Classic B&W in order of viewing (ongoing)

by I_Won-t_Dance | created - 15 Jun 2012 | updated - 6 months ago | Public

My fascination with Classic Cinema, from the start.. Films from Hollywood's Golden Age in approx. order of viewing, NOT in order of preference.. Black & White films from the Silent era 'til the early Fifties, mainly Romance or Drama, with a sprinkling of Musicals, Screwball and Crime also..

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1. Rachel and the Stranger (1948)

Approved | 80 min | Adventure, Western

A widowed farmer takes an indentured servant as his new wife, but the arrival of his old friend threatens their burgeoning relationship.

Director: Norman Foster | Stars: Loretta Young, William Holden, Robert Mitchum, Gary Gray

Votes: 1,753

I blame it all on Loretta! I stumbled across this Western/Romance on some minor channel while "revising (!)" my final exam 6 years ago. Since then I've seen many of her wonderful films, and while this is by no means her most outstanding work, the sweetness and honesty of the simple romance bring me back to rewatch it often.

2. It Happened One Night (1934)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

87 Metascore

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns

Votes: 86,953 | Gross: $4.36M

3. Rebecca (1940)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

A self-conscious woman juggles adjusting to her new role as an aristocrat's wife and avoiding being intimidated by his first wife's spectral presence.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson

Votes: 113,704 | Gross: $4.36M

4. Beauty and the Beast (1946)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

92 Metascore

A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.

Directors: Jean Cocteau, René Clément | Stars: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély, Nane Germon

Votes: 22,805 | Gross: $0.30M

5. The Lady Eve (1941)

Passed | 94 min | Comedy, Romance

A trio of classy card sharks targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, until one of them falls in love with him.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette

Votes: 17,743

6. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Not Rated | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand each other, without realizing that they are falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut

Votes: 25,079 | Gross: $0.20M

7. My Best Girl (1927)

Unrated | 80 min | Comedy, Romance

A department store's stock girl falls in love with a co-worker, the son of the store's manager; the feeling is mutual though he is engaged to a debutante and focusing on becoming successful without the influence of his father.

Director: Sam Taylor | Stars: Mary Pickford, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Sunshine Hart, Lucien Littlefield

Votes: 749 | Gross: $2.24M

I was lucky enough to find this on YT at one point (since taken down). My first silent film, I was stunned by the emotion and warmth portrayed just through facial expressions and little gestures. I'd definitely recommend this as an introduction to Silent film - it's adorably sweet, but mostly without the melodrama of some other Silents. My favourite scene: Mary & Buddy's lunch in the crate - adorable!

8. Top Hat (1935)

Not Rated | 101 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

An American dancer comes to Britain and falls for a model whom he initially annoyed, but she mistakes him for his goofy producer.

Director: Mark Sandrich | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes

Votes: 16,119 | Gross: $3.88M

As the first Fred & Ginger movie I ever saw, Top Hat had me so hooked I just had to watch their other 9 films together (as you see below). This unequalled dancing pair have such charm and chemistry that you don't even notice the usually nonsensical plots. And how infectious is it just watching them move around the floor?!

9. Swing Time (1936)

Not Rated | 103 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

A performer and gambler travels to New York City to raise the $25,000 he needs to marry his fiancée, only to become entangled with a beautiful aspiring dancer.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore, Helen Broderick

Votes: 11,391

10. Shall We Dance (1937)

Approved | 109 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

A budding romance between a ballet master and a tap dancer becomes complicated when rumors surface that they're already married.

Director: Mark Sandrich | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore

Votes: 6,109

11. Roberta (1935)

Passed | 106 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

In Paris, a man clueless about fashion suddenly inherits his aunt's dress shop, while his bandleader friend reunites with his old flame.

Director: William A. Seiter | Stars: Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott

Votes: 2,746

12. Carefree (1938)

Passed | 83 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

A psychiatrist agrees to hypnotize his friend's girlfriend in order to convince her to accept his proposals of marriage, but she ends up falling for the psychiatrist instead.

Director: Mark Sandrich | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy, Luella Gear

Votes: 3,042

13. Follow the Fleet (1936)

Approved | 110 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

A Navy sailor tries to rekindle a romance with the woman he loves while on liberty in San Francisco.

Director: Mark Sandrich | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott, Harriet Nelson

Votes: 3,717

14. The Gay Divorcee (1934)

Approved | 107 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

An American woman travels to England to seek a divorce from her absentee husband, where she meets - and falls for - a dashing performer.

