Best Movie Recommendations for Classic, Rare, and Seldom-Seen Films

Dan L. Miller, Education Author

Best Movie Recommendations for Classic, Rare, and Seldom-Seen Films

Best Movie Recommendations for Classic, Rare, and Seldom-Seen Films

Silent Film Stars

Best Movie Recommendations for Classic, Rare, and Seldom-Seen Films

On this page I offer the best movie recommendations for classic, rare, and seldom-seen films from the silent era through the Fifties. I watch movies every day because movies significantly enhance the quality of my life. I enjoy popular movies, award-winning movies, classic movies, and various genres. I find particular pleasure, however, in discovering rare, seldom-seen and classic movies that engage me and leave me with that satisfying feeling of having shared a beautiful artistic moment with those who created the film. Although I view some modern seldom-seen movies, I focus more on rare and seldom-seen movies from the Silent Era, the Pre-Code Era, and the Thirties through the Fifties. 

I consider rare movies to be those that are difficult to find or that may be prohibitively expensive. The 1962 French movie Thérèse Desqueyroux, Abel Gance’s Napoleon from 1927, and Disney’s Song of the South are rare because they are, generally, unavailable in the United States in a format that is playable on U.S. DVD players. Seldom-seen movies, on the other hand, are movies that are readily obtainable but are seldom viewed.

Many movie viewers don’t realize the fine quality and artistic importance of rare and seldom-seen movies. One can have an incredibly moving experience discovering and watching movies that people seldom see.

I endeavor in this blog to write short opinions of rare movies, classic movies, silent movies, and seldom-seen movies to point movie viewers to films I know they would appreciate and enjoy and to point out rare and seldom-seen movies that viewers should avoid because of poor quality or boring content. I include in each entry the movie title, year of release, and stars. I devote just a few words to the plot because viewers can easily access detailed synopses and reviews on such sites at IMDB.COM and AMAZON.COM. I provide a few sentences of opinion on the movie and then finish with my recommendation and a link to the movie on IMDB.COM. If I indicate a movie is a must see movie, I am confident anyone watching this movie will find the experience gratifying.

I record most recent posts first and include posts from previous years in archive PDFs.

Where does one find rare and seldom-seen movies?  AMAZON.COM sells most of the seldom-seen movies, and many are very inexpensive if one buys used DVDs. In some cases, seldom-seen movies are not for sale in the United States. In these cases, search the internet to find the movies for sale from foreign vendors. The cost of foreign-purchased movies is, in most cases, not much more expensive than movies purchased in the United States. (Carefully check the regional code for foreign movies, however, because some may not play on U.S. DVD players. In these cases one can use computer software to recode the movie.)

A free source of seldom-seen-movies is the public library. One can request nearly any movie through the local library’s interlibrary loan process. The library can obtain at no charge any movie located in one’s state. For a small fee, the library can obtain any movie cataloged in the United States. One can also find seldom-seen-movies on the American Movie Classics (AMC) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable channels. Their web sites list schedules of movies. Another source for viewing rare and seldom-seen movies is the website One can watch online movies on the site or download movie files of videos in the public domain. There are also links on the IMDB.COM website for viewing movies in the public domain.

I strongly encourage those interested in movies to explore rare and seldom-seen movies because the viewing experience can be rewarding and enjoyable. Take a break from popular movies and discover movie-making geniuses from the past and movies featuring stars who deliver astounding performances.

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Because I appreciate movies, I begin my blog with quotations that demonstrate the importance of movies in our culture and the enjoyment one can get from viewing films. 


The films made in the first half of the 20th century are in many ways superior to the films being made now. It wasn’t an industry forced by bankers and investors to pander to 18-year-olds. A film now has to fill vast numbers of seats. Studios have to show huge profits to the multinational corporations that own them. Not exactly like the old days of classic Hollywood.

–Mike Disa

The movie is the imagination of mankind in action.

 –Gilbert Seldes

I always liked movies…they were Milk Duds for the soul.

–Joe Queenan

The moving picture is beautiful; the moving wind in the trees is more beautiful than a painting.

–D. W. Giffith

All life’s riddles are answered in the movies.

–Steve Martin

The cinema has no boundaries. It is a ribbon of dreams.

–Orson Welles

There are more valid facts and details in works of art than there are in history books.

–Charlie Chaplin

How can a serious, passionate artist not make film? It’s the most important art form ever created.

–Mike Disa

Through the magic of motion pictures, someone who’s never left Peoria knows the softness of a Paris spring, the color of a Nile sunset, the sorts of vegetation one will find along the upper Amazon and that Big Ben has not yet gone digital.

–Vincent Canby

Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union.

–Sam Goldwyn

We live in a box of space and time. Movies are windows in its walls. They allow us to enter other minds—not simply in the sense of identifying with the characters, although that is an important part of it, but by seeing the world as another person sees it.

–Roger Ebert

The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.

–Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Film is the only really vital American art form right now. It’s a unifying, worldwide, powerful art form that’s unique in human history.

–Mike Disa

If I can make them laugh and through that laughter make this world seem just a little brighter, then I am satisfied.

–W. C. Fields

When a movie transports me in an emotional way, it inspires my imagination or my intellect. I love to lose myself in the characters or the world the director is creating. It’s rare and wonderful.

–Ron Howard

Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream, it takes over as the number one hormone; it bosses the enzymes; directs the pineal gland; plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to film is more film.

—Frank Capra

One can be sad, alone, detached from family and friends, and the movies can fill a void. Film can provide one for a short period of time with an intimate relationship with characters who fully participate in all aspects of life. One becomes absorbed in a film and vicariously experiences life through characters created by gifted artists.

–Dan L. Miller

Television and film are our libraries now. Our history books.

—David Strathairn

The carpeted, gilt-adorned palace interior of the theater, where in the darkness you find two seats, whisper a remark or two, and go lifting, speeding into the great moving magic of the silver screen which pulls all into itself, lulling with the magnetic other-worldliness all who sit in adoration before it. The collection is taken discreetly at the door by the gaunt, gray-haired man in the scarlet uniform with the crust of gold braid, and the worshipers are ushered to their cushioned pews in reverent darkness. No matter if they are late; the service is continuous, and if the beginning of the first mass is missed, one may stay through the beginning of the second to achieve full continuity. In the democratic twilight, the clothes of the patrons are not in evidence. If Mrs. Allan’s hat is out of taste, if Mac the cabdriver snores through the dull first lesson or the news reel, if Mamie and Joe nuzzle each other playfully, fondly in response to the sermon of a screen kiss, there is no one to be censorious, no one who really minds. For this is the altar at which more Americans spend their time and money, daily, nightly than ever before. Here the mystic incense of the traditional popcorn, chewing gum and chocolate, of mixed perfume and whiskey smells is neutralized and cooled by the patented air-conditioning system. And here people can lose their identity in a splurge of altruism before the twentieth century god. His messengers, his missionaries are everywhere. Dark in the room above your heads, one runs the machine; reel after vibrating reel of divine life circles under his directions onto the mammoth screen, playing forth the drama, the life force, the Bible of the masses. Rave notices are circulated in the newspapers. Everybody reads them. Sex and slaughter are substituted for the sin and sulphur of the pulpits, now quite antiquated. Instead of watching a man dictate manners and morals, you watch the very workings of these manners and morals in an artificially constructed society which to you, is real. Which, to all the worshipers, is the most wonderful and temporary reality they could every hope to know.

–Sylvia Plath

I also present a voluminous collection of film quotations on the Best Quotes on Education and Teaching for English Teachers and Students page of my website. Explore as well the additional websites referenced on the Useful Websites for Quotes, Writing, and Movies page.

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Recommendations from 2016

2016 Posts

Recommendations from 2017

2017 Posts

Recommendations from 2018

2018 Posts

Recommendations from 2019

2019 Posts

Recommendations from 2020

2020 Post

Recommendations from 2021

2021 Post

Recommendations from 2022

2022 Post


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The Wedding March (1928)
Erich von Stroheim, Fay Wray, Zasu Pitts
Gambler and womanizer, Prince Nikki, continually taps his royal parents for money. They finally say he needs to “marry for money.” He agrees to marry whomever his mother chooses. Meanwhile, the prince, astride his horse during a ceremony, shamelessly flirts with a naive, young girl standing with her boyfriend. She flirts back. He later vigorously pursues her, and she responds. They both claim to be in love. Then, a wealthy acquaintance of the prince’s father offers him a million rubles for his son to marry his wealthy daughter. Erich Von Stroheim directs and stars in this film, which features, mostly, unlikable characters. Even though the ‘yuck’ factor reigns in this movie, the story itself and the acting of Fay Wray makes this film worth watching. IMDB: The Wedding March

Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931)
Buster Keaton, Charlotte Greenwood, Reginald Denny, Sally Eilers, Edward Brophy
A married man seeking divorce from his domineering wife falls for a beautiful woman but becomes entangled in a series of misunderstandings and comedic situations during a chaotic weekend at a friend’s house. The forced slapstick in this film intends to garner laughs but instead creates groans. Weak acting, improbable/ridiculous situations, and a tedious plot make this a film to skip. IMDB: Parlor, Bedroom and Bath

Under the Big Top (1938)
Marjorie Main, Anne Nagel, Jack La Rue, Betty Compson
A domineering circus owner’s young ward grows to become a trapeze artist. She and a daring trapeze artist find love amidst the challenges of running the struggling circus. Their romance is tested as they work to save the circus from financial ruin and win over skeptical audiences. This film garners enough interest to warrant a view. IMDB: Under the Big Top

They Who Dare (1954)
Dirk Bogarde, Denholm Elliott, Akim Tamiroff
This film follows a British commando team tasked with a daring mission: infiltrate a German-occupied Greek island and disrupt vital Axis operations. The team faces perilous challenges as they navigate treacherous terrain and enemy forces. Tensions rise as personal dynamics intersect with the urgency of their mission. Fueled by suspense, camaraderie, and courage, the film showcases the sacrifices and heroism of those who dared to challenge overwhelming odds. Recommended for history enthusiasts and fans of classic war dramas, although the age of the film may dim modern viewers’ interest. IMDB: They Who Dare

’Neath Brooklyn Bridge (1942)
Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan, Gabriel Dell
The East Side Kids rescue a young girl from her abusive stepfather, get themselves involved with gangsters, and aid their fellow gang member (falsely accused of murder). This comedy provides a moderate level of entertainment. IMDB: ‘Neath Brooklyn Bridge

Beggars in Ermine (1934)
Lionel Atwill, Betty Furness, Henry B. Walthall, George ‘Gabby’ Hayes
Wealthy steel mill owner, John Dawson, falls on hard times when a disgruntled employee at his mill tries to kill him on the floor of his mill. Losing his legs and confined to wheelchair, he organizes homeless men in a scheme to make them all rich. Heartwarming and inspiring, this film provides an entertaining viewing experience. IMDB: Beggars in Ermine

Big News (1929)
Robert Armstrong,Carole Lombard,Louis Payne, George ‘Gabby’ Hayes
Hard-drinking reporter Steve Banks torments his editor with his irresponsibility and his rival reporter wife, Margaret, with his lifestyle. She threatens divorce unless he puts his life back on track. Police accuse Steve of murder when his editor turns up dead, and Margaret works to uncover the truth behind the murder. Interesting to view Carole Lombard in an early “talkie,” but the film provides only moderate entertainment value. IMDB: Big News

Hard Boiled Mahoney (1947)
Leo Gorcey,Huntz Hall,Bobby Jordan, Gabriel Dell, Betty Compson
This Bowery Boys comedy features Slip Mahoney and Sach accidentally becoming detectives when a woman walks into the detective agency office they happen to be visiting. In searching for the woman’s “lost” sister, Slip witnesses a murder and is accused of committing the murder. The boys collectively work to uncover the murderer and the mystery behind the missing sister. This film features typical Bowery Boys humor and hijinks with moderate entertainment value. IMDB: Hard Boiled Mahoney

City of Missing Girls (1941)
H.B. Warner, Astrid Allwyn, John Archer, Gale Storm
King Peterson runs a night club and owns a drama school. He sends the girls working for him out on “dates” with his night club clients. When girls turn up missing, the district attorney investigates. This pedestrian “B” movie offers a mildly interesting plot with mediocre acting and a moderate level of entertainment. IMDB: City of Missing Girls

Limehouse Blues [East-End Chant] (1934)
George Raft, Jean Parker, Anna May Wong, Kent Taylor, Billy Bevan
Harry Young runs a night club as a front for his mob-related crimes. When he lures an out-of-work, naive girl into living in an apartment in his night club complex, he pressures her to become “his” girl, despite the fact that she’s falling in love with another man. When Harry realizes her passion for another man, he targets him for death. George Raft plays an Asian and Anna Mae Wong plays her stereotypical role as a mistress and “scheming” Asian. Despite the subtle racism of the period, this film provides enough entertainment value to warrant a view. IMDB: Limehouse Blues

Artists and Models (1955)
Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Shirley MacLaine, Dorothy Malone, Eva Gabor, Anita Ekberg, Jack Elam
Jerry and Dean get fired and pursue the beautiful artist and her model who live in their apartment building. Dean turns to illustrating comic books with Jerry’s ideas that come to him while dreaming. His ideas, unfortunately, coincide with the government’s secret weapon formulas, and government agents pursue the pair. Dean’s songs and Jerry’s antics highlight this film, and Shirley McClain steals many scenes with her kookiness as the catwoman in pursuit of Jerry. This film entertains with action galore, beautiful women, and the typical Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis humor. Enjoy. IMDB: Artists and Models

Cynthia (1947)
Elizabeth Taylor, George Murphy, S.Z. Sakall, Mary Astor, Gene Lockhart, Spring Byington
Cynthia’s parents put their ambitions on hold when Cynthia is born as a sickly child. Her parents strictly protect her, and her doctor uncle ferociously controls her life. As a teen, however, Cynthia insists on breaking out and living like her peers. The acting, the storyline, and Elizabeth Taylor starring as a teen in this marvelous film make it Must-See viewing. IMDB: Cynthia

Flying Wild (1941)
Leo Gorcey,Bobby Jordan,Joan Barclay
The East Side Kids work at an airport—all but Mugs, who hangs around the airport. Sabotage takes place at the airport, and an administrator asks Danny to go undercover to uncover the saboteurs. Mystery, action, suspense, and humor highlight this typical East Side Kids outing resulting in an average level of entertainment. IMDB: Flying Wild

The Fat Man (1951)
J. Scott Smart, Julie London, Rock Hudson, Jayne Meadows, Emmett Kelly
In this classic film noir an overweight private detective works to solve the murder of an innocent dentist, after an assassin throws the dentist from his hotel window. The detective’s  investigation uncovers secrets that lead to a shocking revelation. Julie London’s starring role in this movie and Emmett Kelly’s dramatic role add to its appeal. This film entertains and deserves a view. IMDB: The Fat Man

Federal Fugitives (1941)
Neil Hamilton, Doris Day, Victor Varconi, Betty Blythe, ‘Snub’ Pollard
A detective investigates the deaths of government agents and a series of suspicious plane crashes. Those he investigates set out to kill him. This true “B” movie plods along and can be skipped. (The Doris Day who stars in this film worked in “B” movies from 1939 to 1943, when she retired. The more famous and successful Doris Day debuted in 1948.) IMDB: Federal Fugitives

The File on Thelma Jordan (1949)
Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, Paul Kelly
Assistant district attorney, Cleve Marshall, falls in love with a woman, Thelma Jordon, who walks into the office looking for help with robberies at her aunt’s estate. He’s an alcoholic, married with children, and struggling with his marriage. After becoming more deeply involved in his affair, he’s called on to serve as prosecutor in Thelma Jordan’s trial when she’s accused of murdering her aunt for her money. The suspense, the plot twists, and the spot-on acting make this murder mystery Must-See viewing. IMDB: The File on Thelma Jordan

