Past Events

I am honored to be taking part in the Classic Movie Blog Association's Hitchcock Blogathon - its largest blogathon yet. I'm not alone. In all there are 20 classic movie blogs covering a wide variety of Hitchcock masterpieces, staples, and lesser-known jewels; look to the bottom of this post for a full listing of all of the reviews and where they can be found. I look forward to reading each of them myself. I'm bound to learn a lot!

When I opened the invitation to participate in the blogathon, I didn't even have to think about which movie I would review. If you've been with this blog from the beginning, or know me personally, then you know that I adore Doris Day. Jimmy Stewart doesn't hurt either. So The Man Who Knew Too Much it is.Check out these other Hitchcock Blogathon reviews at the blogs of other Classic Movie Blog Association members:
 The Birds – Classic Film & TV CafĂ© 
Dial M for Murder – True Classics: The ABCs of Film
The Lady Vanishes – MacGuffin Movies 
Lifeboat – Classicfilmboy’s Movie Paradise 
Marnie – My Love of Old Hollywood 
Mr. and Mrs. Smith – Carole & Co.
North By Northwest – Bette’s Classic Movie Blog 
Notorious – Twenty Four Frames
The Pleasure Garden – Thrilling Days of Yesteryear 
Rear Window – Java’s Journey 
Rebecca­ – ClassicBecky’s Film and Literary Review 
Rope – Kevin’s Movie Corner
Shadow of a Doubt Great Entertainers Media Archive
The 39 Steps – Garbo Laughs
Three Classic Hitchcock Killers – The Lady Eve’s Reel Life
Torn Curtain Via Margutta 51
The Trouble with Harry – Bit Part Actors
Vertigo – Noir and Chick Flicks
The Wrong Man – The Movie Projector

12 Days of Christmas Films (December 2010)

Featured December 13-24 right here on Reel Revival.

Who: Everybody and anybody, these are great to watch with family!
What: Enjoy some favorite Christmas films, and try a few you've never seen before.
When: December 13-24
Where: Watch the films in the comfort of your own home, then join the discussion here on Reel Revival (a few of these movies are even aired on network television every year, so you don't even have to go out and find them).
Why: Because Christmas only comes once a year. Make merry and be jolly! Besides, there are some really good films on this list.


Christmas in the post-War United States
Here is the full list of the films I have selected for this year's Twelve Days of Christmas Films. You will no doubt notice that some important Christmas films, like The Grinch and Christmas in Connecticut are not included. I have to save something for next year!

So I have assembled here what I hope will be a blend of the familiar and unfamiliar. Have fun trying something new this year! Also, while not every film is exclusively about Christmas, each features Christmas moments or lessons.

A Doris Day favorite, featuring Gordon MacRae and Mary Wickes (one of the best supporting actresses ever). The whole cast is delightful.
Splendid Robert Mitchum piece with an absolutely adorable little boy.
Hyper-actively Christmas!
Click on the link to read my previous review.
A must-see every year.
This film, featuring the voice of Jimmy Durante, is aired on CBS every year, so it will be easy for you to find. Find the schedule here.
Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney frolic through a white Christmas.
This one is also broadcast on CBS, but you can't wait until December if you want to catch it there. They are showing it Tuesday, Nov. 30.
You're missing out if you've never seen Judy Garland sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to Margaret O'Brien in this film.
This movie proves - in court - that Santa is real. What could be better?
My second favorite Christmas movie, and the one always reserved for the night before Christmas Eve. Starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, and outstanding supporting cast.
Every Christmas Eve, forever and always. Simply fantastic.

The REEL Octoberfest (October 2010)

Fall is in the air, and Halloween is coming.  I love Halloween (it is one of my favorite holidays), but I don't get in the mood for it just because I am confronted by candy and costume displays in the stores.  So, an important part of the process for me, besides enjoying the cooler temperatures, is to start popping in those creepy movies that make me shiver for other reasons.  I would love to have company.  

Therefore, I give you the The REEL Octoberfest.  I sat down, racked my brains, and leafed through the pages of my own movie catalog to compile a list of the best, creepiest, funniest, and most enjoyable (vintage) Halloweeny movies I have ever seen.  Coincidentally, the list came out to 31 films on the dot.  So, join me, if you will, in gathering around you a few of these films to enjoy in the month of October.  

Below, the films are listed in the order I suggest you watch them (that was a tough job).  I have also included brief synopses.  

Register for the event by commenting below.  Let me know if you will be joining me in The REEL Octoberfest, and, as always, invite your friends!