Director: Mark Sandrich | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton

Votes: 6,399

15. The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)

Approved | 93 min | Biography, Drama, Musical

The story of married couple Irene Castle and Vernon Castle, sensational ballroom dancers prior to World War I.

Director: H.C. Potter | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edna May Oliver, Walter Brennan

Votes: 2,130 | Gross: $1.12M

16. Sabrina (1954)

Passed | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

72 Metascore

A playboy becomes interested in the daughter of his family's chauffeur, but it's his more serious brother who would be the better man for her.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden

Votes: 54,950

17. Roman Holiday (1953)

Not Rated | 118 min | Comedy, Romance

78 Metascore

A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert, Hartley Power

Votes: 119,853

18. It Had to Be You (1947)

98 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

A woman is noted for leaving her bridegrooms at the altar until a dashing fireman walks into her life.

Directors: Don Hartman, Rudolph Maté | Stars: Ginger Rogers, Cornel Wilde, Percy Waram, Spring Byington

Votes: 593

After watching all the Fred & Ginger movies above, I started looking up Ginger's other films, which range from the silly but sweet (like this one and "Rafter Romance" below) to touching stories dealing with deeper issues, such as "I'll Be Seeing You" and "Bachelor Mother". Ginger was certainly far more than "Fred's partner". I don't know how to describe "It Had To Be You" - the plot would look ridiculous written down, but somehow I find myself watching it often and loving the humour, the very palpable chemistry between Ginger & Cornel, and even the crazy concept..

19. Rafter Romance (1933)

Passed | 73 min | Comedy, Romance

A man and a woman share an apartment on a shift basis, never seeing each other; she dislikes him until they actually meet.

Director: William A. Seiter | Stars: Ginger Rogers, Norman Foster, George Sidney, Robert Benchley

Votes: 690

I know Norman Foster's voice and acting talents are not to everybody's liking, but I just adored him and Ginger in this boy-meets-girl tale based in the big city. Plus it's a charming peek into urban life, work and flirting in the Thirties! I've been looking for any similar work by Mr Foster for a while, but haven't come across anything yet. Funnily enough, I discovered recently that the film which got me started watching B&W Cinema was directed by none other than Norman Foster (see #1!)

20. Midnight (1939)

Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy, Romance

A chorus girl stranded in Paris is set up by a millionaire to break up his wife's affair with another man, while being romantically pursued by a cab driver.

Director: Mitchell Leisen | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore, Francis Lederer

Votes: 4,151

21. Trouble in Paradise (1932)

Not Rated | 83 min | Comedy, Crime, Romance

A gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner. Romantic entanglements and jealousies confuse the scheme.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall, Charles Ruggles

Votes: 11,999

22. Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942)

Approved | 117 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

In Europe at the start of World War II, a woman notices that wherever her husband goes, the Nazis seem to follow. Meanwhile, a charming reporter is following them.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Ginger Rogers, Cary Grant, Walter Slezak, Albert Dekker

Votes: 2,430 | Gross: $0.86M

23. He Stayed for Breakfast (1940)

Approved | 89 min | Comedy

In Paris, the estranged wife of a wealthy banker hides a fiery communist fugitive in her apartment.

Director: Alexander Hall | Stars: Loretta Young, Melvyn Douglas, Alan Marshal, Eugene Pallette

Votes: 91

24. Magnificent Obsession (1935)

Approved | 112 min | Drama, Romance

The life of spoiled rich Robert Merrick is saved through the use of a hospital's only resuscitator, but because the medical device cannot be in two places at once, it results in the death ... See full summary »

Director: John M. Stahl | Stars: Irene Dunne, Robert Taylor, Charles Butterworth, Betty Furness

Votes: 707

25. Love Affair (1939)

Approved | 88 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A French playboy and an American former nightclub singer fall in love aboard a ship. They arrange to reunite six months later, after he has had a chance to earn a decent living.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Maria Ouspenskaya, Lee Bowman

Votes: 4,011

26. Private Number (1936)

Approved | 80 min | Drama, Romance

A maid secretly marries the son of her wealthy boss.

Director: Roy Del Ruth | Stars: Robert Taylor, Loretta Young, Basil Rathbone, Patsy Kelly

Votes: 312

27. Pygmalion (1938)

Not Rated | 89 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A phonetics and diction expert makes a bet that he can teach a cockney flower girl to speak proper English and pass as a lady in high society.

Directors: Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard | Stars: Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller, Wilfrid Lawson, Marie Lohr

Votes: 7,317 | Gross: $3.05M

28. My Favorite Wife (1940)

Approved | 88 min | Comedy, Romance

Missing for seven years and presumed dead, a woman returns home on the day of her husband's second marriage.

