Greatest Movies Through 1960

Best Movies Compiled From Many Sources

Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1949

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106 mins – view video trailer

Director: Robert Hamer
Starring: Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson

Genres: Comedy, Crime

IMDB 8.2 / Amazon 4.8 / MRQE /

Oscars: none

Ranked #75 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

A distant poor relative of the Duke of D’Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession. IMDB 8.2 rating from over 18,082 users

Set in Victorian England, Robert Hamer’s 1949 masterpiece Kind Hearts and Coronets remains the most gracefully mordant of the Ealing comedies. Dennis Price plays Louis D’Ascoyne, the would-be Duke of Chalfont whose mother was spurned by her noble family for marrying an Italian singer for love. Louis resolves to avenge his mother by murdering the relatives ahead of him in line for the dukedom, all of whom are played by Alec Guinness. Amazon 4.8 stars from over 75 users

MRQE

Madison Public Library

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Life With Father (1947)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1947

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118 mins – view video trailer

DirectorMichael Curtiz
StarringWilliam PowellIrene DunneElizabeth Taylor

Genres: Comedy

IMDB 7.3 / Amazon 3.5 / Tomatometer 91%

Oscars: nominated for 4, won 0

A financier from New York rules his numerous family, consisting of his wife and his four sons, with the meticulousity of a bookkeeper. IMDB 7.3 rating from over 2,886 users

The longest-running non-musical play in Broadway history, “Life With Father” was brought to joyous comedic life on film in 1947. Amazon 3.5 stars from over 277 users

William Powell is a tower of comic strength as Clarence Day, the benevolent despot of his 1880s New York City household. Irene Dunne co-stars as Day’s wife Vinnie, who outwardly has no more common sense than a butterfly but who is the real head of the household. The anecdotal story, encompassing such details as the eldest Day son’s (James Lydon) romance with pretty out-of-towner Mary (Elizabeth Taylor), is tied together by Vinnie’s tireless efforts to get her headstrong husband baptized, else he’ll never be able to enter the Kingdom of God. Rotten Tomatoes 91% tomatometer and 80% audience

MRQE: over 11 reviews

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrbQ0YjSFSI]

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Road to Utopia (1946)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1946

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90 min – view video trailer

Director: Hal Walker
StarringBing CrosbyBob HopeDorothy Lamour

IMDB 7.6 / Amazon 4.6 / Tomatometer 100%

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Oscars: nominated for 1, won 0

At the turn of the century, Duke and Chester, two vaudeville performers, go to Alaska to make their fortune. On the ship to Skagway, they find a map to a secret gold mine, which had been stolen by McGurk and Sperry, a couple of thugs. They disguise themselves as McGurk and Sperry to get off the ship. Meanwhile, Sal Van Hoyden is in Alaska to try and recover the map; it had been her father’s. She falls in with Ace Larson, who wants to steal the gold mine for himself. Duke and Chester, McGurk and Sperry, Ace and his henchmen, and Sal, chase each other all over the countryside, trying to get the map. IMDB 7.6 rating from over 2,287 users

Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour made seven “Road” films in total and all were great entertainment and worth seeing. However, “Road to Utopia” was one of the best and has not become dated over the years. The film is very fast moving with gag following gag, talking animals, Bob Hope’s remarks to the camera, and even has comedian Robert Benchley interrupting proceedings to give a running commentary on the film as it progresses! Dorothy Lamour provides the glamour and adds a song or two. Amazon 4.6 stars from over 16 users

The first “Road” picture in three years (the last was The Road to Morocco), Road to Utopia is set during the Alaskan gold rush. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby play a pair of third-rate San Francisco entertainers, Chester Hooton and Duke Johnson, who are obliged to skip town in a hurry. They book passage on a ship to Alaska, where they run afoul of escaped murderers Sperry (Robert H. Barrat) and McGurk (Nestor Paiva). Through a fluke, Chester and Duke overpower the killers, then get off the ship in Skagway disguised as Sperry and McGurk so that they themselves can evade the authorities. Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer 100% Audience 76%

MRQE 16 reviews – Madison Public Library

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-ON1Y_-uck]

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The Lady Eve (1941)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1941

