If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only watch five movies over and over, what would they be???
When Rick from Classic Film and TV Cafe announced the ‘5 Movies on an Island’ Blogathon, I was elated. I thought, ‘what a fun idea and how easy it’ll be to participate! I can rattle off five favorite desert island picks in a heartbeat… yep, absolutely a total slam dunk!’
Well, as you can probably imagine (especially if you are a fellow classic movie fan), as the weeks went on and I continued to think about all of those easy ‘slam dunks,’ my list grew inexplicably larger and larger. So – when I finally sat down to write this blog post, I had over 20 ‘slam dunks’ on my ‘5 Movies’ list. Not exactly what I had anticipated!
So, how did I narrow the list down??? Well, it wasn’t easy, and I suspect that, if Rick poses this blogathon question again in a few months, my list may very likely change… but disclaimer aside — although my choices were tough, my criteria was simple:
1) I must be able to watch these movies over and over again without getting bored.
2) The movies must make me smile and/or provide some comfort to me. This means that many of my all-time favorite films did not make the list, simply because they would be too heart-wrenching or emotionally difficult for me to watch alone on a desert island.
3) I must love the dialog and/or music. These are key for me, as words and music resonate very strongly with me (in addition to performance of course).
So to celebrate the 2nd Annual National Classic Movie Day (May 16th), here are my ‘5 Movies on an Island’ movie picks:
“Mr. Allen, this may come as a surprise to you, but there are some men who don’t end every sentence with a proposition.” -Doris Day as Jan Morrow in Pillow Talk (to Rock Hudson)
1) Pillow Talk: I’m a huge fan of Doris Day, and in particular, her romantic comedies with Rock Hudson (Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, Send Me No Flowers) and James Garner (The Thrill of It All). But, since I can only pick one Doris Day ‘rom com’ for this list, it would have to be Pillow Talk (with The Thrill of It All as a close 2nd). Day and Hudson are marvelous in this one, and the dialog is a hoot. And, if that’s not enough, Tony Randall and Thelma Ritter add even more fun to the mix. Pillow Talk is one of my favorite ‘go to’ movies when I’m stressed or need a quick ‘pick me up’. It never disappoints me, and always makes me smile. “You are my inspiration, Doris Day” 🙂
“You will be adults in a few weeks with all the responsibilities that implies. So from now on you will be treated as such by me, and by each other… as adults, responsible adults.” -Sidney Poitier as Mark Thackeray in To Sir, With Love
2) To Sir, With Love: Okay, so this movie doesn’t make me smile in the traditional sense. And it certainly reduces me to tears every time I see it. So, why did To Sir, With Love make my list when it doesn’t seem to meet my above criteria??? Well, because it is such a powerful ‘feel good’ film. That said, although you will catch me bawling during the final scenes when Sidney Poitier is compelled to make a life-altering decision, the ending is ultimately uplifting and heartwarming – and makes me smile despite my tears. Not to mention the fact that the title song pulls on my heartstrings every time I hear it. So…“Let me give my heart, to sir, with love”…
“I’d like to get home and tell my wife about this. She thinks all my cases are boring.” -Granville Bates as Judge Walter Bryson in My Favorite Wife (with L-R: Gail Patrick, Cary Grant, Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott)
3) My Favorite Wife: My list just wouldn’t be complete without a Cary Grant film. My only problem was in narrowing down my list of contenders. So, although I adore Arsenic and Old Lace, Bringing Up Baby, Houseboat, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, and North by Northwest, I had to go with My Favorite Wife. The witty repartee between Cary Grant, Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott just never gets old for me. And, yes, the fact that the movie is about Cary Grant’s wife that returns, after being stuck on a desert island for seven years, has not escaped me 🙂 “Make up your mind old man. You’re not allowed to have two wives, you know”…
“Only you beneath the moon and under the sun…” -Fred and Ginger dancing to “Night and Day” in The Gay Divorcee
4) The Gay Divorce: This was another particularly difficult decision for me. I have three all-time favorite Fred and Ginger movies – Follow the Fleet, Top Hat and The Gay Divorcee – not only because of the unparalleled dancing and fabulous supporting cast, but also because of the music itself (can you really beat Irving Berlin and Cole Porter???). It ultimately came down to a decision between Follow the Fleet (I just love the Harriet Hilliard and Randolph Scott dynamic), and The Gay Divorcee (could I resist veteran character actors Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton and the hilarious Erik Rhodes as co-respondent Rodolfo Tonetti?). The Gay Divorcee won by a smidgen, but I’m good with that choice especially because of the incredible version of “Night and Day” that mesmerizes me every time. And, yes, I always laugh when I hear “Your wife is safe with Tonetti, He prefers spaghetti.” 🙂
5) City Lights: All I can say about this, is that I just couldn’t imagine my classic movie life without Charlie Chaplin. And, although I had a hard time deciding between The Gold Rush and City Lights for my Charlie Chaplin pick, City Lights ultimately won out because of its extraordinarily heartwarming ending — as well as its beautiful score. I simply adore the music in this film, from the overture to the heart-wrenching flower girl motifs and hilariously jabbing boxing music. I can listen to the soundtrack for hours on end and never tire of it. And, of course, Chaplin can make you laugh one minute and cry the next – and what’s better than that for your heart… “Tomorrow the birds will sing”…
A Big Thank You to Rick at Classic Film and TV Cafe (@classic_film) for hosting this wonderful event! There are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this Blogathon so please be sure to check out the other entries.
—Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub