No, we are not going to be talking about the song by the DC5. We’re instead talking about those pesky films so addicting and fabulous that the moment they’re finished, you instantly want to start them over and watch them all the way through again (and sometimes you do).
The Magnificent Seven.
The good one, not the remake. I didn’t even know there was a remake. I have not seen it and I never will. There isn’t anything I don’t like about this film, except for maybe Chico, whose suspiciously German presence I never did understand. But when you’ve got Coburn, Bronson, McQueen, Vaughn, and Brynner all in the same place at the same time, I can tolerate an annoying pseudo-Mexican teenager as long as I have to. Besides, Elmer Bernstein’s soundtrack is, well, magnificent.
The Great Escape.
With much the same cast as Mag7, along with the additions of David McCallum, Richard Attenborough, and my mother’s favorite James Garner, how could it lose? I can love it as a history nut or a Steve McQueen fangirl (or a Charles Bronson fangirl. . .or a James Coburn fangirl. . .or a David McCallum fangirl. . .), and it’s amazing any way you slice it. I’d watch this on loop for eternity, both in spite and because of that heartbreaking, bittersweet ending. Plus we get James Coburn trying to wrangle a bicycle with his six-foot-long legs, which I will never not love. Besides, Elmer Bernstein’s soundtrack is, well, great.
I know, this one’s dumb as a box of dirt. There are no great moral lessons to be learned from watching four young men in tight pants run around making fools of themselves and finding time to sing songs when they’re not being chased by homicidal cultists. But that’s the beauty of it. I don’t have to work my brain when I see it, and there’s basically. . .no plot whatsoever, so I can watch it an infinite amount of times and it never gets old.
If it’s a John Wayne movie, I’ve probably already seen it a couple dozen times. Hatari!, however, I have seen about two million times. I could probably quote it to you right now and not get a line wrong. The camaraderie in this film is perfect, the dialog snappy and fun. It’s got such an agile, spontaneous plot, with something crazy going on at all times: Kurt and Chip’s rivalry, Dallas collecting orphaned elephants, cheetahs terrorizing women in bathtubs, and Pockets being a chaotic neutral.
Speaking of John Wayne movies I’ve seen a couple dozen times, this one has both Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson in it (and a delightfully awkward scene where they perform not one but two songs), so how could I not have watched it over and over? It helped that it used to come on like clockwork at midnight for ages, and I’d curl up on the couch and watch it all the way through every night until it was eventually replaced with The Sons of Katie Elder (which features a Bernstein soundtrack), because somebody at the broadcasting station had a thing for Martin and Wayne films, all two of them. One of the joys of being homeschooled.
(I would like to add that most John Wayne movies I’d gladly watch on repeat. Except for The Train Robbers and Reap the Wild Wind, which are just. . .no.)
Jason and the Argonauts.
I adore Greek mythology, purely because everybody is just so petty. This movie’s got it all: adventure, a very good-looking British fellow as the main antagonist, beautiful visuals, and bad guys who buy their shields at Garden Ridge in the wicker section. I almost stuck The Robe in here instead, because that’s a film about guys trying to be manly while wearing short skirts, too, but it’s got the kind of ending that makes you want to mull over what you just saw, not pop it back in and immediately see it again.
The Adventures of Robin Hood.
With Errol Flynn, how can one go wrong? Add in Claude Rains, Olivia de Havilland, and Basil Rathbone, and now you really can’t go wrong. The costumes, the soundtrack, and the vivid color all make this film a thrill to experience. I, however, am not the biggest Robin Hood lover in my family. My mother would watch it every day for the rest of her life for free. In fact, she’d probably pay you to let her.
The Hallelujah Trail.
When Burt Lancaster set his mind to comedic acting, he did quite well for himself. Even though it’s long, I love this film because of the impressive cast list and the fact that it pokes fun at absolutely everybody and everything it can get its hands on. Besides, Elmer Bernstein’s soundtrack is, well. . .I don’t have a pun for this one. It’s pretty dang good, though.
Singin’ in the Rain.
Gene Kelly! Donald O’Connor! Debbie Reynolds! That incredibly stupid but catchy song about proper pronunciation! I’m running out of things to say! I’ve loved this movie since I was a kid. Besides the singing and dancing, the sets and costumes are gorgeous. The plot is fun. There doesn’t even need to be a plot, as this is a 50s musical, but somebody decided to go the extra mile and put one in anyway. I always appreciate unnecessary effort like that.
Well, that’s all for now. I know I’ve got some more films I love up my sleeve somewhere, but it’s a big sleeve and things get kind of lost in there. Once I couldn’t find my arm for two weeks.