Here are some movies I found on YouTube, which are currently free, and which I enjoyed (well, most of them). Merry Christmas!
- 5: very highly recommended; rare, distinctively excellent, and memorable; a classic, or ought to be; one of the best films. Need not be perfect.
- 4: highly recommended; excellent film, well-made; either highly enjoyable or quite important. Many old films can be highly recommended. Fewer new ones. Can have significant flaws, but none that make it repellant.
- 3: recommended; above average; a good flick; not a bad way to spend an evening; has issues that make one think twice; but on balance, good enough to recommend.
- 2: not recommended, but perhaps not a total waste of time; enjoyed myself, perhaps, a bit, but overall had serious objections to the film.
- 1: very much not recommended; appalling film; few if any redeeming qualities
The Most Dangerous Game (1932). 3. IMDb: 7.1. Early Hollywood thriller/horror film. Despite some campy and unbelievable elements, it was very watchable and surprisingly interesting. I did not realize when I started watching it that it was a thriller, or horror show, which probably made it more interesting.
49th Parallel (1941). 4. IMDb: 7.2. While this was a Canadian war propaganda film (dated 1940), it was quite an excellent film on its own merits, with a series of cameos by famous actors. Exciting action and stirring speeches in favor of freedom, fairly believable despite a rather strained-sounding premise (a small squad Nazis fleeing across Canada). Excellent shots of Canadian scenery.
I watched these movies in this order. You might be able to spot trends.
Somewhere in the Night (1946). 4. IMDb: 7.1. Enjoyable noir, a thriller and mystery about a soldier who lost his memory and is trying to find a mysterious Larry Cravat—and who is tracked by a detective who is looking for the money that the criminal Cravat apparently left for the soldier.
Compulsion (1959).3. IMDb: 7.4. The true story of a murder committed by two rich, Niezschean law students, shown to the viewer early on, and of how they were eventually caught. Watchable, tries hard to be high-minded, but doesn’t quite bring it off. Still interesting enough.
And Then There Were None (1945). 3. IMDb: 7.4. Adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel, changes the ending slightly but otherwise not a bad adaption. Very recommendable if you’re in the mood for a rather dark, accessible, but ultimately unserious murder mystery. Note, this story is the basis of the later movie version of the board game Clue, which is a piece of fluff I’d also give a 3.
The Big Combo (1955). 3. IMDb: 7.3. Another murder noir. Entertaining enough.
Mister 880 (1950). 4. IMDb: 7.0. Rather unique film about the investigation and capture of a quirky old petty counterfeiter, glorifying the Secret Service, but fun. Romance, too. Sounds unlikely but it works.
Love Is News (1937). 4. IMDb: 7.0. Star-studded older comedy about an heiress, tired of being hounded by the press, who turns the tables by pretending to be engaged to a particularly determined reporter, causing headaches for him. You can guess the rest. Fluffy but fun.
Charade (1963). 4. IMDb: 7.9. A romantic mystery-comedy with an aging Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, fluffy again, but very enjoyable especially if you’re an Audrey fan like myself.
Walking Tall (1973). 3. IMDb: 6.9. I’d really like to give this classic a higher rating, and I can recommend it and it is pretty good, but, without going into details, it has issues. A downer.
Gone (2012). 3. IMDb: 5.9. One of the few recent movies on this list; came up as free in YouTube and I tried it out despite the low ratings, because the premise sounded interesting; and it is. The IMDb rating here is unfair. I don’t think I had seen anything with Amanda Seyfried in it, but she seems to be famous. She’s actually quite a good actress here and holds an entertaining psychological thriller pretty much all on her own. That said, it’s not exactly a classic for the ages.
Nurse on Wheels (1963). 4. IMDb: 6.2. I loved this comedy of a house-calling nurse in small-town Britain, and I gave it a 4 despite being particularly candy-coated fluff. But such likeable, wholesome, enjoyable fluff!
While You Were Sleeping (1995). 3. IMDb: 6.8. I have a weakness for Sandra Bullock which makes me capable of tolerating chick flicks. Considering her repellant cosmetic practices, I don’t feel too good about this. But I will watch most stuff with her in it. This is also romantic fluff, and a lot of people don’t like it, but I did. I might have given it a 4.
