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Here are some of my particular favorites:
Gods and Monsters - Starring Sir Ian McKellan, Lynn Redgrave and Brendan Fraser
Gods and Monsters takes a fictionalized view of the last days of director James Whale (Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man). Won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, 1998. Based on the book, "Father of Frankenstein" by Christopher Bram.
Gone With the Wind - Starring Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, Olivia De Haviland
MGM classic based on the book by Margaret Mitchell.
It Happened One Night - Starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
First movie to make a sweep of the top five awards. (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay) Hysterical account of a runaway heiress and the newspaper man who helps her get to the financee her rich father doesnt want her to marry. Classic scenes with "the walls of Jericho" and the hitchhiking scene!
Dinner at Eight - Starring Jean Harlow, Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore and Billie Burke.
Fantastic ensemble cast and a classic movie about throwing the ultimate dinner party. Many interesting tangents and some very funny lines (though this is not a comedy). The exchange between Marie Dressler and Jean Harlow is hysterical and probably some of the best lines uttered in Hollywood history!
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Dame Judith Anderson, Jack Carson and Burl Ives.
Another great ensemble cast, based on Tennesse Williams play. A picture of a severely disfunctional family and how they deal with a tragedy.
The House of Mirth - Starring Gillian Anderson, Eric Stoltz, Laura Linney, Dan Akroyd and Elizabeth McGovern.
Yet another fantastic ensemble cast, based on the Edith Warton novel. This beautifully shot movie, set in New York, 1905, is just a treat to watch. Lilly Bart (Anderson) is a New York socialite who is on the prowl for a rich husband, as she doesnt have much money but lives with her wealthy aunt. She is in love with Lawrence Selden, a lawyer who needs to find a rich wife. This movie shows the perils of living in society back at the turn of the century and what happens to someone who doesnt conform. Wonderful casting, wonderful sets, wonderful costuming, wonderful script.
Sunset Boulevard - Starring Gloria Swanson and William Holden
The classic movie about a young movie writer who hooks up with an aging beauty queen. A definate must see! This is where Swanson utters the famous line, "I am ready for my close up Mr. DeMille."
The Women - Starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Mary Boland and Joan Fontaine.
This is an all female cast (absolutely NO MEN! Even all the animals were female!) based on the Clare Booth Luce play about friends who are their own worst enemies! This is one of the best movies about how bitchy women are! Joan Crawford is classic as the husband stealing Crystal, Norma Shearer as the wronged wife, Mary, Rosalind Russell as Mary's bitchy, backstabbing best friend, Sylvia (with friends like her, no one needs enemies!), Joan Fontaine as Peggy, the innocent friend in this pack of hyenas, Paulette Goddard as the spunky Miriam and Mary Boland as Flora, who never loses her faith "in l'amour". Today's soap operas have NOTHING on these ladies! A definate must see!
Flambards - Starring Christine McKenna, Steven Grives, Alan Parnaby
I know, I know, not very Hollywood. But this is such a terrific series from England! Beautiful scenery, great period costuming (1910's) and spectacular flying machines! Orphan Christina (Christine McKenna) has been shunted around to various relatives for most of her life. Finally, in her late teens, she is sent to live with her uncle, Russell, at his Essex's estate, Flambards. There, she encounters her cousins, brutish Mark, who loves horses but is indifferent to people and intellectual William, who hates horses and who's life revolves around designing and building aeroplanes. Life at Flambards revolves around horses and fox hunting, a life foreign to Christina. She quickly adapts to life at Flambards. This 13 episode miniseries takes you from when Christina arrives at Flambards, all the way through the First World War. Well written and well acted. I highly recommend it!
Pride and Prejudice - starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Erhl
Yes, I know, another British series. Another incredibly beautiful, well written series and probably one of the best adaptions of Jane Austin's acclaimed novel. The story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy is one of the best romantic stories. Elizabeth Bennett and her five sisters are of marrying age and her mother's dream is to marry them off to wealthy husband's, as her own husband's modest fortune has been entailed. Since there is no male heir of the Bennett's, their home and fortune will go to a cousin, Mr. Collins. So, the girls need to marry wealthy. The oldest, Jane, falls in love with Mr. Bingly, while the second daughter, Elizabeth, catches the eye of Mr. Bingly's friend, Mr. Darcy, even though, socially, Elizabeth and her sister are quite a bit lower. The series takes off and shows the struggles between Mr. Darcy's pride against marrying someone who he is desperately in love with, yet is in a lower social class than himself and Elizabeth's prejudices against Mr. Darcy and his proud ways, even though she, too, is desperately in love with him.