I admit it: I’m a sucker for movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age (and a few from just beyond). But there are many that have been largely forgotten over the years and deserve a wider audience. Although the below films may not necessarily top my all-time-favorites list, I consider them great ones nonetheless.
1. The Uninvited (1944): A young woman (Gail Russell) believes that her dead mother is haunting a long-abandoned seaside house. This movie is the real deal: no tricks but plenty of chilling treats in this beautifully-filmed classic ghost story – the kind that just aren’t made anymore.
2. The Clock (1945): A young working girl (Judy Garland) gets involved with a soldier on a 48-hour leave in New York City in this engaging and bittersweet comedy-drama. Viewers beware: Judy doesn’t sing in this film, but with her wonderful performance, you won’t care.
3. Scarlet Street (1945): A disillusioned, middle-aged man (Edward G. Robinson) becomes the unwitting pawn of a beautiful yet immoral woman and her equally corrupt boyfriend. The tale that unfolds leads to a bitter irony, making this a surprisingly downbeat and gritty film for its era.
4. In a Lonely Place (1950): A has-been screenwriter (Humphrey Bogart) becomes a suspect in a woman’s murder, while becoming romantically involved with a sultry neighbor. This is a mature film that was ahead of its time with its cynical view of the entertainment industry and a good dose of psychological undertones.
5. The Rocking Horse Winner (1950): Based on a short story by Guy de Maupassant, a boy (John Howard Davies) who develops the ability to pick winning racehorses by rocking diligently on his toy horse may sound outright ridiculous, but it’s actually a fascinating and eerie fantasy that incorporates unsettling elements of morality and greed.
6. Ladybug, Ladybug (1963): Even if anti-war film propaganda isn’t your thing, this low-budget movie about an air raid and its effects on a group of schoolchildren is a great Cold War-era relic. Although it’s a little slow moving by today’s standards and the characters seem a bit too placid considering the circumstances, its straightforward honesty and heartfelt performances make it a memorable experience.
7. The Collector (1965): A butterfly collector (Terence Stamp) becomes infatuated with an art student and makes her his latest specimen at his home in the secluded English countryside. An effectively offbeat and chilling thriller that may forever change the way you look at these beautiful insects.
8. A Guide for the Married Man (1967): Even if you can’t fathom why such an average looking man (Walter Matthau) would want to go to such lengths to cheat on his beautiful wife, his enlistment of an expert philanderer to teach him the ropes brings plenty of humor to infidelity. The ensuing scenarios featuring many legendary star cameos are truly imaginative and memorable.
9. The Bride Wore Black (1968): When the film fades to black in the only non-English-speaking movie to make the list, you’ll be left with the haunting face of a scorned widow (Jeanne Moreau) who plots revenge on a group of men responsible for her husband’s death. This carefully plotted suspense yarn contains a great twist ending.
10. The Last of Sheila (1973): A year after his wife Sheila was killed, a movie mogul (James Coburn) invites a group of frenemies on his luxury yacht for a week of mystery games, but things go awry when murder gets in the way. Loaded with twists and turns, this is one of the best mystery films of all time and features a cast of some truly “groovy” 1970s stars.
So if you’re ever in the mood to check out some oldies but long-forgotten goodies, then consider watching some of the above films. You just may discover a new gem or two.