You know that book, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die by Stephen Jay Schneider? I don’t know if I would watch some of these if I only had a little time left. I mean I’m sure they all have cinematic significance but not all of them are fun. If I were about to shuffle off the mortal coil, I wouldn’t want to watch a bunch of lame movies just beforehand.

So, I went through the ones I’d seen to check.

Movies 1-60 ::  Movies 61-100 ::  Movies 101-160 :: Movies 161-220

Movies 221-260 ::  Movies 261-300

On the rating system:
Watch anytime:  Superb entertainment
Repeat viewing: Good entertainment
Worth once: if you’ve nothing better to do
Historical significance: not for pleasure

no. 110. Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs 1937.
Type: animation
Rating: worth once
Comments: Though I feel heretical for saying this, there are better animated films. On the other hand, the queen is the first of Disney’s feature film villains and still one of my favorites.

no. 111. The Awful Truth 1937.
Type: comedy
Rating: repeat viewing
Comments: This is fun, classic screwball comedy. It’s especially good if you have a soft spot for little dogs.

no. 113. Jezebel 1938
Type: period
Rating: historical significance
Comments: I like Better Davis but I thought this was lackluster. It’s decent enough if it happens to be on…

no. 114. Adventures of Robin Hood 1938
Type: adventure
Rating: historical significance
Comments: Meh. This is well thought of but I don’t think you’d lose much by passing on it.

no. 118. Bringing Up Baby 1398
Type: comedy
Rating: watch anytime
Comments: This one, however, you MUST see. I find myself speechless in trying to convey how right this movie gets it. I think the key is that nothing they do makes sense but they really could do nothing else.

no. 123. Wizard of Oz 1939.
Type: fantasy
Rating: repeat value
Comments: This is a huge part of pop culture and it’s still entertaining in its own right. It’s got appealing costumes and sets, enjoyable dance numbers and Judy Garland singing Over the Rainbow” without irony. You ought to see it for that, anyway.

no. 126. Gone With the Wind 1939.
Type: period
Rating: historical significance
Comments: This movie was not for me. I liked the bit when Scarlett is looking for a doctor for Melanie on the battlefield. I don’t think it has aged well.

no. 131. Wuthering Heights 1939
Type: period
Rating: historical significance
Comments: It’s not Brontë and it’s shallow even for classic Hollywood romance. But it is lovely to look at. You could play it on mute with music of your preference.

no. 131. His Girl Friday 1940
Type: crime
Rating: historical significance
Comments: I had gotten the idea that this was a comedy and had great dialogue between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. The second part of my impression was correct. But the crisis that they encounter later in the movie seems less funny than tragic to me. I guess you could just watch the first scenes, and it would be funny enough.

no. 133. Rebecca 1940
Type: crime
Rating: repeat watching
Comments: An excellent adaptation of a classic Gothic novel. Joan Fontaine somehow makes meekness seem adorable.

no. 134. Fantasia 1940.
Type: animation
Rating: repeat value
Comments: The one without the flying whales. I’m fond of it but I don’t know how fresh it is. You could probably pass on it.

no. 134. Philadelphia Story 1940
Type: romance
Rating: repeat value
Comments: Good fun. This is the kind of movie that I think of as rather bland. But when I re-watch it, I keep thinking, “now this is one of the good scenes” until I realize I’ve included every one of them.

no. 138. Pinocchio 1940
Type: animation
Rating: worth once
Comments: This one is definitely worth watching. The grimmest of all early Disney film – yet still gentler than the book. (The part in the book with the thieves attempting to cut open Pinocchio’s mouth with their knives still unnerves me.) It makes me wonder what American animation would have been like if the Disney company had had more Coachmen and fewer Jiminy Crickets. Oh well.

no. 142. Lady Eve 1941
Type: comedy
Rating: worth once
Comments: This is cute. It won’t waste your time but it’s not like your soul will be empty without it.

no. 143. Dumbo 1941
Type: animation
Rating: historical significance
Comments: It’s got the creepy pink elephant clowns and a heart-wrenching parting of mother and child. But the crows who befriend Dumbo make this an difficult movie experience – perhaps only for prepared adults.

no. 151. Now, Voyager 1942.
Type: drama
Rating: repeat watching
Comments: See this one. The prototype for make-over movies. The best part is that her life is still awful though she becomes Hollywood elegant. I love it to pieces despite the staggeringly idiotic conclusion.

no. 154. Cat People 1942
Type: horror
Rating: worth once
Comments: Very much worth seeing. Creepy and more subtle than most horror movies, then or now.

no. 156. Yankee Doodle Dandy 1942
Type: musical
Rating: historical significance
Comments: Won’t hurt you any to watch it. For years, this was the only James Cagney I had ever seen – he sings and dances with stupendous amount of energy. It reminds me of Strictly Ballroom in its exuberant crowd-pleasing efforts.

no. 160. I Walked with a Zombie 1943.
Type: horror
Rating: worth once
Comments: I watched this one fairly recently and really liked it. It’s a variation on Jane Eyre but it’s got more to offer than a simple retelling.

After the break is the full list from 101 to 161:

    1. Dodsworth (1936)
    2. Things to Come (1936)
    3. The Story of a Cheat (1936)
    4. Captains Courageous (1937)
    5. Midnight Song (1937)
    6. Grand Illusion (1937)
    7. Stella Dallas (1937)
    8. The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
    9. Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
    10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
    11. The Awful Truth (1937)
    12. Pepe Le Moko (1937)
    13. Jezebel (1938)
    14. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
    15. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
    16. Olympia (1938)
    17. The Baker’s Wife (1938)
    18. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
    19. Stagecoach (1939)
    20. The Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (1939)
    21. Babes in Arms (1939)
    22. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
    23. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
    24. Destry Rides Again (1939)
    25. Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
    26. Gone With the Wind (1939)
    27. Daybreak (1939)
    28. Gunga Din (1939)
    29. Ninotchka (1939)
    30. The Rules of the Game (1939)
    31. Wuthering Heights (1939)
    32. His Girl Friday (1940)
    33. Rebecca (1940)
    34. Fantasia (1940)
    35. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
    36. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
    37. Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
    38. Pinocchio (1940)
    39. The Mortal Storm (1940)
    40. The Bank Dick (1940)
    41. Citizen Kane (1941)
    42. The Lady Eve (1941)
    43. The Wolf Man (1941)
    44. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    45. Sergeant York (1941)
    46. Dumbo (1941)
    47. High Sierra (1941)
    48. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
    49. How Green Was My Valley (1941)
    50. The Palm Beach Story (1942)
    51. Now, Voyager (1942)
    52. Casablanca (1942)
    53. To Be or Not to Be (1942)
    54. Cat People (1942)
    55. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
    56. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
    57. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
    58. Fires Were Started (1943)
    59. The Man in Grey (1943)
    60. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
    61. I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
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