Caftan Woman

Caftan Woman

Sunday, May 15, 2016

National Classic Movie Day: 5 Movies on an Island Blogathon


The rolling year has brought us again to National Classic Movie Day.  Classic Film and TV Cafe is hosting a commemorative blogathon with this year's theme, the 5 movies you would want on that fabled desert island.  Click HERE to see what your fellow movie fans envision.






"The power of the woman in the motion picture is very strong and the nature of her resistance results in one of the greatest moments of all cinema."

"It gets me angry to think people judging it and against it in this way when you don't know where it comes from and who they are.  You are taking it as a movie.  It's not a movie.  It is a story and a work of art and a work of poetry and very unique and beautiful.
- Martin Scorsese

First on my list is John Ford's Oscar winning (Best Director and Best Cinematography, Color) The Quiet Man.  The opening credits supported by Victor Young's soaring score are a cue for my emotions to collide.  Unbidden tears rush to my eyes all the while I am anticipating laughter.  Each suitable-for-framing scene of the Irish locations is indelibly imprinted in my memory, as is the tender yet probing shots of the actors/characters that moves the story.

The screen charisma of John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara combines thrillingly and naturally as conflicted soulmates.  John Wayne's performance may be one of his finest as he shares the screen with his leading lady and quietly holds our attention in the midst of an ensemble of bona fide scene stealers.

Based on a story by Maurice Walsh published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1933, the tale of an American boxer carrying his wounded heart to his Irish birthplace became, in the hands of John Ford, an appealing and ever fascinating allegory touching on history, legends, poetry, humor and humanity.

On my island I would want to have the people of the Isle of Innisfree with all their stubborn pride and open hearts with me. 



Last year's blogathon theme for Classic Movie Day was My Favorite Classic Movie, and my choice was The Thing for Another World.  I can't imagine being on that island without the sci-fi/adventure classic.

Picture the isolated setting of the Arctic Circle where a group of scientists and Air Force personnel must face a seemingly immortal and very hostile alien.  The thought of it sends chills down my spine.  But it is not for the thrills alone that this film is a favourite.  It is the characters and their typical Howard Hawks attitude toward life, death and a job to be done.  Our feisty group of characters face danger in a no-nonsense manner, always ready with a quip and Hawks' trademark overlapping dialogue.  I want to be one of them. 




"Oh, Nicky, I love you because you know such lovely people."
- Nora Charles

On to the island of Manhattan.  I love a mystery, don't you?  Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, published and produced as a film in 1934 is a sophisticated whodunnit featuring a former private eye, his wealthy wife and a cross-section of New York society from the nouveau-riche to Runyonesque mobsters.  William Powell and Myrna Loy are Nick and Nora Charles, the most charming companions one could hope for, on or off an island.  Nora's elegance and Nick's wry observations carry us through the Christmas holidays and a myriad of murders and disappearances.  The Charles' zest for life is contagious and uplifting.  Nick's expertise with cocktails might even inspire some experimentation with whatever can be found on the island.





We Saw the Sea.  Let Yourself Go.  Get Thee Behind Me, Satan.  I'd Rather Lead a Band.  But Where Are You?  I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket.  Let's Face the Music and Dance.

All those great Irving Berlin songs are in Follow the Fleet starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  This fifth film to feature the singing/dancing/acting pair, and the third of five directed by Mark Sandrich, is a fun way to spend time with these old movie friends and admire their talent.  Fred and Ginger are former dance partners with a romantic past.  She is working solo and he has joined the Navy.  Fate brings them together again, along with Ginger's sister played by Harriet Hilliard and Fred's pal played by Randolph (Be still my heart!) Scott.  Romantic complications - we got 'em.  Great dance routines - naturally.  Haunting ballads - yes, sir!  Pretty gowns and pretty girls to wear them - Bernard Newman, Costume Designers Guild Hall of Fame.


You want more?  Okay, we've got more - a monkey.  The cutest gosh darn little monkey you ever saw in a 1936 RKO musical.




"You may be a movie buff if ... you have more pictures of Laurel and Hardy about the house than of actual relatives."
- Caftan Woman

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's none too bright, but ever optimistic screen characters work superbly in costume pictures and 1937s Way Out West is the perfect western spoof and the perfect movie for my island sojourn as I love westerns and laughter.

