Old Hollywood Favorites

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Hermann's haunting score

Muir celtic for Sea

These days there appears to be a cult following for classic films. Mainly for films like Citizen Kane and other black and white films that can be interpreted many different ways. My philosophy remains that films are entertainment. Films can portray essences of real life but it still does have to entertain the audience. The three films listed below are there simply because they are good films. Their stories have more 'meat,' the actors portray their characters well, the score suits the mood, and they're just great films to watch over and over. The old adage, 'they don't make them like that anymore' couldn't be said any better.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) 1900 England: Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) moves to Gull Cottage by the sea with her daughter Anna (Natalie Wood) after the death of her husband. The only problem with Gull Cottage is that it's haunted by the previous owner Captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison). Lucy and the Captain form a tentative friendship and end up writing a book about his adventures at sea. Soon their affection grows to love, but two problems stand in their way. Lucy knows she cannot spend the rest of her life in love with a ghost and another man, Miles Fairley (George Sanders) is falling in love with Lucy. This is one of my favorite films! I could watch it purely alone for Rex Harrison who is magnificent in everything he does and George Sanders. There is something about his voice that captures an audience the same way that Richard Burton did. It is also fun to see Natalie Wood just as she looked in Miracle on 34th Street. I also recommend it for the music score of Bernard Herrmann. Herrmann for many years worked with Alfred Hitchcock to provide scores that arguably gave his films greater depth and suspense. Listen to Vertigo and feel yourself spinning out of control just like Jimmy Stewart does. Herrmann's score for the The Ghost and Mrs. Muir reminds the listeners of the sea crashing onto the rocks and the bitter sweetness of love.

Subtle Humor

That Crafty Zorro

The Mark of Zorro (1940) 1700s Los Angeles: Don Diego de la Vega (Tyrone Power) returns home to Los Angeles from Spain after receiving a summons from his father Don Alejandro, the Alcalde. On his journey home Diego finds that the people hate the Alcalde and are starving. Once he reaches home and learns that his father was usurped from his office of Alcalde by Don Luis Quintero Diego decides to act the part of a fop. This provides his cover for Zorro (the fox in spanish) to rob the new Alcalde and his wife as well as other tax collectors. Diego then meets Lolita (Linda Darnell) the niece of the Alcalde and falls in love with her. While trying to get Don Luis to leave Los Angeles for Spain, his efforts are thwarted by Captain Esteban Pasquale (Basil Rathborne) who also has an agenda for the future of Los Angeles. Diego also has to pretend to his father and Fray Felipe (Eugene Pallete) that he does care about atrocities of Don Luis and Captain Pasquale to the peasants.                                                           Power plays Diego so well balancing Zorro's bravado and masculinity with Diego's playacting as the idiot son. What makes Power's performance even better is the humor. John Taintor Foote did an excellent job writing the script. One of my favorite scenes is when the Alcalde, his wife, Lolita, and Captain Pasquale are waiting for Diego to arrive for dinner to discuss an engagement between Diego and Lolita, and Diego makes the excuse that his bath was tepid. To which Rathborne replies that Lolita's wedded life will be the same. This line by Rathborne cracks me up every time I watch it. Eugene Pallete is very good as the feisty Fray because you know he wants to do more than fight and every time he gets heated he'll look up to the sky, do the sign of the cross and say, "God, forgive me." Pallate also played Friar Tuck in The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn. An equally feisty friar. Let me count the ways how well Rathborne plays a villain. His appearance speaks of class and intelligence, which is a perfect foe for Zorro. All of Rathborne's line are spoken with a touch of snobbery and delight. The best Zorro film!!

Travel back to the Green Isle with Duke

The Quiet Man (1952) 1900s Innisfree, Ireland: Sean Thornton (John Wayne) an American and ex-boxer comes back to Ireland and makes his way to the town of Innisfree. Immediately the townsfolk are intrigued by this stranger. Sean is rescued at the train station by Michaleen Oge Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald), the town matchmaker who remembers the Thornton family and Sean from when he was a baby. While traveling into town Sean spots a woman with brilliant red hair. He is entranced but Michaleen tells him to ignore her. They go to see the Widow Tilane to buy the Whitermoore Cottage but run into trouble when the bully of the town Squire 'Red' Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen) also wants to buy the cottage that borders his land. The widow decides to sell to Sean and Danaher swears his revenge. Sean then finds out that the redhead is actually Danaher's fiery tempered sister Mary-Kate (Maureen O'Hara). So many obstacles stand in the way of Sean and Mary-Kate's eventual union but with a little interference from Father Lonergan (Ward Bond), Reverand Cyril Playfair (Arthur Shields), and some other members of the town Sean and Mary-Kate find that their love is strong enough to withstand all other obstacles.

John Ford is one of my favorite directors. His films are brilliantly portrayed through the acting, score, and cinematography. Mainly Ford's films tell stories that touch people. How Green Was My Valley still brings tears to my eyes. The Quiet Man has a little more humor to it. You have to appreciate living in a small town where everyone knows your business and it seems like everyone is your family. Ford loved to work with the same actors, notably Ford had a great accord with Wayne as well as Maureen O'Hara. Ward Bond, Barry Fitzgerald, Victor McLaglen, and many other actors nearly always had a role in Ford's films. Every time I watch The Quiet Man I love the brilliant color of the cinematography. Especially the moment when Wayne watches O'Hara walk through the trees onto the green with her flock of sheep. All you can think is how beautifully green it is as well as her flaming red hair. All the actors look like they are having the time of their lives. I'm a big John Wayne fan and love westerns but this is my favorite John Wayne role. Movie lovers still refer to the fight scene between Wayne and McLaglen as one of the best ever shot. It would be worth your while to also look for the film that financed The Quiet Man, Rio Grande. It's a great film too!

