Pop-culture has long celebrated classic movies such as Singin' in the Rain, Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and basically anything starring Audrey Hepburn or Cary Grant. We seem to be keeping the same handful of classics relevant, failing to recognize other great 20th Century films.
That being said, let me be the first to introduce you to a few overlooked classics that will quickly become your new favorites:
1. The Long Hot Summer (1958)
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in The Long Hot Summer (1958)c1.staticflickr.com
This hot film stars the late Paul Newman and his wife of 50 years, Joanne Woodward. This was the first movie they made together, and they would continue to make movies together until Newman's passing in 2008. Newman plays loner and local arson Ben Quick, who is forced move to a new town after running into some trouble. Ben Quick, hitchhikes his way into town with the help of easily irritated, Clara Varner. Little did she know, Ben would begin working for her family, winning the favor of her Father, Civic Leader Will Varner. Clara is an Independent woman, greatly opposed to marriage, but Ben is determined to change that.This film successfully portrays the romantic tug-of-war between Ben and Clara while still staying invested in the story lines of the other characters.
2. Une Femme este Une Femme / A Woman is a Woman (1961)
This one of a kind film was part of the French New Wave, a movement in which unconventional filmmakers intentionally broke tradition with their quirky cinematic conventions. Director Jean-Luc Godard cast his wife Anna Karina as Angela, a stripper longing for a baby. Throughout the film, Angela pursues another man to make her boyfriend jealous, hoping it will convince him to have a child with her.
Une Femme este Une Femme follows this unstable love triangle, combining the perfect mixture of comedy, drama, and romance.
3. High Society (1956)
This romantic musical has a legendary cast, starring Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, and the infamous Louis Armstrong. Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby play old lovers who reconnect under pressing circumstances. Musician C. K. Dexter Haven is still in love with his ex-wife and neighbor, socialite Tracy Lord. Tracy's wedding preparations are disrupted when he comes back to town, adamant to win her over. Her situation becomes further complicated with the arrival of magazine reporter, Macaulay Connor played by Sinatra.
Who will Tracy Lord choose, her fiancé, her ex-husband, or the savvy reporter?
4. Move Over Darling (1963)
This romantic comedy stars the beautiful Doris Day who plays, Ellen Arden, a mother and wife thought to have perished in a plane crash. Five years after her disappearance, her husband Nicholas is finally ready to move on, remarrying his long time girlfriend. But soon after he ties the knot, Ellen is brought back home after she was found stranded on an island. With everything awry, Ellen tries to regain the life she once had before her disappearance.
Although the plot of the movie sounds dark and mysterious, the dynamic between the characters is cheery and lighthearted, it's a must see for romcom lovers.
5. Paris Blues (1961)
This is another Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward film, but I had to include it because their natural chemistry is a pleasure to watch. In Paris Blues, Newman plays Ram Bowen, an American Jazz musician who moved to Paris with his friend Eddie Cook, played by Bahamian-American actor Sidney Poitier. In Paris, Ram can finally develop a reputable musical reputation, while his buddy Eddie finds peace away from the racism which taunted him day after day in America. But when Eddie and Ram fall in love with American tourists, Lillian and Connie, they're left to wager the idea of leaving their newfound forever home.
This film is more than a romance. It's a film about music, camaraderie, race, and freedom. The jazz music played by Newman completes the film, and there's even a cameo made by Louis Armstrong.