1. Ghosts on the Loose - The East Side Kids are scared out of their socks when they decide to fix up a run down house for newlywed friends, and find it inhabited by ghosts! Or is it? 
1943. 67 min. D: William Beaudine. Starring Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan, Bela Lugosi, and Ava Gardner.  

2. Ministry of Fear - Mental patient Stephen Neale is released from asylum into war-time Britain.  The strange things that occur as he travels back to London indicate that he has accidentally infiltrated a Nazi spy ring.  Has he really, or is he just crazy?
1944. 86 min.  D: Fritz Lang. Starring Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, and Carl Esmond. 

3. Murder Ahoy - Miss Marple proudly serves on the board of trustees for a merchant marine training ship that reforms delinquent youth.  When, at a meeting of the board, a fellow trustee falls over dead just before revealing an important discovery, Miss Marple smells a fish and goes on board the vessel to investigate.  Will she end up in a dead man's float? 
1964. 93 min. D: George Pollock.  Starring Margaret Rutherford, Lionel Jeffries, Charles Tingwell, and Stringer Davis.  

4. The Phantom of the Opera - This classic rendition of the famed story of obsession and artistic passion is a must for the month of October.  
1925. 93 min. D: Rupert Julian. Starring Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, and Norman Kerry.

5. Charlie Chan in City in Darkness - It is blackout time in World War Two Paris. Mr. Chan, the famed detective, is visiting with old friends from the days of the First World War when he is drawn into a mystery concerning the Second One.  Can he solve the mystery in the  City of Darkness?
1939. 75 min. D: Herbert Leeds. Starring Sidney Toler, Lynn Bari, and Pedro de Cordoba.  

6. The Invisible Man  - An enterprising scientist discovers a formula that makes him invisible.  With the power he gains, however, come devastating consequences.  Can you imagine what evil a murderously insane, invisible man could accomplish? 
1933. 71 min. D: James Whale. Starring Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrington, and Henry Travers.

7. Rebecca - An innocent young woman falls in love with and marries the mysterious, troubled Maxim de Winter, master of Manderlay.  Accompanying him to the intimidating estate, she must adjust to life as Mrs. de Winter, mistress of Manderlay, and live in the shadow of the previous Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca, whose memory haunts both Maxim and the house itself.  With the psychological pressure applied by the ruthless and disturbing housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, and the emotional distance between herself and her husband, will the new Mrs. de Winter be able to bear the weight of Rebecca?
1940. 130 min.  D: Alfred Hitchcock.  Starring Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson, Nigel Bruce, Gladys Cooper, and Florence Bates.  (Based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier and the first film Hitchcock made in America.)

8. I Walked with a Zombie - This movie gave me nightmares for years.  A young Canadian nurse travels to the West Indies to care for the invalid wife of dashing plantation manager.  It seems that Mrs. Holland suffers from a strange lack of mental function and is in a coma-like state that traditional medicine is unable to treat. Will it take the work of the voodoo to cure her, and could something more than "brain fever" be afoot on the plantation? 
1943. 69 min. D: Jacques Tourneur. Starring James Ellison, Frances Dee, and Tom Conway.  May not be suitable for young children.

9. To Kill a Mockingbird - Atticus Finch, a widower and lawyer, is raising two young children in Depression-era Alabama.  A man of wisdom and character, Atticus is called upon by conscience and moral duty to defend a falsely-accused black man, even if it means standing up against the entire community.  His children, Scout and Jem experience a coming of age in the summer and fall of that year as they form a peculiar relationship with a mysterious character and become the victims of a villainous scoundrel.  One of the ten best movies ever made, and based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Harper Lee. Winner of three Oscars.
1962. 129 min. D: Robert Mulligan. Starring Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Phillip Alford, and Robert Duvall.  

10. Murder at the Gallop - A wealthy old codger appears to have been frightened to death by a cat, but Miss Marple has other ideas.  She doesn't horse around while interviewing his relatives who have gathered at The Gallop, a boarding-house/riding school.  Can she cut the hay and get to the bottom of the mystery?
1963. 81 min. D: George Pollock. Starring Margaret Rutherford, Stringer Davis, Robert Morley, and Charles Tingwell.

11. Doctor X - Who is lurking about in New York, strangling and cannibalizing folks after dark?  It could be anyone of a number of eccentric scientists at the Academy of Surgical Research.  Newspaperman Lee Taylor is determined to find out which, and he daringly invades the remote mansion of Doctor X., who is conducting strange experiments.  Will Lee Taylor make it out alive?  What about the damsel in distress?  
1932. 76 min. D: Michael Curtiz. Starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, and Lee Tracy.  

12. Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff - Freddie (Costello), the (ex) bell hop at Lost Caverns Hotel becomes the prime suspect in a murder after a guest he was witnessed threatening turns up dead.  A gang of suspicious characters like this just fine, and try a number of schemes to get Freddie to confess.  But Freddie is to stupid to even be tricked, or hypnotized into a confession, so the killer takes matters into his own hands.
1949. 84 min. D: Charles Barton. Starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff, and Lenore Aubert.

13. Lady on a Train - A young lady witnesses a murder from her seat on the train, but police can't find a body.  When she enlists the help of a mystery writer to find the answers, is it possible that she'll get more than she bargained for? 
1945. 94 min. D: Charles David. Starring Deanna Durbin, Ralph Bellamy, David Bruce, and Alan Jenkins. 

14. The Beast with Five Fingers - A small Italian community believes that a few recent murders committed in the estate of a recently deceased pianist have been committed by the pianists severed hand.  Is it really an evil act of the supernatural, or is there some other explanation?
1946. 88 min. D: Robert Florey. Starring Robert Alda, Andrea King, Peter Lorre, and Victor Franken.  

15. Murder Most Foul - Miss Marple is at it again.  This time she is the only member of a jury who refuses to find the defendant guilty of murder.  Stubbornly determined to show that she was not thwarting justice, Miss Marple goes on the trail by joining a theatrical company where she believes the real murderer resides.  As actor after actor sees final curtains, will Miss Marple get lights out forever as well?
1964. 90 min. D: George Pollock. Starring Margaret Rutherford, Ron Moody, Charles Tingwell, and Stringer Davis.  

16. House of Wax - A brilliant wax sculptor (Vincent Price) is double-crossed by his partner, who sets fire to their wax museum for the insurance money.  The sculptor, believed to have perished in the flames, makes a reappearance years later with a museum of his own.  His figures are more realistic and life-like than ever.  Could there be something horrifyingly sinister about his technique? The very first film ever produced in 3-D. Remake of The Mystery of the Wax Museum.
1953. 90 min. D: Andre de Toth. Starring Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, and Phyllis Kirk.

17. Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome - Gruesome and his band of criminals have discovered a new use for nerve gas that temporarily paralyzes those who inhale it. Can Dick Tracy restore law and order and keep his own head in the process?  How gruesome is Gruesome?
1947. 65 min. D: John Rawlins. Starring Boris Karloff, Ralph Byrd, and Anne Gwynne.  

18. Nosferatu - Perhaps one of the most visually disturbing and creepifying films ever made.  Newlyweds Hutter and Ellen are caught in the cross-hairs of the vampire Count Orlock when Hutter is sent to negotiate a real estate deal for the Count.  After being bitten Hutter escapes, and it is left to Ellen to bring the vampire down when he moves in to the house across the street and sets his sights on her.  I recommend watching muted (the version I saw had a horrible death metal sound track) and probably in the dark.  If you can stand it.
1922. 94 min. D: F.W. Murnau. Starring Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, and Greta Schroder.  

19. The Fall of the House of Usher  - Young Philip Winthrop has come to the house of Usher to see his intended, Miss Madeline Usher, but he is not welcome at the house of Usher; when he stubbornly insists on being admitted, he is met with strange requests and a hauntingly bizarre situation.  The formerly vibrant Madeline is ill, confined to her bed, and her brother Roderick maintains that Philip must leave without seeing her, that he must leave forever and forget Madeline.  Can he escape with his love before the unthinkable happens?
1960. 79 min. D: Roger Corman. Starring Vincent Price, Mark Damon, Myrna Fahey, and Harry Ellerbe. 

20. Murder, She Said - Miss Marple becomes the Old Lady on a Train when she witnesses a murder in a passing train from her seat.  The police again assume that because there is no body there was no murder, so Miss Marple gets a house-staff job at Ackenthorpe Hall, near the location of the murder.  Now she can better investigate, dressed as a housemaid/cook.  Will she find the body on the premises, or has she finally aged into a dotty old woman?
1961. 87 min. D: George Pollack. Starring Margaret Rutherford, Arthur Kennedy, Charles Tingwell, and Stringer Davis. 

21. Arsenic and Old Lace - Mortimer Brewster, a dramatic critic who had previously railed against marriage has just wed the girl next door, and the celebration brings him home for the first time in quite a while to break the news to his eccentric old aunts.  Little does he know that his quick trip home will mire him in a bizarre situation that has him questioning his own sanity and his increasingly irritated bride waiting next door. Did his sweet, harmless looking old aunts really poison 13 men and bury them in the basement? What will he do about it? The story has everybody involved: from the new befuddled cop on the beat to Mortimer's brother Jonathan, who has traveled the world killing people and grafting their faces onto his own.  What will become of them all?
1941. 118 min. D: Frank Capra. Starring Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson, James Gleason, Peter Lorre, Josephine Hull, and Jean Adair.  

