One of my favorite ways to spend a lazy weekend afternoon is lounging on the couch watching a classic movie. Growing up my Papa would watch old westerns and I think that's always stuck with me. On any given weekend afternoon, my friend Kelly (of Kelly Golightly) is usually doing the same! We have a text chain between the two of us I like to call the "Classic Movie Club." I share my favorites classic movies + new discoveries with her, she shares her favorites with me, and today we are sharing a few of our favorites with you. Welcome to the club! Hopefully, you'll find a classic movie to add to your watch list. If there's something you think I should see, drop the title in the comment section below!
ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
I'm a big Bette Davis fan. In All About Eve, Davis plays Margo Channing, a famous Broadway star at the height of her career. Her character is self-assured, alluring, and confident until an ambitious young fan enters her life, threatening her career and personal relationships. In what is probably the most famous exit in cinematic history, Daivs delivers the line "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night" before sashaying up the stairs and out of frame. This movie is definitely a wild ride full of plot twists and turns. A must-see!
GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDS (1953)
I love a good musical and Gentlemen Prefer Blonds is probably one of my favorites. I know you know this one! Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell play showgirls and best friends, Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw. They travel to Paris, followed by a trail of eligible men and also the watchful eye of a private detective hired by the father of Lorelei's fiance, who is less than fond of her gold-digging tendencies. Hilarity ensues as the two find themselves in a series of unfortunate events. This movie is iconic and so is Marilyn's performance of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend."
CARMEN JONES (1954)
In the cinematic adaptation of the opera Carmen, Dorothy Dandridge gives the performance of a lifetime playing the sultry vixen, Carmen Jones. Carmen seduces a soldier (played by Harry Belafonte) only to dump him later for another man. The film also stars Pearl Bailey, Olga James, and Diahann Carroll. While the all-Black cast makes this movie culturally and historically significant, the music and performances make this movie one of my favorites!
DEAD RINGER (1964)
Yes, another Bette Davis pick. I told y'all she was one of my favorites! Bette Davis is great at playing characters in psychological horror-thrillers (see also Whatever Happened To Baby Jane). In Dead Ringer, Davis plays estranged twin sisters with very different lifestyles. One sister is a hard-working entrepreneur (Edith Phillips) and the other sister (Margaret DeLorca) married into a wealthy family. Edith kills her sister and assumes her identity only to find out... well, you just have to watch! Trust me, you'll never see it coming!!!
REAR WINDOW (1954)
I could add another Marilyn movie to this list, like Some Like It Hot, but instead, I'm opting to make #5 the Hitchock flick Rear Window. In Rear Window, Jimmy Stewart plays a wheelchair-bound photographer who uses his time recuperating from a broken leg to spy on his neighbors. He believes one of his neighbors has committed a murder, and with the help of his model girlfriend (played by Grace Kelly), they attempt to solve the case. I've never been much of a Hitchcock fan, but this thriller is just the right amount of glam, thanks to Kelly!
Photos by Fred Moser
ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953 )
Spoiler alert, nearly all of my favorite classic movies have one thing in common: They star the one and only Audrey Hepburn. So, let’s kick things off with Audrey’s first film role, the one in which audiences around the world first fell in love with her gamine charm. In Roman Holiday, Audrey plays Princess Ann, who is overwhelmed by her non-stop travel and work obligations. She yearns to have a “normal day.” So, after perhaps the most charming meltdown ever portrayed on screen, Ann is given a sedative to calm her nerves. In a haze, she later escapes her room at The Coliseum and is discovered sleeping on a park bench by Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck). At first, Joe – a news reporter – assumes she’s a normal girl who’s had a bit too much to drink and takes her back to his petite apartment for safety. Let’s just say that once she comes to and he realizes who she is, adventure ensues. While their on-screen chemistry is at once dazzling and darling, the added bonus is that you get to feel like you’re on a Roman Holiday too, zipping around Roma on a Vespa, as this classic was filmed on location in Rome.
