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New book! 50 movies to start your discovery of Old Hollywood

New book! 50 movies to start your discovery of Old Hollywood

Now available! "Beginner’s Guide to Classic Movies: 50 movies to start your discovery of Old Hollywood stars and directors" — order your paperback at Amazon 

Katharine Hepburn vs. Audrey Hepburn. “Gilda,” “Laura” or “Harold and Maude”? John Wayne, John Ford and John Gilbert.

Tens of thousands of movies and hundreds of stars over several decades can be daunting. Where to even start?

This guide of 50 movies is a way to jumpstart your classic movie appreciation by providing a broad cross-section of films from a variety of movie genres, directors and stars. You’ll get a solid foundation of Old Hollywood, but even better – you’ll start to discover for yourself which styles and stars you like and pursue more of those movies not listed here. Find out if you gravitate toward 1950s melodramas, if you’ll watch anything with Gregory Peck or perhaps you discover that film noir is not your cup of tea.

Consider this a tasting menu at the restaurant of cinema: a wide variety of movie dishes to sample and whet your classic movie appetite. Everyone’s tastes are different, of course, but these are some of the most easy-to-digest “old” movies.

Why watch old movies? Besides appreciating today’s entertainment roots are planted in yesterday and the threads that are woven through movie history, a practical reason also exists. You’re now opening up potentially thousands of new-to-you movies waiting to be discovered. No more “there’s nothing new on Netflix” moments.

What was the criteria for the 50 movies?

“Classic movies” doesn’t have a definitive timeline, but this guide includes American movies from the silent era (ending in the late 1920s) to the early 1970s. This time period, especially the 1930s-1960s, is roughly defined as the “Golden Age of Hollywood.”

A variety of genres are represented in the book: screwball comedy, Westerns, film noir, thrillers, melodramas and more. Some of the biggest stars and directors are included, and the list tries to avoid duplication (but some happens). 

For practical reasons, these 50 movies also tend to be readily available for a mass modern audience through various streaming services, free access via public libraries or old school DVDs.

And, perhaps most importantly of all, these 50 movies are still entertaining to watch for a modern mass audience!

For each of the 50 movies, the guide gives you:

  • Plot line: A one-sentence movie summary.
  • Key cast and crew.
  • Why watch: Brief context around the movie and the people who made it. No spoilers!
  • Discover more: Related movie recommendations if you want to explore the star, the director, the genre or other similar movies.
  • Dig deeper: For those who want to explore more, even more related recommendations.

What this guide is NOT

This guide is not meant to be a definitive list of the “greatest” or the “best” movies. So many of those endlessly debated lists already exist. For example, Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” (1941), “Lawrence of Arabia” and Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” (1927) aren’t in this guide. Those are often considered some of the “best” and innovative in movie history – and you should definitely see them. But there’s no way to fit everything in here. The book’s purpose is to provide a broad cross-section to sample and provide a starting point.

This guide is also not an academic treatise on Critically Acclaimed Important Films or a dissection of camera angles and techniques. It’s not a survey of cinema’s historic milestones.

Classic-movie curious

What makes a movie truly important is what you, the movie-watcher, get out of it and how you are entertained. The hope is that you discover some favorite stars and directors and devour their work beyond what’s in this book.

 Order your copy of "Beginner’s Guide to Classic Movies" -- available as a paperback at Amazon


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