Movie Marathons

Rested up?

Ready for some serious movie watching?

Perhaps at the outset of this year, you’re feeling frosty enough to curl up and commit to a Movie Marathon. With the recent completion of the eight-part Harry Potter film franchise fresh in everyone’s minds—at least for fans, it ought to be, as Warner Bros. saw fit to announce the imminent pull of the entire series off the shelves, to be discontinued Disney-style for a time—it’s easy to picture the fun of sitting down for the entire run of a popular movie franchise and follow a great character or story through a long and entertaining arc of action.

For the sake of this discussion, the term “Movie Marathon” will refer to the viewing of any film series consisting of four or more installments. Why set the bar at four, when the greatest trilogies can be so darned fun to watch back-to-back? I say we leave trilogies aside in this discussion of movie marathons since the commitment to three films feels not so much like a marathon than, say, a sprint.

So: no explorations here of whether or not we will be gearing up to watch the three Smokey and the Bandits or the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films. This restriction likewise eliminates your Beverly Hills Cops, your Godfathers, your Conans, your Matrix (Matrices?), Jurassic Parks, Back to the Futures, and Man With No Name films.

Yes, definitely. Trilogies excluded: they’re just too easy. Unless, of course, we’re talking about wall-to-wall viewings of The Lord of the Rings Extended Editions, which would require, what?—about a month to view? I will also unilaterally (if reluctantly) exclude the George A. Romero zombie films, as there is not much in the way of any continuity of time, place, cast, nor story from film to film. But, since we’re on the subject of horror, let’s quickly indulge the common jones for a monster movie marathon right up front with our first Movie Marathon Showdown:

The Universal Monsters
Frankenstein vs. The Mummy

Very little in the way of a contest here. The discerning viewer will get the most out of their movie marathon if they strap themselves to a steel table and hook up their electrodes to receive jolts aplenty from the classic Universal Studios series showcasing the misadventures of the Frankenstein Monster and his various creator(s). Beginning with the first two bona-fide classics from 1931 and 1935, this series delivers many delightful moments and variations on the story, from the monster learning to speak (in Bride) to his special relationship with Bela Lugosi‘s Ygor (in Son and Ghost), to the variety of dramatic interpretations delivered by the stars who played the Monster (Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr.,  Lugosi). As for the exploits of everyone’s favorite slumbering Egyptian, there is exactly and only one truly classic film in that series—the 1932 Karloff. How many of you out there can honestly recall the differences between The Mummy’s Hand, Tomb, Curse, and Ghost? We can at least distinguish Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy by the comedy team that officially ground the franchise into dust.

Dracula and Creature from the Black Lagoon managed only two sequels in this era; it’s tough to classify The Invisible Man Returns, despite the promising title, as any sort of genuine continuation of the magnificent James Whale original; more accurate to have called it The Invisible Man’s Serum Returns. The “House of…” monster mashes are sort of their own thing, but you could easily add them to any marathon involving your favorite classic monster.

So, for the perfect Universal Monster Movie Marathon, go with: Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (which I will conveniently label here as a Frankenstein, rather than a Wolf Man, film, though you could successfully argue me out of that).

 On Safari with (Which?) Tarzan

I am already on record as favoring Gordon Scott ‘s distinguished run as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ apeman, choosing the top-drawer jungle action epic Tarzan the Magnificent as one of my Desert Island Movies. I wouldn’t say, however, that Scott has the highest number of quality films in the series. Tarzan fans have many choices when it comes to picking a vine-swinging movie marathon, since the logical way to break down the series is to enjoy the run of a single actor in the role. Lincoln? Barker? Henry?

Sometimes it’s just impossible to avoid the necessary choice, no matter how dully traditional: I’m going to have to go with the Johnny Weissmuller films. Not only do we see the relationship between Weissmuller’s Tarzan and Maureen O’Sullivan‘s (very best) Jane flower and mature over the course of six films, but we can enjoy watching adopted son Boy literally grow up (long before Harry Potter did) onscreen. While Johnny’s monosyllabic performances were the absolute antithesis of the literary Tarzan, the spirit of the Weissmuller pictures probably comes closest to capturing the rough-edged blend of romance and action favored by the novels.

