Since I’ve now completed exactly 1/5 of this task, that is, I’ve seen the first 10 movies of the 50 in this box set, I thought it would be a good time to take stock. Individual reviews of each of films mentioned are available at that link.
First, and most (or least) importantly, here is my ranking of the first ten from best to worst:
- Grand Hotel
- The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
- The Wizard of Oz
- Mutiny on the Bounty
- The Maltese Falcon
- An American in Paris
- Mrs. Miniver
- A Streetcar Named Desire
- Gone with the Wind
(I totally made that list by putting Grand Hotel at #1, making space for the other 9 movies, and then filling in Gone with the Wind at 10 before even thinking about anything else).
Things I have learned from the first ten movies:
- Humphrey Bogart is a really great actor.
- Clark Gable is totally worthy of being the title/subject of a Postal Service song.
- If I hadn’t heard of the film before cracking open the box set, there’s usually a reason why (Mrs. Miniver, An American in Paris)
- Title sequences have not evolved yet through 1951. I’m fascinated to note that so far, they’re all the old-timey series of words in a series of static cards. I’m keeping close track of what the first one to do something animated with them will be.
And some statistics(ish):
Longest film: Gone with the Wind, 238 minutes
Shortest film: Tie, The Wizard of Oz and The Maltese Falcon at 101 minutes, with honorable mention to Casablanca at 102
Average length of the first ten films: 128 minutes
Average length of the first ten films if you exclude Gone with the Wind: 115 minutes
Earliest film: 1932, Grand Hotel
Latest film: 1951, An American in Paris (A Streetcar Named Desire is also from 1951, but was released just under two months earlier).
First film to be in color: The Wizard of Oz, 1939
First film to be in color, for realz now: An American in Paris, 1951
Most pleasant surprise: Grand Hotel
Least pleasant surprise: An American in Paris
Least surprising: Gone with the Wind
Most rewatchable: The Wizard of Oz
Best song: None of the above. I don’t want to give it to Somewhere over the Rainbow because it’s been so rewarded and meh, but none of the other individual songs add up to anything better, and most of An American in Paris actively annoyed me.
Other movies I watched from this era as a result of being interested because of this project:
- His Girl Friday (1940)
- It Happened One Night (1934)
- Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Adding in those three movies to the ten above in a grand list of All The Old Timey Movies I’ve Seen Recently, both His Girl Friday and It Happened One Night would go above Grand Hotel, in that order, and Shadow of a Doubt would go just after Casablanca.
I’ll post little roundups like this after each 10 and presumably some kind of big blowout at the end when I finish them. Next up: Singin’ in the Rain, which I watched more than a week ago and have been singing in my head ever since.
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