I tend to use cultural references that go right over the heads of my younger friends, so I was asked to make a list of viewing recommendations to get us all on the same page. Next time I say “It’s going to be a bumpy night,” maybe I won’t get such strange looks. I have purposefully avoided anything I thought TOO obvious, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby…

Set those DVRs and let’s hope for some rainy days.

Topper (1937): Cary Grant and Constance Bennett.  A wealthy, fun-loving and heavy drinking couple become ghosts after dying in a car accident. They decide to attempt a good deed by way of their friend, Topper. An original idea at the time. The dialogue/witty banter is inspiring. Drinking and driving. Who’d have thought that was a good way to start a movie?

The Thin Man (1934): William Powell and Myrna Loy. If you haven’t experience Nick and Nora Charles or their dog Asta, you haven’t lived.  Nick is a former detective who finds himself working on a murder case with the help of his new wife. Again, the dialogue is as rapid fire as any David E. Kelley has ever written. The murderer is revealed at a dinner party with all the suspects present. Absolutely classic. They made five additional Thin Man movies, but this is my favorite. More booze.

Holiday (1938): Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. A young man falls in love with a young lady from a wealthy family. Katharine Hepburn plays the eccentric sister. I don’t know how I missed this movie until last year, but I did. It’s now one of my favorites.  Kooky, well written and plenty of one liners.

It Happened One Night (1934): Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Socialite runs away from home and falls for a rakish reporter. This was the first film to win all 5 major Academy Awards. Don’t miss the “racy” hitchhiking scene. 

Harvey (1950): Jimmy Stewart. Just in time for Easter! Jimmy Stewart has a new friend. A 6 foot-3 inch rabbit named Harvey. A comedy of errors, and a reminder that we take ourselves too seriously too much of the time. Everyone needs their own Pooka. I blame all sorts of nonsense on mine regularly.

Desk Set (1957): Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. The head of the research department at a television network falls for the man sent to computerize her office. This movie may not be as well-known as Adam’s Rib, but I fall for it every time.

All About Eve (1950): Bette Davis and George Sanders. I am guessing most people have at least heard of this movie, but maybe I’m wrong. Bette Davis is an aging actress coming to grips with her life decisions and fending off the younger woman who wants everything she has. Classic lines, and a story that is as relevant today as then. Marilyn Monroe has a small role, but a funny one.

The Apartment (1960): Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Jack Lemmon is a young clerk who tries to move up in the company by loaning out his apartment to the executives at his firm. Here’s a hint: Their wives would not be pleased. Shirley MacLaine is adorable. 

The Lion in Winter (1968): Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn. (Okay, I’ll make this the last Hepburn entry.) I love watching this movie at Christmastime. Something about watching the family squabbles between King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine  just says “festive” to me. As two of Henry’s sons and potential successors you’ll see the young Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton. Surprisingly humorous lines from the embittered Eleanor are stashed throughout.  (Peter O’Toole, by the way, is on my list of people to party with.)

Harold and Maude (1971): Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon. This is a dark comedy about a young man obsessed with death and his relationship with a quirky, eccentric 79-year old woman. Sound like fun? Well, it is, if you like that sort of thing.  I’ve told my husband about this movie and he is convinced I am making the whole thing up.  

There’s my list. I think I hurt my head. Thanks to IMDb for refreshing my memory on dates and “stars.”

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