You may split this into O’Sullivan and post-O’Sullivan films should you like, but the movies in this Tarzan Movie Marathon include: Tarzan the Ape Man, Tarzan and His Mate, Tarzan Escapes, Tarzan Finds a Son!, Tarzan’s Secret Treasure, Tarzan’s New York Adventure, Tarzan Triumphs, Tarzan’s Desert Mystery, Tarzan and the Amazons, Tarzan and the Leopard Woman, Tarzan and the Huntress, Tarzan and the Mermaids.

 No Mystery Here: Mr. Wong vs. The Thin Man

I get the strangest feeling we may have mentioned the Thin Man series of films on this blog more than any other set of movies, excepting perhaps a certain British secret agent we’ll get to momentarily. My evidence? Well, there’s this. And this. And this. But, what other choice do we really have if we’ve got a mystery itch we want to scratch by way of a franchise movie marathon? There’s always the B-grade fun of watching Karloff the Uncanny work his way through the Mr. Wong series (which I absolutely have enjoyed in the past), but those films, on the whole, are a little too slapped together to come out on top.

Many might prefer the cycle of Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone, but I frankly lose a lot of interest once he starts fighting the Nazis. Charlie Chan is fun, but I’m sticking with Powell and Loy for this marathon. The case has been made for this series by others extensively elsewhere (so follow those links up there), so let’s just give the six-film series its well-deserved nod once more and move on.

Enjoy this Mystery Movie Marathon by savoring: The Thin Man, After the Thin Man, Another Thin Man, Shadow of the Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home, and Song of the Thin Man.

Family Affairs: Blondie Films vs. Ma and Pa Kettle

I used to watch the Blondie films a lot…when I was 10. They had that same screwy charm that I liked about the TV series Dennis the Menace. As of right now, they all sort of blend together in my mind.

This past Christmas, I put together an Ozarks-themed set of presents for a friend of mine that included not only the Ma and Pa Kettle films, but a book about the Bald Knobbers, a CD of authentic Ozarks music, and the recent thriller Winter’s Bone. So, by virtue of that and that alone, I say: head to the Ozarks!

And hurry up, ‘cause you’ve got 10 pictures to watch in this Movie Marathon: The Egg and I, Ma and Pa Kettle, Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town, Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm, Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair, Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation, Ma and Pa Kettle at Home, Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki, The Kettles in the Ozarks, and The Kettles on Old MacDonald’s Farm.

 Hammer’s House of Horrors: Dracula vs. Frankenstein

I tend to favor Dracula films over Frankenstein pictures (who knows why, I suppose there’s a worthy psychoanalysis to be done on that sort of preference), so while I didn’t hesitate to recommend the Frankenstein Monster sagas of the Universal era, I’m doubly pleased now to say that, when it comes to the gory glories of the Hammer Films era, it’s the Count who emerges as the better candidate for a movie marathon in my eyes. Yes, Curse of Frankenstein has few equals, and The Satanic Rites of Dracula…well, sucks. Even as I write these words, I’m second-guessing myself and thinking well, but the Frankenstein pictures are more throught-provoking and interesting script-wise, aren’t they…? The hell with it. Go with the Christopher Lee Dracula films and soak up their bloody good thrills.

Your Dracula Movie Marathon includes: Horror of Dracula, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Scars of Dracula, Dracula A.D. 1972, and The Satanic Rites of Dracula.

Bond, James Bond

Here’s where I would normally insert much yatta-yatta of a James Bondian nature, but I’ve “had my six”  about 007 from my long-range project awarding superlatives to the Connery films, the Lazenby picture, the Moore era, the Dalton flicks, the Brosnan movies, and the Daniel Craig reboot.

Like the Tarzan series, it’s really a matter of choosing which actor’s run you wish to celebrate with your marathon. If you pressed me to make this Movie Marathon choice (in spite of my conclusion that “Nobody Does Bond Better”), I’d have to go with Moore.

Because he made…well, more.

Crime and Punishment: Dirty Harry, Death Wish, or Lethal Weapon?

It’s very tempting for me to talk up the virtues of the sleazy and violent Charles Bronson series, but that’s only because I haven’t enjoyed a good run of Bronson pictures for quite some time.

That will be rectified soon, but no one with good conscience can place the Death Wish movies at the top of a marathon list; they are simply too repetitive, with the exception of the startlingly odd and unintentionally hilarious Death Wish 3.