A Taste of Honey (1961)
Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan, Robert Stephens
Teenager Jo lives in squalor with her man-hungry mother. Jo meets and falls in love with a Black sailor and becomes pregnant. Her mother then marries one of her lovers and abandons Jo to fend for herself. This alternately heartbreaking and delightful film addresses controversial issues (at the time) of interracial relationships, teen pregnancy, and homosexuality. Rita Tushingham’s emotional performance in her film debut makes this movie Must-See viewing. IMDB: A Taste of Honey

The Impatient Years (1944)
Jean Arthur, Lee Bowman, Charles Coburn, Edgar Buchanan, Charley Grapewin
In San Francisco during World War II a couple meet in a diner, fall in love and marry within three days. He then deploys, and she returns home to live with her father. When he returns from the war, he meets his toddler son, and the couple realize they are incompatible. In divorce court, the judge orders them to return to San Francisco and repeat each moment of their three days together there when they married. Jean Arthur’s low-key approach to her role makes this film a winner. Engaging from beginning to end, viewers will find this romantic comedy Must-See viewing. IMDB: The Impatient Years

Adventure in Manhattan (1936)
Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Reginald Owen
A broadway star works with her cast and crew to play a cruel practical joke on an arrogant newspaper reporter. She eventually gets pulled into his investigations and falls in love with him. Their tumultuous relationship plays out in the midst of major burglary that involves them both. This film maintains interest and provides significant action and humor. Viewers will find the film well worth watching. IMDB: Adventure in Manhattan

The Glass Menagerie (1950)
Jane Wyman, Kirk Douglas, Gertrude Lawrence, Arthur Kennedy
Painfully shy Laura, due to a childhood disease, walks with an awkward limp and lives with her domineering mother, adoring her collection of glass animals and listening to old records left when her father abandoned the family. Her mother harasses her brother to bring home a gentleman caller for Laura, but he only yearns to leave the toxic environment at home for a life of his own. This film closely follows Tennessee Williams’ classic play with top-notch acting and deserves a Must-See rating. IMDB: The Glass Menagerie

The Tattered Dress (1957)
Jeff Chandler, Jeanne Crain, Jack Carson, Gail Russell
When a man fatally shoots his wife’s lover, defense attorney, James Blane, successfully defends him court. The local sheriff then conspires to frame the attorney accusing him of bribing a juror in the trial. The attorney then goes on trial and faces prison. Credible acting and a suspenseful plot make this film worth watching. IMDB: The Tattered Dress

Female on the Beach (1955)
Joan Crawford, Jeff Chandler, Jan Sterling
During a dispute between Drummond Hall and his lover, she drunkenly falls (or is pushed) from the beach home’s balcony to her death on the rocks below. Lynn Markham then moves into the home and falls in love with Drummond. She eventually marries Drummond but, because of his suspicious behavior, fears he will kill her. The slow pace, the unrealistic plot and forced relationships make this film only watchable. IMDB: Female on the Beach

Peggy (1950)
Diana Lynn, Charles Coburn, Charlotte Greenwood, Barbara Lawrence, Charles Drake, Rock Hudson
College student Peggy and her sister move from Ohio to Pasadena with their controlling, irascible father. Peggy secretly married Ohio State University’s quarterback before leaving Ohio, and now the OSU football team travels to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl game. Meanwhile, Peggy and her sister compete in the Rose Bowl Queen contest even though married students are ineligible. Even though Coburn’s over-the-top irascibility may irritate viewers, this light-weight romantic comedy features competent acting, an interesting plot, and historic footage of the Rose Bowl parade. The film provides a pleasant viewing experience. IMDB: Peggy

Never Wave at a Wac (1953)
Rosalind Russell, Paul Douglas, Marie Wilson, William Ching, Leif Erickson, Regis Toomey, Louise Beavers, Gen. Omar Bradley
In the process of divorcing, wealthy ‘Sky’ Fairchild’s new love interest serves in the military and makes plans to be near him overseas. Her influential father tells her she can join her new love overseas and even become a general by joining the military herself. She joins and expects to be treated as her wealthy, privileged self. Officers treat her no differently than any other recruit, and she suffers through basic training. This light-weight comedy is watchable but mediocre at best. IMDB: Never Wave at a Wac

Carry on Doctor (1967)
Frankie Howerd, Sidney James, Charles Hawtrey
This wacky comedy follows the love interests and shenanigans of doctors, nurses, and patients in an urban hospital. Comedic chaos reigns is this British film, and if corny British jokes, slapstick and sexual escapades interest you, this film satisfies. IMDB: Carry on Doctor

Jassy (1947)
Margaret Lockwood, Patricia Roc, Dennis Price
As a young girl living in poverty Jassy experiences accurate premonitions, and others consider her a witch. She loses the love of her life to class prejudice and her father to murder. She lives a tumultuous life thereafter, seeking revenge and working to address grievances against her lost love. Suspense, intrigue, drama, strong acting, and engaging plot make this film Must-See viewing. IMDB: Jassy

Nancy Goes to Rio (1950)
Ann Sothern, Jane Powell, Barry Sullivan, Carmen Miranda, Hans Conried, Frank Fontaine
Teen Nancy earns a small role in a play, but the director tells her she will actually play the lead, but she has to keep it a secret. She travels to Rio to visit her mother and grandfather and while on the ship practices her lines. Her character becomes pregnant, and an older gentleman overhears her learning her lines and assumes Nancy’s actually pregnant. Word spreads and others treat her as if she’s a pregnant teen. Nancy meets her mother in Rio, and sees her mother learning her lines for the role promised to Nancy. Nancy then decides to concentrate on her relationship with her older gentleman, but he seems to be falling in love with—her mother. The music, the acting, the engaging story make this entertaining romantic musical/comedy well worth watching. IMDB: Nancy Goes to Rio

Phone Call from a Stranger (1952)
Bette Davis, Shelley Winters, Gary Merrill, Michael Rennie, Keenan Wynn, Evelyn Varden, Beatrice Straight, Craig Stevens, Hugh Beaumont
After David Trask’s wife confesses to an affair, he abandons his wife and children. During a long rain delay in an airport and then aboard the plane, Trask develops close relationships with three fellow travelers. When the plane crashes and Trask survives, he visits the spouses of his fellow travelers who died, revealing details of their lives that impacts their spouses. The star power; the drama; the emotional, engaging plot make this film Must-See viewing. IMDB: Phone Call from a Stranger

Springtime in the Rockies (1942)
Betty Grable, Carmen Miranda, John Payne, Cesar Romero, Charlotte Greenwood, Edward Everett Horton, Harry James and His Orchestra, Six Hits and a Miss
Karen Glover stars in a broadway musical with her womanizing boyfriend. Fed up with him, she accepts an invitation to star in a Rocky Mountain resort, where she also begins a romance with the resort’s owner. Although engaged to another entertainer, her boyfriend shows up at the resort and complicates all relationships. First-class acting, Rocky Mountain scenery, outstanding musical numbers…and Betty Grable make this film worth watching. IMDB: Springtime in the Rockies

One Mysterious Night (1944)
Chester Morris, Janis Carter, William Wright
Detective Boston Blackie investigates the theft of a valuable diamond from a display overseen by armed guards. With a mix of humor, action, and suspense this film from the Boston Blackie series entertains enough to deserve a view. IMDB: One Mysterious Night

A Fig Leaf for Eve [Desirable Lady] (1944)
Jan Wiley, Phil Warren, Eddie Dunn, Betty Blythe, Chester Conklin
Eve Lorraine struggles to find success as an entertainer and performs as a sexy dancer in a club, and after a performance the police arrest her. She discloses her past growing up as an orphan, and a wealthy family investigates her past to determine if she could be the missing daughter of one of their deceased family members. Although a “B” movie with inconsistent acting, the story provides enough interest to warrant a view. IMDB: A Fig Leaf for Eve

Greenwich Village (1944)
Vivian Blaine, Carmen Miranda, Don Ameche, William Bendix, The Four Step Brothers
Classical music composer, Kenneth Harvey, visits a Greenwich Village club while visiting New York trying to get his concerto published and performed. He becomes involved with the characters at the club and falls in love with the club’s singer. First-class stars, Vivian Blaine’s film debut, an interesting plot, and entertaining musical numbers make this film Must-See viewing. IMDB: Greenwich Village




The Saturday Night Kid (1929) Clara Bow, Jean Arthur, James Hall, Edna May Oliver, Jean Harlow
Mayme lives in an apartment with her younger sister, and they work at the same department store. Mayme’s boyfriend, Bill, lives in the next apartment. Mayme’s little sister works to undermine her at work and with her boyfriend. Even with poor production values and mediocre acting, Clara Bow puts enough star power into an interesting story to make this film worth watching. (Jean Harlow makes her first credited appearance in this film as a department store sales girl.) IMDB: The Saturday Night Kid

Silent Enemy, The (1958) Laurence Harvey, Dawn Addams, Michael Craig, Gianna Maria Canale
British forces train frogmen to combat enemy frogmen who are sinking ships with underwater mini-subs and attaching bombs to the hulls of docked ships. Although this films offers some underwater action, it also features too much hokey business which distracts from the plot. Based on actual events, this war film is watchable. IMDB: The Silent Enemy

Mr. Arkadin (Confidential Report) (1955) Orson Welles, Peter van Eyck, Michael Redgrave, Patricia Medina, Akim Tamiroff, Mischa Auer
Wealthy and powerful Mr. Arkadin uses extreme measures to oversee his daughter’s activities and fears suitors seeking wealth through marriage. When one suitor makes headway with his daughter, Mr. Arkadin seeks to remove him by hiring him to conduct a world-wide investigation into a woman from his past. The investigator uncovers Mr. Arkadin’s horrible, deadly deeds, however, which Mr. Arkadin strives to shield from his daughter—at all costs. This unusual Orson Welles’ film features Welles in the title role and a murky plot that plods along to a frantic conclusion. Worth watching, but not one of Welles’ best. IMDB: Mr. Arkadin

The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959) Steve McQueen, Crahan Denton, David Clarke, Molly McCarthy
Based on actual events, this film follows the plotting and eventual robbery of a St. Louis bank. The girlfriend of one of the participants does everything she can to keep him out of the scheme. This “B” film features poor production values and amateurish acting. Steve McQueen stars in one of his early films, and viewers will find this film interesting mostly because of McQueen. IMDB: The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery

Peck’s Bad Boy (1934) Jackie Cooper, Thomas Meighan, Jackie Searl, Billy Gilbert
Bill enjoys an ideal relationship with his single dad until his aunt and her son move in. They both aggressively act to take over the house and Bill’s life. Jackie Cooper shines as an aggrieved young boy in this interesting family drama, and acting and the story make this film worth watching. IMDB: Peck’s Bad Boy

Peck’s Bad Boy with the Circus (1938) Tommy Kelly, Ann Gillis, Edgar Kennedy, George ‘Spanky’ McFarland, Louise Beavers, William Demarest
With his parents out of town, Billy sneaks into the circus with his friends. He gets to know the girl who stars as the trick horseback rider in the show. When the circus owner’s wife, trying to promote her own act, sabotages the young star’s act, the girl falls and injures herself. Billy steps in to save the day. The film works well with adequate acting and an interesting story. Viewers will find the movie entertaining, humorous and worth watching. IMDB: Peck’s Bad Boy with the Circus

So’s Your Aunt Emma (1942) Zasu Pitts, Roger Pryor, Warren Hymer
Aunt Emma had planned to marry a prize fighter, but he died. Years later when she hears of the fighter’s son fighting, she gets involved to help the young man with his career. Unfortunately, she steps into the middle of criminals’ control of the fight game. Zsa Zsu Pitts usually plays supporting roles, but she shines as the star of this film. This ‘B’ film offers a moderate level of entertainment, but it’s unrealistic plot and hokey bits make it only watchable. IMDB: So’s Your Aunt Emma

Thirteenth Guest (1932) Ginger Rogers, Lyle Talbot, J. Farrell MacDonald
The story takes place in an old mansion with a banquet of thirteen guests, including children and adults. Thirteen years later, someone murders one of the guests in the mansion, and private investigator, Phil Winston, works to solve the murder as well as others as more guests turn up dead. Confusing at times, but this typical murder mystery stars Ginger Rogers, who makes any film interesting. This movie entertains enough to watch. IMDB: Thirteenth Guest

Pitfall (1948) Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott, Jane Wyatt, Raymond Burr
Insurance adjustor, John Forbes, has grown bored with his routine life—job, wife, child. Before he visits the girlfriend of a criminal incarcerated for stealing money to buy her expensive gifts—including a jewels, furs, and a boat, his ex-cop insurance investigator warns him to keep his hands off “his girl.” When Forbes meets with the girlfriend to categorize, value, and recover the items purchased with stolen funds, she calls him out as “more of a machine than a human being.” She triggers his desire to break free from his hum-drum life, he falls in love, and has an affair with her. Even though she fears the stalking behavior of Forbes’ investigator, the investigator goes to extremes to keep “his girl.” This outstanding film noir features a gripping story with first class acting. This film keeps viewers glued to the screen with suspense and plot twists galore. This film is Must-See viewing. IMDB: Pitfall

Red Ball Express (1952) Jeff Chandler, Alex Nicol, Charles Drake, Sidney Portier, Hugh O’Brian
General Patton advances so quickly into enemy territory during WWII that he outruns his supplies. Military strategists create a continual convoy of trucks to deliver supplies in record time over dangerous roads. This film recreates the ‘Red Ball Express” experience around the conflict between the commanding officer and his second-in-command, who accuses him of killing his brother. Although the film includes some combat action, it focuses more on relationships among the soldiers and the dangerous convoy journey itself. The film also features a young Sidney Portier in one of his early roles. This film warrants a view. IMDB: Red Ball Express

Red Salute (1935) Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Young, Hardie Albright
Dru Van Allen, wealthy daughter of a general, plans to marry a radical who promotes anti-government policies. Her father tricks her into getting into a plane, locks her in, and sends her to Mexico with her aunt to distance her from her fiancé. In Mexico she meets a soldier in a bar and teams up with him to flee the authorities after breaking numerous laws. He wants to flee to the west coast to leave the country. She wants to head east to her home to marry her fiancé. Chaos ensues. Barbara Stanwyck usually stars in first-rate films. Red Salute stands as one of her lesser films. The continual sarcastic bickering between Stanwyck and Young becomes tiresome, but the film offers enough action and humorous bits to make the film worth watching. Red Salute

Notorious but Nice (1933) Marian Marsh, Betty Compson, Don Dillaway, J. Carrol Naish, Louise Beavers
A young office worker, Jenny Jones, plans to marry her boss’s son, but her boss disapproves of her and hires a private detective to investigate her to find some dirt to present to his son. He then sends his son on a long business trip and fires Jenny. She can’t pay her rent, gets evicted, and falls in with criminal elements. Major complications ensue. This drama with plot twists galore features an engaging story, spot-on acting, and an innocent, naive protagonist who garners maximum sympathy. This engaging and highly entertaining drama is well-worth watching. IMDB: Notorious but Nice

October—Ten Days That Shook the World (1927) Boris Livanov, Nikolay Popov, Vasili Nikandrov
This film recreates in great detail the critical days of the 1917 Russian Revolution—filming in the locations prominent in the major events of the time. This masterpiece by director Sergei Eisenstein makes extraordinary use of close-ups of faces, weapons, and dead bodies, and the action is continuous. It’s fascinating to watch this recreation of a monumental historical period. The film is well worth watching. IMDB: October–Ten Days that Shook the World

Phantom Ship (The Mystery of the Mary Celeste) (1935) Bela Lugosi, Shirley Grey, Arthur Margetson
Historically a ship was found in the mid-Atlantic in 1872 with no one on board. This film dramatizes what may have happened to everyone on that ship featuring plenty of conflict and action. To complicate matters the captain brought his new bride on the voyage. The film also showcases Bela Legosi’s acting skills in a non-horror role. Decent acting and non-stop action make this film worth watching. IMDB: Phantom Ship