Stanley and Ollie are charged with the task of delivering the deed to a mine to a newly orphaned girl played by Rosina Lawrence.  Surely a simple task for anyone else, our beloved dolts can't help but mess things up.  For one thing James Finlayson is the penny pinching employee of our heroine, and he and his golddigging wife played by Sharon Lynn actively work to thwart the mission and gain the mine for themselves.

Undaunted, our champions face a multitude of stumbling blocks in righting the situation, with a little time out for singing and dancing in the manner of the popular singing cowboy stars of the era.  There are some, I know, who roll their eyes at musical interludes (I am not one), but even those who spurn such movie moments will find delight in the numbers by Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy abetted by Chill Wills and the Avalon Boys.  Way Out West is truly one of the funniest comedies ever produced in Hollywood's classic era, and without which no island sojourn is complete.

PS:  The wink to It Happened One Night is priceless.





48 comments:

  1. I was not surprised at all to see a Laurel & Hardy comedy on your list! Ditto for THE THING! They are both delightful films that hold up wonderfully on repeated viewings (which was one of my own criterion). THE QUIET MAN is a lovely pick, too, and you will be the only participant that has a movie to savor on St. Paddy's Day!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yep. You should have bet money on The Thing and The Boys showing up on my list.

    You'll have to borrow an outrigger and head to my island for the March 17th celebration.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We both have The Thin Man :) And I picked Rio Grande over The Quiet Man (my sister has watched it a little too many times - she watched it twice last week)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Rio Grande" is a beautiful choice. I should have thought about being serenaded by the Sons of the Pioneers while on the island!

      "The Thin Man" has certainly proved its re-watchability over the years.

      Delete
  4. Nice to see that Laurel & Hardy made your list! I've long enjoyed them, and I'm sure they would entertain me on an island, so I felt a little guilty leaving them off of my list. I feel better seeing them on yours now! That means they got some blogathon love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is really interesting to see which movies end up on more than one list. My reading of the blogathon contributions has more often than not been met by a resounding "D'oh!" for my own.

      Delete
  5. I should have seen The Quiet Man coming...
    It'd be wonderful to be on an island with Nick and Nora, they are always delightful (I imagine it'd be much more fun if there was alcohol there!). I still have to see Way Out West, though.
    Thanks for the kind comment!
    Kisses!
    Le

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly is a fun reading all the blogathons and imagining what titles our friends will choose. Glad you came by.

      Delete
  6. Oh, boy, you're going to have to make a BIG tub of popcorn when all the other stranded islanders make their way to you to watch your terrific line-up! Such great titles and for lovely reasons. Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. Can't fathom the experience without plenty of the popped stuff and vats of melted butter.

      Delete
  7. Hi Patricia. Great list. It looks like that your decked out for some cozy island entertainment.

    Don't forget to check out my contribution to the blogathon. Here it is below.

    https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/five-movies-on-an-island-blogathon-national-classic-movie-day/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We should work on lists like this every once in a while. It is good for our souls.

      Delete
  8. A wonderful list! I'm am not surprised to see The Quiet Man on the list :) The L&H pick is superb. It's my favorite of their feature films and you can't go wrong with The Thin Man and The Thing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I sure won't be lonely on that island. I'm bringing a crowd and a half along!

      Delete
  9. Love your list! I love The Quiet Man. Too many people misunderstand that movie, and that Scorsese quote is a great summation of what the films is about.

    Also, Follow the Fleet is the best Randolph Scott ever looked (and that's saying something) and The Thin Man is a great Christmas movie.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love your list! I love The Quiet Man. Too many people misunderstand that movie, and that Scorsese quote is a great summation of what the films is about.

    Also, Follow the Fleet is the best Randolph Scott ever looked (and that's saying something) and The Thin Man is a great Christmas movie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. I await the day I no longer stumble upon wrong-headed opinions on "The Quiet Man".

      Also true, about Randolph Scott. He has a couple of scenes in "Follow the Fleet" which foreshadow his western characters of later decades.

      I hope I'm off the island and home in time for "After the Thin Man" on New Year's Eve.

      Delete
  11. I'm still ashamed that I couldn't sneak THE THIN MAN on board as a secret 6th selection. Nobody would know, right?!?! A lovely list with a couple of underappreciated gems like WAY OUT WEST that I can definitely support.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks.

      If Bill and Myrna are stuck behind that flap in the backpack who's to know?

      Delete
  12. I just knew I'd find The Thing here....can't get away from that creature! You've made some interesting selections here, CW. I especially like the inclusion of The Quiet Man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. "The Thing" was a must-have. "The Quiet Man" was another natural. But oh, the suffering over the others. The delicious suffering!