Get ready for an adventure!
Get ready for an adventure!

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Comments 20 comments

Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

This is one of the classic flims I've read in a while, I have bookmarked it and put it on Stumble Upon, Well written and now I'll need to see some more classic many thanks!

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

Thank you so much for your comment! Glad you enjoyed it.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

I just watched the Quiet Man not long ago. They just don't make them like that anymore. I haven't seen How Green Was My Valley for a long time and would love to see it again. I think that a lot of those old great movies made you feel sort of proud to be a human being, and have faith in humanity.

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

Hi Dolores! The Quiet Man is a wonderful film! I completely agree that after viewing Ford's films or any other classics you do feel a sense of the profound and belief that life is a beautiful thing. Thanks for commenting I look forward to more of your hubs!

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

These are outstanding films, all of which I have revisited in past few years. I'm kind of a film buff. My Netflix counter is up to 4,000. :) Thanks for the excellent reviews.

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

Films from 1940s and 50s are definitely the best. Thank God for Netflix otherwise I wouldn't know how to find all these great films! Thanks for reading the hub!

Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon

I agree with you on your last comment! Thanks for giving me a great into to these movies. I own The Quiet Man, but haven't watched it yet because I wasn't up for "the longest fist fight in movemaking history"! But that's not going to deter me now, as you've pointed out that this movie has lovely color and acting, which really appeals to me!

Okay, I'm going to ramble on your comment page a little longer to ask you more questions. :) Are you familiar with film director Frank Capra? So far I've been impressed by all I've seen of his work, as every moment, movement, subtle theme, or expression has a point, whether for some deep philosophical or moral reason, for an aesthetic pleasure, or just for the exquisite purpose of giving us something to laugh at! Somehow he manages to do it with relatively little filmscore music, too; a thing I have never liked in other movies but never detracts from Frank Capra's. I'd be interested to know what you think!

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

Hi Jane Grey! Thanks for your comments and questions. If you hadn't guessed from my review of The Quiet Man do watch it. Its one of my favorite films! I'm happy to answer any question about classic films. In regards to Frank Capra I have to say that I really haven't seen many of his films except for It's a Wonderful Life and It Happened One night. I'm not a huge Jimmy Stewart fan so that may have detered me from watching more Frank Capra films. In fact the only Jimmy Stewart film I absolutely love is The Shop Around the Corner. If you haven't seen it I definitely recommend it! But as the Capra films I have seen I do agree with your comments of Capra's unique ability to make the actors and scenes come alive on film. No film of his is simple or quaint. They all have a deeper meaning and subtlety. Anytime you want to discuss more classic films just send me a note!

Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I have been wanting to see "The Shop Around the Corner" for quite some time, and now I plan on watching "The Quiet Man" as well.

"Meet John Doe" is another I can highly recommend from Frank Capra (and it doesn't include Jimmy Stewart!). Thanks for perking my interest!

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

You're welcome! Be sure to let me know what you think of 'The Quiet Man' and I'll be sure to watch 'Meet John Doe'!

Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 6 years ago from The English Midlands

Very good films that stand the test of time!

'The Ghost and Mrs Muir' is a real favourite of mine :)

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

I absolutely agree Trish! I could watch these three films anytime. Though there is something special about The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

Errol Kane 5 years ago

Kendal, hello to you and thanks for participating and answering the question of Alexnaders Hose. You are correct, Bucephalas.

Inoticed your 3 classic movies which all three are mine as well.

I have a feeling you love history as I and the classic movies. The only reason I have cable, well satellite, for my Turner Classic Movies. Honest.

The Quite Man was a favorite of my Father and I. he passed away last year at age 85. A WWII vet.


Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 5 years ago from Northern CA Author

Thank you Errol! I appreciate your comments. History and films are truly my hobbies. I'm sure your father was a wonderful man. I'm truly grateful for every veteran. The Quiet Man is a wonderful film!

Errol Kane 5 years ago


Just getting ready to go back downstairs and finish watching 'Strike Up The Band' with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland on TCM when I heard two clicks in my AOL mailbox. It was your mail hitting my e-mail box from 'Fan' and your 'Follow. Thank you. It was also nice of you mentioning my Father. I appreciate that too.

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 5 years ago from Northern CA Author

You're welcome :)

Errol Kane 5 years ago

John Ford is one of my favorite directors as well. He guided John Wayne in 1939's 'Stage Coach' which made Wayne a star. More of my favorite directors ws Michael Curtiz and Errol Flynn collaborations though the two just could not get along and after one movie that they were filiming,it was time to call it quits. He and Flynn had a falling out and Flynnhad the death hold around his neck, almost killing Curtiz. They worked together again.

William Wyler, the renegade was another favorite of mine. Frank Capra and Raol Walsh.

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 5 years ago from Northern CA Author

John Ford will forever be one of my favorite directors. He just seemed to have a lot of spunk and knew how to tell a story. Michael Curtiz is great too because all his films are really enjoyable. Errol Flynn was definitely a rascal but for Robin Hood and Captain Blood he was the perfect actors for those roles. It's an old addage but they just don't make films like the use to....

SaffronBlossom profile image

SaffronBlossom 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

I love, love, love The Ghost and Mrs. Muir--have you read the book? It's short but so good, and I actually find the lead-up to the ending much more satisfying than the one in movie. (I saw that you love The Blue Castle, too--I think we're on the same page, book-wise!)

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 5 years ago from Northern CA Author

Thank you SaffronBlossom. No I haven't read the book, though it's on my Amazon wish list. Judging by your enthusiasm I should read it sooner than later.:) The Blue Castle is absolutely one of my favorite novels. So glad you like it too! Definitely on the same page.

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