The African Queen (1951) has Humphrey Bogart floating down an African river in an old steamer boat with Katharine Hepburn after her church in the middle of the jungle is burned down by some classic Evil Germans. She’s a good and proper Christian lady and he’s a drunk, but their trials and tribulations bring them closer together. Although it’s a classic that may not be great, “The African Queen” is easy entertainment. You can put it on and not worry about the plot and just enjoy the company of Bogart and Hepburn. My only complaint is the colour. It’s wrong to view any movie with Humphrey Bogart in colour. Turning the colour setting to zero on our TV transforms the movie from kind of ugly, really, to a classic black and white. I don’t think I could have watched it in colour.
Waking Ned Devine (aka “Waking Ned”) is not a Xmas Classic, but it holds up well to a yearly viewing much better than, say, something like “A Wonderful Life” (which I still haven’t been able to watch straight through). Anyway, the movie is blatantly feel-good, but it’s Irish, and like most things Irish, it’s got intelligence and charm. And I admit it actually has some unexpected touching moments if you’re in the right mood for it, and it manages it without being maudlin or manipulative, and then it moves right on to having fun. The story is about an old guy, Ned Devine, who wins the lottery but dies from the shock of it. Subsequently, a plan to split the winnings with all 52 people in the village is set in motion — and there’s your movie. It’s a good one.