Cool Off With the Classics

Another month has gone by and it is time for another Go, See, Talk Blog-a-Thon. This month, the theme is “Cool Off With the Classics.”

Here is the idea:

This is essentially a Top 10 list of oldies but goodies; only catch is that they have to be in black and white. The period should be from 1930 through the 1950s …. Just a fun list of classic films you’d watch to beat the heat.  Anything goes as long as it’s black and white.

A couple of items of note:

  • This is a hard task for me since I basically cut my teeth on the classic, so I am basically going off the top of my head with the “top ten” of the  moment. Ask me another day and the list would very likely change.
  • No matter where the film is in terms of running time I just have to stop and watch it 🙂
  • I had to “cheat” a little – I limited my number of Hitchcock titles to two (2), mainly for the sake the readers’ sanity and also to shine a light on other films that deserve some well due recognition (in my hypocrisy, you will see that I did not make such a rule for Cary Grant).
  • In getting the pictures for this feature, I noticed all my posters are in color! Oh the irony! But rest assured, the movies are B&W.

So without further ado – here is my list:

Notorious (1946) Hitchcock at his most romantic. Nothing beats the pairing of Grant and Bergman – they are lovely together

His Girl Friday (1940) A fast-paced, unmatched newsroom comedy, that keeps you on your toes and constantly engages your funny bone. Try to keep up!

The Third Man (1949) Orson Welles at his finest. Fantastic cinematopgraphy/photography. One of the reasons I cannot wait to get to Vienna in the near future.

The Ox Bow Incident (1943) My attitude towards the western genre was forever changed as a result of seeing this film. A timeless morality tale.

You Can’t Take It With You (1938) Capra doing what he does best – making you appreciate all that life has to offer. Really inspiring to the free spirits of the world.

The Lady Vanishes (1938) My second Hitchcock entry. A quintessentially pre-WWII British rallying cry.

Dead of Night (1945) Part of my Tales of Terror. Really under-appreciated offering from Ealing Studios.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Another favorite from Cary Grant. This time at possibly his slapsticki-est! Zany characterizations abound in a tale straight out of Brooklyn!

Brief Encounter (1945) A touching if remote romantic drama from David Lean and Noel Coward. So many things left unsaid, so many deeds undone. Classic.

Scrooge (1951) The ultimate Christmas movie. Alastair Sim is my Ebenezer Scrooge for all time.


  1. Hi Luv, glad you’re participating on this blogathon. I opted not to as I haven’t seen enough classic movies. So I’m going around to look for some good ones to add to my to-watch list. Notorious is already on my list, but I’m curious about ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ as I love ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’

    • @ruth ‘You Can’t Take it With You’ is played a bit more for comic effect than ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ – which I also like but if you are in a mood and don’t get to the end, can really send you on one. It is about a man about to commit suicide after all.

  2. Jack Deth says:

    Hi, iluv and company:

    Here’s a topic I can spend hours discussing. So many films I enjoyed watching on our old B&W Zenith in the living room!

    Always thought of Cary Grant as a supreme slapstick/pratfall comedian watching him in ‘Arsenic & Old Lace’. Before catching him and Rosalind Russell in ‘His Girl Friday’ or his absolute best; opposite Katherine Hepburn in ‘Bringing Up Baby’. The rapid-fire overlaid dialogue seemed melodic and was often more funny than the visual gag and punchline itself.

    ‘The Third Man’ grabbed me as a little kid with Zoltan Korda’s Zither soundtrack. Wicked use of shadows. Perhaps the greatest entrance by an actor on film! As a steam of light from a window splashes over Welles and a befuddled Joseph Cotton looks on from across the narrow cobbled street. And Orson Welles being Orson Welles. Memorable ad-libs at the Ferris Wheel and all!

    ‘The Ox Bow Incident’ is a splendid exercise in discovering that close ups and silence are often more powerful than spoken words and action. Especially if those in the close up are Henry Fonda and a Rogue’s Gallery of future Western icons. A great film anyway you cut it! Right up there with ‘My Darling Clementine’.

  3. Great idea to include The Lady Vanishes – I’ve seen a couple of versions of the film but nothing beats the Hitchcock version. Also nice to see The Third Man – one of the best British film ever made.

    • Hi Dan

      I noticed that recently TCM here in the States have finally caught on and started showing more British classics. It is a welcomed addition to the programming.

  4. Yay another Notorious fan! I absolutely love everything about that film. I admire your Hitchcock restraint. My list had five but I’m pretty much a sucker for a Hitchcock film festival. The only downfall is that I missed Brief Encounter because I love that film.

  5. Well well well, I am so very impressed to see Alastair Sim’s classic round out your list. Class my friend, class:) Although I’ve seen very few except for that and Arsenic and Old Lace. I’ve got my work cut out for me. Think I’ll start with The Lady Vanishes and Notorious. I don’t get The 3rd Man like everyone else does but maybe one more viewing. Thanks for being part of this!!

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