The Gibson-Glover franchise is a fun mix of explosive mayhem and goofy humor, but when it comes to shoot-‘em-ups, I’m just wild about Dirty Harry. The Eastwood series has the best in bad guys (or girls, as the case may be), unforgettable one-liners in every installment (“Do you feel lucky?,” “A man’s got to know his limitations,” “Marvelous,” “Go ahead, make my day,” and…well, ok, “That’s not gonna happen” is not quite so unforgettable) and while The Dead Pool was a little too limp to close out the franchise, each of the films has its own unique identity.

When you feel lucky, cue up Cold, Bold, Callahan and his Great Big ’44: Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact, and The Dead Pool.

 Wars vs. Trek

Now we’re really going to get into sensitive territory, but the truth—to paraphrase what they say in The X-Files—is just simply out there: There are exactly two great movies out of six in the Star Wars franchise, so if you want to host a more successful movie marathon, you’re going to choose to beam down the six “Original Cast” films of the Star Trek series. No doubt the whole Star Wars-versus-Trek is a topic that could be (and has been) the source of all sorts of clamorous (and, let’s be candid, now somewhat tedious) debates. Once exposed to all of these films, people do tend to fall on one side or the other even when liking both. For the purposes of our prospective Movie Marathon, I’m casting my lot with the Trekkers.

Blast off with: Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Indiana Jones or Rambo?

Admittedly, it’s an odd pairing. Who in their right mind would set these franchises against each other? It’s not quite as crazy as you might initially think. Both series originated in the early 1980s (Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, followed closely by First Blood in 1982) and first “ended” as trilogies, only to be revived with fourth chapters many argued had arrived far past their sell-by date. This one is tougher for me to call than I guess it would be for most of you. I never got around to seeing Rambo III, but I love the hell out of the über-violent Rambo. Like every other person with a heartbeat on Earth, I left the theater feeling cruelly deflated after Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Both series persist in threatening (and yes, that is now the right word for it) to return with fifth installments.

What to do? Do you go with the devil you know or the devil you don’t? Which is more grievous—the risk of a disappointment from Stallone (if that third one isn’t as enjoyably ass-kicking as the second), or reviving the experience of feeling let down by Steven Spielberg? Oh, who are we kidding here?

It’s Indy, by a nose. For this Manly Movie Marathon, cue up: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and yes, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

 Superhero Sagas: Superman I-IV vs. the Burton-to-Schumacher Batmen

Both the Superman and Batman franchises of the ‘70s-‘90s feature middling third chapters and both end in maddening (or heartbreaking) train wrecks, but if we’re sticking to the gotta-go-with-four-or-more rule, these are the only two series that make our cut. I discount that whole Marvel Universe-to-The Avengers setup, as fun as it will eventually be to have that as its own marathon, mainly because each of those movies has already (or will) spawn its own set of sequels.

Oh, this is a tough one. Superman made my Desert Island list. But, ouch, there’s Richard Pryor truly out of place in the third film…and then, there’s the sad spectacle of the Cannon Films budget that made the fourth a low-rent closer. Yes, I am no fan of nipples on the Batsuit, and Batman & Robin is a painful movie experience by almost any measure. But wait: Joel Schumacher did actually apologize for it, which is more than we ever got from Sidney J. Furie, right? And George Clooney has demonstrated such a good sense of humor about his trip to the Batcave that this choice now seems a little easier to make. The Batman Movie Marathon comes out on top because it takes you on a most unusual journey of style, from the hipster Goth of Tim Burton to the fluorescent camp of Schumacher and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Dark Knight Triumphant: Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin.

Modern Horrors: Planet of the Apes or Alien?

What, you say? A heading of “modern horrors” without setting up a potential marathon of either the “original” eight Halloween or Friday the 13th films? I see, Saw fans; we may be due for yet another Jigsaw-related opus even after the seventh (3D) outing. If I’d just waited a little longer, we could be talking about four Paranormal Activity films instead of three.

And, I can hear kaiju junkies shrieking already: What about Godzilla, for cryin’ out loud? Now there’s a horror Movie Marathon. Well, sure. I know at least one person who would be ready for that festival right now: bow to his great love of Godzilla right here.

I close out with this category and these particular choices because both of these series are recently relevant again. The Apes franchise has now twice been rebooted. The second time was the charm, with Rise of the Planet of the Apes paying just the right amount of tribute to the old Apes classics while successfully looking forward to its own series potential.

