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A black and white, and sometimes Technicolor, summer

By Elizabeth Reid

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, July 24 2014 1:30 p.m. MDT

"Gone With the Wind"

Deseret News archives

The summer movie season of 2014 is making headlines for its lack of blockbuster successes. But that doesn’t mean movie-lovers have nothing to watch.

Following is a list of awesome movies that, while they may be decades old, have neither lost their appeal nor cinematic greatness. Each of the eight movies listed was either nominated for or won an Oscar.

'Cleopatra'

Using sumptuous 1930s sets, this movie shows how both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony were led to their dooms by the notorious Cleopatra. Many people have seen the color 1963 Elizabeth Taylor production of Cleopatra. However, after seeing this classic black and white version, made almost 30 years earlier, it is obvious which rendition is the truly great one.

This film stars Claudette Colbert, Warren William and Henry Wilcoxon. While only an hour and a half, this 1934 movie deserved its Oscar for Best Cinematography. A note should be made that while many classic movies are family-friendly, there are a few eyebrow-raising scenes in this film, as it was not yet subject to the Hays Code. This movie can be seen via Netflix DVD.

'Marie Antoinette'

We all know how the career of the infamous Marie Antoinette ended. But watching events unfold, even though this film is not entirely historically accurate, is a wonderful experience. Cast into a loveless marriage with the future king of France, Marie stands strong against the politics of the court. Craving companionship, she secretly takes a lover but then has to cast him aside in favor of ruling over the people of France.

Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power and Robert Morley star in this 1938 black and white film. At two and a half hours, it was nominated for four Oscars and can be seen Aug. 24 at 11:15 a.m. MDT on TCM. It can also be found through Netflix DVD, Amazon Instant Video and iTunes.

'Gone with the Wind'

The ultimate classic film, this Technicolor great is a must-see. Scarlett O’Hara is a spoiled Southern belle who finds her comfortable world side-tracked by the onset of the Civil War. With only her selfishness and wits keeping her alive, she bounces from husband to husband all while harboring a secret love for a married man.

Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and Olivia de Havilland star in this movie masterpiece from 1939. An entire night will need to be carved out to see this winner of eight Academy Awards in its duration of nearly four hours. This Technicolor movie will be shown Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. MDT on TCM. It can also be viewed any time via Netflix DVD, Google play, Amazon Instant Video or iTunes.

'The Magnificent Ambersons'

Telling the tragic tale of a family’s demise, this movie shows the decades of a town’s life. Poor Eugene, in love with the beautiful, rich Isabel, leaves town after she chooses someone else. As the years pass, their fortunes change. When the wealthy Eugene returns and finds that his previous sweetheart, now a widow, still holds his affection, he hopes happiness is just around the corner. What he isn’t ready for is the never-ending sabotage set forth by Isabel’s spoiled son.

Nominated for four Oscars and staring Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello and Tim Holt, this black and white 1942 movie can be comfortably watched in less than 90 minutes on Aug. 29 at 3 p.m. MDT on TCM. It can also be seen using Netflix DVD and iTunes.

'Duel in the Sun'

After her father is put to death for killing her mother, Pearl is sent to live with her father’s former girlfriend. As she struggles to fit in with their complicated family, she finds herself drawn to both sons for different reasons. Although she tries to act like a gentle lady, she finds that her hot blood and the Wild West bring out her more carnal nature. Soon her presence tears the family apart and brings unhappiness to everyone concerned.

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