Meet Dr. Christian (1939) Jean Hersholt, Dorothy Lovett, Robert Baldwin
A humble, small-town doctor serves all patients equally, regardless of their ability to pay. He battles the mayor to build a hospital, but the mayor bases all his decisions on the bottom line. This pleasant drama works toward a predictable conclusion while providing a moderate level of entertainment. IMDB: Meet Dr. Christian

Misbehaving Husbands (1940) Harry Langdon, Betty Blythe, Esther Muir, Gig Young
A divorce lawyer preys on rich women and targets the wife of Henry Butler, a department store owner, who a friend of his wife accuses of infidelity when she sees him after work arranging a display dummy on a bed and assumes he’s having an affair. This lightweight comedy provides some laughs, but its illogical plot makes it worth watching only if you have no other entertainment options. IMDB: Misbehaving Husbands

More Than a Secretary (1936) Jean Arthur, George Brent, Lionel Stander, Dorothea Kent, Reginald Denny
Carol works as a teacher in a secretarial school. When she has to expel Maizie, an incompetent student, she asks her why she’s in school. She responds that she wants to ‘get a man.’ Maizie is so sexy and flirtatious that she gets a job on the way out of the school with a man waiting to interview candidates. Carol feels ‘getting a man’ is a reasonable goal and goes to work as the secretary the publisher who fires every graduate Carol sends him. The well-crafted film with first-rate acting and an engaging story delivers. The film provides a great vehicle for the talents of Jean Arthur. This comedic gem is Must-See viewing. IMDB: More than a Secretary

Murder on the Campus (1933) Shirley Grey, Charles Starrett, J. Farrell MacDonald, Ruth Hall
A popular student works as the bell ringer in the campus bell tower. As the bells ring, students hear a shot fired, but no one exits the one doorway leading from the tower. When police enter the tower, they find no one but the dead student. This moderately interesting who-done-it features plot twists and an inventive means of murder. IMDB: Murder on the Campus

Ekstase (1933) Hedy Lamarr, Zvonimir Rogoz, Aribert Mog
A groom carries his young bride over the threshold of their hotel room and then ignores her—no intimacy. At breakfast he sits at the table reading his newspaper. The young bride looks for love elsewhere. This incredible film relies on outstanding cinematography, a simple, but powerful story, and the natural beauty of Hedy Lamar to make this film Must-See Viewing. IMDB: Ekstase

Hoop-La (1933) Clara Bow, Preston Foster, Richard Cromwell
A young man, Nifty, who’s been ‘riding the rails’ hops off at a town where his father works for the carnival as a barker for the hoochie coochie dancer, Lou. His father wants more for his son than working in a carnival, but reluctantly gives him a job. His father breaks up with his long-time lover because he doesn’t want his son to know about their relationship. His lover promises to pay the older, experienced Lou $100 to lure the young man into an affair to pull him away from his father. Clara Bow makes any film interesting, and she heats up this soap opera. Although no award-winner, viewers will find Clara Bow’s last film worth watching. IMDB: Hoop-La

House of Rothschild, The (1934) George Arliss, Boris Karloff, Loretta Young, Robert Young, C. Aubrey Smith, Reginald Owen, Alan Mowbray
Mayer Rothschild works as a money lender in the ghetto and stresses on his five sons that “money is power.” On his deathbed he advises his sons to become leading bankers in five European capitals. They all become successful and played major roles in financing European governments, addressing antisemitism, and targeting funding during Napoleon’s attempted return to power. This film features competent acting, an interesting historical drama, and a subplot of Nathan Rothschild’s daughter falling in love with a Gentile, all of which make this film worth watching. IMDB: House of Rothschild, The

Lady Says No, The (1951) Joan Caulfield, David Niven, James Robertson Justice, Frances Bavier
Dorinda Hatch writes a bestseller encouraging women to forgo kissing and flirting. Photographer Bill Shelby interviews and photographs her for an article and tricks her into kissing him. She morphs from a man-hater to a man-eater. This fluff piece fails. Although starring talented actors, the writer and director put Niven and, particularly, Caulfield in awkward, cringy scenes. I watched this dud so you wouldn’t have to. IMDB: Lady Says No, The

Laughing at Life (1933) Victor McLaglen, Conchita Montenegro, William ‘Stage’ Boyd, Regis Toomey, Ruth Hall, Tully Marshall
Dennis P. McHale travels the world as a soldier of fortune, always in the midst of mayhem and always dodging the law. Although he abandoned his wife and son, he meets his son during a revolution and tries to dissuade him from leading the life he pursued. This film follows an alpha male in his adventures around the world—always running from authorities. Action makes the film mildly interesting. IMDB: Laughing at Life

Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, The (1947) Derek Bond, Cedric Hardwicke, Mary Merrall
When his father dies, Nicholas Nickleby finds himself at the mercy of his wealthy, uncle who attempts to control all aspects of his life as well as his sister’s life.
This film follows the plot of Dickens’ novel with all the typical characters—child abusers, wealthy villain, and plucky hero. Young viewers will find this film dated and dull, but mature viewers can enjoy this film with attentive viewing. IMDB: Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, The

Lost Moment, The (1947) Robert Cummings, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead
An American publisher travels to Venice to obtain, by any means possible, the love letters of a renowned, deceased poet who disappeared mysteriously. The publisher intends to make a fortune by publishing them. The letters, however, are in the possession of the poet’s former lover, a reclusive, eccentric woman over one hundred years old. She lives in a large, forbidding mansion with her deranged niece. How to categorize this film—romance, horror, mystery, drama? Whatever the category, the stars, the engaging story, and on-point acting make this film entertaining and Must-See viewing. IMDB: Lost Moment, The

Harmony Lane (1935) Douglass Montgomery, Evelyn Venable, Adrienne Ames, William Frawley, Smiley Burnette
This Stephen Foster biography dramatizes his life falling in love, marrying, and succeeding and failing as a songwriter. Although Montgomery lacks appeal in his portrayal of Stephen Foster, the story and the supporting actors make this film well worth watching. IMDB: Harmony Lane

Held for Murder (Her Mad Night) (1932) Conway Tearle, Irene Rich, Mary Carlisle
Socialite, Joan Manners, meets wealthy lawyer, Steven Kennedy, on an ocean voyage, and they fall in love and plan to marry. The lawyer serves as guardian to his teenage “sister.” While her guardian sailed, she developed a relationship with Steven’s best friend, a much older man, who also happened to be in a long-term relationship with Joan. More intrigue ensues regarding the sister’s real mother and the actual murderer in this film. Despite this film’s “B” status, stiff acting, and some hokey situations, the complicated, engaging story and some emotional performances make this film well worth watching. IMDB: Held for Murder

His Double Life (1933) Roland Young, Lillian Gish, Montagu Love
World famous artist, Priam Farrel, lives with a phobia about people and leads such a reclusive life that most people have never seen him. When a woman encroaches on his privacy and assumes an engagement, he flees with his valet to London. His valet dies, the doctors and police assume that Priam Farrel died, and Farrel can convince no one that he is still alive. Unknown to Farrel, his valet had been corresponding with a marriage bureau to match him with a mate. His match shows up in London and meets with Farrel, assuming her developing relationship is with the valet. This intriguing, complicated comedy showcases the talents of Roland Young and, particularly, Lillian Gish. The film entertains, provides smiles rather than laughs, puts the Silent Era’s superstar, Gish, in an emotional, empathetic, speaking role—all of which make this film Must-See viewing. IMDB: His Double Life

Go for Broke! (1951) Van Johnson, Lane Nakano, George Miki, Gianna Maria Canale, Hugh Beaumont
A new lieutenant joins his squad in basic training and leads them into battle in the European theatre. The Anglo lieutenant commands an all Japanese-American squad, even though he holds a strong prejudice against “Japs.” This film focuses more on the relationships of the soldiers and their interactions with their lieutenant than on battle action. The movie entertains enough to make it worth watching. IMDB: Go for Broke!

Greene Murder Case (1929) William Powell, Florence Eldridge, Ullrich Haupt, Jean Arthur, Eugene Pallette
Elderly and bedridden Sibella Greene gathers the family together in her mansion to discuss her will. The family members hate each other and someone begins killing other family members. Philo Vance steps in to solve the mystery. This film sets up the plot twists well, and the intrigue makes this film worth watching. IMDB: Greene Murder Case

Groom Wore Spurs (1951) Ginger Rogers, Jack Carson, Joan Davis
Beautiful lawyer, A. J. Furnival, surprised Western movie star, Ben Castle, when she showed up to represent him to address gambling debts. As an ardent fan, A. J. falls in love with the gambling, drinking, womanizing star, and makes every effort to keep him out of legal trouble. This entertaining comedy showcases the talents of Ginger Rogers and Jack Carson and provides enough interesting conflicts and laughs to make this film well worth watching. IMDB: Groom Wore Spurs

Get Your Man (1927) Clara Bow, Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, Josef Swickard
The father of a young boy, Robert Albin, arranges his marriage to a baby. Seventeen years later the couple make plans for their marriage, and Robert travels to Paris to pick up a necklace for his bride. He repeatedly and coincidentally runs into a young, American girl. They get to know each other, fall in love, and scheme to address his arranged marriage. This film features Clara Bow scheming to get her man. The scheme entails making her man jealous throughout the film, and her antics make this film well worth watching. IMDB: Get Your Man

Escape to Paradise (1939) Bobby Breen, Kent Taylor, Marla Shelton, Joyce Compton, George Meeker
A ditzy blonde relentlessly pursues a wealthy traveler on a cruise ship. When he falls in love with a beautiful woman during a shore excursion, he abandons the cruise to relentlessly pursue her. Viewers can skip this truly forgettable film. IMDB: Escape to Paradise

Far Country (1954) James Stewart, Ruth Roman, Corinne Calvet, Walter Brennan, John McIntire, Harry Morgan, Jack Elam
A corrupt judge in Skagway uses trumped-up charges to sentence Jeff Webster to jail time and confiscate his heard of cattle. When Webster gets out of jail, he steals his cattle back and drives them to sell them in the lawless town of Dawson. The judge and his gang show up in Dawson to confiscate residents’ mining claims and terrorize the populace. The citizens look to Webster to confront the oppressors. The longer one watches this film the more interesting it gets. In addition to the violence and conflict, a romantic triangle lends another dimension to the plot and makes this outstanding Western well worth watching. IMDB: Far Country

The Flapper (1920) Olive Thomas, Theodore Westman Jr., William P. Carleton, Dorothy Kent, Katherine Johnston
Sixteen-year-old Ginger sneaks off to a club with her boyfriend, and her strict father sends her to a boarding school…next to a military school in which her boyfriend enrolls. She repeatedly sneaks out of her boarding school to meet her boyfriend and eventually to meet a much older man who assumes she is older. She behaves in any way that will make her seem older and more ‘experienced.’ Her behavior eventually makes her the goat in a burglary scheme, and she sends letters home that alarm her parents. This cute, romantic comedy reflects sophisticated production values for an early silent film, and Olive Thomas’s antics make this film well worth watching. (Shortly after this film came out Olive Thomas died in a scandalous accident.) IMDB: The Flapper

They Won’t Forget (1937) Claude Rains, Gloria Dickson, Edward Norris, Otto Kruger, Lana Turner
Someone murders a beautiful business school student, and a politically-motivated prosecutor and a violent, bigoted community mob targets the student’s teacher. Lana Turner plays a brief, but riveting, memorable role in this drama. This well-crafted crime/courtroom drama entertains and examines social norms that lead to corruption and mob violence. Viewers will find this film well worth watching. IMDB: They Won’t Forget

Uncle Joe (1941) Slim Summerville, Zasu Pitts, Gale Storm, Marvin Hartley Orchestra
Strict father, J. K. Day, disapproves of his teenage daughter, Clare, posing for a local artist, so he sends her to the country for a visit with Uncle Joe. On her visit with Uncle Joe, Clare becomes the object of admiration by a group of teenage boys, enlists the help of all to assist her aunt facing financial difficulties, and continues to pose for the artist. The thin plot and several so-so musical numbers make this comedy worth watching, but barely. IMDB: Uncle Joe

Follow Your Heart (1936) Marion Talley, Michael Bartlett, Nigel Bruce
An eccentric family living on a Kentucky plantation thwarts the daughter’s plans for marriage with their behavior and financial distress. The daughter leads the family out of disaster by planning an operetta. The talents of Metropolitan Opera star, Marion Tally, don’t translate that well to starring in a poorly conceptualized film. Because a majority of this film consists of opera singing, the lead actress playing an unlikable character, and several characters carrying out silly, unfunny antics, modern viewers will find this film unwatchable. IMDB: Follow Your Heart

Fresh from Paris (Paris Follies of 1956) (1955) Forrest Tucker, Margaret Whiting, Dick Wesson, Barbara Whiting, Lloyd Corrigan, The Sportsmen Quartet
The producer of a musical revue faces challenges—the star of his review joined the cast believing he was in love with her when, in fact, he proposed to the scenic designer, and his financial backer turns out to be a delusional psychiatric patient. This film features entertaining musical numbers and Margaret Whiting with her real-life sister as her ambitious understudy. The simple plot serves to highlight the dancing and singing, and fronts a film entertaining enough to watch. IMDB: Fresh from Paris

The Bohemian Girl (1936) Stan Laurel,Oliver Hardy,Thelma Todd, Darla Hood, Mae Busch, Julie Bishop
A band of gypsies, including Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, camp near the castle of Count Arnheim. The count orders his guards to remove them and flog them if necessary. Stan and Ollie pickpocket the locals, and Ollie’s wife and her lover kidnap the Count’s toddler daughter. When Ollie’s wife leaves with her lover, she leaves the Count’s daughter with Ollie to raise. This unusual film features the standard Laurel and Hardy antics, musical numbers, but also subpar acting and weak production values. It stands as one of the pair’s least-seen films, and Thelma Todd died before the film was released. The highlight of the film, a haunting rendition of “I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls” makes the film worth watching. IMDB: The Bohemian Girl

Mr. Celebrity (1941) Robert ‘Buzz’ Henry, James Seay, Doris Day, Francis X. Bushman
A custody battle focuses on the fact that the grandparents seeking custody of a young orphan resent the race track environment in which he is being raised. However, the boy flourishes in the environment under the supervision of well-meaning caregivers. Weak acting and a slim plot make this film one to skip. IMDB: Mr. Celebrity

Roaring Roads (1935) David Sharpe, Gertrude Messinger Mary Kornman, Mickey Daniels
Wealthy, privileged young man, Bob Merritt, yearns to break free from the strangle-hold his aunts have on his life, insisting he is too ill to lead a normal life. When he does break free, he falls into the world of auto racing and discovers the thrills and also the dangerous, dark underbelly of the sport. And…he pursues a love interest in the film. Despite stilted acting, this film satisfies with non-stop action, an engaging plot, and awesome vintage race footage of Indy-style race cars from the period…all of which makes for a film well worth watching. IMDB: Roaring Roads

The Nut (1921) Douglas Fairbanks, Marguerite De La Motte, William Lowery, Barbara La Marr
This early romantic comedy features Douglas Fairbanks as an eccentric inventor who falls in love with a lady who opens her home to disadvantaged children, hoping their exposure to a better life will enhance theirs. His efforts to woo her with his fantastical inventions face major obstacles. This light-hearted fare entertains with an amusing plot and quality production values. The film merits watching. IMDB: The Nut

Swiss Miss (1938) Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Grete Natzler, Walter Woolf King
Laurel and Hardy fail at selling mouse traps until they meet a shop keeper who buys their business with phony money. They spend their money in a high-class hotel restaurant on an extravagant meal. When they can’t pay, they have to work off their debt in the hotel. At the hotel, Oliver falls in love with a beautiful opera star masquerading as a maid to make her husband jealous. Hilarious scene after scene make this well-crafted comedy one of Laurel and Hardy’s best. The entertainment value of this film make it Must-See viewing. IMDB: Swiss Miss

