Getting ready for National Classic Movie Day. Image: The Tempest

Are you ready for May 16?

That would be National Classic Movie Day, and we hope you’ll have time to indulge in at least one fabulous old movie.

Each year on May 16, The Classic Film & TV Café throws a party to celebrate classic film, and this year they’re asking party-goers to bring six fave movies from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Of course, this is a near-impossible task, because there are so many grand films from which to choose. But we’re bringing six of our favourite comedies starring some very funny women, because that’s the kind of mood we’re in.

None of these movies are perfect, but they are amusing and entertaining, which makes them Perfect to us.

Marion Davies (right) is a Patsy. Image: TCM

1920s: The Patsy (1928)

Almost no one is funnier than Marion Davies when she’s allowed, and she’s splendid as the overlooked second daughter in a socially-ambitious family spearheaded by Marie Dressler. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud scenes, especially when Davies does Spot-On impersonations of contemporaries Lillian Gish and Mae Murray.

Irene Dunne has Cary Grant’s number. Image: TCM

1930s: The Awful Truth (1937)

Irene Dunne sparkles as a woman accused of infidelity by her allegedly philandering husband. This is the first of three films in which Dunne starred with Cary Grant, and their chemistry is enchanting. The Awful Truth is a feast of wit and cleverness, including a hysterical scene where Dunne impersonates a nightclub singer.

Claudette Colbert dumps Joel McCrea for $99,000. Image: Criterion Collection

1940s: The Palm Beach Story (1942)

This zany (writer/director) Preston Sturges movie stars Claudette Colbert who leaves husband Joel McCrea to seduce a millionaire to fund the airport McCrea wants to build. The supporting cast, which includes Rudy Vallee and the fab Mary Astor, have impeccable comedic timing, but this is Colbert’s film and she carries it with ease.

Three women with a Plan. Image: Alternate Ending

1950s: How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, and Marilyn Monroe star in this glam heist movie, where three women lease a penthouse apartment in hopes of ensnaring a millionaire. This movie is light and frothy; the clothes are divine, and so is the script. It’s the ultimate in escapism.

“You’re so tense, my dah-ling.” Image: Movie Reviews Simbasible

1960s: The Pink Panther (1963)

Admittedly, this film is pure silliness, and at least one of the performances falls flat, but The Pink Panther is a legend for a reason. Peter Sellers stars as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, who travels to a ski resort to prevent a jewel thief from stealing a rare diamond. The stellar cast includes David Niven, Robert Wagner, and Capucine – who plays Clouseau’s unpredictable wife.

Barbra Streisand’s taxi service. Image: Alamy

1970s: What’s Up Doc? (1942)

Director Peter Bogdanovich called this screwball comedy a “G-rated movie with no socially-redeeming value.” It’s a fast-paced movie involving four identical travel bags, and there’s no way they’re not going to get mixed up. This film doesn’t stop for anybody, nor should it, with remarkable performances by Barbra Streisand and a scene-stealing Madeline Kahn.

Happy National Classic Movie Day! What are some of your favourite films from the 1920s to the 1970s?

Happily blogging about old movies and using the royal "We".

46 Comment on “National Classic Movie Day: 6 Comedies from 6 Decades

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