My favorite movies!

March 15, 2014

I have been asked many times what my favorite Old Hollywood movies are and what movies I can recommend watching. Well ... I like alot of old Hollywood movies and, I watch them whenever I have some free time. Mainly for inspiration fashion, interior and/or hairdo wise. But ofcourse also to see my favorite actors and actresses perform and to see the most stunning and dreamy gowns, designed by my favorite fashion designers.

These movies are not in a particular order, but the #1 of this list, Bachelor Mother, happens to be my most favorite film of all time.

1. Bachelor Mother ( 1939 )

This is really a witty and light-hearted movie! It is not only my favorite Old Hollywood movie, but definitely my favorite Ginger Rogers film. I am not a childs-person, at all, so it's ironic that a movie about children, is my most favorite film, but it happens to be so. It has a great story-line with an underlying message (obviously) towards child abandonment. Whenever people ask me what old movie to watch, I always recommend this one first. It is still as watchable nowadays, as it was in 1930s/1940s.

The Plot.
Ginger Rogers plays the part of Polly Parrish who works as a salesgirl in the John B. Merlin and son department and she has just been told that her services are no longer needed. On her way home, she sees a woman leaving a baby on the steps of an orphanage. Polly picks up the baby in fear it might roll down the stairs, and at that moment a woman opens the door and Polly is mistakenly thought to be the mother. She tries to argue and tell them that she is not the mother of the baby, but they don't believe her.

The playboy son David Merlin (David Niven) of the store's owner J.B Merlin (Charles Coburn) sympathizes with the "unwed" mother and arranges for her to get her job back so she can take care of the baby. In the end, Polly is unable to convince people that she is not the mother, and gives up and raises the baby. David falls in love with Polly but keeps the relationship a secret from his father, fearing his reaction. Although David is in love with Polly, he does not relish the idea of a "ready-made family". J.B. Merlin finds out about the baby, thinking his son is the father and no one can convince him otherwise especially when Polly and David both produce a different man whom they claim is the father. In the end, David is in love with Polly ánd baby John.

2. Vivacious Lady (1938)
Another Ginger Rogers movie, this time paired with Jimmy Stewart. This movie, too, is a very witty one I enjoyed thoroughly and I have watched it more than once. This movie didn't left Ginger unharmed, who, in the movie, has to fight with Peter's jealous childhood sweetheart Helen who kicked Ginger against the legs. Although Ginger wore protection, it still hurted alot and left her with a bruised shinbone.

The Plot.
Assistant biology professor Peter Morgan (Jimmy Stewart) falls in love and marries a nightclub singer named Francey (Ginger Rogers) whilst being on a trip. When he returns home to the small town university which is run by his dictatorial and conservative father (Charles Coburn), Peter loses all courage to tell his respective family about the marriage. Some of his brides activities does not make things easier for Peter. 

3. Leave her to heaven (1945) contains spoilers
This thriller is magnificent! Gene Tierney plays a very convincing jealous and obsessed wife who does anything for love. This movie sometimes gave me chills up and down my spine, especially the part where she murders the physically disabled little brother of her new husband. It's a catchy film and is even called a Technicolor film noir.

The Plot.
Novelist Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) and socialite Ellen Berent Harland (Gene Tierney) meet on a train to New Mexico. They are attracted to eachother, fall in love and decide to get married. Everyone they know are happy about their marriage, except Ellen's fiancée back home. The love Ellen has for Richard is a possesive and obsessive one, much like the love she felt for her deceased father, who Richard physically resembles. Ellen wants Richard all for herself and does not allow anyone to stand in her way. She resents ányone who takes a place in his life and heart, even if his love for that person is not a romantic one. That includes Richards disabled teen brother, her own sister Ruth Berent (Jeanne Crain) and a young man.It doesn't take long before Richard learns about the true character of his beautiful wife ...

4. Don't bother to knock (1952)
Whoever thinks of Marilyn Monroe as a poor actress, hasn't seen Don't bother to knock yet! Marilyn gives a chilling performance as a psychotic babysitter! I have always thought it a sad case that Marilyn was only typecasted as the breathless sex symbol without a brain, and after seeing this movie, that feeling was only emphasized. Marilyn shows great talent and it's unfortunate that we haven't seen more movies with Marilyn in such a role as Nell Forbes. She's very convincing and that makes this movie very enjoyable and thrilling to watch!

The Plot.
Nell Forbes (Marilyn Monroe) has just been released from a psychiatric hospital and tries to enter society to live a normal life. Her uncle, who works as a bell boy in a hotel, found Nell a job as a baby sitter in the hotel he works for. Airline pilot Jed (Richard Widmark) also stays in the hotel. His sweetheart Lyn (Anne Bancroft) is a singer there and the two are about to break up. Jed sees Nell in a window opposite his and they get in contact. Jed invites himself over to the room where Nell is baby-sitting Bunny. Marilyn, driven by trauma's, thinks Jed is her long lost fiance, who died in WWII. Things are getting out of hand and when Bunny enters the room, Nell goes crazy.

5. I Married a Witch (1942)
This is, without any doubt, my favorite Veronica Lake movie. Her way of acting is so amusing in this film and it's a movie that is as watchable today as it was in the 1940s. 