Green Eyes (1934) Shirley Grey, Charles Starrett, Claude Gillingwater
During a masquerade party at a millionaire’s mansion, a guest discovers in a closet the body of the cantankerous old man. Before the murder, the old man had a heated argument with his young, female ward, and she flees the mansion with her boyfriend right after the murder. Of course, she’s the prime suspect. Despite awkward acting, this whodunnit  entertains with continual plot twists and an interesting resolution. The film deserves a view. IMDB: Green Eyes

High Gear (1933) James Murray, Joan Marsh, Jackie Searl
Everyone considered outstanding race car driver, Mark ‘High Gear’ Sherrod, to win the big race. His neighbor bet everything he had on Sherrod, and his son looked forward to the private school his dad promised after he won the race. Unfortunately, he crashes and dies. His former driving partner, and best friend, loses his nerve and can’t drive anymore, but vows to take care of Sherrod’s son. The tension throughout the film, the racing sequences, and the romantic subplot make this film worth watching. IMDB: High Gear

Kiki (1931) Mary Pickford, Reginald Denny, Joseph Cawthorn, Margaret Livingston, Betty Grable
Kiki makes it into the chorus line of a musical review but manages with her antics to disrupt the show and upstage the star, the love interest of the producer. Despite his frustration with Kiki, the producer takes her home after the show for a sexual rendezvous. She refuses his advances but then realizes she loves him and won’t leave the apartment. She makes the producer’s and his lover’s life miserable. After an iconic career as a silent film star, Mary Pickford stars in this talkie as a kookie, over-the-top goofball. This unusual film delivers cringy moments, some cute mugging, a few laughs and a storyline that, if only out of curiosity, makes this film watchable. IMDB: Kiki

Thunder in the City (1937) Edward G. Robinson, Nigel Bruce, Constance Collier, Luli Deste, Ralph Richardson
Dan Armstrong uses bombastic displays and outlandish stunts to promote his company’s products. His bosses disapprove of his tactics and urge him to use more conservative tactics. He defends his success in selling products and quits rather than change. His bosses urge him to go to England to learn their conservative advertising approaches. He goes to England to attempt saving a failing company and win the hand of a young lady in pursuit of a wealthy husband. This film portrays Robinson not as the usual touch guy, but as a crafty salesman. The pace is slow, but the film provides enough entertainment value to make it watchable. IMDB: Thunder in the City

The Passionate Plumber (1932) Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, Polly Moran
A young woman falls in love with a shameless womanizer and uses a hapless plumber as a fake lover to make her actual love interest jealous. Despite some cringy amateurish acting, this fast-paced romp provides complicated situations and the expected Keaton humor. The film entertains and deserves a view. IMDB: The Passionate Plumber

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell
A colleague with a grudge attacks the artist and owner of a wax museum. The attack results in a fire and the total destruction of the beautiful, artistic treasures within the museum. The artist’s obsession with his sculpture of the alluring Maria Antoinette unhinges him. The artist survives the museum fire and many years later pursues a bizarre method of reproducing the artistic representations of glamorous women in his museum. The colorized version of this film provides enough tension and interest to make this a film well worth watching. IMDB: Mystery of the Wax Museum

The Wild Party (1929) Clara Bow, Fredric March, Marceline Day, Shirley O’Hara, Adrienne Dore, Joyce Compton, Jack Oakie
On her train ride to college, Stella mistakenly slips into the wrong sleeping berth. Turns out the occupant is her new professor. All the girls enroll in his class, and Stella shamelessly pursues him, including sitting in the front row of the class with her skirt hiked up. Says her professor, “Life to you is just one wild party. You have no aim. All you want is cheap sensation.” So many reasons make this film Must See viewing: Silent screen superstar Clara Bow shines in an early talkie, a glimpse of college life in the 20s, an irresistible storyline. IMDB: The Wild Party

Blonde Captive (1931) Clifton Childs, Lowell Thomas, Paul Withington
This documentary features life among primitives in the South Pacific and Australia, ostensibly in search of a link to early man. When visiting the indigenous peoples of Australia, the documentarians come across a blonde child and his mother—a woman who had lived with the primitives for many years. Narrated by Lowell Thomas, this documentary may have been of interest in the early 30s, by modern audiences will most likely find it unremarkable. IMDB: Blonde Captive

Protect Your Daughter (Reckless Decision) (1933) Adeline Hayden Coffin, Doris Eaton, Margaret Halstan
A young daughter continually stays out late with her boyfriend, and her mother fears drinking and sex, while her unconcerned father believes in his ‘good girl.’ The story dwells on the young girl’s aunt, who grew up as the daughter of a strict minister. She eventually rebelled and left home to live with her boyfriend. This exploitation film, ala “Reefer Madness,” serves as a warning to parents to strictly oversee the behavior of their wild daughters. Other than curiosity about family values and teen behavior of the times, there exists no reason to view this film. IMDB: Protect Your Daughter


Bees in Paradise (1944) Arthur Askey, Anne Shelton, Peter Graves

Beautiful women populate a remote, tropical island with a queen and a bee-inspired society. The only men on the island are those trapped after shipwrecks or plane crashes. According to island law, men are used for breeding, but after two months of connubial bliss, they must die. This musical comedy comes off as corny (verging on the ridiculous), but it’s intriguing enough to watch. IMDB: Bees in Paradise

Below the Deadlline (1936) Cecilia Parker, Russell Hopton, Theodore von Eltz
Molly works as a secretary for a diamond dealer and loves a local cop. A gangster visiting the diamond shop takes a fancy to Molly and plans a robbery of the shop that will frame Molly’s fiancé and free her up for him. This well-done film features action, romance, and an engaging plot. Viewers will find this film well worth watching. IMDB: Below the Deadline

The Gallant Hours (1960) James Cagney, Dennis Weaver, Ward Costello
This memoir of Admiral William Halsey covers his personality, his interactions with colleagues, and his battle strategies interspersed with scenes of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto discussing battle strategies in the Pacific during World War II. Although a bit slow-moving, this film entertains enough to interest viewers. IMDB: The Gallant Hours

The Gay Sisters (1942) Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Donald Crisp, Gig Young, Gene Lockhart, Larry Simms
Three wealthy, young sisters lose their mother when the Lusitania sinks and then lose their father in The Great War. They battle in the courts for twenty-three years over their father’s contested will and for possession of their properties. A local industrialist fights them in court over possession of their ancestral mansion, and one of the sister’s long-hidden scandals comes to light to potentially bankrupt them. This fascinating film with plot twists, suspense, romantic entanglements, and bitter interpersonal relationships garners a Must-See rating. IMDB: The Gay Sisters

The Ghost Train (1941) Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch, Kathleen Harrison
A group of train travelers gets dropped in the middle of a stormy night at a railway station. The station master wants to close up but nobody will leave. Travelers include a corny vaudeville comedian cracking jokes, a beautiful woman, gallant men, a crazy lady, and others. And, the ghost train eerily roars past the station in the middle of the night. Intended to be scary, this film, barely watchable, falls flat. IMDB: The Ghost Train

Green for Danger (1946) Alastair Sim, Sally Gray, Trevor Howard
In an hospital operating theater the patient dies and many suspect the doctor of murder. When someone murders a nurse and another nurse nearly dies, the inspector works to solve the murders. Outstanding acting, tense drama, an engaging story, and a shocking denouement make this film Must-See viewing. IMDB: Green for Danger

Helen’s Babies (1924) Baby Peggy, Clara Bow, Jeanne Carpenter, Edward Everett Horton
Helen and her husband, Tom, consider themselves the perfect parents, following the child-rearing advice put forward in Helen’s brother’s best-selling book on raising children. Helen’s brother, a bachelor, wrote the book to make money, and when he visits for a rest, Helen and her husband take a vacation, knowing their two darling daughters will be in good hands. Of course, chaos reigns. This pleasant comedy features two silent film stars—Clara Bow and Baby Peggy, and viewers will find the shenanigans and interactions well worth watching. IMDB: Helen’s Babies

Hats Off (1936) Mae Clarke, John Payne, Helen Lynd, Franklin Pangborn
Competing exhibitions are opening in the city, and a publicist for one garners amazing publicity for his opening. Crack publicist, Jo Allen, goes to work for the competing exhibition, masquerades her identity, and pulls a major contract out from under her competitor. Problem is…she’s fallen in love with him. This musical comedy features competent acting, an interesting story, and a strong concluding production number. Corny humor and lame songs (with characters singing their dialogue at times) weaken this film, but viewers will find it worth watching. IMDB: Hats Off

Girl O’ My Dreams (1934) Mary Carlisle, Sterling Holloway, Edward J. Nugent, Arthur Lake,  Lon Chaney Jr.
College romance and sports headline this film. Big Man on Campus and track star brags continually, and his girl chases another athlete to make him jealous. Misunderstandings, humor, and beautiful girls galore. This fluff amuses and viewers will find it watchable. IMDB: Girl O’ My Dreams

A Lady Lost (1934) Barbara Stanwyck, Frank Morgan, Ricardo Cortez, Lyle Talbot
Ecstatic over her impending marriage, Marian leaves a party arm-in-arm with her fiancé when a man accosts him and accuses her fiancé of an affair with his wife. He then shoots her fiancé to death. Marian enters a long period of deep depression before marrying a much older man she doesn’t love. She finds love elsewhere. This drama entertains with top acting, an engaging plot with suspense and twists, and emotional impact. It deserves a Must-See rating. IMDB: A Lady Lost

Love Story (A Lady Surrenders) (1944) Margaret Lockwood, Stewart Granger, Tom Walls
Celebrated concert pianist leaves her career to serve her country during World War II. She fails to pass her physical, and her doctor gives her only a few months to live. She vows to make the most of her final months. She hides her illness from a man with whom she falls in love, and the man, as well, hides his serious medical condition. This film will keep viewers glued to the screen. The plot, the acting, the cinematography, the suspense, the emotionality—it all works to provide a Must-See viewing experience. IMDB: Love Story

Meet the Boyfriend (1937) Robert Paige, Carol Hughes, Warren Hymer
 Women continually besiege popular radio singer, ‘The Boyfriend.’ All he wants in life is to be a regular guy—not a celebrity. He falls in love with a regular girl, but doesn’t realize she works for an insurance company that sold his manager a policy to insure that he doesn’t get married. This breezy comedy entertains with its fast pace, action, suspense, stellar acting, and even some musical bits to make it a worthwhile viewing experience. IMDB: Meet the Boyfriend

Hitch-Hiker (1953) Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy, William Talman
A psychopath murders those who pick him up on the highways. Two men driving in the Southwest on a fishing trip pick up the hitch-hiker, who immediately pulls a gun on them and repeatedly tells them they’re going to die. This tense film-noir focuses on “will they escape/with they die?” Great acting and continual suspense make this film worth watching. IMDB: Hitch-HIker

Illicit (1931) Barbara Stanwyck, James Rennie, Ricardo Cortez
Ann and Richard savor a fun-filled, loving relationship until Richard wants to marry. Ann balks because she knows too many unhappy married and divorced women. She wants to continue as an ‘illicit’ couple. Eventually Richard forces the issue and Ann agrees to marriage. During their marriage, Ann’s fears come true and both are pursued by rival lovers. Barbara Stanwyck shines in an early role, and the back-and-forths in her relationship with her true love keep viewers in suspense throughout. The superb acting and engaging plot make this film well worth watching. IMDB: Illicit

Lady Behave! (1937) Sally Eilers, Neil Hamilton, Joseph Schildkraut
Paula watches over her younger sister, Clarice, in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Worrying, Paula sends her sister into the Mardi Gras night, only to have her come home early in the morning, drunk, kissing a stranger, and married—even though she already has a husband back in New York. Paula poses as her sister to straighten out her new marriage to a millionaire with two bratty teenagers. This uneven farce features sketchy acting, a complicated plot, but, ultimately, an amusing viewing experience. It’s worth watching. IMDB: Lady Behave!

Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939) Peter Lorre, Jean Hersholt, Amanda Duff, Willie Best, Ward Bond, Leon Ames, Paul Harvey
Mr. Moto travels to Puerto Rico to solve a string of murders related to diamond smuggling. He pairs up with a wrestler and represents himself as a criminal in order to infiltrate the smuggling ring. If you’re a Mr. Moto fan, you’ll enjoy this typical who-dun-it. Otherwise, the film is entertaining enough to be watchable. IMDB: Mr. Moto in Danger Island

Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1934) Pauline Lord, W.C. Fields, Zasu Pitts
Mrs. Wiggs struggles through life with poverty, a house full of children, a deathly sick child, the local Child Welfare Society, and an absent husband. This heartbreaking but heartwarming film blends humor with a message about love and values and enduring hope. Viewers will find this film well worth watching. IMDB: Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch

No, No Nanette (1940) Anna Neagle, Richard Carlson, Victor Mature, Roland Young, Zasu Pitts, Billy Gilbert, Eve Arden

Vibrant, sweet, and sparkly Nanette struggles to clean up her uncle’s picadilos, who’s always ‘helping out’ young girls who need a break. She also sorts out the advances of two men in serious pursuit of her. There are a few so-so songs and dance numbers in this film, but Anna Neagle as Nanette outshines everyone and everything in this film. Just watching a performance by this star makes this film worth watching. IMDB: No, No Nannette

Odd Man Out (1947) James Mason, Robert Newton, Cyril Cusack, Fay Compton
Four men rob a bank, but while running to the getaway car, Johnny’s tackled by a man with a gun. He shoots Johnny, but Johnny kills him. Struggling to get into the car as it takes off, Johnny falls out and his cronies leave him injured in the street. The film follows Johnny as he struggles to live with the help of those he encounters. A young girl who loves him becomes desperate to find him and help him. This film moves slowly, the British accents and low-volume dialogue at times, make it difficult to clearly hear the dialogue. Well-acted, and dramatic, viewers will find this film worth watching. IMDB: Odd Man Out

On the Spot (1940) Frankie Darro, Mary Kornman, Mantan Moreland
Frankie works behind the counter at the drug store/soda fountain. A gangster walks in who’s been shot. He falls to the floor and dies. Other gangsters and the press hound Frankie to reveal the dead gangster’s final words. Frankie works to solve the murder and that of another shot while in the store. Frankie Darro stars in this film and comes off as over-energetic, bragging and obnoxious. The sweetheart of the Our Gang comedies, Mary Kornman, takes top billing in this film, but actually plays only a supporting role in this, the last film of her career. The film turns out to be watchable. IMDB: On the Spot

A Stranger in Town (1943) Frank Morgan, Richard Carlson, Jean Rogers, Chill Wills
Supreme Court justice Grant takes a hunting vacation in a small town, where he finds the local officials conspiratorially corrupt. A young, timid lawyer’s attempt to run for mayor is doomed… until Justice Grant steps in. Although not a laugh-out-loud comedy, this amusing story delivers an upbeat theme and an hour’s worth of worthwhile entertainment. IMDB: A Stranger in Town

Sentimental Journey (1946) John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, William Bendix, Cedric Hardwicke, Mischa Auer, Connie Marshall

Wealthy, young wife, Julie, encounters the children from the orphanage frolicking on the beach and one little girl off by herself. They develop an immediate bond, and Julie adopts her. Although Julie’s love for and bond with her daughter are so strong, her husband can’t develop a relationship with the child. Julie dies, and on her deathbed she makes her daughter promise never to leave her father, but to take care of him. The daughter tries everything, but her father is determined to send her to boarding school. This well-crafted love story tugs at the viewer’s heart strings and entertains with outstanding performances and emotion-packed relationships. This film earns a Must-See rating. IMDB: Sentimental Journey

Shopworn (1932) Barbara Stanwyck, Regis Toomey, Zasu Pitts

Kitty grew up in a mining town with her father. When her father dies in an accident, she moves in with her aunt and waitresses in a college-town diner. Despite being a good-girl with a bad-girl reputation, a wealthy pre-med student falls in love with her and they plan to marry. His pathologically jealous mother does everything possible to prevent the marriage…and succeeds. This film keeps viewers highly engaged in the story and absorbed as well in Barbara Stanwyck’s tough but sensuous performance. Most of Stanwyck’s films entertain, and this one deserves a Must-See rating. IMDB: Shopworn