22. Frankenstein - The classic story in its original screen adaption, produced by some of the finest talent in films. The monster is done by Boris Karloff, the biggest name in monsters. 
1931. 70 min. D: James Whale. Starring Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, and Boris Karloff.

23. Mystery of the Wax Museum - Same basic plot as House of Wax, only done in black and white and with totally different styling.  Different actors are just as superb.  It is really a totally different movie. 
1933. 77 min. D: Michael Curtiz. Starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, and Frank McHugh. 

24. Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy - The two guys get all mixed up in the murder of Dr. Zoomer this time, finding a mysterious medallion along the way.  It eventually leads them to a tomb (after Costello eats it) where they come face to face with none other than then mummy itself.  Jam-packed with great moments and funny scares.
1955. 79 min. D: Charles Lamont. Starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marie Windsor, and Michael Ansara. 

25. Gaslight - A young girl's aunt and guardian is murdered in their London home and the murderer is never apprehended.  The girl, Paula is sent away to school and does not return until ten years later, when her new husband convinces her to confront her past and return to her inherited rowhouse.  When she does, she is met with circumstances that drive her slowly insane.  Is it really her mental health, or is someone trying to engineer her madness? One of the best thrillers ever made and winner of two Oscars.
1944. 114 min. D: George Cukor. Starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotton, Dame May Whitty, and Angela Lansbury.  

26. Mad Love - Peter Lorre is back as the unstable but brilliant surgeon who has a frightening obsession with opera singer Yvonne Orlac. The obsession reaches a feverish and violent pitch when Yvonne's husband, a concert pianist, suffers a horrible train accident in which his hands are crushed. Yvonne is so determined to help her husband that she is willing to beg from the doctor, who performs a hand transplant in which he gives the pianist the hands of a knife throwing murderer.  What will become of them all? 
1935. 68 min. D: Karl Freund. Starring Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, and Sara Hayden.  

27. Wait Until Dark - Imagine being newly blind and under attack in your own home by two violent intruders.  How would you protect yourself?  Audrey Hepburn stars in this suspenseful tale of a woman who cannot see the grisly things going on in her home.  We can see, however, but we can only imagine the terror she feels when she realizes that she will have to defend her own life without her sight. 
1967. 108 min. D: Terrence Young. Starring Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. 

28. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - The original film adaptation of the classic novel, in which Dr. Jekyll, the well meaning young scientist, attempts to entirely separate man's good side from his evil side.  Experimenting on himself, he gives birth to Mr. Hyde, who terrorizes London and transforms Dr. Jekyll forever.  Featuring state of the art techniques to show the transformation of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde.
1931. 98 min. D: Rouben Mamoulian. Starring Frederic March, Miriam Hopkins, and Rose Hobart.  

29. The Bride of Frankenstein  - Dr. Frankenstein and the monster are not dead after all.  The Dr., although he wishes to retire from making monsters, is forced into another episode when Dr. Pretorious kidnaps the new Mrs. Frankenstein.  Dr. Frankenstein is required to make a bride for the monster, if he ever wants to see his own wife again.  The result of his labors - the Bride of Frankenstein! 
1935. 75 min. D: James Whale. Starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, and Elsa Lanchester in two roles.  

30. The Spiral Staircase - "Afflicted" women are the prime targets of a serial killer in one small town around the turn of the century.  Disabled and physically imperfect women are turning up strangled all over town.  Inside the Warren household, housemaid Helen, who is mute, is shaken by the murders but feels relatively safe, until another girl is murdered inside the mansion.  The old, ailing Mrs. Warren tries to protect Helen, but who are they to trust?  All that is known about the killer is how his eyes peer menacingly from his hiding place as he pulls on black leather gloves.  You will be guessing at the identity of the murderer until the last moments.  Perfect for Halloween Eve.
1945. 83 min. D: Robert Siodmak. Starring Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore, Kent Smith, Rhonda Fleming, and Elsa Lanchester. 

31. Dracula - The best adaptation of Bram Stoker's work, perfectly executed by Bela Lugosi and the rest of the cast.  The pinnacle of classic Halloween movies. You should definitely save this one for Halloween itself.  The laugh produced by the undead Renfield (Frye) will haunt you for days.
1931. 75 min. D: Tod Browning. Starring Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, and Dwight Frye.  

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