Warner Bros. and the HOMEFRONT Collection

Irving Berlin’s This is the Army (1943) – full review!

Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) – full review!

Hollywood Canteen (1944) – full review!

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Sing Your Way Home (1945)

Anthony Mann directed this below average musical comedy written by William Bowers from a story by Edmund Joseph and Bart Lytton. Fortunately at least for director Mann and writer Bowers better things were in their futures. The Allie Wrubel-Herb Magidson song "I’ll Buy That Dream" did receive an Academy Award nomination the last for Magidson who’d received his Oscar for "The Continental" in The Gay Divorcee (1934); Wrubel would receive his the next year for "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" from Song of the South (1946).

Jack Haley plays egotistical reporter for the New York Chronicle Steve Kimball who’s written a book about his war experiences and now wants to get back to the states from France to go on a speaking tour. But wartime transatlantic travel is in high demand so in order to get passage his editor arranges for Kimball to chaperon a troupe of fifteen youth singers who’d been touring in Europe. A friend of one of the boys Bridget Forrester (Marcy McGuire) becomes the sixteenth when she stows away on the ship. Also booked on the ocean liner is singer Kay Lawrence (Anne Jeffreys) who makes her acquaintance to Kimball in a most unusual way. Emory Parnell plays the ship’s stern captain who’s gets so annoyed at Kimball that he bans him from using its radio facilities such that the reporter has to get Bridget to help him. To keep the radio operator from knowing what he’s doing he has Bridget translate his text using a code book that makes his messages appear to be love letters.

Among the film’s songs is two intertwined love triangles Steve with Kay with Bridget looking in from the outside and Bridget’s friend who’s jealous of her with Steve though the newspaper man is completely unaware of her crush on him. Have you figured out where this one is going? Of course Kay intercepts one of Steve’s coded messages and gets the wrong idea. But to get her out of the way Bridget lets Kay think that the notes are what they seem and that Steve has been sending dozens of such love notes during the voyage. So Kay volunteers to send the message and adds her own sentence to the end of the letter. Her un-coded words are translated into an unbelievable development in the war effort and Steve’s editor wrestles with whether it could be true to print or not. Since the correspondent had always been right previously the editor decides to print the incredible story – that the nations have accepted Steve’s peace plan – which gets him the publisher and Steve (upon his arrival in New York) thrown in jail; Ed Gargan plays their jailer. But Bridget suspects that something’s wrong so she goes to visit the club where Kay is singing. When Kay learns the truth of her error she clears up the matter and all ends well.

Uncredited character actors appearing in the cast include Chester Clute as passenger Heathcliffe who’s always having something dumped on his head Olin Howland as a steward who suspects there’s a stowaway among the youthful singers and Grady Sutton as the ship’s counter salesman that tries to talk Steve out of buying his own book because its author is too self-centered.

Home from the Hill (1960) – full review!

This big sprawling beautifully shot epic drama with credible acting features early performances by two young actors (with the same first name) that would go on to make names for themselves – George Peppard and George Hamilton. It was directed by Vincente Minnelli (Gigi (1958)) and features a screenplay by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch that recalls their later Academy Award nominated effort Hud (1963) though this film’s screenplay was based on a William Humphrey novel. The story’s about a hunter dubbed Captain Wade Hunnicutt (Robert Mitchum) who owns most of the land and a significant chunk of a rural Texas community such that he’s able to do what he pleases. However his extramarital exploits have powerfully affected and continue to influence his relationship with his wife Hannah (Eleanor Parker) and his two sons: the illegitimate one he allows to live on his vast property Raphael ‘Rafe’ Copley (Peppard) and the one he had with Hannah Theron (Hamilton) who thinks he’s an only son until half way through the drama.

As is later revealed when Wade and Hannah returned home from their European honeymoon cruise five year old Rafe was there with his mother the boy being the product of an earlier dalliance by Wade. Hannah was so enraged that she cut off marital relations with her husband. Since she was already pregnant she stayed; when she gave birth to a son Wade promised her that she could raise Theron without interference if she’d continue to live under the same roof. He also refused to publicly recognize Rafe as his son though he allowed the young man to live on his acreage when his mother died. Over the years Rafe became the Captain’s keeper of sorts a hunting buddy that would retrieve the old man from various places after his affairs and/or drunken binges. Once Theron turned seventeen Wade was ashamed of his mamma’s boy that could be fooled into going on an all-night snipe hunt by local men (Denver Pyle Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams and others uncredited) that looked up to the Captain their landlord. Wade decided it was time to make a man out of Theron that the boy was his too. He delivered this speech to his son:

