CMBA Blogathon: My Top 5 Classic Comfort Movies!

Since springtime has finally sprung, it’s time for one of the Classic Movie Blog Association‘s famed seasonal blogathons! (I’m a member, dontcha know.) This time, the theme is “Classics for Comfort,” wherein bloggers are sharing their top 5 lists of classic movies that are guaranteed mood-lifters.

Classics for Comfort Singing in the Rain Banner 1

For me, it’s really hard to pick just 5 movies. There’s lots of classics I can watch over and over, like Sunset Boulevard or All About Eve. But are those really comfort movies? Not quite. No, these have to be the kind of movies you like to relax to after a long, exhausting day, films you know will always perk up your mood. And thus I present my top 5 list (by the way, my perpetual Favorite Movie Ever is Singin’ in the Rain, but that always gets its own pedestal, so I’ll keep it there this time):

5. Monkey Business (1931)

Monkey Business (1931)

Any Marx Brothers film will do when I’m feeling down, but Monkey Business is a go-to favorite. Some of the best comedies are beautfully simple, and there are times when my heart desires nothing more complicated than letting these four brothers loose to wreak havoc. In this case, on a ship. And classic sequences like the passport scene are darn cathartic (let’s just say I’ve worked in the customer service industry).

4. Why Change Your Wife? (1920)

Gloria Swanson в Twitter: "“I'll take this and six more! Make them ...

What better goofy escapism can there be than Cecil B. DeMille’s delightfully over-the-top society comedies? Starring Gloria Swanson (as many of his society pictures were), this is a “husband vs. wife” sort of tale with the usual misunderstandings. The husband wishes his frumpy wife would nag him less and be more of a “sweetheart” again, while the wife is scandalized by his suggestion that she wear something hot. The costumes, especially the elaborate women’s lingerie and a certain men’s bathing suit (or whatever that is), are gloriously of their time. In fact, that men’s bathing suit…ensemble…cape thingie is a mood lifter all by itself. (Oh, Theodore Kosloff.)

3. Sons of the Desert (1933)

Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase, and Stan Laurel in Sons of the Desert (1933)

Virtually anything the boys appeared in is a comfort film, but if I had to pick one of their features? Sons of the Desert never fails to crack me up.  Not only is the premise of Stan and Ollie sneaking away from their wives to attend a riotous convention funny, but I love studying how these characters interact. Particularly the early scene where Ollie’s battleax wife yells at him in front of Stan. Stan feels awkward, but not too awkwardclearly this isn’t the first fight he’s witnessed between the two! Just brilliant comedy all around.

2. The Freshman (1925)

Before the Super Bowl, stream one of the all-time great football ...

Picking just one Harold Lloyd film for this kind of post is darn difficult, because his entire career can be filed under “comfort movies.” Just the image of his glasses probably brought comfort to a lot of people back in the day. But my decision is usually The Freshman, one of those wonderful underdog tales Lloyd excelled at. How could you not laugh at that scene with the kitten? Or feel warm fuzzies when Speedy and Peggy laugh delightedly after their first kiss? Or feel a jot of happy energy when Speedy, bearing the brunt of tackle training, picks himself up and enthusiastically keeps going? Or…

1. Sherlock Jr. (1924)

Sherlock Jr. (1924) | BFI

The moment you say “Pick a comfort movie” to me, I’m going to say “But how am I supposed to pick just one Buster film?!” But after much thought and many complicated math equations on huge chalk boards, I’ve finally come up with a result: Sherlock Jr., a 45 minute masterpiece of clever hilarity. The gags of some of silent comedy’s very best, and Buster shows a perceptiveness about the nature of film and its impact on viewers that is simply ahead of its time.

If I was going making a bigger list and throw in some classic shorts, I’d add the Comique series, Keystone shorts like The Knockout (1914), Mabel’s Trysting Place (1914) or Fatty’s Plucky Pup, Harry Langdon’s Saturday Afternoon (1925), and at least one Charley Bowers short–probably Egged On (1926). As far as more recent comfort films, they would be: Hook (a fave since I was a kid), The Devil Wears Prada (I never get tired of this chick flick), Marie Antoinette (2006) (the costumes! The settings! The history! So gorgeous and fascinating!), and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (I seriously think it’s one of the best films of the 21st century).

Care to share your own list of comfort movies? Please do! The more suggestions there are, the more comfort we’ll have to go around.

40 thoughts on “CMBA Blogathon: My Top 5 Classic Comfort Movies!

