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By: Sarah Louise Lilley, TCM Classic Film Tour Guide

TCM Tour Guides with Robert Osborne[/caption]

The TCM Classic Film Tour of NYC is celebrating its one year anniversary!  As a TCM Classic Film Tour Guide, I’m so proud to collaborate with the preeminent leader in the curation and presentation of classic film.  I love TCM’s commitment to showing films as the director intended – uncut, unedited and commercial free.  Choosing my favorite films from the 100+ films we cover on the tour, I equate to choosing a favorite child – impossible!  However after much agonizing here are ten of my favorites:

In chronological order:

1. Mounted Police Charge – 1896.

On May 11 1896, NYC’s first-ever motion picture documented life in Herald Square. The American Film Industry started in NYC, and watching the actual films from the early days of filmmaking is fascinating.  As Robert Osborne says in his video intro to the tour, you really see “how the history of NYC and the history of the movies are so intertwined.”

2. My Man Godfrey – 1936.

A classic screwball comedy.  The real-life divorced couple of William Powell and Carole Lombard have great chemistry. I also love Mischa Auer as Carlo, who is always sighing in the corner and does a hysterical monkey impression!

3. The Shop Around the Corner – 1940.

Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.  My favorite scene is Jimmy Stewart slowly reading his letter of reference after he gets fired – so sad!  Inspired by the Hungarian play Parfumerie, which also inspired the Judy Garland musical In the Good Old Summertime and the more recent classic You’ve got Mail.  (Some have implied that Stewart’s unrequited love for Margaret Sullavan is what kept him a bachelor for so long.)

4. The Naked City – 1948.

Attributed to bringing shooting back to NYC! Amazing footage, shot in 107 locations with a lot of hidden camera work.  It is a fantastic artifact of post-war NYC.  It inspired the docu-drama style, films like Kiss of Death and Call Northside 777, and won Oscars for cinematography and editing.

5. How to Marry A Millionaire – 1953.

A charming film.  Lauren Bacall’s first comedy and it took her career in a whole new direction.  My favorite scene is Marilyn Monroe and David Wayne on the plane, where he finally persuades her to wear her glasses and declares her “quite a strudel.”

6. North by Northwest – 1959.

Hitchcock at his best.  A great script, an everyman (Cary Grant), a mysterious blonde (Eve Marie Saint), lots of intrigue and a stunning seven-minute dialogue-free cornfield chase scene.

7. The Apartment  – 1960.

Classic Jack Lemmon.  Classic Billy Wilder. A category-breaking blend of romance, comedy (straining his pasta with his tennis racquet), drama (the suicide attempt), and commentary on corporate America.  By 1960 The Production Code was beginning to lose its grip, and the numerous playboys having extra marital affairs was pretty scandalous for the time. I also love the typical, unsentimental Wilder last line, “Shut up and Deal.”.

8. The World of Henry Orient – 1964

Central Park is synonymous with NYC and is the City’s most filmed location.  I love the early sequence of the girls charging through the park in The World of Henry Orient.

Such a playful film, it captures the joy of youth so well, and I love the exuberant score by Elmer Bernstein.  Angela Lansbury has a supporting role too as another mother you love to hate!

9. Cactus Flower – 1969.

A fun and quirky film.  In her first movie role, Goldie Hawn won the Oscar for best supporting actress.  Ingrid Bergman, in a rare comic turn, also stars as the mousy secretary who finally blooms – and lets her hair down in an awesome ‘60s dance scene!

10. Marathon Man – 1976.

A fantastic thriller with amazing performances! The classically trained Laurence Olivier and the Method based Dustin Hoffman sometimes had conflicts.  After Hoffman said he had been up for two days to get into the part, Olivier responded “My dear boy you look awful, why don’t you try acting.” Also known as the film that put a lot of people off going to the dentist!  The torture scene was originally meant to be a lot longer but it made the test audience nauseous, so it was shortened. The first theatrically released film to shoot with Steadicam too.

What are your favorite Classic NYC Films?  I’d love to hear. Connect with me on my website or on Twitter.

And if you haven’t already – Come take the TCM Classic Film Tour of NYC!

Sarah Louise Lilley
Actor and TCM Classic Film Tour Guide