Director: Garson Kanin | Stars: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Gail Patrick

Votes: 8,570

29. The Awful Truth (1937)

Not Rated | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other's attempts to find new romance.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, Alexander D'Arcy

Votes: 16,572

30. The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Passed | 88 min | Comedy, Romance

An inventor needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee

Votes: 10,064 | Gross: $0.44M

31. The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940)

Approved | 88 min | Comedy, Romance

A best-selling author of women's issues and a medical academic find it is to their mutual advantage to falsely claim that they are married.

Director: Alexander Hall | Stars: Loretta Young, Ray Milland, Reginald Gardiner, Gail Patrick

Votes: 736

32. Bedtime Story (1941)

Passed | 85 min | Comedy, Romance

A playwright attempts to stop his wife from retiring so she can star in his next play.

Director: Alexander Hall | Stars: Fredric March, Loretta Young, Robert Benchley, Allyn Joslyn

Votes: 481

33. A Woman of Distinction (1950)

85 min | Comedy

Ice-cold college dean Susan Middlecott feels there's no room in her life for romance. Enter Prof. Alec Stevenson, British lecturer on astronomy, touring North America and in possession of a... See full summary »

Director: Edward Buzzell | Stars: Rosalind Russell, Ray Milland, Edmund Gwenn, Janis Carter

Votes: 306

34. Hired Wife (1940)

Approved | 96 min | Comedy

Cement company CEO Stephen Dexter asks his secretary Kendall to marry him as a wife in name only, an arrangement made to protect his finances from an attempt at a hostile business takeover.... See full summary »

Director: William A. Seiter | Stars: Rosalind Russell, Brian Aherne, Virginia Bruce, Robert Benchley

Votes: 315

35. Love Is News (1937)

Approved | 77 min | Comedy, Romance

Financier's daughter spars with newspaper reporter: he by writing about her, she by announcing their engagement.

Director: Tay Garnett | Stars: Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, Don Ameche, Slim Summerville

Votes: 514

What a gorgeous pair! You almost think the screen can't contain both Loretta and Tyrone's beauty! Plenty of sparks - this is the first (not counting "Ladies in Love") and my favourite of their films together.

36. Second Honeymoon (1937)

Approved | 84 min | Comedy, Romance

Newly remarried woman finds her businessman husband boring and runs into her wealthy playboy first husband.

Director: Walter Lang | Stars: Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, Stuart Erwin, Claire Trevor

Votes: 344

37. I'll Be Seeing You (1944)

Approved | 85 min | Drama, Family, Romance

A soldier suffering from combat fatigue meets a young woman on Christmas furlough from prison and their mutual loneliness blossoms into romance.

Directors: William Dieterle, George Cukor | Stars: Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, Shirley Temple, Spring Byington

Votes: 1,869

Unusual for a Ginger film, "I'll Be Seeing You" deals with some pretty heavy material (incl. Post Traumatic Stress & Manslaughter) but she shows she's more than up to the challenge. Sentimental but very charming, I loved the way Ginger and Cotten's flawed characters supported each other (how could Ginger have such perfect chemistry with ALL her male leads?!!)

38. Café Metropole (1937)

Approved | 83 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

In Paris, a young American is in debt to a nightclub owner, who forces him to woo an heiress in hopes of reaping her fortune.

Director: Edward H. Griffith | Stars: Loretta Young, Tyrone Power, Adolphe Menjou, Gregory Ratoff

Votes: 500

39. Daddy-Long-Legs (1919)

Unrated | 85 min | Comedy, Drama

An orphan discovers that she has an anonymous benefactor who is willing to pay her college tuition, unaware he's the same man who has been romantically pursuing her.

Director: Marshall Neilan | Stars: Mary Pickford, Milla Davenport, Percy Haswell, Fay Lemport

Votes: 1,287

40. Heartbeat (1946)

Approved | 102 min | Drama, Romance

In Paris, a young woman runs away from a reform school, joins a pickpocket academy, and finds herself falling for the handsome diplomat she's been blackmailed into stealing from.

Director: Sam Wood | Stars: Ginger Rogers, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Adolphe Menjou, Melville Cooper

Votes: 575

41. Honor Among Lovers (1931)

75 min | Drama, Romance

Jerry Stafford, a businessman, is in love with his secretary but she deserts him for another man. When she realizes her mistake, she goes back to him. Doris Brown is her girlfriend who is in love with a man named Monty Dunn.

Director: Dorothy Arzner | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Fredric March, Monroe Owsley, Charles Ruggles

Votes: 151

42. I'll Never Forget You (1951)

90 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance