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In Celebration of America’s Birthday today, July 4, 2012, I am sharing some of my favorite Classic Movie quotes about America and Americans!  

Here goes…

…..

James Stewart in Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Frank Capra

You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading The Land of the Free in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I’m free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn’t, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that.

 –James Stewart as Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, director)

…..

Gary Cooper in Mr Deeds Goes To Town, Frank Capra

Oh I see a small Ohio farm boy becoming a great soldier. I see thousands of marching men. I see General Lee with a broken heart surrendering. And I can see the beginning of a new nation, like Abraham Lincoln said. And I can see that Ohio boy being inaugurated as President. Things like that can only happen in a country like America.

Gary Cooper as Longfellow Deeds in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Frank Capra, director)

…..

Chico Marx and Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera, Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding

How we happen to come to America is a great story, but I no tell that.

Chico Marx as Fiorello in A Night at the Opera (directors Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding/uncredited)

(pictured with Groucho Marx)

…..

Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, Elia Kazan, Tennessee Williams

What I am is 100% American. I’m born & raised in the greatest country on this earth & I’m proud of it. -Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire

Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan, director)

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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and Mari Blanchard in Abbott and Costello Go To Mars, Charles Lamont

I hereby claim Mars in the name of the United States of America.

Bud Abbott as Lester in Abbott and Costello Go To Mars (Charles Lamont, director)

(pictured with Lou Costello and Mari Blanchard)

…..

Burt Ward and Adam West as Batman in Robin in Batman the movie 1966, Leslie H. Martinson

Underneath this garb, we’re perfectly ordinary Americans.

Burt Ward as Robin in Batman (1966; Leslie H. Martinson, director)

(pictured with Adam West)

…..

Hugh Griffith, How to Steal a Million, William Wyler

 American millionaires must be all quite mad. Perhaps it’s something they put in the ink when they print the money.

Hugh Griffith as Charles Bonnet in How to Steal a Million (William Wyler, director)

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Cary Grant, I Was a Male War Bride, Howard Hawks

If the American army says I can be my wife, who am I to dispute them?

Cary Grant (as Capt. Henri Rochard) in I Was a Male War Bride (Howard Hawks, director)

…..

Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, H.C. Potter

Every time you get tight you weep on my shoulder about the advertising business — how it forces a sensitive soul like yourself to make a living by bamboozling the American public. Well, I would say that a small part of that victimized group has now redressed the balance.

Melvyn Douglas as Bill Cole in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (H.C. Potter, director)

(pictured with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy)

…..

 Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady, George Cukor

There even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven’t used it for years.

Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (George Cukor, director)

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Walter Matthau, The Odd Couple, Gene Saks

He’s got 92 credit cards in his wallet. The minute something happens to him, America lights up.

Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple (Gene Saks, director)

…..

America, Rita Moreno, West Side Story, Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

I like to be in America, OK by me in America, everything free in America…

Rita Moreno (as Anita) and the Girls in West Side Story (directors, Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise)

…..

Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

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Known more for her work on the stage than on the big screen, Elaine Stritch was born February 2, 1925 to Mildred and George Stritch in Detroit, Michigan. Born into a wealthy family, Stritch had the opportunity to pursue her dream of acting and train at the Dramatic Workship of The New School in New York City. Several other students of the prestigious Dramatic Workshop were Bea Arthur, Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Rod Steiger, and Tennessee Williams.

Stritch made her stage debut in 1944, and in three short years was able to make her Broadway debut in the play Loco. 1947 would also mark her appearance in two other plays, Made in Heaven and the revue Angel in the Wings. As the years went on, her roles began to get bigger and better. While she was an understudy to Ethel Merman in Call Me Madam, she appeared in the revival of Pal Joey (1952). She would then star in the national tour of Call Me Madam, and was given a supporting role in the original production of William Inge’s Bus Stop.

It was in 1961, when Stritch starred in Noël Coward’s Sail Away, that she was “promoted over the title and given virtually all the best songs when it was reckoned that the leading lady … although excellent, was rather too operatic for a musical comedy.”(1) Throughout her time on the stage, Stritch became known as the singer with the brassy, powerful singing voice — and it wasn’t long before she became the toast of both Broadway and London’s West End.

