give it a watch at least once a year. Need we mention the “you can call me Father, you can call me….but if you ever call me daddy again….” or “…your fault, my fault, nobody’s fault…”? You just need to watch it for these lines (amongst others…maybe “cold camp”). Here John Wayne is joined by real life sons Patrick and Ethan Wayne (playing on-screen sons), ever wonderful Maureen O’Hara, Bruce Cabot and perfect villain Richard Boone. So, hmmm, maybe I should just say it…my 1970s favourite. Although The Sting, The Cowboys, Lolly Madonna XXX and The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing all feature on my list of top movies in this decade.
The 1980s had some wonderful movies but Le Grand Bleu, without a doubt, is absolutely amazing and one of my all-time favourite movies. I started watching it late one night and just couldn’t go to bed….when I finally did I had cried myself silly. To wake up the next morning still dazed (and puffy eyed) and an emotional wreck, all I wanted was to watch it over. And over. Being a diver myself (although not a free diver) I could just “feel” the peace and calm that Jacques experienced. This Luc Besson movie has rivals Enzo (Jean Reno) and Jacques (Jean–Marc Barr) diving dangerously deeper and deeper just to outdo each other. An absolutely stunning movie with the perfect tag line: Danger…Like Passion…Runs Deep. Just make sure you watch the Director’s Cut which comes in at 168 minutes.
So, there you have it. My 6 Films across 6 Decades. Thanks to Classic Film & TV Café for hosting this Blogathon. Head on over here for more entries.