"I had something from my father that his father gave to him I’m gonna give it to you. It’s late but it’s not too late. You know one of these days I’m gonna die Theron. You’re gonna come into 40000 acres of land: cotton beef goats timber … takes a special kind of man to handle that. Kind of man that walks around with nothing in his pockets no identification because everyone knows who you are. No cash because anyone in town would be happy to lend you anything you need. No keys ’cause you don’t keep a lock on a single thing you own. And no watch because time waits on you. What I’m saying is you’re gonna have to stand up and be counted. You’re gonna be known in these parts as a man or as a momma’s boy."

Wade then asked Rafe to teach Theron how to shoot and hunt and the two became close like the half brothers they were though Theron was still unawares of the blood relationship. Theron was also clueless about his father’s womanizing reputation so he is stunned by the harsh negative reaction of a local merchant Albert Halstead (Everett Sloane) whose daughter Libby (Luana Patten) he wants to date. In time Theron learns these truths and is outraged by them both. The first causes him to move out and get a job in a cotton packing plant promising his father to return only when he recognizes Rafe as his son and heir. The realization of his parents situation causes him to discard his relationship with Libby shortly after their "first time" and swear off marriage. But there’s a symmetry to the story the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree Libby got pregnant by Theron but doesn’t tell him refusing to "throw herself" at him. Rafe then bails Wade’s son out by marrying Libby and legitimizing her son. Later it’s clear that they’ll live happily ever after.

Unaware that Libby’s son is his own Theron eyes his friends’ marriage enviously. He’d moved back home because of his mother’s failing health per his absence but his sullen listless daily life brings his parents together. They discuss their lives admit their mistakes to one another – this includes his straying induced by her locked bedroom and their mutual bad parenting – and agree to attempt a reconciliation for their son’s sake. After making plans to start over with another European cruise Hannah leaves Wade’s office in hopeful spirits. As he’s having a drink to celebrate their pending future Wade is shot by an unseen person (the film had begun with Rafe saving Wade from a fatal shot by an irate 4-month married husband; Ray Teal plays the family physician). Butler Chauncey (Ken Renard) who’d apparently filled Rafe’s role earlier in the Captain’s life bends over Wade’s body while Hannah is in shock. Theron rushes to get Rafe per his father’s request and then fights his brother to pursue the killer. He catches up to the man and shoots him (in what could later be called self defense). It’s Albert who’d earlier heard gossip among Wade’s friends that had made him believe that the Captain was responsible for his daughter’s child per its familiar appearance. Albert had earlier tried to extort a shotgun wedding for Libby with Theron when he’d believed Wade’s son was the responsible party. Theron decides to leave town. In the final scene Hannah shows Rafe that Wade’s headstone recognizes both sons; Rafe had apparently visited Hannah regularly when she’d broken down after Wade’s death.

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Three Came Home (1950) – full review!

Directed by Jean Negulesco (Johnny Belinda (1948)) with a screenplay by Nunnally Johnson (The Grapes of Wrath (1940)) this true story drama was adapted from author Agnes Newton Keith’s autobiographical account of her family’s experience as P.O.W.’s (prisoners of war) of the Japanese Army in Borneo during World War II. Though there’s no mystery to the outcome given its title the film is compelling non-fiction giving the viewer a sense of the trials faced from a woman’s perspective (Keith is played by Claudette Colbert). One unique and noteworthy aspect is the portrayal of a Japanese Colonel played by Sessue Hayakawa (The Bridge of the River Kwai (1957)) which gives a more human & sensitive view of the enemy than most other WW II films.

American author Agnes Keith (Colbert) and her British official husband Harry (Patric Knowles) lived with their son George (Mark Keuning) on the island of Borneo in the years leading up to the United States involvement in World War II. When the inevitable occurred on December 7 1941 the few (less than 100) non-natives on the island prepared for the worst. After several weeks they learned that the British government would be unable to evacuate or otherwise help them. In May 1942 the Japanese arrived to occupy the island. Mrs. Keith was singled out and brought to the new office of the man now in charge Colonel Suga (Hayakawa). Evidently he was familiar with the author because of a book she’d written about Borneo and wanted to meet her. Though he is polite to her requesting that she autograph a copy of her book for him his manner towards her is professional and could not be considered friendly. When she misinterprets it and asks a favor for information from him in return he refuses to provide it and she is abruptly dismissed to join the others.