When talking about Elaine Stritch, it’s essential to talk about her role in the British comedy series Two’s Company alongside Donald Sinden. Stritch played the role of Dorothy McNab, an American writer who lives in London and is famous for her sensationalist thriller novels. Sinder played the role of Robert, Dorothy’s English butler who disapproved of just about everything Dorothy did. The series thrived on the culture clash between these two characters. The show lasted from 1975 to 1979, and in total was nominated for four Britich Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA): 1977 for Best Comedy, 1979 for Best Comedy, Best Graphics (for the opening credits sequence) and Best Light Entertainment Performance for the two stars, Stritch and Sinden.

Stritch never appeared in many films, but when she did make an appearance, she always seemed to be a small, but integral part, of a very strong cast. Early on in her career, she appeared in the 1956 film Three Violent People, which starred Charlton Heston and Anne Baxter. She then co-starred with Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones in the David O. Selznick remake of A Farewell to Arms. A year later, she appeared in The Perfect Furlough co-starring with Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. But her best performance, in my opinion, was in the film Providence, directed by French filmmaker Alain Resnais.

(1) Source: http://books.google.com/books?id=iQyQNfaIKXwC&pg=PA126&dq=Coward+%22Sail+Away%22&hl=en#v=onepage&q=Coward%20%22Sail%20Away%22&f=false

Josh Kaye for Classic Movie Hub

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2. On the Waterfront (1954)

Other Nominated Films:
The Canine Mutiny, The Country Girl, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Three Coins in the Fountain

This isn’t the first Elia Kazan film to make an appearance on this list: Gentleman’s Agreement won Best Picture in 1948 (#26 on the list). When talking about directors, I’ve primarily focused on the films they released and the impact those films had on audiences. While Kazan captivated audiences with his work behind the camera, he may be best known for the people that he put in front of the camera.  Kazan helped introduce many new and exciting actors to movie audiences including Marlon Brando, James Dean, Warren Beatty, Julie Harris, Andy Griffith, Eli Wallach and Eva Marie Saint. Always striving for cinematic realism, he was able to evoke incredible dramatic performances from his actors, directing them to 21 Oscar nominations and nine Oscar wins. But, let us move onwards! Actually, I lied. Before we move onwards, I just want to say that On the Waterfront is one of Marlon Brando’s earliest roles, and Eva Marie Saint’s very first film. Okay. Now let’s move onwards. It’s important to note that On the Waterfront is based on a number of true stories and is filmed on location around the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey.  On the Waterfront begins with Terry Molloy (Brando) luring fellow dockworker Joey Doyle (Ben Wagner) into an ambush so that he cannot testify against union boss, Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), to the Waterfront Crime Commission.  Although Terry believes that Joey will simply be intimidated into not testifying, Joey is killed instead.  Everyone knows that he was murdered on orders from Friendly but no-one is willing to talk; instead they all play “D and D” (deaf and dumb). Terry is angry about being used as a tool in Joey’s death, but he too remains silent.   However things begin to change when Terry meets Joey’s sister, Edie (Saint). Edie’s is angry and upset about her brother’s death, and she tries to shame “waterfront priest” Father Barry (Karl Malden) into action.  Soon both Edie and Father Barry are urging Terry to testify against Friendly. This is where I’ll stop since if I go on…well…things would be ruined. I wouldn’t want to do that to you all.  On the Waterfront was one of the first films I watched when compiling my list, and I knew right away that it would end up ranking high on my list. Brando gives one of the best performances I’ve ever seen and Eva Marie Saint matches Brando scene for scene. Throughout my life, I’ve heard the line “I coulda been a contender” numerous times but never knew where it originated from. When I saw Brando say it …I was blown away. I never expected that line to pack such a punch in the gut, but it did. The line is so iconic that it was voted the #3 top movie quote in the American Film Institute’s Top 100, and the film itself was voted the #8 movie of all time. On the Waterfront provided producer Sam Spiegel his first win for Best Picture and Elia Kazan’s second win for Best Director.

 

Nominated for 12 Oscars, Winner of 8
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Marlon Brando (WON)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Eva Marie Saint (WON)
Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Black-and-White – Richard Day (WON)
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White – Boris Kaufman (WON)
Best Director – Elia Kazan (WON)
Best Film Editing – Gene Milford (WON)
Best Picture – Sam Spiegel (WON)
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Budd Schulberg (WON)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Lee J. Cobb
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Karl Malden
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Rod Steiger
Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture – Leonard Bernstein

Terry: You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.

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