Lured (1947). 4. IMDb: 7.0. If you didn’t know Lucille Ball was not just a screwball sitcom actress, get ready for a revelation as she is quite fetching here as an ad hoc detective helping the constabulary to track down a serial killer in this British noir. Keeps you guessing practically until the end.
Phantom Lady (1944). 4. IMDb: 7.2. Another mystery noir, this one also a romance, Ella Raines is lovely as a secretary is besotted with her boss, who has been framed and imprisoned. She goes to great lengths to investigate and prove his innocence by finding the woman who can give him his alibi. Well-constructed and well-performed, if imperfect.
The Lost Moment (1947). 3. IMDb: 6.9. This unlikely and dark gothic psychological mystery-thriller, with slight occult undertones; it takes place in Venice and apparently based on an almalgam of Shelley, Keats, and Byron. Watchable and interesting but a downer.
The Dark Corner (1946). 3. IMDb: 7.1. Another Lucille Ball murder noir; not as good as Lured but watchable enough.
Heaven Only Knows (1947). 3. IMDb: 6.6. This is an extremely bad reproduction of the film, but watchable. About an angel who unites a man who has gone bad, who was supposed to be in the Book of Life and do great things, with a certain woman he was supposed to marry. He’s on the wrong road. As is typically the case for shows about angels that come to earth, it is fluffy and sappy; but if you’re in the mood for that sort of thing, it’s not bad.
One Touch of Venus (1948). 2. IMDb: 6.6. A comedy-fantasy about Venus (Ava Gardner) who comes to earth and solves some problems for a naive young window dresser. Fluffy and silly. Certainly, some would like it. I should have stopped earlier but I made it all the way through and therefore it is on this list. There are several other movies that didn’t hold my interest, would have gotten a 2 probably, but I didn’t finish them and removed them from the playlist. One redeeming feature is that it is the origin of the popular song “Too Soon.”
Hope Floats (1998). 3. IMDb: 6.0. Another Sandra Bullock vehicle, a drama-romance chick flick. I made it through and didn’t regret it. Serious and heavy at times, but qualifiedly uplifting in the end.
Walking Tall Part II (1975). 2. IMDb: 6.0. Probably should have stopped. Similar to the first installment, but worse. Don’t get me wrong. It really isn’t that badly done; it could have been much worse. But can I recommend it? No. Another violent and uninspiring downer.
Sabrina (1995). 4. IMDb: 6.3. As much as I adore Audrey Hepburn, I have to say that I liked this updated version, which is quite similar to the 1954 original, rather more; the original is a classic, and one of my faves, but Julia Ormond is more believable as the overlooked chauffeur’s daughter, and Harrison Ford is more believable as the captain of industry; the pair have more chemistry than Bogey and Audrey.
Sabrina (1954). 4. IMDb: 7.6. I mean…it’s arguably better than the remake. Many people think so. And Audrey is wonderful as the returning fashion plate.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). 4. IMDb: 8.1. While this is very self-consciously a Serious Movie, it is so extemely well-done that one cannot make fun of it for that reason: yes, its coming-home-from-war themes are serious, but ultimately this film is uplifting and edifying. It is about three military men, one middle-aged and the other two younger, and their relationships with their women when they come home. Very close to a 5.
The Bishop’s Wife (1947). 2. IMDb: 7.6. An angelic Cary Grant puts the moves on a remarkably patient and decent Episcopalian bishop’s wife, although his assignment is to improve them all. And so he does. I’ll be honest: I more or less enjoyed it when I was watching it, but the ending showed that the angel was actually every bit as smarmy as he appeared to be, and perhaps more. Frankly, some of you will probably be offended by this rating and be ready to give it 4, because in its way it is uplifting and nice. But…yeah. Can’t recommend it.
The Little Foxes (1941). 3. IMDb: 7.9. This a Serious Film, by which I mean, an enormous downer. However, it is an extremely well-done downer with fantastic acting particularly by Bette Davis. Also, it has two things that it has going for it: Teresa Wright, who brightens everything she is in, and the ending, which I am not going to reveal. I mean, I wouldn’t want to watch it again, but I don’t regret watching it once.