Another weekend at home lies ahead of us, dear friends – and I’ve been searching for you on YouTube again for some fun and thrilling entertainment! There are more movies up there than you might think; and I’ve even managed this time to find a couple of quite recent ones. There’s lots of comedy here, and crime and fantasy and even sci-fi, so I hope there’s something for everyone in my new selection…
The Gold Rush (1925)
IMO there has never been, nor will there ever be, an all-round film artist like Charlie Chaplin – and one of his great silent classics is up on YouTube! Remember that scene with the hut hanging from the cliff in the snowstorm? There were people who went to see this movie a dozen times because they wanted to check again and again whether it would drop down or not… Add the famous scene where hungry Charlie eats his boot, and of course the lovely love story with Georgia Hale, and you’ve got one of Hollywood’s greatest and most entertaining classic!
This is one of the earliest ghost stories captured on film – but don’t worry, it’s nothing scary, it’s a hilarious comedy about a ghost couple who’ve got to do a good deed in order to earn their ticket to heaven, and so they try to help henpecked, hapless Topper to change his life. A wonderfully old-fashioned little gem for the whole family!
I’ve found another Hitchcock movie for you, dear friends, and it’s a real classic: Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant are chased by Nazi spies headed by devilishly mean Claude Rains. Hitch’s direction, Ben Hecht’s screenplay, and of course the top notch actors are simply superb.
Happy Ever After (1954)
A colourful and hilarious comedy with lots of Irish humour and a beautiful Irish scenery, ‘Happy Ever After’ tells the story of how the inhabitants of an Irish village try to kill off their unpopular new lord by ‘resurrecting’ an old ancestor of the O’Leary family whose ghost is believed to haunt the place once a year… Again, nothing scary at all, just a lot of great blarney!
You’re Never Too Young (1955)
For fans of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, this is one of their best collaborations about a diamond theft and a young fellow (Jerry, of course) posing as a kid; add a lot of slapstick and some great music, and you’ve got your perfect weekend family entertainment!
Smashing Time (1967)
I came across this British gem by chance; I’d never seen it before, but the leading stars promised quality from the beginning: Rita Tushingham and Lynn Redgrave! Two country girls from the North go to London to enjoy themselves and maybe even become famous; but, as we all know, it’s not quite as easy as that… Co-starring Michael York and Ian Carmichael!
Carry On Abroad (1972)
There are people who sneer on the greatest British comedy film series ever made, the ‘Carry On’ series. I’ve never found anything wrong with those simple comedies – in fact, you can hardly imagine a better way of passing a lockdown Saturday or Sunday than watching one of those hilariously disastrous slapstick films! This is one of the crew’s later adventures, about Brits holidaying in Spain, but the wonderful regulars – Sid James, Joan Sims, Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor, Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Connor – are all there!
Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981)
Fans of classic Hollywood B crime movies are sure to remember the wonderful Charlie Chan, the Chinese-American detective who solved even the trickiest murder cases. (Many of those are also on YouTube; more about that next time!) Decades later, Charlie came back for this simple but really funny spoof – and he was played by none other than Peter Ustinov! And guess who plays the Dragon Queen? Hollywood sex bomb Angie Dickinson…
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Now here’s something for the kids (and not only): a Harry Potter movie to watch for free! It’s the second in the series and still retains the freshness of the original. The perfect escape to a fantasy world of witches and wizards, far away from this depressing and worrying reality right now!
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
And here’s a recent one, still almost fresh off the cinemas and the DVD; part of the remake series of the classic sci-fi ‘Planet of the Apes’ films from the 1960s and 70s. I absolutely love the original series, and so I was a bit doubtful about this new edition; but I must say they’re excellently made and retain the class and tone of the originals. Not a film for small children (it’s rated 12+), but it’ll make a thrilling late night movie for all you grown-ups who want something different for a change!
Enjoy your movie weekend at home, dear friends; next week I’ll tell you about some good old TV series you can also watch on YouTube for free – endless hours of entertainment!