With “The Artist” sweeping the award season and a snowstorm on the horizon, we at ArtsEtc. have got your weekend covered with a list of our 10 favorite black and white films.
1. “The Seven Year Itch” (1955)
Though the film featured the scene that sparked a thousand blown-up skirts, few have seen more than that iconic moment. Those who carve out 105 minutes will catch Marilyn Monroe at her sexiest as the tempting neighbor of married Richard Sherman, played by Tom Ewell.
2. “Sin City” (2005)
This modern black and white film featured another screen siren, Jessica Alba, along with such greats as Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Elijah Wood and Brittany Murphy. Based on Frank Miller’s graphic novels, the film packs an action and cartoon blood-filled punch.
3. “Casablanca” (1942)
The desert, the drinks, the dreamy-yet-depressing famous line. If you like swelling music or dream of a man like Humphrey Bogart or a beauty like Ingrid Bergman, this film is for you.
4. “Memento” (2000)
Though the partially-color film barely makes it on our black and white list, the Christopher Nolan psychological thriller is too good to pass up and just may change your outlook on tattoos. If you can follow the storyline, you, unlike Leonard, will never forget Sammy Jankis.
5. “Citizen Kane” (1941)
Orson Welles’ controversial depiction of a fallen newspaper tycoon’s death (and later, life) has been voted the greatest film of all time. With mystery, drama, sweeping cinematography and un-ironic utterances of the word “Xanadu,” the film is an excellent way to spend a snowy Saturday night. Or at least pregame.
6. “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005)
An inside look at the quest to bring down Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, the George Clooney-directed film follows a matter-of-fact journalist intent on dispelling the Red Scare. A good in-between film for those not taken by romance or drawn to thrillers.
7. “King Kong (1933)
While there is no CGI, no Naomi Watts and the film has less than $1 million budget, the original “King Kong” is more than deserving of a viewing. While the nearly 80-year-old film looks and sounds like a nearly 80-year-old film, the overdone acting and amazing helicopter scene provide at the very least a few laughs for a modern audience.
8. “Pi” (1998)
Though the story of a paranoid genius mathematician may not be everyone’s first pick for a fun movie night, Darren Aronofsky’s film is a must for anyone who claimed to like his “Requiem for a Dream” or “Black Swan.” The film may leave you slightly unsettled or at the very least nervous about visiting Chinatown, but for those that like food for thought, “Pi” delivers.
9. “Duck Soup” (1933)
If you find today’s political circus ludicrous, Groucho Marx’s portrayal of a politician named president of a bankrupt country will give you something to not feel depressed about laughing at. You won’t find the potty humor that graces today’s comedies, but the slapstick and witticism of the Marx Brothers give even the most reluctant viewer something to guffaw at.
10. “Dr. Strangelove” (1964)
This film, officially entitled “Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” is a military comedy-drama by the famed director Stanley Kubrick. If you liked his “The Shining” or “A Clockwork Orange,” well, the films are nothing alike, but watching General Jack D. Ripper confound military men on both sides of the Atlantic makes “Dr. Strangelove” a worthy pick.