Soon the Japanese separate the men from the women who are allowed to keep their children to ship them to different work camps on a different nearby (?) island. The men are occasionally marched past the women’s prison such that at the risk of a beating a note may be passed between husband and wife. Florence Desmond plays the most significant of the other women imprisoned with Mrs. Keith Sylvia Andrew plays another. One night Mrs. Keith whose son is suffering from malaria sneaks out of the camp to meet her husband Harry under a palm tree. Infected with malaria as well she is barely able to make the rendezvous & return without being detected. Sometime later the women are given a chance to say their final goodbyes to the men who are being relocated to yet another island. The women themselves are relocated to another camp run by a rather cruel Lieutenant Nekata (Howard Chuman).

The rest of the story is told through a series of small episodes over a two year period in which Mrs. Keith doesn’t know whether her husband is still alive or not. Rumors of the death of some of the husbands reach their wives. There are a few memorable scenes I’ll mention: one involves the women’s interaction with some Australian men who are P.O.W.’s at neighboring camp that sneak out to visit the only females they’ve seen in years with tragic results; another involves Mrs. Keith’s mistake of reporting an attempted rape of her by one of the guards and the methods that her captors led by Lieutenant Nekata use to get her to recount it; the last one involves Colonel Suga and the Keith’s son George which contributes to the sympathetic portrayal of at least this one Japanese officer which I’d mentioned previously.

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Classic Film Guide

What is the definition of a Classic Film? Well, it depends. Some would say that a “classic film” is any movie made during the days that the Hollywood studio system was in place. In those pre-1970′s days, most actors and actresses were under exclusive contracts to a single studio. If they worked for another studio at all, it was usually because of a trade, or some other arrangement, between the studio bosses. Others would say that any film which receives wide acclaim from film critics, or with (e.g. Academy) award recognition, would earn the standard and should be dubbed a classic film. Unfortunately, both of these methods are suspect due to personal prejudices, errors of omission, and even corruption.

So, how do I define Classic Film? Using a little of both, actually. For the purposes of this site, a “classic film” is any movie made during the Hollywood studio system era which has also received significant recognition, either at the time it was released or subsequently, by connoisseurs of great movies (such as me). If you find this definition to be a bit too vague, you should realize that that was exactly my intent!

I created this Classic Film Guide to celebrate “great movies” as well as to introduce (or reintroduce) films which I think have been forgotten, or even neglected, in today’s myopic film industry. It is unfortunate that, with the advent of television and the collapse of the studio system (and the creation of the summer blockbuster), the focus of Hollywood’s bottom-line executives has been on such a narrow segment of the movie-going population. For decades, this attempt to appeal primarily to the younger, dating audience (in order to score a huge opening weekend box office) has caused the industry to produce largely forgettable films. The emphasis on new, quality stories has been lost in the pursuit of: stunning computer generated special effects, celebrity “vehicles”, or ripping off classic movies with inferior (and oftentimes) title-only remakes.

I sincerely hope that my efforts here in (creating and maintaining) this guide will help you to find, or remember, classic movies which make you think, appreciate, and even experience this art-form in a whole new way. The best of films can give one a deep feeling of satisfaction – a good cry, a warming in your heart, a laugh in your belly, or a gut-wrenching sorrow – or even help you to learn something new. If any film I’ve included on this site accomplishes this goal (e.g. affects you in a powerful way), please share it with your friends & family, and then tell them about this website. Don’t forget to bookmark it (e.g. add it to your favorites) so that you can return here again and again. I try to update it several times every week!

Lastly, let me know (after finding this site, reading its content, and watching a great classic movie) what you think of my efforts and this website. Of course, I’d love hearing that you enjoyed reading my classic movie reviews (1,465 as of 2/3/14), but I’d also like to know how I could improve this site to better meet your classic film needs. Thanks!

For information about the use of this website and its content, read my FAQ. You can also email me if you have any questions.

Movie Index

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Movie Index

#   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   Y

 

 

Movie Index

Reverse chronological order (e.g. the most recently added reviews are at the top)

Oscar’s Best

This is a short that was compiled by Chuck Workman celebrating “100 Years at the Movies” for the 1994 Academy Awards. It is nine minutes long; it includes clips from at least 225 movies. Here is my labor of love, the clip-by-clip detail of this much discussed short. I used a combination of information already posted on TCM’s message boards, what I found on imdb.com, and my own movie knowledge. This listing has been recently enhanced by Tim Dirks on his (Best of the Web) film site here.