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94 min – view video trailer

Director: Preston Sturges
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn

Genres: Comedy, Crime, Romance

IMDB 8.0 / Amazon 4.5 / Tomatometer 100%

Oscars: nominated for 1, won 0

Ranked #37 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

A trio of classy card sharks targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, till one of them falls in love with him. IMDB 8.0 rating from over 9,463 users

In 1941, Barbara Stanwyck was offered two screwball roles equally suited to her tart intelligence, deft comic timing, and undeniable sex appeal, and it’s a photo finish as to which was funnier–showgirl-on-the-lam Sugarpuss O’Shea, the title character in Howard Hawks’s Ball of Fire, or con artist Jean Harrington a.k.a. Lady Eve Sidwich, the delirious fulcrum for this classic Preston Sturges comedy. Amazon 4.5 stars from over 76 users

(Preston Sturges) wrote and directed this classic romantic comedy starring Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck, who are involved in a scintillating battle of the sexes, as Sturges points up the terrors of sexual passion and the unattainability of the romantic ideal. Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 100% Audience 87%

MRQE links to over 42 reviews

Madison Public Library

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His Girl Friday (1940)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1940

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92 min – view video trailer

Director: Howard Hawks
Starring: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

IMDB 8.1 / Amazon 4.6 / MRQE 88% / Decent Films C

Oscars: none

Ranked #80 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying. IMDB 8.1 rating from over 27,421 users

His Girl Friday is one of the, oh, five greatest dialogue comedies ever made; Hawks had his cast play it at breakneck speed, and audiences hyperventilate trying to finish with one laugh so they can do justice to the four that have accumulated in the meantime. Amazon 4.6 stars from over 47 users

Despite its blistering dialogue and wacky plot swings, His Girl Friday doesn’t work for me on one crucial level: I just don’t care whether or not Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell wind up together, largely because neither character is particularly likable or sympathetic. In fact, if anything, I think Russell might be better off with Ralph Bellamy, and that’s never a good thing. Decent Films C, a bit above mediocre.

The second screen version of the Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur play The Front Page, His Girl Friday changed hard-driving newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson from a man to a woman, transforming the story into a scintillating battle of the sexes. Rosalind Russell plays Hildy, about to foresake journalism for marriage to cloddish Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). Cary Grant plays Walter Burns, Hildy’s editor and ex-husband, who feigns happiness about her impending marriage as a ploy to win her back. Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 97% Audience 88%

MRQE 88% from over 51 reviews

Madison Public Library

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The Great Dictator (1940)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1940

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125 min – view video trailer

Director: Charlie Chaplin
Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie

Genres: Comedy, Drama, War

IMDB 8.5 / Amazon 4.7 / MRQE 79% / Tomatometer 95%

Oscars: nominated for 5, won 0

Ranked #185 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel has a doppelganger, a poor but kind Jewish barber living in the slums, who one day is mistaken for Hynkel. IMDB 8.5 rating from over 57,868 users

Since Adolf Hitler had the audacity to borrow his mustache from the most famous celebrity in the world–Charlie Chaplin–it meant Hitler was fair game for Chaplin’s comedy. (Strangely, the two men were born within four days of each other.) The Great Dictator, conceived in the late thirties but not released until 1940, when Hitler’s war was raging across Europe, is the film that skewered the tyrant. Chaplin plays both Adenoid Hynkel, the power-mad ruler of Tomania, and a humble Jewish barber suffering under the dictator’s rule. Amazon 4.7 stars from over 112 users

“This is the story of the period between two world wars–an interim during which insanity cut loose, liberty took a nose dive, and humanity was kicked around somewhat.” With this pithy opening title, Charles Chaplin begins his first all-talking feature film, The Great Dictator. Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 95% Audience 93%

MRQE 79% from over 50 reviews

Madison Public Library

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The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1940

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112 min – view video trailer

Director: George Cukor
Starrig: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart

IMDB  8.1 / Amazon 4.7 / MRQE 86% / Decent Films A

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Oscars: nominated for 6, won 2 (Best Actor, Writing)

Ranked #40 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

When a rich woman’s ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself. IMDB 8.1 rating from over 34,558 users

Applying her impossibly high ideals to everyone but herself, Tracy Lord (Katarine Hepburn) is about to marry a stuffy executive when her congenial ex-husband (Cary Grant), arrives to protect his former father-in-law from a potentially scandalous tabloid exposé. In an Oscar-winning role, James Stewart is the scandal reporter who falls for Tracy as her wedding day arrives, throwing her into a dizzying state of premarital jitters. Amazon 4.7 stars from over 178 users