  1. Sherlock Jr is fab. The gags are so funny and I’m awestruck every single time by the stunts and special effects work.

    • If anything, the age of CGI Everything makes those practical effects even more impressive. And the billiards scene amazes me every time–think of how much practice that must’ve taken!!

      • Indeed. In fact I think they look far better and more impressive than the so called amazing CGI of today.

  2. Yipee! Can I come over your house if I need some cinematic comforting? Buster, Harold AND Stan and Ollie – not to mention my darling Gloria and – oh yeah – those brothers. Your post flooded me with joy this morning!!

    • It’s hard to resist a movie with lines like, “I know it’s a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.”

  3. Fantastic choices! I’ve seen all of these films MANY times except Why Change Your Wife. Hope I can find a copy somewhere because it sounds like a winner 🙂

    • As for 5 (ok, 6) more ‘modern’ comfort films for me, I’d have to say:
      1. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
      2. The Great Race (1965)
      3. Some Like It Hot (1959)
      4. The Music Man (1962)
      5. What About Bob (1991)
      6. Man’s Favorite Sport (Rock Hudson, Paula Prentiss) 1964
      I’ve watched these over and over and they still make me LOL and feel good all over. Highly recommend the Doris Day/Rock Hudson films, and for you Beatle fans, A Hard Day’s Night is a true classic with brilliant humor and music.

  4. My List: The Cook, Coney Island, One Week, Battling Butler… oh heck, any Buster film will do! Let’s add Brats and Beau Hunks to the L & H list. For “modern” films: Singin’ In The Rain, Music Man, Who’s Minding The Mint, The Great Race, It’s a Mad… World, A Christmas Story, The Blues Brothers, It’s A Gift, The Odd Couple, Bugsy Malone (1976). Thanks for your list!!

  5. Great selections for the blogathon, even though I’m sure you could have included so many more. Sons of the Desert and Sherlock Jr. are two favorites of mine as are are their actors in general. Thanks for participating in the blogathon. Christian,

    • Thanks for stopping by, Christian! 🙂 Oh yes, I could’ve included so many more. SO. MANY. (Intolerance would make the extended list, although its function as a comfort film only makes sense to me.)

  6. Excellent selections. I’ve not seen the Marx and the Stan and Ollie one yet. I’ll have to check those out. I rewatched Why Change Your Wife? recently—one of my favorites, for sure (especially the version with that masterpiece Mont Alto score!) Yes, the Robin-Hood style swimsuit thing—still trying to figure that one out. 😀

  7. I can’t agree more about Stan and Ollie. Each and every one of those movies is a comfort movie for me, but I would suggest “Block-Heads” as a different pick.
    It cracks me up every time and I simply love the logistics behind them walking up and down the stairs, getting in all sorts of trouble. So simple, so elegant, so incredibly funny. My all-time favourite. 🙂

  8. My favorite comedians are Laurel and Hardy and Sons of the Desert has a guaranteed chuckle or guffaw in every minute. The ending, where Stan saunters out the door of Ollie’s apartment singing a catchy little tune and then catches a flying pan on the noggin from the off-screen Ollie never ever fails to leave me bent-double with laughter.

    And, since you mention the 1952 Singin’ In The Rain, I’ll mention one of my top-10 favorites, the 1950 Cinderella from Disney. It has everything: romance, happy songs, helpful mice, mean cat, good triumphing over evil, and so much more,

    Why Change Your Wife – and many other movies on dvd – are available through your library via Interlibrary Loan. I go this route before buying.

    • A few more I watch to put me in a feel-good mood are: The Constance Talmadge-Ronald Colman silents – Her Sister From Paris and Her Night of Romance. And closer to our era – GROUNDHOG DAY!

  9. Pingback: Comfort Movies – The Thoughts of One Truly Loved

  10. Why Change Your Wife? is the only one from the list I haven’t watched. All the others are delightful comfort movies, in special Sherlock Jr and Sons of the Desert. My favorite Marx Brothers movie is Horse Feathers, but watching Duck Soup is also a great way to cheer me up.

  11. Thanks for including Why Change Your Wife? on your list. I first heard about it when I read Gloria Swanson’s memoirs a couple of years ago, but forgot about it. Now that I’ve read your fab comfort selections, I found a copy on YouTube and bookmarked it. I know it will become a new favourite.

  12. Just watched my first Marx brothers movie, and am so excited to see the rest! Why Change Your Wife? sounds like a lot of fun. I agree with you about Buster–you just can’t stop smiling during those.

  13. Pingback: Thoughts On: “Why Change Your Wife?” (1920) | Silent-ology

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