Opening Credits (sometimes through the number 100, like binoculars)

Serpentine Dance by Annabelle
Annabelle Butterfly dance
Sandow – the strong man
Glenroy Brothers – the boxing
In The Barber Shop
Seminary Girls – girls pillow fighting
The Great Train Robbery – cowboy looking directly at audience, pointing gun
Ben Hur (1907) – chariot race
film unknown – foreign (possibly Max Linder) man looking up into camera
Musketeers of Pig Alley – Man in foreground, man in background, both looking at camera
Rescued from an Eagle’s Nest – baby being carried by flying bird
film unknown – 3 moving images on the screen at the same time, split into triangle view
Broken Blossoms – Lillian Gish with Richard Barthelemess as chinaman

1915

The Birth of a Nation - soldier running up hill to plant flag in cannon
Intolerance – huge steps with giant statues
Kid Auto Races at Venice – looks like pinewood derby cars
The Rink – Chaplin skating around room and mixing drinks
Shanghaied – long table & whole room “shaking”, two men behind table, Chaplin front
The Cure – Chaplin sliding around table to avoid masseuse
One AM – Chaplin hit by pendulum then slinking down stairs on his stomach
Safety Last! - Harold Lloyd perilously hanging from large clock over street below
The General - Buster Keaton rides railroad wheel assembly “up and down” into tunnel
Cops - Keaton, being chased by cops into the street, grabs passing car to hitch getaway
Steamboat Bill, Jr. - store front falls over a standing Keaton
The Thief of Baghdad (1924) – Douglas Fairbanks bounding, bouncing away from pursuers
Little Annie Rooney – Mary Pickford with hat on looking over fence
Mark of Zorro (1920) – man swinging up onto balcony, then leaping horse
Nanook of the North – Eskimo scene, with big knife
Barney Oldfield’s Race for Life (1913)? – Mabel Normand being tied on railroad tracks
Clash of the Wolves (1925) - shot of Rin-tin-tin
film unknown – shot of Clara Bow
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) – 2 people dancing, man in hat (cheek to cheek)
Flesh and the Devil - Garbo & Gilbert dancing

1923

Greed - desert scene
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) - chariots race over the camera position
The Ten Commandments (1923) – water cascades over the pursuers; parted Red Sea collapses
Wings - aerial combat scene with biplanes
The Crowd - scene of large endless office, full of desks
The Big Parade – Gilbert’s convoy is leaving as his French girlfriend clings to the truck
Footlight Parade - marquee announces talking pictures, James Cagney says “what a laugh”
The Jazz Singer (1927) - Jolson singing, playing piano
Footlight Parade - Cagney character says “it’s a fad”

1927

The Jazz Singer (1927) - Jolson singing
Scarface (1932) - Muni machine guns
The Public Enemy - Cagney smashes grapefruit in moll’s face
Boys Town - Spencer Tracy lifting up Mickey Rooney
Applause (1929) – blond chorus girls “shaking it”
Cimarron (1931) - sooner land rush
Little Caesar - Edward G. Robinson speaks “is this the end of Rico?”
Thin Man - man on bed punches dame, throws pillow at man w/pistol, he rushes & tackles him
Min and Bill - Wallace Beery fighting with Marie Dressler against a wall with netting
Dance, Fools, Dance – Gable blows smoke past blonde’s face
Sadie Thompson – Gloria Thompson/Raoul Walsh face-to-face lighting cigarette ends touching
Dance Fools Dance – early Joan Crawford with hair dryer
She Done Him Wrong - Mae West says “Why don’t you come up some time and see me?”
Grand Hotel - Garbo utters “I want to be alone.”
Twentieth Century – Barrymore and Lombard in hotel room doorway closing
King Kong (1933) - grinning Ape
Frankenstein (1931) - “it’s alive”
Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) - man swinging through trees, yelling “signature” call
Frankenstein (1931) - “it’s alive, it’s alive”
Dinner at Eight - Wallace Beery character says “shut up, shut up” to wife (Jean Harlow)
Frankenstein (1931) - “it’s alive” then shot of table with the monster rising up towards the ceiling