But now, there’s Ridley Scott‘s upcoming film Prometheus. It’s been a hot topic of conversation just how much this film does or does not relate to Alien, with Scott being quite cagey about it. I’m not sure there’s so much mystery about that anymore. Watch:

Hm. Looks like Alien to me. A lot. And, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing. So this choice is easy. It’s time to do your homework and revisit the Alien quadrilogy in preparation for this very exciting-looking space opera, which appears to be expanding upon matters just hinted at by Scott’s 1979 shocker.

Hurry up and complete this Movie Marathon before June 8, when Prometheus opens nationwide: Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection.

I know, I know. I write this from Philadelphia, and there has been no mention of the Rocky franchise as a worthy Movie Marathon candidate. All I can say in my defense is that the continued existence of Rocky IV makes the act of viewing this otherwise entertaining series in its entirety impossible. So the Rockython will have to wait for an appropriate mention until the completion of the article Movie Marathons Where You Not Only May, But MUST Exclude One Movie In Order To Survive.

  • Larry

    You left out one marathon that is included in my growing collection of movie marathons. Believe it or not, Alice in Wonderland has an amazing number of issues from cartoon to adult versions. These are not necessarily sequels, but different versions of the same story. They are done with quite a different group of movie stars which should make the marathon interesting.

  • George D. Allen

    That type of Movie Marathon is an interesting variation, but as you point out, it’s a horse of an entirely different color. In your “Alice…” marathon I’d be sure to include the Svankmajer and exclude the Burton.

    Taking your approach, you could have any number of entertaining Shakespeare marathons — I think I’d go with “Richard III,” so as to include everything from the early silent (!) to the traditional Olivier, to the innovative Ian McKellen, to the Pacino quasi-doc, quasi-adaptation “Looking for Richard.”

  • Allen Hefner

    I think that Young Frankenstein is a worthy addition to your F’stein marathon. It was filmed on the same set as the 1931 F’stein, Bride and Son, and it carries on the story with a new relative trying his hand at reanimation. It would also add a bit of humour after a long night of horror.

    Now, what is your snack of choice during these marathons?

  • George D. Allen

    Allen, excellent addition of YF! :)

    To paraphrase “Seinfeld,” ’tis the salty snacks I crave.

  • masterofoneinchpunch

    Police Story (1985), Police Story Part II (1988), Police Story III Super Cop (1992), First Strike (1996) with optional Project S (1993) which splits off the Michelle Yeoh character as the lead and a cameo by Jackie Chan. Oh yes, I had to go there. While the stories become a bit weaker as the series goes on (and Maggie Cheung disappears), there is no shortage of action in one of my favorite series from HK.

    A secondary mention goes to Aces Go Places, but that series unfortunately gets a little long in the tooth by the fifth film. But we always need more Karl Maka.

    Has anyone seen all the Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) films? That would make an insane marathon. After that you would probably attack everything with an underhanded stick attack while flittering your eyelids.

  • George D. Allen

    MOIIP, inspired pick of the “Police Story” saga! :) I had completely forgotten that Chan plays the same character in those films. I cannot get enough of the original, that stuntwork remains unmatched. It was my entry into Jackie Chan, as I recall–and not long after I’d seen him for the first time (on tape, on someone’s recommendation), I went to see “Rumble in the Bronx” when it came out in the theater.

  • masterofoneinchpunch

    I feel number two and three of the Police Story series are quite a bit underrated as well.

    A French series that is quite good is Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel cycle with The 400 Blows (1959), Antoine and Colette (1962), Stolen Kisses (1968), Bed & Board (1970) and Love on the Run (1979). The first film (400 Blows) in the cycle is often considered one of the best French New Wave films, but the rest of the series is still quite good. Even the last film Love on the Run (which would inspire some scenes in Amelie) is good for a “flashback” film. :) Of course this might be a bit too much Antoine Doinel for a marathon.

    Funny you mentioned Dirty Harry, because a few days ago I finally watched The Dead Pool to finish out the series. It sure feels like the worst of the bunch, but I still had some fun with it (of course with Jim Carrey’s role).

  • Blair Kramer.

    Awww c’mon, George. Just the Moore Bond films? I would start from the beginning with “Dr. No” and go all the way through to “Quantum Of Solace.” After all, they’re all great in their own way, aren’t they (except of course, “A View To A Kill.” EEEWWW…!!!)? And by the way… I would not leave out “Never Say Never Again.” It IS a genuine James Bond film. But you know something…? I’d wait ’til all the Bond films have been released on blue-ray DVD, which is scheduled to happen sometime this year. (By the way everyone. Why don’t you check out my final entry on the James Bond bad guys further down on this very blog?).

