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Classic Hollywood flicks that kick
Posted Nov. 7, 2008

Give me a musical any day. I would much rather watch a black and white movie over a gross-out teen flick with bad dialogue. I have to admit that I’m a classic Hollywood fan—ever since I was little, I’ve been obsessed with movie stars and their old-school glamour.

My friends have no idea what I’m talking about when I gush over the movie I caught on Turner Classic Movies the other day. When I hum a song from a musical I rented for the 40th time, my family shrugs. I always get a little sad when I realize that my generation has never seen some of the greatest movies ever made. I hope that these recommendations will make your Netflix list sometime in the future. I only have room to mention a few, but trust me—they are a whole lot better than the new season of “The Hills” or the 19th “Saw” movie.

“Meet Me in St. Louis”—This is a perfect example of one of the best-made musicals ever created. Sure, it’s cheesy and dated, but the songs are amazing, and it features my favorite actress, Judy Garland (Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz”). This 1944 movie was directed by Vincente Minnelli (then husband of Garland) and is a masterpiece. One of the most touching scenes ever captured on film is Garland singing, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to a sobbing Margaret O’Brien. If you don’t cry while watching this movie, you probably don’t have a heart.

“The Women”—Please don’t waste your time with the dreadful remake that just came out. The original, made in 1939, is one of the most fascinating displays of feminine cattiness on screen. Actresses then in their heyday include Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell and Joan Fontaine. The movie is deliciously relevant to today, and not one man is seen on camera (they are only gossiped about among the women). The film still stands up to today’s standards of filmmaking, but a movie this decadent could never have been made today. Enjoy the snippy dialogue and imagine the sheer hatred that existed in real life among these actresses who were forced to work together. You think movie stars today are divas? Each of the women fought for top billing, while refusing to enter the studio during filming every day until one of them relented. Love the drama that could only have been created by movie queens in their own right.

“The Seven Year Itch”—Every one of you will recognize one of the images from this film—the iconic Marilyn Monroe appears standing over a subway grate with her white dress billowing up around her. This movie, made in 1955, is one of Monroe’s greatest screen achievements. She is bubbly, funny and almost annoyingly unaware of her beauty. Even though some may argue that her whole image was overrated, Monroe shows immense acting talent in a humorous screenplay by the legendary Billy Wilder.

“Rear Window”—There are many Alfred Hitchcock movies that are fan favorites. While “Psycho” and “The Birds” are better known, this movie contains scenes of utter suspense and offers dazzling cinematography. The best part: Hitchcock had no need for graphic blood and guts. Every element the audience needs in order to be scared is present, no gratuitous gore necessary. The 1954 classic has been remade over and over again (as a 1998 TV movie with Christopher Reeve and as “Disturbia” with Shia LeBouf in 2007). But this version, starring Jimmy Stewart and the elegant princess Grace Kelly, is witty and frightening at the same time. This psychological thriller has done more to deter me from snooping than any other movie I’ve seen.

Erin Konrad, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at erin.konrad@laverne.edu.