Not as a Stranger (1955) Olivia de Havilland, Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Charles Bickford, Lon Chaney, Jr., Jesse White, Lee Marvin, Harry Morgan, Mae Clark

Brilliant intern, Lucas, faces removal from medical school because he can’t afford the tuition, so he marries a girl he doesn’t love because she has money. He becomes a successful doctor but lives a loveless marriage and quarrels with colleagues and superiors alike, all of whom he considers inferior. This medical soap opera features top talent with tense drama throughout. Viewers will find the film well worth watching. IMDB: Not as a Stranger

Secret of Dr. Kildaire (1939) Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Lionel Atwill, Laraine Day, Helen Gilbert
Dr. Gillespie assigns Dr. Kildaire to discover what is wrong with his millionaire friend’s grown daughter, who continues to act in a peculiar fashion. After getting to know the rich heiress, Dr. Kildaire resigns as the ailing Dr. Gillespie’s assistant. Dr. Gillespie believes he’s lost a valuable assistant, and Dr. Kildaire’s girlfriend, Mary, feels she’s lost her boyfriend. This film entertains with moderate humor, competent acting, and an intriguing plot. Viewers will find this film well worth watching. IMDB: Secret of Dr. Kildaire

The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) Charles Laughton, Robert Donat, Franklin Dyall, Merle Oberon, Elsa Lanchester, Binnie Barnes

Highlighted in this film are beheadings, palace intrigue, and infidelity in the life of Henry VIII. Despite top-notch acting and directing and the contemporaneous popularity of this film, modern films addressing the reign of Henry VIII more accurately represent historical aspects of Henry VIII’s life and provide a higher level of entertainment. IMDB: The Private Life of Henry VIII

Rain (1932) Joan Crawford, Walter Huston, Fred Howard, Guy Kibbee, Beulah Bondi

The sailors’ best friend, Sadie Thompson, infuriates the Christians on a South Seas island with her immorality. A stern missionary takes it upon himself to reform her, and insists she return to San Francisco, where she faces prison time. This early 30s film features a strong performance by Joan Crawford, a classic story based on a play by Somerset Maugham, and proves entertaining enough to view. IMDB: Rain

That Brennan Girl (1946) James Dunn, Mona Freeman, William Marshall, June Duprez

Ziggy starts out her difficult life with a scheming, heartless mother and moves on to team up with a criminal. She marries a sailor who dies in battle and leaves her pregnant, and she then struggles with single motherhood. Her life only gets more complicated. Although acting is uneven, the engaging story and increasing conflicts make this drama well worth watching. IMDB: That Brennan Girl

That’s My Baby (1944) Richard Arlen, Ellen Drew, Leonid Kinskey
Grumpy comic book executive, R. P. Moody, hasn’t smiled or laughed in twenty years, and his doctor and psychiatrist feel his ill health results from melancholy. His daughter tries to fix his health by parading a number of musical, novelty, and comedy acts before him. This film showcases a number of vaudeville acts within a thinly-plotted format. Although some of the performers display talent, most (particularly the dated comedy and novelty acts) make one want to bail on this film. (I watched it so you wouldn’t have to.) IMDB: That’s My Baby

Fire Over England (1937) Laurence Olivier, Flora Robson, Vivien Leigh, Raymond Massey

This British historical drama, set in the late 16th century, tells the story of England’s fight against the Spanish Armada. The film features first-rate acting, and boasts impressive sets and costumes. The film is notable for its attention to historical detail and its engaging story, which blends political intrigue and romance. Although a classic example of 1930s British filmmaking, modern viewers might find this movie too dated to appreciate. IMDB: Fire Over England

Sex Madness! (1938-but most likely early 30s) Vivian McGill, Rose Tapley, Al Rigali

Spoiler Alert! This film deals with young people having casual sex. The story focuses on a young girl excited about marrying her fiancé. She wins a beauty contest and auditions for a role where the director seduces her with the help of alcohol. She contracts syphilis, sees a quack and thinks she’s cured. She marries her fiancé, gives him and her newborn baby syphilis. The husband goes blind, the baby dies, and she considers suicide. Everything about this film reeks ‘yuck’—horrible production values, amateur actors (some even flubbing their lines), and hysterical propaganda. The only reason to watch this film is out of curiosity or historical interest. Otherwise, don’t waste your time. IMDB: Sex Madness!

The Villain Still Pursued Her (1940) Hugh Herbert, Anita Louise, Alan Mowbray, Buster Keaton, Joyce Compton, Billy Gilbert, Margaret Hamilton
When their landlord dies, a widow and her daughter learn from the lawyer of the landlord’s son, Edward, that he plans to foreclose on their property and take possession. Mary meets with Edward and eventually plans to marry him, but the unscrupulous lawyer has further schemes up his sleeve. This film parodies the silent melodramas—poorly. Although the film features several talented stars, the over-the-top acting makes the film difficult to watch. Avoid this one. IMDB: The Villain Still Pursued Her

Decision Before Dawn (1951) Richard Basehart, Gary Merrill, Oskar Werner
Allied commanders recruit Nazi POWs to spy behind German lines to determine the locations of Panzer units. The results are tense and mixed. This classic war drama provides the typical conversations interspersed with action and presents a realistic view of the dilemmas faced by soldiers. This film garnered three Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and warrants a view. IMDB: Decision Before Dawn

Dixie Jamboree (1944) Frances Langford, Guy Kibbee, Eddie Quillan, Charles Butterworth, Lyle Talbot, Frank Jenks, Louise Beavers

Two gangsters feel the heat and need to leave town. They book passage on a show boat bound for New Orleans and see the potential for profits, particularly with the homemade elixir the captain sells during the shows. When the captain won’t accept the gangsters’ offer to buy the boat, the gangsters scheme take it through other means. The film features competent acting and an engaging story. It’s entertaining enough to view. IMDB: Dixie Jamboree

Double Exposure (1944) Chester Morris, Nancy Kelly, Jane Farrar

When Pat gets her dream job offer as a photographer for a New York magazine, it means leaving her boyfriend, Ben, behind. When her new boss falls in love with her and, when dropping her off at her apartment, asks to use her phone, she lies that her brother, Ben, is staying with her. Her boyfriend, concerned about her in the big city, then shows up and wants to pursue the relationship. Pat doesn’t want Ben to ruin her success at her new job or thwart her growing feelings for her new boss. This sophisticated romantic comedy pairs talented acting with an engaging story and evolving complications. Viewers will find this entertaining film well worth watching. IMDB: Double Exposure

Call Her Savage (1932) Clara Bow, Gilbert Roland, Thelma Todd, Margaret Livingston, Mischa Auer

Wild young lady, Nasa, inherited her unruly traits from her womanizing grandfather. Her father states, “I can run a railroad, but I can’t control my own daughter.” She finally feels she’s pleased her father by settling down and marrying a wealthy suitor. Turns out he only married her to make his lover jealous, and he quickly abandons her. Her life goes downhill from there. Despite uneven acting, this film features the “It” girl displaying her flapper allure and demonstrating her dramatic talents. This Pre-Code film deals with interracial relationships, infidelity, alcoholism, risqué behavior, and a shocking death. Viewers will find this highly entertaining film well worth watching. IMDB: Call Her Savage

Danger Lights (1930) Louis Wolheim, Jean Arthur, Robert Armstrong, Hugh Herbert

Rugged and demanding railroad foreman, Dan, plans to wed the owner’s beautiful daughter, Mary. A good-looking new worker instantly falls in love with her, however, and works to win her away from Dan. This early talkie provides enough interest, tension, and plot twists to make the film worth watching. IMDB: Danger Lights

Little Pal (The Healer) (1935) Ralph Bellamy, Karen Morley, Mickey Rooney, Judith Allen

Dedicated Doctor Holden works miracles with disabled children at his rural ranch with a healing pool. A wealthy socialite, in a chance meeting in a local general store, falls in love with the doctor. She then schemes to lure him into a clinic serving the wealthy and into marriage. His nurse at the ranch also loves him, has served him for many years, and fears the socialite’s scheme to lure him away from his mission with sick kids. Conflict, romance, and action elevate this film over uneven acting. The best performance of the film comes from child star Mickey Rooney. This film features enough entertainment to watch. IMDB: Little Pal

The True Glory (1945) Dwight D. Eisenhower, Leslie Banks (Voice), Winston Churchill (Archive Footage)
This official government documentary begins with an introduction by General Dwight D. Eisenhower and features a narration over World War II videos shot by hundreds of cameramen from Allied nations during the war. Although this film offers historical interest and won an Academy Award for Best Documentary, there are many modern World War II documentaries that viewers would find more interesting. IMDB: The True Glory

We Dive at Dawn (1943) John Mills, Louis Bradfield, Ronald Millar

A British submarine crew carries out a secret mission to sink the German battleship Brandenburg and undergoes hardships and danger along the way. This film spends significant time devoted to onshore relationships, but once the mission gets underway, the battle action makes the film worth watching. IMDB: We Dive at Dawn

Stand-In (1937) Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Joan Blondell, Alan Mowbray, Jack Carson, Tully Marshall, Marianne Edwards

The financial backer of a failing Hollywood studio sends accountant Atterbury Dodd
to determine the reasons for failure in order to make a decision on the studio’s future. A beautiful stand-in helps Atterbury understand the workings of the studio system and quickly realizes he’s ‘a human adding machine,’ only concerned with numbers and dollars with no regard for the people involved in the studio. Joan Blondell lights up the screen and carries this light-hearted comedy. Viewers will find this film highly entertaining and well worth watching. IMDB: Stand-In

Three Husbands (1950) Eve Arden, Ruth Warrick, Vanessa Brown, Howard Da Silva, Billie Burke

When a wealthy playboy, Maxwell Bard, dies, three of his friends receive letters from him indicating he had affairs with each of their wives. All of the wives had been flirty with Maxwell, and the husbands now question their relationships with their wives. The concept of this film seemed promising, but the film falls flat. Viewers will find the film mildly entertaining. IMDB: Three Husbands

The Way Ahead (1944) David Niven, Stanley Holloway, James Donald

Craggy, bearded old veterans carp about the softness of the current Army recruits. Basic training recruits do whine and complain as this film follows them through preparation for battle in WWII. This film deals mostly with the training of new recruits and their relationships with their commanding officer. Infrequent battle scenes are inconsequential. Look elsewhere for entertaining war films. IMDB: The Way Ahead



Feet First (1930) Harold Lloyd, Barbara Kent, Robert McWade, Willie Best
Harold works as a salesman in a shoe store and falls for a beautiful girl he assumes is the daughter of the president of the company. When she takes an ocean cruise with the president and his wife, he boards the ship to wish her bon voyage. The ship sails before he can get off, so he cruises as a stowaway. This talkie gets off to a slow start and doesn’t reach the entertaining heights of Lloyd’s best. It contains, however, a long, harrowing scene of Harold in danger on the outside of a skyscraper that will make viewers squirm in their seats. The suspense, humor and entertaining interactions make this film worth a view.
IMDB: Feet First

Speedy (1928) Harold Lloyd, Ann Christy, Bert Woodruff, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig
Pop runs the last horse-drawn trolley in New York, but a businessman wanting to eliminate competition tries everything for force him out of business. Harold tries everything to keep him in business and win the affection of Pop’s daughter. This highly entertaining film features fascinating historical footage of New York City, Yankee Stadium, and, particularly, Coney Island. In this last of Harold Lloyd’s silent films, Babe Ruth also plays a significant role. For historical significance and for entertainment value, this film earns a Must-See rating. IMDB: Speedy

Haunted Spooks (1920) Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Wally Howe
A young girl inherits a mansion with the stipulation that she spend a year living there with her husband. She has no husband. Harold, having lost the love of his life to a rival makes several attempts at suicide. When lying in the road to be run over, the driver turns out to be the lawyer managing the girl’s inheritance. He picks Harold up from the road and arranges a marriage to the girl. They move into the mansion, but the uncle living there devises a scheme to scare them away.
During the filming of this movie a bomb explosion nearly kills Lloyd and severely injures his hand, forcing him to use a prosthetic hand thereafter. A four-month break in production ensued. Viewers see Harold with his actual hand at the beginning of the film and later with his prosthetic hand in this production. Harold Lloyd fans and silent film fans should see this film. IMDB: Haunted Spooks

Hot Water (1924) Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Josephine Crowell
Harold finds bliss in marriage until his domineering mother-in-law, shiftless brother-in-law, and unruly nephew move in. Harold undergoes disaster after disaster in this laugh-filled comedy. In one of Harold’s best comedies, the action never stops and the amazing bits pay off. Viewers can’t take their eyes off the screen for fear of missing another riotous moment. Don’t miss the brilliant Harold Lloyd in this must-see film. IMDB: Hot Water

Movie Crazy (1932) Harold Lloyd, Constance Cummings, Kenneth Thomson
Obsessed movie fan, Harold, sends a letter to a Hollywood producer seeking an audition. He includes a headshot, but mistakenly encloses a photo of a male model. He gets his audition, fails miserably, and finds colleagues in the movies ridiculing him behind his back. A top Hollywood actress, in particular, toys with him, while also feeling sorry for him. This comedy offers Lloyd’s signature gags, missteps, and blunders, and entertains enough to deserve a view. IMDB: Movie Crazy

The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947) Harold Lloyd, Frances Ramsden, Jimmy Conlin, Rudy Vallee, Edgar Kennedy, Franklin Pangborn, Lionel Stander, Margaret Hamilton
At the big, college football game the coach puts in water boy Harold when there are no players left due to injury. Harold wins the game and becomes a hero. A wealthy fan calls Harold to his office, impressed by his ‘get up and go’ spirit, and offers him a job. He starts him at the bottom and assumes he will soar up the corporate ladder. Instead, Harold languishes as a low-level clerk for twenty years. His boss finally fires him for his lack of initiative. In addition to his dismissal, Harold bemoans his failed romances. Despite his cluelessness, luck smiles on Harold. This light-weight comedy offers mediocre acting, an awkward romantic pairing, and a lack of the hallmark genius from Lloyd’s classic silents. If you’re a Lloyd completist, see this film. If not, you won’t miss much. IMDB: The Sin of Harold Diddlebock

God’s Gift to Women (1931) Frank Fay, Laura La Plante, Joan Blondell, Louise Brooks, Charles Winninger, Alan Mowbray
Women fall over themselves to be with playboy, Toto Duryea. At a nightclub, though, he falls hard for a beautiful patron at the club with her father and his friend. She initially acts repulsed by his aggressive pursuit, but eventually falls in love with him. Her father confronts Toto with his strong objections for his pursuit of his daughter and delivers a set of demands. When Toto states that he loves his daughter more than life itself, the father makes sure he lives up to his word. This bedroom farce provides interest for the romantic tension, the conflicts, plot twists, and the presence of Louise Books, Joan Blondell, and Laura La Plante. Entertaining enough to view. IMDB: God’s Gift to Women

The Great Gildersleeve (1942) Harold Peary, Jane Darwell, Nancy Gates
Throckmorton Gildersleeve has informal custody of his niece and nephew. The local judge decrees that if Gildersleeve does not have a wife in ten days to ‘properly’ raise the children, he’ll remove them from the home. The kids’ music teacher puts on a full court press to get a marriage proposal while the kids create an aggressive campaign to raise Gldersleeve’s status in the community and save their home life. The kids are adorable, the characters generate conflicts galore, and Glidersleeve is perpetually flummoxed, This family comedy with an abundance of laughs entertains. IMDB: The Great Gildersleeve

Gildersleeve’s Bad Day (1943) Harold Peary, Jane Darwell, Nancy Gates
Everything goes wrong for Gildersleeve on his ‘Bad Day,’ but things get worse when he unwittingly gets involved with criminals who involve him in theft and embezzlement. This light, breezy comedy provides viewers with enough chuckles to entertain. IMDB: Gildersleeve’s Bad Day