Its witty dialogue, romantic complications, and class-skewering satire are hallmarks of screwball comedy, but George Cukor’s classic The Philadelphia Story doesn’t turn on absurd situations, outlandish behavior, or unpredictable plot twists. Instead, it’s a more mature and humanistic social satire, a comedy of manners skewering every kind of snobbery: not only the class-based snobbery of the rich against the poor — and the poor against the rich — but also the intellectual snobbery of the literate against the popular, and above all the moral snobbery of the self-righteous against the imperfect. Read full Decent Films review (rated A, Superior artistic-entertainment for Teens & Up)

MRQE 86% from over 47 reviews

Madison Public Library

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The Rules of the Game (1939) French

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1939

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110 min – view video trailer

(in French, title: La regle du jeu)

Director: Jean Renoir
Starring: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Foreign

IMDB 8.0 / Amazon 4.4 / MRQE 96 / Tomatometer 100%

Oscars: none

Ranked #19 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

Renoir’s look at bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II. An assorted cast of characters – the rich and their poor servants – meet up at a French chateau.  IMDB 8.0 rating from over 12,546 users

Consistently cited by critics worldwide as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir’s bittersweet drama of life, love, class, and the social code of manners and behavior (“the rules of the game”) is a savage critique undertaken with sensitivity and compassion. Renoir’s catch-phrase through the film, “Everyone has their reasons,” develops a multilayered meaning by the conclusion. Amazon 4.4 stars from over 72 users

Now often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir’s La Règle du jeu/Rules of the Game was not warmly received on its original release in 1939: audiences at its opening engagements in Paris were openly hostile, responding to the film with shouts of derision, and distributors cut the movie from 113 minutes to a mere 80. It was banned as morally perilous during the German occupation and the original negative was destroyed during WWII. Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 100% (audience 90%)

MRQE 96% from over 45 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1938

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102 min – G – view video trailer

Director: Howard Hawks
Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant

Genres: Comedy, Romance

IMDB 8.1 / Amazon 4.6 / MRQE 87 / Decent Films A+

Oscars: none

Ranked #24 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard “Baby.” IMDB 8.1 rating from over 28,681 users

Grant and Hepburn are a match made in movie heaven, in sync with each other throughout. Not a great box-office success when first released, Bringing Up Baby has since taken its place as a high-water mark of the screwball form, and it was used as a model for Peter Bogdanovich’s What’s Up, Doc?  Amazon 4.6 stars from over 192 users

The zaniest, most delightful, most romantic screwball comedy of them all, Bringing Up Baby features Katherine Hepburn at her effervescent best and Cary Grant in a marvelous performance combining stuffiness and injured dignity with his usual debonair charm. In a performance reportedly inspired by silent comedian Harold Lloyd, the bespectacled Grant does the slow burn beautifully; and Hepburn’s battering-ram personality and non-sequitur repartee are irresistible rather than irritating. From the rollicking dialogue to the daft situations to the deft physical comedy, Bringing Up Baby has it all. Read full Decent Films review (rated A+, Superior artistic-entertainment and for Kids & Up)

MRQE 87% from over 47 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Holiday (1938)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1938

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95 min – view video clips (did not find a trailer)

Director: George Cukor
Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Nolan

Genres: Comedy, Romance

IMDB 7.8 / Amazon 4.7 / Decent Films A+ / Movie Mom A+

Oscars: nominated for 1, won 0

Ranked #69 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée’s eccentric sister and long suffering brother. IMDB 7.8 rating from over 6,696 users

This absolutely charming, wholly engaging romantic comedy is the hidden gem of the four collaborations of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Most everyone’s seen The Philadelphia Story, but few know of this unorthodox, hilarious comedy of life among the rich and privileged. Amazon 4.7 stars from over 106 users

Dialogue and characterizations are note-perfect, and the story never missteps. This is one of the great ones. Decent Films A+ , superior artistic/entertainment value

Cary Grant began in show business as an acrobat, and you can see him show off some of that prowess in this movie. BeliefNet Movie Mom A+

MRQE links to over 28 reviews

Madison Public Library

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