      Delete
  13. All such great choices. Follow the Fleet is one of my all time favorites and I can watch it over and over and still enjoy it... This was such a difficult and delightful task :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The overall exercise was tough but, as you know, once you hit Fred and Ginger territory it got even more difficult.

      Delete
  14. OH MY WHAT A FANTASTIC LIST! Yes - your island HAS TO BE near my island. Jaysus! I left out so many beloved movies. Bwahahahaha <------ that's me crying.

    Loved reading the whys also, Paddy.

    Aurora

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leave a spot in the lagoon for me. I hear Bill Holden and our beloved Larry Talbot calling my name!

      Delete
  15. What a fascinating and diverse list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What would your list look like, JT? You know the subconscious is working on one.

      Delete
  16. Oh, you are so clever! Why, oh why, did I not think to sneak Stan and Ollie on to my list? Can I come over to your island to watch with you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any time! You know I'm expecting you.

      Delete
  17. Wouldn't it be a hoot to have Nick and Nora Charles over for dinner? On your charming island, you could do so whenever you wanted! And with Fred and Ginger singing and dancing with a cute little monkey friend I think you would have grand fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Non-stop party time on my island. Well, after we get rid of that annoying intellectual carrot.

      Delete
  18. Some interesting picks, CW, and some of my own favorites on your list - like "The Thin Man." That's one I never tire of.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The Thin Man" is an old pal to most of us, isn't it? The mystery may be gone, but not the pleasure.

      Delete
  19. If my island is close to your's, can I paddle over and watch your movies too? Fantastic list :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly. The more the merrier (Oops, there's another movie I didn't put on the list!).

      Delete
  20. The Nolan Sisters weigh in!

    Paula:
    Green for Danger
    Key Largo
    The Lady Vanishes
    Stage Fright
    The Divorce of Lady X

    Maureen:
    My Man Godfrey
    The 39 Steps
    Rio Grande
    Seven Samurai
    The Music Man

    Tracey:
    The Apartment
    The Philadelphia Story
    Animal Crackers
    All About Eve
    Holiday Inn

    ReplyDelete
  21. Follow the Fleet might be one of the few Rogers/Astaire films I haven't seen. Maybe I should get on that, huh? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Follow the Fleet" is well worth your time. The finale of "Let's Face the Music and Dance" alone is worth the price of admission.

      Delete
  22. Found a copy of THE THIN MAN at my favorite used bookstore recently. Will review it soon. Hoping it'll be as good as the film.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't read it in a very long time, but as I recall, you should find the movie followed the plot/dialogue fairly closely. The book feels darker than the film because we don't have Powell and Loy's subtle clowning to take the edge off.

      Delete
  23. Indeed, Nick and Nora and Howard Hawks' crew would be very congenial island companions! The others seem very nice too, but I'm ashamed to say I haven't directly made their acquaintance. (Yes, I'm admitting I've never seen The Quiet Man.) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I once knew a guy like you who hadn't seen "The Quiet Man". I married him and now he knows the movie by heart. Keeps asking about when I'm leaving for the island. H'm.

      Delete
  24. I SO totally agree with you about The Quiet Man. The pain of only having a choice of 5.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The first three came fairly easily (kinda), but then keeping it to five was excruciating, wasn't it?

      Delete
  25. I posted my five on Classic Film & TV Cafe, but after some thought changed a couple listings:
    1. The Thing From Another World
    2. The Day The Earth Stood Still
    3. Road To Utopia
    4. About Time
    5. Snatch
    Truth be told, if I was stranded on a desert island, I'd want films on how to get off a desert island, as well as a DVD player and monitor . . . and generator.

    ReplyDelete
  26. A little time travel when stuck on an island would come in handy, I imagine.

    Ah, a "Utopia" fellow! So am I. Always fight with the hubby who is a "Morocco" man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it's the ending of "Utopia" that sets it apart from the other Road pictures, at least for me. The essence of the Hope-Crosby on-screen relationship. I'm also glad to read so many like "The Thing From Another World." It's a gem, but I cringe when reading it's about "Matt Dillon cooks a carrot." Lastly, I see I left out (again)"Bite The Bullet," "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington," and "Airplane!" Gonna need a bigger island.

      Delete
    2. You are going to have to be stranded on a few islands with different movies for each one. That is the only way to go.

      Delete