The Plot.
In 1672, two witches Jennifeer (Veronica Lake) and her father Daniel (Cecil Kellaway) were burned by puritan Jonathan Wooley. In return, Jennifer cursed all future generations of the Wooley family and that the sons will always marry the wrong woman and be miserable. In the 20th century, a bolt of lightning frees Jennifer and her father from the tree that kept their souls imprisoned and Jennifer takes the corporeal form of a beautiful blonde woman and decides to make up-and coming politician Wallace Wooley, who at that time is unhappily engaged to Estelle Masterson (Susan Hayward) fall in love with her just before his wedding to make him feel more miserable. Wallace does everything to try and not fall in love with her, so Jennifer has to come up with other ways to make him fall in love and concocts a love potion. Love potions tend to backfire and messes with Jennifer's plans. Things don't go as she had planned.

6. Turnabout (1940)
I very much enjoyed this movie with tragic beauty, Carole Landis. It is very witty and at times I was laughing out loud, quite hard as some scene's of the film are quite amusing. This movie is easily watchable time after time and it still arouses a fresh laugh.

The Plot.
Phil Manning (Adolphe Menjou) and the glamorous Sally Willows (Carole Landis)  are continuously quarreling with eachother. And after a day of constant bickering, they tell eachother that they wish to live eachothers life and express it in front of a Hindu deity in their bedroom, who grants their wish. The following morning, when they wake up, they have switched bodies. This leads to many hilarious events in the movie.

7. A streetcar named Desire (1951)
This movie is a masterpiece! Vivien Leigh plays such a great part as the disturbed Blanche Dubois. The role of Blanche is said to have pushed Vivien deeper into her mental problems; some say that, in a way, she stayed in the role of Blanche. Vivien knew Blanche, she found something she'd recognized in her and from this movie on, Vivien's mental health was going downhill. 

Many people do not agree whether Blanche was raped in the movie by the brutal Stanley Kowalski, the husband of her sister, or if she fantasized it, as she did with so many other things. In the Tennessee Williams play it is implied that he did rape her, but in the 1950s, they could not show that part in the movie as they would do in films of today. That particular part was indicated by a shattering mirror on the moment Stanley grabs Blanche.

The plot.
Blanche DuBois is a fragile and disturbed woman in her thirties who has encountered alot of tragic events in her life that made her the person she became. She is in need of a real protector and this leds her to visit her younger sister Stella in New Orleans. Blanche does not understand that Stella, who is expecting her first child, could have picked a husband who lacks so much in refinement. Blanche is afraid of getting older and avoids light. She is making Stanley Kowalski crazy and is afraid that people will learn about her past; having sexual intercourse with one of her school students who was underaged. One of Stanley's buddies thinks of Blanche as an attractive woman and wants to marry her, until Stanley tells him what kind of woman Blanche really is. When Stella goes to the hospital to have her baby, things are getting out of hand when Stanley and Blanche are alone in the house.

Part two soon to follow!

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  1. i have not seen any of these movies! Thanks for giving me some ideas of what to watch. I just love watching old movies for hair and fashion inspiration. The one with James Stewart and Ginger looks very neat, those are my two favorite actors of all time!! The one with Marilyn Monroe sounds promising as well.
    Thank you!


    1. Let me know what you thought of them whenever you're going to watch them :-) xxx

  2. Marilyn is brilliant in "Don´t bother to knock"!

    1. I am delighted to read that there are more people who share this thought! The movie gets so little attention and her skill of acting, too. It's sad.

  3. I Married a Witch is one of my favourite vintage films as well. I'll happily watch it anytime, but am especially fond of adding it to my Halloween movie repertoire (given the natural pairing of witches and All Hallows Eve). Great list, my dear - looking forward to part 2.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Yes especially around Halloween it's a wonderful movie to watch! I really, really like it.

  4. Thank you for this list, I haven't seen a single one of this movies yet, so thanks for the inspiration.
    I am a huge Bette Davis fan, so I mainly focus on films starring her when buying new Dvds. My second focus lies on earlier, mostly 20ies and early 30ies movies.
    Your list added to my "still to watch"-list makes me realize there are just too many gorgeous films to watch and much too little time to do so.
    love, ette

    1. I have seen only one movie of Bette and that was the one with Marilyn. Can you recommend a movie to me with Bette in it?

    2. You mean "All about Eve"? That is a comparably late movie with her, but a really good one. And I love that Marilyn is in it, too. It is really kind of symbolic that she plays the role of a "rising star" in it. I especially love Bette in her earlier films, eg in "Dangerous", the film she won her first Academy Award as "best actress" for. Instead of buying a film you can watch "Of humen Bondage" for free in the Internet Archive, because somebody forgot to renew the copyright, so it is completely copyright free today (here is the link: ). It was one of her first major roles and her collegues protested until she was added to the Oscar's "best actress"-nominees in 1935, belated, though she didn't win it this time.
      What I especially like about her is that she never feared to play ugly or dislikeable characters and refused to behave as ladylike and dependent as people expected.

  5. Those movies are great to watch when you feel like being a couch potato the whole Sunday afternoon! Haha! Also, the Turnabout is very intriguing. I’m just wondering what happened next after the couple switched bodies. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Simon Walker @ The Viewlorium


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