1933

Gold Diggers of 1933 - eye-like whole opens on stage, woman rises out of it
42nd Street - various stage scenes
Flying Down to Rio - six women dancing on the wings of an airplane
Duck Soup - Harpo & Chico Marx, dressed like Groucho in pajamas, mirror each other
The Music Box - Laurel & Hardy chasing a piano down some concrete stairs, it chases them
David Copperfield (1935) - W.C. Fields character coming in through roof, “I have arrived!”
Duck Soup - pajama clothed Harpo & Chico (like Groucho again), twirling to a stop in mirror

1934

It Happened One Night - Claudette Colbert showing some leg to stop car for Gable
The Adventures of Robin Hood - merrimen jumping on horsebacks, Flynn swinging from tree
Gunga Din - Indian Sheik riding horse, waving saber in “charge”
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) - Quasimodo pours buckets of acid on peasants
A Night at the Opera - people falling out of room into hallway when door is opened
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) - Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton) accuses ‘Gable’ of mutiny
Red Dust - Mary Astor’s character slaps Clark Gable’s (character’s) face
The Letter - Bette Davis’ character descends stairs of house shooting gun
The Philadelphia Story - Cary Grant shoves Katharine Hepburn down through front door
Bringing Up Baby - dinosaur skeleton falls leaving Cary Grant holding Hepburn dangling

1936

San Francisco - earthquake, capital building collapses
The Good Earth - the locusts descend
San Francisco - more earthquake, water pipe breaks
Captains Courageous - Manuel (Spencer Tracy) gets caught up in collapsing mast & rope
San Francisco - earthquake, little girl looks up
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town - Gary Cooper looks over
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - a fresh faced James Stewart in suit, looks over & up
San Francisco - debris falling on person laying on ground

1939

Gone With the Wind - scene of wounded soldiers, Rhett/Gable takes Scarlett/Leigh upstairs
Now, Voyager - Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes, then hands one to Bette Davis
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) - Greer Garson kisses Robert Donat goodbye as she boards train
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) - John Garfield kisses Lana Turner
Double Indemnity - Fred MacMurray kisses Barbara Stanwyck, “shut up baby”
Woman of the Year - Spencer Tracy notices Katharine Hepburn‘s legs entering office

1942

Casablanca - here’s looking at you kid, then shot of Rick kissing Ilsa in his office, earlier in film
To Have and Have Not - “its even better when you help”
Naughty Marietta – Jeanette MacDonald singing to Nelson Eddy, who then joins in the song
Road to Morocco - Hope & Crosby in sailor caps singing
For Me and My Gal – Gene Kelly & Judy Garland smiling at bar, then dance turning in unison
The Little Colonel – Shirley Temple and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson dance up stairs together
Anchors Aweigh - Gene Kelly dancing with Jerry Mouse
Down Argentine Way – the Nicholas Brothers dancing, doing the splits
Yankee Doodle Dandy - Cagney with straw hat strutting across stage
Swing Time - Fred (in tux) & Ginger (in white dress) dancing in starlit restaurant
An American in Paris - Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron dancing
Meet Me in St. Louis - Judy Garland & Margaret O’Brien, in straw hats & canes, dancing
Singin’ in the Rain - Gene Kelly singing with umbrella, jumps onto light pole
Babes in Arms – Mickey Rooney clapping for Judy Garland
The Wizard of Oz - Dorothy and cast singing and skipping, backs turned, down road
The Maltese Falcon (1941) - Bogey utters “the, uh, stuff dreams are made of”, stroking falcon
Cabin in the Sky - shot of Lena Horne posing in mirror
The Grapes of Wrath (1940) - Ma Joad trying on earrings then car going down the road
Citizen Kane - Orson Welles dancing, clapping with chorus girls
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - Walter Huston dancing and slapping his knee

1946

It’s a Wonderful Life - James Stewart running down Bedford Falls’ main street
White Heat - Cagney speaks “top of the world, ma” followed by explosion
All About Eve - Bette Davis says “fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”

