New Year, Old Movies: 5 Concoctions to Warm Your Cockles

Courtesy of Rick's Real/Reel Life, 5 old movies to help you ring in the new year with a smile on your face:

The sunny side of Sydney Greenstreet (Image via Warner Bros.)

(5) Christmas in Connecticut (1945) REVIEW

Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) and Dennis Morgan (1908-1994) warm up this holiday-themed wartime tale, which also benefits from an appearance by Sydney Greenstreet (1879-1954). Stanwyck's perky Elizabeth Lane (a protypical Martha Stewart) is just what Santa ordered.

What's a little blackface between friends? (Image via MGM)

(4) Torch Song (1953) REVIEW

Joan Crawford (circa 1903-1977) was not at her best in this "B+ picture," but she was probably at her most Joan Crawford. The blackface performance is jaw-dropping today (and was quite dated even 64 years ago), but I love it for its utter lack of self-awareness, and for its prominence in this:

Truth be told, it's still a pretty bad picture, but you'll probably love it anyway.

SIsterly hate (Image via Warner Bros.)

(3) The Hard Way (1943) REVIEW

Ida Lupino (1918-1996), one of cinema's most underrated actors and a director to boot is the flashpoint of The Hard Way, a tale of two sisters unlike any you've ever met. Rick writes:

As the ruthless stage sister, Ida Lupino is just as no-holds-barred as Bette Davis at her best.

Believe him.

Kiss-off (Image via The Mirisch Corporation)

(2) Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) REVIEW

Considered the flop that brought down Billy Wilder's (1906-2002) career, Kiss Me, Stupid can be viewed as just that, a bomb comedy, or as a fairly compelling satire.

I always liked it. What's not to like about Kim Novak (b. 1933)?

Radio killed the movie star (Image via 20th Century Fox)

(1) Play Misty for Me (1971) REVIEW

Rick says of Clint Eastwood's (b. 1930) early masterpiece:

Unlike its remake rip-off, Fatal Attraction (1987), there are no pretensions with Play Misty for Me; it’s just a well-made, down-and-dirty thriller. Except for the ‘70s styles and some old-school “character-defining” dialogue, Mistyfeels modern and direct.

Still scary as hell and stylish in a low-key way, this thriller stars Jessica Walter (b. 1941) in a role modern audiences might find surprising, considering her delicious turns of late, including as Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development (2003-2006, 2013).

Check it out if you've never gotten around to it — it's not a guilty pleasure, it's just a pleasure.

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