When times are tough, it is only natural for people to look for sources of comfort to soothe them and lift their spirits. There are many different resources to which one can turn, and films can certainly be one of them. The wide array of film genres and performances available to audiences is phenomenal and there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.
In honor of celebrating the classic films we might turn to for comfort, I am delighted to participate in the Classic Movie Blog Association‘s Spring Blogathon, “Classics for Comfort.” Here are five of my favorite classic films for comfort, listed in order of release date.
Sons of the Desert (1933)
In my opinion, Sons of the Desert is the funniest movie ever made. Though it is only about 68 minutes in length, just about every minute of the film is comedic gold. In this Laurel and Hardy film, Stan and Ollie play henpecked husbands who decided to play a prank on their wives. While their wives think that their husbands are in Honolulu for Ollie’s health, the boys are indeed in Chicago for their fraternity’s convention. Naturally, things go awry in the finest of hilarity. After all, to quote Stan, “Honesty is the best politics.”
All of the performances in this film are stellar, with the film being carried by the likes of Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch, and Dorothy Christy. I cannot laud this film enough for the joy it brings me. I always jump at the chance to view it!
Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
If you’re looking to escape your troubles, why not turn to the decade that executed escapism best? The 1930s. At the time, weary Depression Era audiences entered into movie palaces and looked to the screen to immerse themselves in a whole new world, free of the woes outside the theater doors. Many 1930s films–especially musicals–shine with major production numbers that spark the imagination. In particular, Busby Berekely’s musical numbers are exemplary. Often, they would begin with an everyday scenario and then gradually launch into massive, glamorous productions that could in no way be contained on an average stage.
Berkeley’s work is evident in many 1930s musicals and beyond, but one of my favorite films is Gold Diggers of 1935. The film stars one of my favorite actors–Dick Powell–alongside Gloria Stuart, and a wide variety of character actors. This musical comedy is filled with bright melodies and enjoyable performances. It also happens to include Berkeley’s masterful “Lullaby of Broadway” number.
State Fair (1945)
To me, this film is an absolute treat. I adore Dana Andrews, Jeanne Crain, Vivian Blaine, and Dick Haymes’s films, and this one happens to include all of them! Moreover, they are supported by Charles Winninger and Fay Bainter, who add much comedy to this musical’s plot. The characters portrayed by Andrews and Crain fall in love, while the same occurs with Blaine and Haymes’s characters. However, the romances certainly have their challenges–all playing out before the backdrop of the Iowa State Fair. As is the case for much of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s collaborations, the film shines with many fabulous musical numbers.
Good News (1947)
Good News is a lighthearted college musical brimming with MGM talents. Featuring June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Joan McCracken, Ray McDonald, and many more, this film is a Technicolor delight. It follows the usual musical formula utilized by MGM (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl) and is filled with wonderful song-and-dance numbers. Being a fan of jazz, I always have a smile on my face watching Mel Tormé execute his musical numbers with ease. Moreover, Allyson and Lawford are adorable as the leads in this film, with McCracken and McDonald offering energetic dance performances and fine comic relief throughout.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Since I’m such a fan of musical comedies, it is no surprise to me that I often turn to arguably the best one ever made. Just about every number in Singin’ in the Rain is iconic. When there is dialogue, it is so memorable to me that I can quote it! This film showcases the likes of Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, then-newcomer Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, and many more.
As captivating as this gem of a film was for me when I first saw it–and every time after that–it became all the more meaningful to me once I got to know one of the cast members. Though her role is extremely minor, Lyn Wilde was filled with stories about the production and her fellow actor friends. In the film, Wilde happens to appear as the tennis player model for the “Beautiful Girl” fashion show number.
Finally, this film never fails to move me–especially when I see it on the big screen. Each time the title number comes up, I get chills knowing that I’m about to see cinematic history–Kelly’s character jovially splashing about in the rain without a care in the world.