Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Black and White is Never Inappropriate!

Punky is all about ‘the acting’.  She loves T.V. shows, movies, plays, musicals, etc.  She also loves music in general and has eclectic taste.  With the exception of  Country music, she enjoys a wide variety.  I felt it was my patriotic obligation to introduce her to Elvis at a very early age and by the time she was ready for Pre-K she could recognize his voice and music.  My mother was very proud.  She’s been hypnotized by the television from the time she was a baby and truthfully, that hasn’t stopped.  Her tastes are eclectic in that regard as well.  She loves ‘Doctor Who’ but no more so than she loves the old ‘Dick Van Dyke Show’.  This brings me to Black and Whites.  Yes, television and movies before there was color exist!!  I’m kidding, I’m sure you knew that.  But so many kids today don’t seem to realize it!
Now that Punky is fully immersed in acting and theatre, I wanted to make sure she was exposed to the greats!  There are, of course, wonderfully gifted actors from the last few years that are in color pictures.  Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Brad Pitt, Helen Mirren, actually it’s a long list.  But some of the greatest actors of all time are found in the ‘old’ Black & White movies.  Punky has no problem with watching black and whites, and I’m so glad because otherwise she would miss out on some truly wonderful experiences!  Another real plus to black & whites is that so many of them are completely family friendly!  Well, depending on what you consider acceptable, of course.  But really, even the old movies that had themes revolving around “love” or “murder” are TAME, TAME, TAME compared to the junk in movies today!  There are exceptions, of course, and depending on your definition of ‘appropriate’, there may be a few we approve of that you may not.  That’s ok!  But it is certainly not the landmine of navigation that today’s movies can be!

So here’s a list (in no particular order) of some of the greatest black and white movies, with the greatest actors of all time, which we will enjoy with Punky!  Perhaps you will enjoy some with your children.  Maybe you have a budding actor in your midst as well!

Sunset Boulevard 1950
Touch of Evil* 1958
Top Hat 1935
On the Waterfront 1954
To Kill a Mockingbird 1962
The Big Sleep 1946
Invasion of the Body Snatchers* 1956
Psycho* 1960
Night of the Living Dead* 1968
Young Frankenstein 1974 (not a typical B&W, but too good to not be on the list)
The Defiant Ones*
Modern Times 1936
It’s a Wonderful Life 1946
All About Eve* 1950
Some Like It Hot 1966
Notorious 1946
Casablanca 1942
Double Indemnity 1944
Manchurian Candidate* 1962
Maltese Falcon 1941
High Noon 1952
12 Angry Men 1957
Dark Victory 1939
The Grapes of Wrath 1940
His Girl Friday 1940 (A personal favorite – I AM a huge Cary Grant fan!)
Rebecca 1940
A Streetcar Named Desire* 1951
It Happened One Night 1934
The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939
Bringing Up Baby 1938 (Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn – fantastic!)
The 39 Steps* 1935
Rear Window 1954
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948
The Miracle Worker 1962
Inherit the Wind 1960
Random Harvest 1942
Duck Soup 1933
Dracula 1931
The Bride of Frankenstein 1935
The Philadelphia Story 1940 (Another fav!)
Strangers on a Train 1951
The Birds 1963
My Man Godfrey 1936
A Christmas Carol 1951
The Mask of Zorro 1940
Tarzan the Ape Man 1932
D.O.A. 1950
The Absent-Minded Professor 1961
Grand Hotel 1932
Sherlock Holmes The Hounds of Baskerville 1939
Laura 1944
To Have and Have Not 1944
Abbott & Costello (ANY)
Suspicion 1941
To Be or Not to Be 1942
Topper 1937
Holiday Affair 1949
Gaslight 1944
The Women 1939
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane* 1962
Jailhouse Rock 1957
Kid Galahad 1952
… And so the list doesn’t grow TOO long, I’ll sum up with:
ANY Cary Grant film
ANY Katherine Hepburn film
ANY Jimmy Stewart film

There are so many older movies that are in color that are worth seeing as well, of course, but the old black and whites are never inappropriate!

Happy Viewing!

~Mari B.

*I recommend viewers be 12 or older


  1. Does she like silent films? I would recommend Metropolis, or even the 1925 Nosferatu (if she's over 12 :) ). The artistry always pulls me in, but she might not like the "silence". Hubby hates silent films, lol!

    1. We have never tried silent films, probably because I'm not a fan. lol But I should let her see one, she may like them! Thanks for the reminder!

      ~Mari B.


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