Here's the thing about classic films - some of them are really fucking good, and are classics in every sense of the word. Some of them are just old. It can be really hard to tell the difference until you get into them, at which point you're invested and feel like you might as well stick with it.
How to Marry a Millionaire
Ok, so I kind of feel like a bad feminist for getting so into this movie. It's all about beautiful, gold-digging women who view marriage as the most important thing they can accomplish in life, which is pretty much the antithesis of how I see the world. It's also funny, very well-acted, and has costumes to die for (like, literally, I would give up a couple of years of my life to have all of the costumes from the movie in my wardrobe. Where's a crossroads demon when you need one?). Lauren Bacall as the icy Schatze Page is the ringleader of the scheme, and she plays her role to the hilt, dripping with snark and condescension, but melting when she's with the men she loves. Marilyn, as Pola, is another delight. The scene where she stands in front of a full length mirror, oozing glamor and sex appeal, and then takes off her glasses and promptly walks into a wall made me laugh out loud.
This one stars Cary Grant as Dr. Barnaby Fulton, the "inventor" of a youth serum (I have inventor in quotes because a monkey, tinkering with some chemicals, is actually the one who creates it). The serum doesn't actually make you young, but it makes you feel young, which leads to the sight of Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers, who co-stars as his wife Edwina, capering around like children. It's light-hearted and funny, and I love the relationship between Edwina and Barnaby, which is deeply affectionate and remarkably equal. Marilyn Monroe also appears as a ditzy secretary, but she infuses the character with a bubbly charm that makes it easy to see why she became a star.
All About Eve
Bette Davis stars as Margo Channing, an aging Broadway diva who is growing increasingly insecure about losing her looks and her star power. When Margo meets Eve, a destitute young woman who spends night after night outside the theater, hoping for a glimpse of her, she takes pity, offering her a job and a place to stay. Eve, though is not what she seems - the star-struck young woman is actually a Machiavellian schemer, who uses her new connections to try to sabotage Margo and create a place for herself on the stage. There are some unfortunate undertones about the kind of comeuppance that an ambitious woman deserves (I mean, a man who did the same things would either be utterly triumphant, imprisoned, or dead, not bound into sexual servitude to an odious man in return for her stardom), but the sharpness and wit that the main characters exhibit is dazzling.
I forgot Marilyn also had a small role in this film as well. Again, she's cast as the beautiful airhead, but she does get a couple of good digs in.
What are your favorite classic movies? Which ones do you consider real stinkers? I'm one of those people that hates It's a Wonderful Life.