  • jrfleming

    I’ve seen all but one of the Zatoichi movies # 14 Zatoichi’s pilgrimage. It was never released on dvd. Which is to bad because the screenplay was written by kaneto shindo.

  • Blair Kramer.

    I forgot to mention… A marathon is thought to be an activity that continues non-stop. I beg to differ. You may watch all the James Bond films over days, weeks, or even months. The reason it would be a true marathon is simple: Just don’t watch any other type of film between Bond films. At least, not before you’ve finished with “Quantum Of Solace.”

  • George D. Allen

    Color me impressed that MOIIP got the “yes” answer to the question “Has anyone seen all of the ‘Zatoichi’ films?” Fantastic.

    BK, in case you hadn’t seen it–there WAS an “Ultimate Bondathon” put together awhile ago, where they started at “Dr. No” and didn’t end until “QoS,” and they watched the “non-canon” 007s as well. Here’s the link to their video for it:

    And, as Blair K mentioned to our readers — when you’re done reading here & contributing thoughts about movie marathons, here’s the closing chapter of his epic accounting of the James Bond Bad Guys for your enjoyment:

  • John George

    How about a “marathon-ette” with the 4 Christopher Guest mockumentaries: “This is Spinal Tap’; “Waiting for Guffmann’; “Best in Show”; and “For Your Consideration” ?

  • Martin Stumacher

    You have so many that were my favorites. The Universal group with Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and group set the standard for horror films. Johnny Weismuller for the Tarzan group, Sean Connery for James Bond and the Indiana Jones series. A terrific blob!

  • Harry Lyme

    My late wife loved the Carry On films, and the Alastair Sim St.Trinians’ series.

  • Frank

    John George don’t forget Christopher Guest’s “A Mighty Wind”.

  • ehsteinert

    No Abbott & Costello or Laural & Hardy fans? What about WC Fields?? Some great marathon material from all.

  • DIRK

    when I was growing up, I remember a theatre in Tulsa running a Planet of the Apes LOCK-IN, where they ran all (then only) 5 films back to back and mothers would drop off their kids all day and not worry cuz they could not get out (hence the lock-in portion of our show!) and go shopping kid-free! Don’t think that would even be allowed today! LOL
    I didn’t go to it, my parents liked me. LOL

  • Roger Cates

    What about Star Wars?

  • George D. Allen

    Loses to Star Trek. See: above.

  • Mary

    Call me corny, but how about an Andy Hardy Marathon and Shirley Temple?

  • Pat

    Why not complete the Frankenstein marathon with House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula. Theses films bring a conclusion, of sorts, to the Universal Monster series of the 30′s and 40′s.

  • Pat

    Not corny Mary. I’ve had some Andy Hardy marathons myself. Good fun.

  • Gary Vidmar

    The Ray Harryhausen Movie Marathon! You can’t just watch one, and you’ll probably need a 3-day weekend holiday see ‘em all. They’re all terrific!

  • David Pierce

    I own most of the bond films – cant stand the Crag films. Crags bond is a thug. And it breaks the feel of the Bonds. I do marathons often. My favorites are sub-genres: Alien races / androids ( including the Stepford wives and westworld) / robots / vampires /Alice in Wonderland ( remember Matrix was inspired in part by Alice) / vampires / werewolves / zombies / tarzan / Sinbad / the creatures / musicals / ghost / the seven samurai and the films inspired from it – like battle beyond the stars, magnificent seven and the anime versions. etc. I think my next one will be Agatha Cristy – love the early films.

  • mike

    I like the idea of Laurel & Hardy, W.C. Fields or Abbott & Costello, but I’d sit for a Chaplin marathon in a NY minute.

  • Steve in Sedona

    “Go ahead – make my day” was made famous by Clint, but it was originally used in a nasty little B-movie called “Vice Squad”, featuring Wings Hauser as a truly psychotic pimp.

  • George D. Allen

    “Vice Squad”! Wow, that brings back memories. I had to go watch the trailer as soon as I read your comment. It is even seedier than I remember.

    Criminally, it appears to be OOP.