1948

Red River (1948) - the Duke in chaps, walking down street towards camera, the crowd parts
Scaramouche (1952) - brief clip of sword battle – Stewart Granger/Mel Ferrer on balcony edge
Three Musketeers (1948) - Gene Kelly jumping down to beach to other man already lying there
Greatest Show on Earth - Man with hands up looking at train, train hits, flips car off the tracks
Shane - Alan Ladd shoots Jack Palance in bar
The Quiet Man - Maureen O’Hara slaps at John Wayne‘s face, hits hand instead
Sunset Boulevard - Gloria Swanson standing lit in the dark, cigarette burning in hand
Samson and Delilah – Idol with fire in belly falling, crushing outdoor market in Egyptian times
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon - cavalry picture in color, horses in line, then starting to charge
Fort Apache - B&W cavalry picture, riders on horses charging over camera
Ben-Hur (1959) - chariot race, Messala whipping at Charlton Heston
The Defiant Ones - Sydney Poitier on train reaching down, trying to grab Tony Curtis’ hand
Ben-Hur (1959) - more chariot race, Heston catches whip
North by Northwest - Cary Grant in remote field, running from diving airplane
The Ten Commandments - Moses with staff parts the Red Sea
Ben-Hur (1959) - chariot with spiked wheel shown
Dial M for Murder - Grace Kelly struggles then stabs attacker with scissors in back
Ben-Hur - chariot collapses, Heston looks back
The Wild One - film opening, Brando motorcycle gang coming to town

1954

On the Waterfront - Brando speaking the immortalized “I coulda been some body”
The Misfits - Clark Gable struggling at end of rope with Marilyn Monroe fighting him to stop
Stalag 17 - William Holden, black eye, rising from cot in barracks
A Star is Born (1954) - Judy Garland (announcing she’s Mrs. Norman Maine)
Mister Roberts - Henry Fonda on deck of ship in naval uniform
Giant - James Dean climbing oil tower
High Noon - high fading shot of Gary Cooper alone in street
A Place in the Sun - Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift up close and personal
From Here to Eternity - Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr rolling in the surf
To Catch A Thief - Grace Kelly and Cary Grant kissing causes fireworks
Funny Face - Audrey Hepburn in hat, crying, holding Pekinese dog
Hud - Paul Newman in cowboy hat with cigarette in teeth and smiling, holding something
Pat and Mike - Spencer Tracy about Kate “not much meat on her, but what there is, is choice”
The Asphalt Jungle - Marilyn Monroe looking tired, laying on a couch
Dr. No – Sean Connery sitting (at card table?), lighting cigarette & saying “Bond, James Bond”
Roman Holiday - a smiling Audrey Hepburn, in her pajamas
True Grit – Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) riding horse with reigns in mouth, shooting pistol
Doctor Zhivago - Omar Shariff smiling, entering room

1962

Lawrence of Arabia - Peter O’Toole admiring new set of white sheik clothes in sunset
A Hard Day’s Night – Beatles fans going crazy, group on austere stage
Jailhouse Rock – Elvis shaking it
Lolita (1962) - Lolita laying on blanket in backyard wearing bikini, sunglasses and looking up
Dr. Strangelove - Slim Pickens riding a dropped warhead waving his cowboy hat “yee haw”
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - jumping off the cliff into the river “oh shiiiiii”
West Side Story - the Jets, dancing, landing on pavement that bears their gang’s name in chalk
The Sound of Music - Julie Andrews singing, twirling on a high meadow in the Austria Alps
Psycho (1960) - close-up of Norman Bates’s head, looking up into the camera with insane eyes
Funny Girl - BS singing on the front of a towboat heading out in New York Harbor
2001: A Space Odyssey - early man tosses a stick/weapon in the air, focus on the stick
The Great Escape - Steve McQueen pulling up to fence he’d like to jump with his motorcycle

1969

Easy Rider – Jack, Peter, and Dennis cruisin’ down the highway on motorcycles, doing tricks
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner - Katharine Hepburn asking “guess who’s coming to dinner?”
Rosemary’s Baby – Ruth Gordon, outside the door, as seen from the security peephole
Easy Rider – Nicholson smiling
Woodstock – cheering crowds, as viewed from helicopter
M*A*S*H – flying army helicopter bearing MASH logo carrying patient on “dolly”
Patton - George C. Scott standing at parade rest with huge American Flag behind him
Midnight Cowboy - Jon Voight, donning cowboy hat, walking down the streets of NY smiling
Don’t Look Back – Bob Dylan, dropping cards, view of deserted plant, poet Allen Ginsburg
The Last Picture Show - theatre

1972

The Godfather - Brando kissing Pacino, door closes on Keaton, Pacino drops gun & exits “bar”
Bonnie and Clyde - Warren Beatty (with Faye Dunaway in background) saying “we rob banks”
The Godfather Part II - as boy, as young man (DeNiro), at end (Pacino) contemplating his life
Dog Day Afternoon – Pacino taunting police outside bank, yelling “Attica”
Taxi Driver – DeNiro saying “you talking to me”
Chinatown – Dunaway and Nicholson in bed
Taxi Driver – DeNiro saying “well I’m the only one here”
Saturday Night Fever – Travolta striking his infamous disco pose on dance floor
Airplane! – spoof of Travolta pose, jacket landing on Robert Hays