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1961)
Let us continue down the Audrey Hepburn cinema rabbit hole and travel from Rome to New York, shall we? This is the movie in which Audrey Hepburn plays the iconic Holly Golightly and made the Little Black Dress famous. It’s also the film whose main character inspired this blog’s name: “Kelly Golightly” is a mixture of my actual first name and Holly’s last. I digress… Holly is a girl about town, who also happens to make $50 for trips to the powder room and visits her pal Sally Tomato in Sing Sing. But she’s much more than that. I mean, is she a phony, or isn’t she? That is for you to decide in this classic romcom set in New York, co-starring George Peppard as her love interest Paul Varjak, also known as Fred Baby, her new neighbor and a struggling writer. The film was adapted from Truman Capote’s 1958 novella of the same name and – fun fact: Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the part of Golightly (can you imagine!?).
TWO FOR THE ROAD (1967)
Continuing Audrey’s canon of work – and our travel via cinema, Two for the Road follows a couple through a decade of marriage – but one that has hit a rough patch or some pot holes, so to speak. Sounds a little heavy, but it’s also delightfully funny and a departure for Hepburn. Albert Finney plays her husband and while he’s not my favorite on-screen match for Audrey, he plays the part well. The outfits are bananas – much more late 60s and groovy – and the backdrop is driving through the French countryside, an irresistible third character if you ask moi.
HIGH SOCIETY (1956)
We now take an Audrey Hepburn detour to bring you High Society, a musical romcom set in Newport, Rhode Island, starring Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra , Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong, among others. Sounds dazzling doesn’t it? It is. The story follows socialite Tracy Samantha Lord (Grace Kelly) as she prepares for her second wedding to George Kittredge (John Lund). The only hitch (pun intended)? Her ex-husband, jazz musician C.K. Dexter Hall (Crosby) is still in love with her. And to make matters worse, the magazine reporter sent to cover the wedding, Mike Connor (Sinatra), also falls for her. What’s a girl to do? (Talk about champagne problems!) Find out whilst drinking in the gorgeous costumes and sumptuous sets. Seriously, this movie had me contemplating a move or at the very least, a full on re-decoration of my house.
Welcome back from intermission. We now return to Audrey Hepburn (sorry, when you know what you like, you share it!). In this 1954 romantic comedy, Hepburn plays Sabrina Fairchild, the daughter of a chauffeur. They live on the grounds of a tony Long Island estate, working for the wealthy Larabee family, in which two grown brothers could not be more opposite: David Larabee (William Holden), a playboy) and Linus Larabee (Humphrey Bogart), the older, more serious brother who holds down the family business. Audrey has always had a mad crush on David, and finally catches his eye after she has spent a summer spent in Paris in which she transforms from an “ugly duckling” (as if!) into a swan. Upon her return to New York, David becomes enchanted with her. But Linus thinks the relationship isn’t good for the family business and sets out to break them up. However, along the way, he begins to fall for Sabrina too (who wouldn’t)? A must-see and, sidenote: the 1995 remake starring Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear and Harrison Ford and is nearly as good, so enjoy watching both to see which you prefer. Happy viewing!
UPDATED: Below are the movie suggestions you guys shared with me via social media. So many great suggestions so I wanted to be sure I updated this post for anyone looking to add to their must watch list. Some of these I've seen but there are many I'm excited to check out. Thanks to everyone who share! xo
Auntie Mame (I ALSO APPROVE THIS MOVIE!) Summertime (w/ Katherine Hepburn) The Magnificent Ambersons The Godfather Diabolique Funny Girl Little Women (w/ Peter Lawford) Anything featuring Fred Astaire Blazing Saddles Any Mel Brooks flick Lady in a Cage (it's classic Olivia de Havilland) Picture Mommy Dead (w/ Zsa Zsa Gabor) Imitation of Life Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte Whatever Happened to Baby Jane Mommie Dearest Desire (w/ Marlon Brando) Steel Magnolias Chinatown
Splendor in the Grass