    As to the quote, it does appear that “make my day” is common to both movies, but (and you may be recalling this clearer than I, because I cannot recall the quote with any clarity at all) there does seem to be some variation on the rest of the wording depending on what source you consult. IMDB has the quote as “Make your move, make my day”…

    At any rate, any mention of “Vice Squad” is welcome. Maybe it could be part of a “sticky floor” Movie Marathon. :)

  • Gord Jackson

    Loving “B” movies as I do, I’m game for a marathon of:

    William Witney directed Roy Rogers films
    ditto Witney directed Allan ‘Rocky’ Lane and Rex Allen
    Bomba the Jungle Boy series
    Anthony Mann film noirs “Desperate, “Railroaded”, “T-Men and “Raw Deal”
    Francis the Talking Mule (with Donald O’Connor)
    and finally on the ‘A’ side,
    Judy Garland MGM musicals “The Wizard of Oz”, “For Me and my Gal”, “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “Easter Parade.”

  • sperry23

    I have a different Universal/Monster Marathon in mind. Original Monsters, Period.

    Whale’s Frankenstein and The Invisible Man, Chaney’s The Wolfman, Lugosi’s Dracula, Karloff’s The Mummy, and topped off with The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

    Now THAT’S a Monster Marathon!

  • George D. Allen

    I like your Monster Mash, sperry23—your use of the word “original” makes me want to add another option: the Silent Monster Marathon, which might include Edison’s Frankenstein, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera (and/or Hunchback of Notre Dame), and let’s go ahead and add The Cat and the Canary.

  • Tom K.

    When our local Drive In theater was about to close, they ran an All Night “James Bond” with Sean Connery series; from sun-down to sun-up. The consession stand closed just after the beginning of the last movie; about 3:30 a.m. Bond and the Bond “girls” on the giant outdoor screen ! Bodacious !



  • ed

    love marathons sometimes just do old time serials and even directors rodger corman b sci- fi of 50′s 60′s era

  • John Alan

    Don’t forget about the charming and occasionally funny ‘Gildersleeve’ movies with Harold Perry.

  • Publius

    Every year on Stan laurel’s birthday, I have run a Laurel & Hardy marathon of sorts. I always include “Block-Heads” and “Way Out West.” This last year I mixed up the independents and the Fox Pictures showing “The Flying Deuces” and “Jitterbugs” with the shorts “Two Tars” and “Sugar Daddies.” For Oliver Hardy’s birthday it’s a choice bwtween “Zenobia,” Frank Capra’s “Riding High,” and John Wayne’s “The Fighting Kentuckian.” Most of the time I go with the John Wayne film. Sometimes I show “Sons” with “Way Out West” or sometimes I’ll just dip into the library to see what I can arrange for a showing. Everytime, I have fun.

  • Pat

    How about marathons built around directors who specialize in a genre. Hitchcock for suspense, Todd Browning for horror,Ernst Lubitch for comedy and John Ford westerns.

  • nbrawdy

    If you are going to ‘curse’ the Mummy films with the ‘Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy’, I feel you should be fair and add ‘Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein’ to the Frankenstein marathon. It would add another lighter touch along with ‘Young Frankenstein’.

  • Larry

    I’ve reread this article 3 times, and astoundedly I still don’t see any mention of the Die Hard 4 movie series, under the ‘Crime and Punishment’ section or anywhere else. How is this possible? – sort of invalidates the whole article as far as I’m concerned!

  • George D. Allen

    As Claude Rains sighs in “The Wolf Man”: “Oh, Larry…!” (At least, I think he says that. If he doesn’t, he should.) :)

    You have added the Die Hard series, so that’s the important thing. I, on the other hand, did not miss adding the “Die Hard” foursome (soon to be fivesome, I understand) mainly because I gave up at “Die Hard with a Vengeance.” I like #2 a good bit.

    Now I await a loyal horror fan to invalidate the entire piece by pointing out I failed to include the four “Psycho” films. Hmmm…come to think of it, I’m a little annoyed at myself for not thinking of including that, so: job done.

    (Psycho IV, however, sort of falls into the Rocky IV category, sad to say. Maybe a future piece on great trilogies wrecked by a subpar fourth installment?)

  • masterofoneinchpunch

    Some of my favorites not mentioned so far:

    The Pink Panther Peter Sellers series: The Pink Panther, Shot in the Dark, Return of the Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Strikes Again and Revenge of the Pink Panther. You can add Trail of the Pink Panther if you like. At least two of these are among my top comedies of all times. Of course there are all those non-Sellers films as well.