Gildersleeve on Broadway (1943) Harold Peary, Billie Burke, Claire Carleton
When Gildersleeve’s druggist friend loses his supplier, Gildlersleeve goes to New York to try to convince the supplier to continues to furnish drugs to the local druggist. Gildersleeve’s fiancé doesn’t trust him in New York and follows him. She finds two women pursuing him—one is the batty owner of the drug supply company. This fast-moving comedy provides an abundance of conflicts and laughs. Entertaining enough to view. IMDB: Gildersleeve on Broadway

Gildersleeve’s Ghost (1944) Harold Peary,Marion Martin,Richard LeGrand
Gildersleeve runs for police commissioner against the police chief. During the campaign Gildersleeve sees a gorilla on the loose and a ghost in a haunted mansion. His claims label him as a looney and damages his political campaign. Although pleasant enough to watch, this installment in the Gildersleeve features series doesn’t have the impact of the other features. More fantastical and fewer laughs make this film worth watching but some may consider it a waste of time. IMDB: Gildersleeve’s Ghost

College Holiday (1936) Jack Benny, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Martha Raye, Ben Blue, 
College students travel to a hotel in distress to perform and, possibly, save the hotel. They get paired off in a bizarre eugenics experiment, however, and have to be closely supervised to keep them from continually necking. Although one or two cute song and dance numbers work in this film, the “humor” in this musical comedy fails. Lame and corny bits abound. The major production number turns out to be a minstrel show with most performers in blackface. Don’t waste your time with this dud. IMDB: College Holiday

Stella Dallas (1925) Ronald Colman, Belle Bennett, Alice Joyce, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Impoverished Stella uses her youthful beauty to attract a wealthy lawyer. They marry, and he succeeds professionally while Stella sticks with her low-class lifestyle. When he’s promoted to head of the law division for his firm in New York, Stella refuses to move with him and also refuses to give up her daughter, Laurel. Friends shun Laurel because of Stella’s suspected immorality. During Laurel’s teen years Stella wants Laurel to mix with wealthy friends and marry well. Even when Laurel’s friends ridicule her ‘freaky’ mother, Laurel rejects her father’s offer to live with him and refuses to leave her mother. Stella still harbors ambitious plans for her daughter. Keep the handkerchief handy. You have no soul if you don’t shed a river of tears over this film. Stella Dallas ranks as one of the best silent dramas. It’s must see viewing. IMDB: Stella Dallas

Anna Christie (1923) Blanche Sweet, William Russell, George F. Marion, Chester Conklin
Anna grows up in Sweden with her mother while her father spends most of his life as a sailor at sea. Anna and her mother move to Minnesota to join their cousins, but life is so horrible for Anna as she grows up, she tries to meet her dad after her mother dies. Anna’s father drinks his life away as captain of a barge. He constantly warns Anna never to marry a sailor. She falls in love with a sailor, and experiences severe conflict between her love for the sailor and her devotion to her father. This silent drama excels in tension and storyline. Blanche Sweet makes her feature debut in this film, and cements her status as a star. This superb production rates as a Must See film. IMDB: Anna Christie

College Humor (1933) Bing Crosby, Jack Oakie, Richard Arlen, Mary Carlisle, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Mary Kornman
Bing Crosby as Frederick Danvers stars as a professor who croons in class and croons for student parties. He also dates one of his students—the girlfriend of the star quarterback. Her protective brother, Barney Shirrel, goes to the same college to play football, join a fraternity, and find a girlfriend. This film offers moderate entertainment, but does include historic footage of a college football game and features Mary Kornman, the beautiful child star of the Our Gang comedies. IMDB: College Humor

College Rhythm (1934) Joe Penner, Jack Oakie, Lanny Ross, Mary Brian, Franklin Pangborn, Dean Jagger

The star quarterback of the football team works to steal the fiancé of his roommate—a piccolo player and member of the glee club who says his quarterback roommate is a star now but will surely fail after graduation. After graduation the rivalry continues. A level above the other films in the ‘college’ series, this film entertains with song and dance numbers, plenty of female beauties, and a storyline that makes sense. Entertaining enough to view. IMDB: College Rhythm

Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947) Susan Hayward, Lee Bowman, Marsha Hunt
A successful nightclub singer falls in love with a struggling song writer. After they marry, the song writer becomes wildly popular, distances himself from his wife and child while his wife descends into depression, alcoholism, and destructive behavior. Susan Hayward plays her role to perfection in a film that dramatically portrays the destructive effects of alcoholism and the causes behind the disease. Plenty of tension drives this drama that is well worth watching. IMDB: Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman

The Hairy Ape (1944) William Bendix, Susan Hayward, John Loder
On a trip back to New York, wealthy socialite, Mildred, gets booked on a freighter rather than a cruise ship. She flirts with a ship’s officer to get better accommodations, and he gives up his cabin for her. He also gives in to her whim to go below decks to see the ‘other side of life’ in the engine room. She’s fascinated with a brutish, muscular coal shoveler who, mesmerized by her beauty, approaches her. She recoils in horror and disgust and ignites a dangerous desire in the ‘beast.’ This well-acted drama remains faithful to the classic play and provides significant tension and interest to make it well worth watching. IMDB: The Hairy Ape

Freckles Comes Home (1942) Johnny Downs, Gale Storm, Mantan Moreland
On a bus ride home from college Freckles sits next to a gangster looking for a quiet. out-of-the-way place to hide out for a while. Freckles’ home town qualifies, and even features a clueless sheriff. Once in town the gangster enlists other gangsters to plan a bank heist. Despite featuring Gale Storm as a love interest, this “B” movie boasts nothing to warrant a viewing. Look elsewhere for an entertaining film. IMDB: Freckles Comes Home

Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em (1926) Evelyn Brent, Lawrence Gray, Louise Brooks, Anita Page
Mame promised her dying mother she would watch over her younger sister. It’s a tall order. Her younger sister, Janie, lives with her and works in the same department store. Janie collects money for the store’s charity dance and gambles the money away while pursuing Mame’s fiancé when Mame goes on vacation. Louise Brooks always dominates a film, and she plays the amoral flirt to perfection. Viewers will find this film well worth watching. IMDB: Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em

It’s the Old Army Game (1926) W.C. Fields, Louise Brooks, Blanche Ring
Elmer Prettywillie, the local pharmacist, falls prey to a flim-flam man selling worthless properties and goes in with him, selling the properties as well. Meanwhile, the crook falls in love with Prettywillie’s beautiful assistant before being arrested. Prettywillie tries to elude his fellow citizens as well as his own family. W. C. Fields hams it up with his typical gags throughout this film, while Lousie Brooks provides the eye candy. Viewers will find this film watchable and mildly entertaining. IMDB: It’s the Old Army Game

A Girl in Every Port (1928) Victor McLaglen, Robert Armstrong, Louise Brooks, William Demarest, Myrna Loy
Sailor Spike Madden truly has a girl in every port. He consults his little black book to hook up with each port’s lover. In case after case, however, he finds that a fellow sailor has claimed each girl before him. When he finally meets up with his rival, they battle often and continue their rivalry for girls. With a mix of humor and conflict, this film entertains enough to be watchable. IMDB: A Girl in Every Port

The Canary Murder Case (1929) William Powell, Jean Arthur, James Hall, Louise Brooks, Eugene Pallette, Ned Sparks
The “Canary,” a beautiful showgirl, headlines a musical theater production and “dates” several wealthy patrons in an effort to advance her status. She decides to marry a young lover and blackmail her other paramours. Philo Vance ends up with a large number of suspects as he tries to crack the murder case when the “canary” turns up dead. This early “talkie” features primitive, awkward acting, but the complicated mystery makes the film worth watching. IMDB: The Canary Murder Case

Blonde Ice (1948) Robert Paige, Leslie Brooks, Russ Vincent
Successful columnist, Claire, loves her newspaper colleague, Les. Because of her ambition, however, she marries a wealthy businessman. When her new husband discovers her continued love for Les, he turns up murdered. Claire’s ambition for wealth and power rules her life in tandem with her continued love for Les. This B movie provides moderate entertainment with mediocre acting and an engaging, but predictable, plot. Watchable. IMDB: Blonde Ice

A Bride for Henry (1937) Anne Nagel, Warren Hull, Henry Mollison
Stood up at her wedding and humiliated, socialite Sheila, tells her mother to get Henry, her lawyer. When Henry enters the room, Sheila tells him they’re getting married. Henry’s always loved Sheila, and, even though surprised, agrees to marry her. On the honeymoon, Sheila confesses to Henry that she used him to avoid embarrassment and will wait for her intended groom, Eric. Although the character of Sheila comes off as entitled and annoying, the story and the acting make this breezy comedy a pleasant viewing experience. IMDB: A Bride for Henry

The Animal Kingdom (1932) Ann Harding, Leslie Howard, Myrna Loy, Ilka Chase
Tom’s wealthy father considers him a lost cause for never having made anything of himself and for his long-time relationship with his lover, Daisy. Tom wins his father’s approval when he plans a marriage with a wonderful girl he recently met. Conflicts arise when Tom’s soul mate Daisy returns from Europe with marriage on her mind. This well-acted drama with first-rate talent and an engaging story will keep viewers glued to the screen. Viewers will find the film well worth watching. IMDB: The Animal Kingdom

Free to Love (1925) Clara Bow, Donald Keith, Raymond McKee
Marie confronts with a gun Judge Garner in his mansion for sentencing her to two years in a reformatory, even though she was innocent. As a means of atonement, the judge offers to raise Marie in his home as his ward. She accepts and thrives, even falling in love with a young pastor, who oversees a half-way house for ex-cons. She unwittingly, however, becomes involved in criminal activity—even accused of murder. Although this film features a great deal of action and conflict, the primitive acting and flawed plot make this a meh viewing experience. IMDB: Free to Love

Love Among the Millionaires (1930) Clara Bow, Stanley Smith, Stuart Erwin
Pepper happily works in a diner, fending off potential lovers, until she meets Jerry, a handsome railway worker. He pursues her relentlessly and she falls deeply in love. The play to marry, and Pepper finds out later that Jerry is the wealthy son of the owner of the railroad. His father works to break up the couple’s marriage plans. Clara Bow sings her way through this well-produced musical. The film features a believable plot, competent acting, and musical numbers, which enhance the entertainment. Ten-year-old Mitzi Green delivers an incredible, scene-stealing performance, which, in itself, makes this film worth watching. Overall, the film rates as Must-See viewing, particularly for Clara Bow fans. IMDB: Love Among the Millionaires

True to the Navy (1930) Clara Bow, Fredric March, Harry Green, Rex Bell, Louise Beavers

Overly-friendly Ruby works the soda fountain in a general store and convinces MANY sailors that she loves them and will wait for them. And then the whole Pacific fleet pulls into port, and all of her fiancés gather to claim her. Chaos ensues. Ruby, meanwhile, has fallen in love with “Bull’s Eye’ McCoy,” and her many fiancés seek revenge. Although watchable and entertaining, this film represents one of Clara Bow’s ‘lesser’ films. IMDB: True to the Navy

Dancing Mothers (1926) Conway Tearle, Alice Joyce, Clara Bow
Mother spends lonely nights in her mansion while father cavorts in public with his mistress and daughter gets wild at the club, stays out all night, and shamelessly pursues a notorious womanizer. Mother’s friend persuades her to LIVE and go to the club with her. The womanizer falls in love with Mother. This film features competent acting, an engaging plot, and a strong message about mothers. Viewers will find this entertaining film well worth watching. IMDB: Dancing Mothers

The Dark Hour (1936) Ray Walker, Berton Churchill, Irene Ware, Hedda Hopper
 An angry father pulls his daughter away as she embraces her boyfriend at the front door. He threatens the boyfriend, and the boyfriend threatens the father in return. The next morning the daughter finds her father stabbed to death in his study. This Who-Dun-It moves slowly with actors seeming simply to walk through their parts. Viewers will find other mysteries far more compelling than this one. IMDB: The Dark Hour

Divorce of Lady X (1938) Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, Binnie Barnes, Ralph Richardson
Attendees at a hotel ball have to stay at the hotel because of significant fog. There are no vacancies. The manager offers all of the lounges and tries to get those with suites to share their extra rooms. Everard, an exhausted lawyer, refuses to share his space. Leslie waits out the throng of hopefuls outside his room, and then just barges in and uses her charm to get comfortable sleeping arrangements for the night. Although nothing romantic happens, they both fall in love. In the morning Everard finds that Leslie has left, and he never even knew her name. He mistakenly comes to believe the mystery woman in his room is the philandering wife of one of his clients. This breezy romantic comedy keeps one smiling throughout. No laugh-out-loud moments, but continual amusement carries through this film. Merle Oberon performs at her coquettish best, and the supporting cast shines—making this a movie that’s well worth watching. IMDB: Divorce of Lady X

Dreaming Out Loud (1940) Chester Lauck, Norris Goff, Frances Langford, Phil Harris. Slow-moving, folksy Lum and Abner run the local general store and deal with a fatal hit-and-run as well as a youngster’s battle with a life-and-death illness. This mediocre film features low-key humor fronting two shocking deaths. Although this film is watchable, there are better choices. IMDB: Dreaming Out Loud

Evergreen (1934) Jessie Matthews, Sonnie Hale, Betty Balfour, Stewart Granger
Harriet Green is the darling of the musical theater and at the height of her career announces her retirement to get married. Just before the ceremony, her former lover interferes to blackmail her. She flees into anonymity, leaving her secret daughter in the care of the nanny. Her subsequent death goes unnoticed, and when her daughter becomes a young woman, a publicist foists her on the theater public as her mother making a comeback. Although a bit implausible, this film features entertaining singing and dance numbers. Actually, some numbers are stunning. This film is interesting enough to watch. IMDB: Evergreen

Cottage to Let [Bombsight Stolen] (1941) Leslie Banks, Alastair Sim, John Mills, Michael Wilding
Nazi spies infiltrate a Scottish village during World War II. Although they ingratiate themselves to the villagers, suspicious townspeople work to crack the spy ring. This ordinary spy ‘thriller’ offers only a mediocre viewing experience. IMDB: Cottage to Let

Everything’s on Ice [Frolics on Ice] (1939) Irene Dare, Edgar Kennedy, Roscoe Karns, Mary Hart, George Meeker
Talented six-year-old Irene performs on ice like an olympic champion in this comedy. While her father runs his barber shop, her uncle, mother, and sister accompany her on the road for flashy night club performances. Her uncle wheels and deals to benefit himself and run the lives of others in the family. This film features an engaging story, amusing scenes, amazing skating performances, and a love story. The film is well-worth watching. IMDB: Everything’s on Ice

Beggars of Life (1928) Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen, Louise Brooks
Nancy fends off her foster father during a sexual assault and kills him. Shortly after, a hobo comes to the house looking for food. They leave together, and he becomes her protector, primarily from the police and from fellow hobos attempting sexual assault. This well-done film features action, suspense, competent acting and a beautiful Louise Brooks and a villainous Wallace Beery.This film is well-worth watching. IMDB: Beggars of Life

Spitfire [First of the Few] (1942) Leslie Howard, David Niven, Rosamund John
This film details the life of R. J. Mitchell as he designs planes and eventually designs the ultimate fighter plane for England—the Spitfire. This informational and entertaining film features first-class acting and an engaging, true-life story. Viewers will find the film well-worth watching. IMDB: Spitfire

Fit for a King (1937) Joe E. Brown, Helen Mack, Paul Kelly
Nepotism placed Virgil on the newspaper staff, where all others resent him and he can’t get an assignment with more responsibility than fetching the boss’s lunch. He meets and falls in love with a young lady, who he doesn’t realize is a princess. When he realizes her status, he battles a rival reporter for the story, but ultimately works to save the princess when she faces assassination. This film offers standard Joe E. Brown silliness, but features enough entertainment value to provide viewers with a watchable experience. IMDB: Fit for a King

Fixed Bayonets! (1951) Richard Basehart, Gene Evans, Michael O’Shea, James Dean
A company in the Korean War faces annihilation from an oncoming Chinese force. They plan an escape route but leave a rear guard behind to fend off the enemy to give the larger group time to retreat. The third-in-command soldier out of cowardice fears taking leadership of the group, or even shooting his gun to kill the enemy. This typical war film alternates between banter among the soldiers, to action, to suspense over leadership. This film is interesting enough to watch but better war films exist. IMDB: Fixed Bayonets!

Footsteps in the Fog (1955) Stewart Granger, Jean Simmons, Bill Travers
After Stephen Lowry poisons his wife, his maid blackmails him into making her his housekeeper. She obsesses about carrying for him and becoming a surrogate for his wife. Stephen struggles to extricate himself from the suffocating relationship to marry another. This intriguing thriller keeps viewers interested with first-class acting and plot twists that keep one guessing. Although filmed in technicolor, the process doesn’t add to the viewing experience. This outstanding film deserves a must-see rating. IMDB: Footsteps in the Fog

Behind Green Lights (1946) Carole Landis, William Gargan, Richard Crane
A car rolls up to the steps of the police station with a dead man inside. In the middle of a race for mayor with pressure from a rabid press corps and political players, the police lieutenant works to wade through multiple suspects to solve the murder. This film noir plays out with a bit of humor and a lot of suspense. This entertaining viewing experience garners a must-see viewing rating. IMDB: Behind Green Lights

Dangerous Curves (1929) Clara Bow, Richard Arlen, Kay Francis
As a lowly dancer in the circus, Pat admires and loves the star of the show, Larry the high-wire walker, who shares his act with two others—his girlfriend and his partner. When Larry sees them kissing during the act, he sustains serious injuries in a fall. After his recovery, Pat lovingly tries to bring him back from depression and alcoholism. This early talkie features primitive acting and production values, but an interesting story and Clara Bow’s spirit and energy make this film watchable. IMDB: Dangerous Curves


Anna Karenina (1935) Greta Garbo. Fredric March, Freddie Bartholomew, Maureen O’Sullivan, May Robson, Basil Rathbone, Reginald Owen, Reginald Denny, Joan Marsh, Mischa Auer
Captain Gronsky falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful Anna, who’s married and adores her child. Unable to resist Gronsky’s advances, Anna falls deeply in love with him as well. Anna endures extreme conflict over her future and her love of Gronsky versus her love for her son. Although this version of the classic novel abbreviates considerably the love affair and can’t develop the characters fully, the superb acting, the story itself, and the production value make this highly entertaining film well worth watching. If for nothing else, watch the film for Garbo’s performance. IMDB: Anna Karenina

Separate Tables (1958)  Deborah Kerr, Rita Hayworth, David Niven, Wendy Hiller, Burt Lancaster
This drawing room drama takes place in one setting: a seaside hotel in Bournemouth. The film focuses on the troubled lives of several residents. Oscar-winning performances highlight this film. The tension, conflicts and suspense, as well as incredible acting and outstanding cinematography make this film well worth watching. IMDB: Separate Tables

Smiles of a Summer Night (Sommarnattens leende) (1955) Ulla Jacobsson, Anne Egerman, Eva Dahlbeck, Desiree Armfeldt, Harriet Andersson
In this Ingmar Bergman? Swedish film with subtitles, middle-aged Fredrik marries teenager Anne and waits for two years for her to feel comfortable enough to consummate the marriage. Meanwhile, he yearns for his former mistress, who masterminds a scheme among lovers in her world, which results in all major characters committing, or attempting, adultery. This free-wheeling comedy features a highly interesting plot played out by first-rate actors. Viewers can sit back and smile through this engaging comedy. Certainly worth viewing. IMDB: Smiles of a Summer Night

Possessed (1947) Joan Crawford, Louise Howell, Van Heflin, David Sutton, Raymond Massey
Louise obsessively and shamelessly pursues David, who doesn’t love her and tries to extricate himself from the relationship. Louise eventually accepts a marriage proposal from her wealthy employer, who lost his wife under suspicious circumstances. The marriage goes well until David romantically pursues the teenage daughter of her new husband. Joan Crawford plays crazy well, and she doesn’t disappoint in this film. Viewers will find this classic Crawford film well worth watching. IMDB: Possessed

Speedway (1929) William Haines, Anita Page, Ernest Torrence, Karl Dane
Obnoxious braggart and race car mechanic, Bill Whipple, takes more interest in chasing girls than in winning races. His aggressive behavior repels girls rather than attracts them. When it comes time for the Indy 500 race, Bill gets tricked out of his chance to actually race. This silent film features historical footage from the 1928 Indy 500, but beyond that, the viewer will find the movie frivolous. IMDB: Speedway

Mrs. Parkington (1944) Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Edward Arnold, Agnes Moorehead
Susie lives as the daughter of a single mother and boarding house owner in the far West during the 19th century, when she meets and flirts with the owner of the local mine, Major Parkington, when he shows up from New York. After a mine tragedy in which her mother dies, Parkington insists Susie marry him and move to New York. She marries one of the wealthiest businessmen in New York without realizing his scandalous lifestyle and hardball business tactics. The film focuses on her family in her old age with flashbacks to her past. This masterful film features top stars and an engaging plot. Romance, humor, and sentimental family relations dominate in this classic Must See for viewers. IMDB: Mrs. Parkington

You’re Only Young Once (1937) Lewis Stone, Cecilia Parker, Mickey Rooney, Fay Holden, Ann Rutherford
Judge Hardy takes the family on a vacation to Catalina and addresses three serious problems: teenager Andy hooks up with a ‘fast’ sixteen-year-old who wants to ‘experience everything’ before she’s eighteen; teenage daughter, Marian, falls in love with a married man who proposes and promises to get a divorce; and Judge Hardy’s business deal fails and he faces losing everything. This delightful family comedy succeeds at all levels and certainly entertains. IMDB: You’re Only Young Once

Out West with the Hardys (1938) Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Fay Holden, Cecilia Parker, Ann Rutherford, Sara Haden, Don Castle, Virginia Weidler
Judge Hardy takes the family out West to a ranch where his old flame and her husband face legal and financial trouble. Teenage daughter, Marian, falls in love with the widowed ranch foreman, Andy’s ego runs wild, and the Judge faces financial ruin. The big surprise in this film unfolds in the performance of child star Virginia Weidler. Playing the 8-year-old daughter of the ranch foreman, Virginia acts as well as any child actor ever. She delivers an incredible performance trying to thwart Marian’s romance with her dad and yearning to become one of Andy’s girlfriends. Viewers will find this film highly entertaining. IMDB: Out West with the Hardys

Pardon My Sarong (1942) Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Virginia Bruce, Robert Paige, Lionel Atwill
Chicago bus drivers Abbott and Costello hijack a bus to drive a celebrity and his harem to Hollywood. They find themselves on a yacht blown by a storm to a tropical island inhabited by cannibals and a sketchy archeologist. This film features entertaining song and dance routines and Abbott and Costello’s brand of humor. Although all viewers will find enough entertainment in this film to be satisfied, fans will enjoy the film, and non-fans can find better Abbott and Costello movies. IMDB: Pardon My Sarong

Variety Lights (Luci del varietà) (1950) Peppino De Filippo, Carla del Poggio, Giulietta Masina, John Kitzmiller
This Italian film features the beautiful Carla Del Poggio as a striving actress desperate to get into a financially-strapped and struggling variety show cast. Her beauty and legs earn her a role and the lap-dog devotion of the married director. In her dancing debut, her ill-fitting skirt falls to the stage floor, and her success is guaranteed. Her act draws huge crowds thereafter, and her success inflates her ego, and her ambition leads her to use men to advance her career. Viewers will find this classic film directed by Federico Fellini highly entertaining. IMDB: Variety Lights

Green Grow the Rushes (1951) Roger Livesey, Honor Blackman, Richard Burton, Frederick Leister
Smugglers shipping brandy try to avoid discovery by the authorities, and a female reporter, who originally intends to write a story about the brigands, ends up joining them. This comedy represents the clash of classes in Britain, but rates fairly low in entertainment value. A young Richard Burton puts in a pedestrian effort in a film viewers would do well to avoid. IMDB: Green Grow the Rushes

Keep ’Em Flying (1941)  Bud Abbott · Lou Costello · Martha Raye · Carol Bruce
Abbott and Costello, along with their stunt-flyer friend, join the Air Force in this classic film with a patriotic flair. Flying stunts, romance, and a well-crafted story make this film highly entertaining and one of Abbott and Costello’s best. Well worth viewing. IMDB: Keep ‘Em Flying

Ride ’Em Cowboy (1942)  Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Dick Foran, Anne Gwynne, Johnny Mack Brown
Abbott and Costello engage in their typical antics with cowboys and Indians related to a Western writer’s mission to prove himself as a legitimate ‘cowboy’ and rodeo rider. This film features a young Ella Fitzgerald and other musical numbers and rates just average as entertainment. IMDB: Ride ‘Em Cowboy

David Lean’s Oliver Twist (1948) John Howard Davies, Robert Newton, Alec Guinness, Kay Walsh, Francis L. Sullivan
Oliver’s mother dies in childbirth, and caregivers place Oliver in several cruel situations until he finally ends up walking the streets of London and falling into Fagin’s clutches. Fagin trains his gang of young boys as pickpockets and thieves. Oliver finds himself in danger throughout the film but holds out hope for a savior. This film provides incredible lighting, cinematography, drama, suspense, and impeccable acting. This film stands as one of the best interpretation of Dickens’ classic. Must-see viewing. IMDB: Oliver Twist

Panic in the Streets (1950) Richard Widmark, Paul Douglas, Barbara Bel Geddes
When police find an unknown shooting victim near the city’s docks, they call in a medical officer who determines the man actually died of the plague. The medical officer then battles the police to make them follow through on strategies to avoid a wide-spread plague. The police, meanwhile, continue their efforts to solve the murder of the unknown victim. This pedestrian police drama with solid acting provides enough action and suspense to make the film an entertaining view. IMDB: Panic in the Streets

People Will Talk (1951) Cary Grant, Jeanne Crain. Finlay Currie, Hume Cronyn
Highly successful Dr. Noah Praetorius works at his university clinic and faces three serious challenges: a pregnant single girl who attempts suicide over her condition; a university investigation over his past; and the criticism of his close friendship with a hulking, dim-witted man who seems to be Dr. Praetorius’s servant. This film features great acting, an engaging story, suspense, conflict, and heart-warming relationships. Viewers will love this Must-See movie. IMDB: People Will Talk

Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Donald Crisp, Alan Hale
Queen Elizabeth carries on an affair with the Earl of Essex, who, because of his success in fighting Britain’s battles, garners popularity with the people. Her conflict arises over keeping him close to her, or executing him over her perception of Essex’s ambition for power, and ultimately ambition for her position as ruler of Britain. This film, in full color, features incredible costumes and competent acting in portraying an historical drama. The film contains too much talk and too little action, however, and contemporary films better document this relationship. IMDB: Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

High Sierra (1941) Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Curtis, Arthur Kennedy, Joan Leslie
After his release from prison, Roy Earle heads straight for a meetup with inexperienced misfits to plan a new heist. Conflicts arise and Earls ends up with the girlfriend of one his partners in addition to her dog. Action, suspense and first-rate acting make this an entertaining experience for viewers. IMDB: High Sierra

Invisible Stripes (1939) George Raft, Jane Bryan, William Holden, Humphrey Bogart, Flora Robson
On parole after a prison stay, Cliff Taylor, faces impossible odds in finding and keeping a job. Prejudice, bullying, and out-right refusal to hire an ex-con make Cliff consider a return to crime. This crime thriller features first-class acting and a suspenseful story that entertains well enough to satisfy viewers. IMDB: Invisible Stripes

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor, Humphrey Bogart, Allen Jenkins, Donald Crisp
Wealthy and respected Dr. Clitterhouse embarks on an experiment to examine the criminal mind by committing a series of burglaries himself and also joins a gang of thieves to commit more serious crimes. This unique film features drama, humor, romance, suspense, and a unique plot with exceptional acting. Viewers will find this film highly entertaining. IMDB: The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse

They Drive by Night (1940) George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Gale Page, Alan Hale
Brothers face danger and disappointment as truckers. The film also focuses on the brothers’ relationships with women, in which the boss’s wife obsessively pursues one of the brothers. This film, filled with drama, romance, suspense and exceptional acting provides superb entertainment. IMDB: They Drive by Night

Judge Hardy and Son (1939) Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Fay Holden, Cecilia Parker, Ann Rutherford, Sara Haden, June Preisser, Maria Ouspenskaya
Judge Hardy juggles multiple problems once again. An elderly couple faces eviction, and the judge enlists Andy to investigate the possibility of a child of the couple who could help the parents. Andy faces continual car trouble, juggles relationships with multiple girls, and endures extortion from one of the girls while Judge Hardy’s wife deals with a life-threatening illness. Admirable acting, an engaging story, humor, romance, and suspense make this a film well worth watching. IMDB: Judge Hardy and Son

The Sign of the Cross (1932) Charles Laughton, Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, Elissa Landi, Ian Keith, Arthur Hohl, Harry Beresford, Tommy Conlon
The Roman emperor orders his precept to hunt down and kill all Christians. The precept falls in love with a Christian girl, and risks his life doing everything he can to save her for himself. He also struggles to understand the girl’s Christian faith while fending off romantic advances from the empress. This DeMille extravaganza features thousands of actors and extras with a strong plot and an abundance of action and suspense. The highlight of the film presents all the horrors of the Roman Colosseum’s arena. This film provides a satisfying viewing experience. IMDB: The Sign of the Cross

The Star (1952) Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden, Natalie Wood
Former Oscar-winner and washed up, aging star obsesses about recapturing the glory of her stunning career. Margaret Elliot goes to great, and unrealistic, lengths to reclaim fame. Strong acting from Bette Davis and a solid supporting role by Sterling Hayden make this a worthy film. Entertainment value hovers around mediocre, but still well worth viewing. IMDB: The Star

Carefree (1938) Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy, Luella Gear, Jack Carson
A friend of psychiatrist, Dr. Tony Flagg, asks him to psychoanalyze his girlfriend, Amanda, to discover why she won’t accept his marriage proposals. As a result, Amanda, falls in love with Dr. Flagg, and complications ensue. This iconic Astaire/Rogers film delivers jaw-dropping, magical dance sequences highlighted by Roger’s amazing gowns. First-class acting, an engaging storyline, and the electrifying chemistry between Astaire and Rogers make this film Must-See Viewing. The final shot in this film punctuates the fun this film generates. IMDB: Carefree

Great Guns (1941) Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy,· Shelia Ryan, Dick Nelson, Edmund Macdonald
Laurel and Hardy work for a wealthy family whose sickly son, Dan Forrester, leads a pampered life. When the Army drafts Dan, Laurel and Hardy enlist with him to supervise and protect him. Dan blossoms in the Army and even finds romance, but Laurel and Hardy flounder. Plenty of laughs and an interesting story make this film well worth watching. IMDB: Great Guns

The Freshman (1925) Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Brooks Benedict, James H. Anderson, Hazel Keener
Super excited to go to college and looking forward to becoming popular, Harold Lamb quickly, but unknowingly, becomes a laughingstock. Lloyd wastes no time and no scenes in this film featuring pathos, romance, non-stop action and hilarious gags. Don’t miss this Must-See classic by Harold Lloyd. IMDB: The Freshman

Grandma’s Boy (1922) Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Anna Townsend, Charles Stevenson
Grandma’s Boy from a baby through adulthood grows up a coward. Bullied and beaten continually, he never fights back. When a killer threatens the town and the sheriff deputizes everyone, Grandma’s Boy hides under his bed covers. Grandma teaches her boy a lesson, however. Violence predominates in this film as Grandma’s Boy seeks a girl’s favor while trying to overcome his cowardice. Harold Lloyd displays extreme physicality in his stunts, and the story, the stunts, the humor, and the romance make this film well worth watching. IMDB: Grandma’s Boy