1976

Rocky - Stallone celebrating workout run on steps of Philadelphia library
The French Connection - Hackman driving fast, swerves to avoid woman with baby carriage
Play It Again, Sam – Woody Allen ripping off coat, using hair dryer, flipping album out of case
The Exorcist – Linda Blair’s demonic head spinning trick
Rocky Horror Picture Show – Tough guy in a motorcycle jacket spinning, Tim Curry looking on
The Sting - Paul Newman giving the (wiping the bridge of his nose) signal
All the President’s Men - Robert Redford on the phone turning to see if anyone’s looking at him
The Way We Were - Streisand kissing man whose back is to us
Nashville - Lili Tomlin sitting at table in restaurant, listening to Keith Carradine sing “I’m easy”
Klute – Jane Fonda close-up
Once Upon a Time in the West - shot of Henry Fonda’s eyes
Star Wars (1977) - Princess Leia removing veil from infamous hairdo, Hans Solo celebrating
American Graffiti - MacKensie Phillips spraying car with shaving creme
Star Wars (1977) - enemy fighter approaching, Luke says “they’re coming in too fast”
Apocalypse Now – gunner helicopters approaching beach
Jaws - opening scene of naked girl, swimming, getting pulled under by “Bruce”
The Black Stallion - shot of Kelly Reno on “the Black’s” back, racing across the surf’s edge
Network - Peter Finch extolling his viewers to “I want you to get up now”
Kramer vs. Kramer - Hoffman encouraging kid on bike
Network - Finch continues “I want you to get up right now”
Close Encounters of the Third Kind - large alien craft over top of Devil’s Tower
Norma Rae – Sally Field holding up “UNION” sign
Network - “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
Turning Point – Ann Bancroft throwing a drink in Shirley MacLaine’s face

1980

Raging Bull - DeNiro in ring, hands up in triumph
Terms of Endearment - Debra Winger running and jumping into Shirley MacLaine’s arms
Amadeus - Beethoven, hands up having just finished conducting
Reds – Diane Keaton hugging Warren Beatty
Witness – Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis share an innocent, yet knowing look
Tootsie - Hoffman in drag walking down a New York street
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Admiral James T. Kirk walking down corridor of Enterprise
The Right Stuff – astronauts walking seven abreast
Top Gun – Cruise and Edward high fiving, then shot of F-14
Raiders of the Lost Ark – Harrison Ford being chased by large ball
Ghostbusters – the three ghostbusters turning and firing their weapons in unison
Batman (1989) - flying, turning batplane
Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Robert Patrick’s split head rejoining
Jurassic Park – Sam Neil and kids running alongside antelope like dinosaurs
Dances with Wolves - Costner riding horseback with rifle chasing buffalo
JFK – Jacqueline Kennedy cradling JFK in back of car after he’s been shot, Costner close-up
The Last Emperor - little boy emperor running to palace opening
The Killing Fields – shot of Haing Ngor’s face, viewing swamp area
Moonstruck - Cher and Cage kissing
Driving Miss Daisy - Morgan Freeman chauffeuring Jessica Tandy
Sleepless in Seattle – Meg Ryan standing in street, Hanks standing in parking lot looking at her
Philadelphia – facial shot of Hanks character, bald with lesions, in the advance stages of AIDS
The Fugitive – unshaven Harrison Ford running through rain towards camera with mouth agape
Boyz N the Hood – Cuba Gooding Jr. & Laurence Fishburne hugging each other

1994

Schindler’s List - low shot of Liam Neeson’s head, turning

Closing Credits (sometimes through the number 100, like binoculars)

film unknown – Broadway trolley car, though this may be from Broadway Melody
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) - chariot race, again
Wind - Lillian Gish looking through window, raising right hand to glass
Queen Christina - Garbo looking forward, the wind in her face
National Velvet - Elizabeth Taylor riding “the Pie”, waving
Sergeant York - Gary Cooper licking finger, touching sight on gun
Gilda - Rita Hayworth’s famous hair flip
The Bridge Over the River Kwai - Alec Guinness marching, leading POWs in formation
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - guys leapfrogging towards girls on dance floor
Some Like It Hot - Lemmon and Curtis in drag, walking next to train
East of Eden – shot of James Dean
The Searchers - John Wayne cradling Natalie Wood
Love Story - Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal at table in front of window with winter outside
Oliver! - clip of “consider yourself, at home” song
Ghost – Whoopi channeling
Home Alone – Macaulay Culkin at top of stairs saying “yes!”
E.T. - Elliott (with E.T. riding in the basket) flying his bicycle across an full moon set
Annabelle Butterfly Dance

Site Author’s Bio

I don’t really remember the first movie I ever saw though I’m sure it was age appropriate and probably one made by Walt Disney. I do remember that the Mary Poppins (1964) soundtrack album was always sitting next to the big piece of furniture which encompassed the record player radio and TV console. However I’m not really trying to pinpoint the first movie I saw anyway merely the one that made the biggest impression earliest in my life.

We went to the movies as a family and I can remember sitting in a very big auditorium the way it was before stadium seating. Curtains covered the walls at the front and sides and we’d enter from the back and then walk down the center aisle until Dad found a place for us to sit. The big curtain at the front would start to "magically" open only after a countdown sequence was projected on the screen "hidden" behind it. I believe it must have been a CinemaScope theatre though I think we called it "CineScope". I can vaguely remember seeing Oliver! (1968) in a place like this though it must have been during its re-release in late 1972 and can more vividly recall another epic that I saw was The Wind and the Lion (1975).

I remember that one of the first films I was "dropped off" with some friends to see (all by ourselves!) was Tarzan’s Deadly Silence (1970) which featured Ron Ely in the title role and Tarzan losing his hearing … totally forgettable otherwise. Then I remember being old enough to be trusted to walk to the Esquire Theatre and spend my own money (made mowing lawns) to see Bank Shot (1974) with George C. Scott. Seems my choice in movies was pretty awful.

For one of my friend’s birthdays we were taken by his Mom to see Mother Jugs & Speed (1976) which was the only movie I think I’ve ever walked out on. Later during that summer was the first time I ever paid to see a movie for the second time – The Bad News Bears (1976) – the phenomenon that today fuels the box office mentality that drives the major studios.

A few others I also still recall watching were Murder by Death (1976) which I think I would appreciate much more now that I’ve seen Bogart and the Thin Man films and the first R-movie I saw which was Semi-Tough (1977) only because it was the first movie released around the time of my 17th birthday. However I’ve digressed now from the reason why I started this post in the first place. Back on topic …

In the spring of 1977 (before I turned 17) we moved about 5 miles from where we had been living and I got my own room upstairs away from my folks room on the main level. I got a little 9-inch B&W Sears TV for Christmas that year (it still works I’ve got it in my home office) and so I was able to watch it late at night or on Saturday mornings surreptitiously. Of course I watched everything I could regardless developing a habit my wife now derides with "you’ll watch anything" (for proof read some of my obscure movie reviews). I remember watching a lot of Abbott & Costello and Bowery Boys movies on rainy weekend afternoons.

One Saturday however I saw King Solomon’s Mines (1950) starring Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr. I remember mentioning it to my Mom and how she seemed to appreciate the moment with me that movies were GREAT.* It’s an adventure set in Africa which won Oscars for Cinematography (Color ironically) & Editing and was also nominated for Best Picture. I was so captivated by the story that I was able to watch it through all the commercials and call-in contests from which I was surely besieged. All these years later I believe I can honestly say that this film (and the fact that Star Wars (1977) was released in the same timeframe) was the seed from which my love for movies grew.

BTW they say you can’t go home again and now I know why. I watched this film again several weeks ago and was struck by what a chauvinistic (even mildly racist) point of view it had though it was still somewhat entertaining. The "special effects" are lame by any standards though maybe not at the time and I didn’t find the story particularly compelling either which wasn’t because I’d seen it before since I’d obviously forgotten it 25 years later.

Although this post is largely a personal reflection perhaps it will prompt some of you to make your own journey back to recall your movie roots. I found mine to be a pleasant one. I didn’t try to recall or include ALL the films I watched in my youth just the "firsts" and ones that immediately came to mind (for whatever reason).

* – This discussion led to my Mother to share a few stories with me about my Grandfather (her Dad) the fact that he had been a carpenter by trade who among other things helped to rebuild Pearl Harbor and much later worked on building the spectacular (Academy Award nominated) sets for the film Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) with James Mason.