Dr. Jack (1922) Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, John T. Prince, Eric Mayne, C. Norman Hammond, Jackie Condon, Mickey Daniels
A doctor keeps the daughter of a wealthy family in bed in a darkened room with no noise for years. The family lawyer suspects the doctor and brings in Dr. Jack for a second opinion. Dr. Jack realizes instantly that there is nothing wrong with the girl, and that the doctor was scamming the family. He proceeds to bring joy and excitement into the girl’s life—with hilarious results. This film delights with slapstick, gags, and outright silliness—and a love interest, or course. Well worth watching. IMDB: Dr. Jack


My Favorite Blonde (1942) Bob Hope, Madeleine Carroll, Gale Sondergaard, Dooley Wilson
A beautiful, blonde, English secret agent works to transfer a coded message while being pursued by German spies intent on eliminating her. She fortuitously runs into Larry Haines and his trained penguin, and uses him as a cover throughout the film. This film consists of one long chase featuring Hope’s quips and banter—just enough to make this a film worth watching. IMDB: My Favorite Blonde

Star-Spangled Rhythm (1942) Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Fred MacMurray, Franchot Tone, Ray Milland, Dorothy Lamour, Paulette Goddard, Mary Martin, Dick Powell, Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, Veronica Lake, Alan Ladd, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, William Bendix, Jerry Colonna, Susan Hayward, Marjorie Reynolds, Gary Crosby, Arthur Treacher, Sterling Holloway, Eva Gabor.
Sailers on leave visit the Paramount studios, where one of the sailors believes his father is a studio head, when, in fact, he’s a gate keeper. So as not to be embarrassed, his father disguises himself and poses as the studio head, with the help of the sailor’s girlfriend, who also works at the studio. The thin plot of this film serves to feature singing and dancing acts, novelty acts, and an abundance of comedy. It appears that every star working at Paramount makes an appearance in this film. Betty Hutton’s high-energy, hilarious performance steals most scenes in this film. Her performance as well as the appearance of so many stars make this film entertaining. IMDB: Star-Spangled Rhythm

This Woman is Dangerous (1952) Joan Crawford, Dennis Morgan, David Brian, Richard Webb, Philip Carey
Long-time lover of an insanely jealous gangster, Beth, finds her sight deteriorating, and she needs surgery. While in the hospital, Beth falls in love with her surgeon, and he reciprocates. He tries to make the relationship work, but for reasons unknown to him, she resists. Meanwhile, her jealous lover seeks revenge. Although watchable and mildly entertaining, the relationship between doctor and patient seems unrealistic and the film doesn’t carry the impact of other Joan Crawford films. Skip this one. IMDB: This Woman is Dangerous

The Meanest Man in the World (1943) Jack Benny, Priscilla Lane, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, Edmund Gwenn, Mae Marsh, Lyle Talbot
Failing attorney, Richard Clarke, jumps at the chance to serve a client who wants an old lady evicted from one of his apartments. A photograph of Richard on the sidewalk with the old lady and all of her possessions hits the newspapers. As a result clients wanting a “tough” attorney flock to him. In the meantime, Richard has been lying to his fiancee about his financial status and the fact that he really isn’t mean. This typical Jack Benny fare contains enough laughs and interest to be watchable. IMDBThe Meanest Man in the World

Gretchen the Greenhorn (1916) Dorothy Gish, Ralph Lewis, Eugene Pallette, Elmo Lincoln
Gretchen immigrates from Holland to live with her father in the big city. She encounters crime, poverty, and romance. She and her father naively and unwittingly participate in a crime, and a criminal gang targets them. This film features action, suspense, humor, and romance. Dorothy Gish, as Gretchen, charms in this well-done production, which deserves to be seen. IMDB: Gretchen the Greenhorn

Lady Windemere’s Fan (1925) Irene Rich, May McAvoy, Bert Lytell, Ronald Colman
This drawing room drama finds Lady Windemere and her husband both suspecting the other of infidelity. Lady Windemere’s mother, whom she had assumed died when she was a baby, strikes a deal with Lady Windemere’s husband, which complicates multiple relationships. And, yes, the fan plays a pivotal role in the plot. This film, based on the classic play by Oscar Wilde, provides well-produced, well-acted entertainment, and exhibits a fine example of quality films of the age. Well-worth viewing. IMDB: Lady Windemere’s Fan

Wonder Bar (1934) Al Jolson, Kay Francis, Dolores del Rio, Ricardo Cortez, Dick Powell, Guy Kibbee, Ruth Donnelly, Hugh Herbert
Al Wonder owns the spectacular Paris nightclub, the Wonder Bar, and plays the roles of host and star. Most of the action takes place in the ballroom where singers and dancers perform, and Busby Berkley-produced productions dazzle. The film also features theft, blackmail, infidelity, murder, suicide, gigolos, prostitutes, alcoholics, and racially and sexually insensitive portrayals. Despite the immoral sewer portrayed in this film, it entertains with first-rate talent. Worth watching if you can wade through the negatives. IMDBWonder Bar

Undesirable, The (1915) Angyal Liszka, Várkonyi Mihály, Ördög Sára, Angyal Pál
On his deathbed, Betty’s father tells her that her real father is his brother. His brother abused his wife, and his wife then killed him. Her mother was either dead or in prison. Her father died, and as a young, naive girl, Betty, on her own in the world, found only abuse. This beautifully restored Hungarian film, reflects the primitive talent of the age, but entertains well enough to deserve a view. IMBD: The Undesirable

My Dear Secretary (1948) Laraine Day, Kirk Douglas, Keenan Wynn
Popular author, Owen Waterbury, who experiences a high turnover in secretaries, needs a new secretary. A young woman and fan of the author applies for the job but soon becomes discouraged with the author’s lasciviousness and bizarre work habits. This routine farce boils down to man chases girl—girl revolts in disgust. Interesting enough to view—just barely. IMDB: My Dear Secretary

Sensations of 1945 (1944) Eleanor Powell, Dennis O’Keefe, C. Aubrey Smith, Eugene Pallette, Lyle Talbot, W.C. Fields, Sophie Tucker, Cab Calloway, Woody Herman, The Les Paul Trio
Eleanor Powell stars in this highly entertaining film featuring her dancing, Woody Herman’s Band, Cab Calloway, production numbers with a host of show girls, and many amazing circus acts. A thin plot of Eleanor’s character, Virginia ‘Ginny’ Walker, working as a publicity agent while she stars in her show, runs alongside the various acts. And, of course, romance figures into the plot. This film also features W.C. Fields’ last film appearance before his death and Eleanor Powell’s last starring role in a film. Viewers will enjoy this fast-moving film featuring one amazing act after another. IMDB: Sensations of 1945


Gang’s All Here, The (1943) Alice Faye, Phil Baker, Edward Everett Horton, Eugene Pallette, Carmen Miranda, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
Sergeant Andy Mason falls in love with Eadie Allen, working in a popular night club. Their relationship progresses until the army calls up Andy for active duty. Eadie’s career soars, Andy becomes a war hero. Upon his return, the relationship looks to be in jeopardy. If you’re looking for a visually beautiful, eye-popping spectacle with amazing costumes, beautiful dancers, and Busby Berkley’s lavish sets and musical production numbers, you’ll enjoy this film. If you’re looking for a strong plot with emotional appeal, skip this one. IMDB: The Gang’s All Here

Naughty Marietta (1955) Patrice Munsel, Alfred Drake, John Conte
Marietta, actually Italian royalty sailing under an assumed identity, disembarks a ship in French colonial New Orleans, with many other girls. All the other girls match up with men waiting on the dock, and leave as fiancés. Marietta hides, however, because she wants to fall in love and pick her own husband. American Captain Wellington, in New Orleans looking to bring a notorious pirate to justice, finds Marietta and helps her hide among the gypsies. They’re falling in love, but the corrupt governor, tipped off about Marietta’s whereabouts, has her arrested and forces her into a wedding. This television production faithfully follows the original operetta. The story is interesting enough, but the show scores a big win by the casting of opera and theater stars. This production succeeds, and watching an early black-and-white television show demonstrates the quality of presentations at that point in the development of television. Interesting enough to watch. IMDB: Naughty Marietta

Notes from Underground (1995) Henry Czerny, Sheryl Lee, Vic Polizos, Jon Favreau
A mentally ill man confesses directly to the camera during this film as he denigrates himself and reviews his despicable life. The film cuts back and forth from the confession of his wretchedness to events in his life. Even when a prostitute tries to reach him and treats him with kindness, he destroys her emotionally. Although dark and difficult to watch at times, this film offers a faithful representation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella and most viewers will appreciate this film. IMBD: Notes from Underground

Ziegfeld Follies (1945) Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Lucille Bremer, Fanny Brice, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, Red Skelton, Esther Williams
This homage to Florence Ziegfeld presents a series of acts (much like the Follies) starring the top talent of the time. Beautiful chorus girls in sensational costumes provide an introduction to comedy skits interspersed with singing and dancing acts. This film disappoints. The movie makes an attempt to duplicate the Ziegfeld Follies, but despite the top talent involved, the presentation falls flat. The comedy routines fail the test of time, although humorous, most likely, when the film debuted. Awkwardness haunted some sequences such as presenting Lucille Ball as a show girl cracking a whip at a gaggle of show girls costumed as black cats. Technicolor makes this film artistically beautiful to watch and enhanced the highlight of the film—Esther Williams’ water ballet. Watchable. IMDB: Ziegfeld Follies

Starlift (1951) Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, Virginia Mayo, Gene Nelson, Ruth Roman, Janice Rule
Two Air Force crew members who shuttle soldiers between Los Angeles and Honolulu lie to three visiting Hollywood starlets about being deployed to the front during the war. They’re looking for sympathy and possible kisses. Hollywood reporter Luella Parsons concocts a relationship between one of the crew members and one of the starlets. The thin plot in this film works to showcase the talents of many Hollywood stars at the time with singing, dancing, and comedy skits. Interesting enough to watch. IMDB: Starlift

I’ll See You in My Dreams (1951) Doris Day, Danny Thomas, Frank Lovejoy, James Gleason, Jim Backus
Pesky lyrics writer, Gus, tries to get his lyrics published by aggressively pursuing a young, sheet music sales girl. She eventually agrees to review his lyrics, writes the music and sings the songs. They become partners, spouses, and parents. Over time, Gus’s growing success damages their relationship. Doris Day, famous for light comedies, shines in a dramatic role, and, of course, features her singing throughout the film. Danny Tomas’s character irritates, but his talent also makes this film work. Well worth watching. IMDB: I’ll See You in My Dreams

Kid Brother, The (1927) Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Walter James, Olin Francis
Two of Sheriff Jim Hickory’s sons are huge, strong, strapping boys while one son, Harold, is small, skinny, and bespectacled. Father and big brothers keep Harold doing housework and refuse to let him work with the others. Harold play acts at ‘heroric’ activities, and while ‘acting’ as the sheriff, he approves a medicine show, which features a beautiful, young girl. Harold immediately falls in love with the beauty, while many others pursue her as well. Someone steals a large amount of the community’s money from the sheriff, and he sends his ‘big’ sons out to find the culprits, while citizens are intent on lynching him. Harold Lloyd scores a major hit with this classic. Non-stop action, innumerable sight gags, romance, and extreme physicality as well as imaginative cinematography, superb acting, and an engaging story make this film one of Lloyd’s best. Viewers should not miss this Must See Viewing experience of one of the era’s best silent films. IMDB: The Kid Brother

Bring on the Girls (1945) Veronica Lake, Sonny Tufts, Eddie Bracken, Marjorie Reynolds
Multimillionaire, J. Newport Bates, catches his fiancée in a romantic embrace with his cousin. He realizes his fiancée planned to marry him only for his money. He realized that through his life people have liked him only for his money. He decided to join the Navy as an ordinary citizen so others would relate to him for his true self and not just his money. His lawyer, however, insists that his nephew join the Navy with Bates as his chaperone. Complications, romance, and hilarity ensue. Breezy comedy interesting enough to watch. IMDB: Bring on the Girls

Wake up and Live (1937) Walter Winchell, Alice Faye, Patsy Kelly, Ned Sparks, Jack Haley, Joan Davis
Eddie Kane and his singing partner bring their act to the big city. At their first recording session, Eddie freezes when first facing a microphone and can’t perform. The act takes a break, and Eddie takes a job as an usher at the night club. During a band performance at the club, Eddie walks into an empty recording studio, faces the microphone and sings into what is, unknown to him, a ‘hot mic,’ which broadcasts to the nightclub’s ballroom. Everyone’s amazed at the ‘mystery troubadour,’ and the bandleader and Walter Winchell both try to discover the identity of the amazing singer. This comedy moves quickly, features top performers, and entertains. Viewers will find this film well worth watching. IMDB: Wake Up and Live

Tempest (1928) John Barrymore, Camilla Horn
Ivan Markov, a peasant, studies and works hard to become an officer in Czarist Russia, a position normally reserved for aristocrats. When he attempts to return the stolen clothes of a group of girls swimming in the nude, he approaches the Princess Tamara, impulsively grabs her, forcefully kisses her, and endures her wrath. Thereafter, he obsessively pursues her, despite her engagement to an aristocratic officer. This well-developed, well-acted film features the talents of John Barrymore and German actress, Camilla Horn. They truly ‘had faces then.’ Well worth watching. IMDB: The Tempest

Mr. Skeffington (1941) Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel
Suitors galore pursue Fanny for her beauty, vivacity and wealth. She leaves them all hanging on until her alcoholic, ne’er-do-well brother embezzles from his firm. Penniless herself, now, to bail him out, she marries his wealthy boss—a union of convenience only. This emotional film features Bette Davis at her best supported by an exceptional cast with a masterful script. Must-see viewing. IMDB: Mr. Skeffington

Love Me or Leave Me (1955) Doris Day, James Cagney, Cameron Mitchell
Gangster Marty Snyder spots Ruth Etting selling dances at a dance hall and pegs her as his next fling. Ruth accepts his career help but rebuffs his romantic advances…until Marty’s violent streak forces Ruth to makes a tough choice. This biopic of Ruth Etting entertains with James Cagney perfectly dramatizing the manic, violent Marty Snyder and Doris Day singing with elegance and talent the songs that made Ruth Etting famous. Highly entertaining. IMDB: Love Me of Leave Me

A Majority of One (1961) Rosalind Russell, Alec Guinness, Ray Danton
Japanese soldiers killed widow Bertha Jacoby’s son during World War II, and she harbors a hatred for the Japanese, but when her son-in-law transfers to a job in Japan, her daughter insists she move with them. This film features prejudice as its theme, and the theme plays out through the interrelationships of the characters. Although the film provides several touching scenes and Alec Guinness portrays his Japanese character well, the fact that a Japanese actor did not play his role makes his presentation awkward—cringe-worthy, actually. Despite the message, Miss Russell’s spot-on portrayal of a Jewish widow, and some tender romance, I recommend skipping this one. IMDB: A Majority of One

Houdini (1953) Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Torin Thatcher
This entertaining film traces Houdini’s life from wild man in the circus to becoming the world’s greatest magician. It focuses as well on the relationship with his wife and the performance of his greatest illusions throughout his career. The film entertains. Highly recommended. IMDB: Houdini

The House on 92nd Street (1945) William Eythe, Lloyd Nolan, Signe Hasso
This film depicts the workings of a German spy ring in the United States during World War II. The U.S. government places a mole in the network, and he’s successful—until…. This film utilizes documentary footage of locations where the events took place as well as film of actual spies depicted in the film. This film offers mild entertainment but depicts well the methods of the government at the time to root out spies. Better films exist on this topic. IMDBThe House on 92nd Street


The Best Movie Recommendations for Classic, Rare, and Seldom-Seen Films


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