    There is the great Monsieur Hulot series: Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, Mon Oncle, Play Time and Trafic (yes some consider this a bad fourth film, I do not). But since these are all on Criterion, I highly suggest at least watching the first three starring the great Jacques Tati.

    Possibly entry for those who are used to violence: The Baby Cart aka Lone Wolf and Cub series from Japan (six films) starring Tomisaburô Wakayama that has been so influential on directors such as Tarantino.

  • George D. Allen

    Ah, the PP series! And that sticks to my original premise of following a single character through a series. I would, of course, prefer not to add “Trail…,” not to mention “Curse…” and “Son…”…but they do actually continue “the” story, albeit in the most threadbare manner. So they will have to be included in any ideal PP marathon.

    (Which, despite owning that most excellent fuzzy PP box set, I have yet to undertake)

    I can’t bring myself to sit through the Martin redux (which I think I’ve mentioned in a previous thread somewhere else, maybe on the “Big Shoes” post, I forget) — if box-office draw were not an issue, I think the smarter move would have been to cast Kline as Clouseau. Maybe his interpretation might have cribbed too heavily from “Wanda,” though…

  • Richard Carlson

    Although Ma and Pa Kettle may appear to be the stereotypical denizens of the Ozarks, they actually called Washington State their home, from “The Egg and I” through their own series.

  • Anne

    Is the Jeremy Brett “Sherlock Holmes” series just too easy?

  • Jack Jones

    Don’t know if this qualifies but I’m enjoying Warner’s Gangsters boxed sets.

  • George D. Allen

    Thanks to Richard C. for pointing out the Kettles’ ACTUAL home location in Washington–at least Ma was “in the Ozarks” for one film (to visit family, does that count?), so I maybe just manage to scrape by with the barest legitimacy by including it in the “Ozarks” package.

    Clearly, one person who now should enjoy that marathon is me :)

    Anne, I think I would definitely go for the Brett before the Rathbone, just for fidelity’s sake; though my favorite Holmes, despite the source material not really originating with Doyle, remains Plummer and “Murder by Decree.”

    And those Warners gangster sets do look like lots o’ fun, even to somebody not really partial to the genre.

  • Magman

    How about some historical perspective in a movie marathon? Try “Yanks” (life in England before D- Day), “The Longest Day” (the true story of the D-Day invasion), “Patton” (battles of the War) and “Is Paris Burning” (the virtual end to the war in Eurpoe.

  • Rick

    Great suggestions! However, when you mention the (truly) classic universal monsters, you neglected the third “black lagoon” movie, “The Creature walks among us.” They actually catch him and try to change him into a surface creature. Not the best, but its fits with your plan for following the character’s growth throughout their appearances. The Universal Legacy sets that came out a few years ago are fun marathons amongst themselves.

  • George D. Allen

    Rick, many thanks :) I did mention the “Creature” sequels (not by name, but check again and you will find the reference), but as I wanted to stick to four-plus movies for these marathon choices, that necessarily excluded that trilogy.

    Though maybe an exception should be made here, because of all the Uni monster movies, as you point out, that series does “evolve” the character perhaps the most. (The Monster just gets recharged with different parts; Lawrence Talbot just keeps griping about how he wants to die…) I just never warmed to the Creature the way I did to the other monsters — but we are in total agreement that the Legacy sets are fantastic.

  • Rick

    You’ve got a great list here and just to add more fuel to the fire, how about IRWIN ALLEN? The most fertile mind of TV shows and disaster movies from the 60′s and 70′s.
    You get Earthquakes, Towering Infernos, Voyages to the Bottom of the Sea, Airports,…the list goes on and on. And acting strengths from a young Victoria Pricipal to the legendary “acting” of Charlton Heston. Great stars doing “popular” movies. It almost fun to watch, just for all the cameos. Truly a “disaster marathon.”

  • Alfie

    Here is my dream of several marathons:
    1. “Roots” mini-series
    2. “North and South” mini-series
    3. “Rich Man, Poor Man” mini-series
    4. “Beulah Land” mini-series
    5. “The Thornbirds” mini-series

    and others …

  • KC

    Not sure if this would count but how about a Woody Allen marathon?

  • George D. Allen

    KC, I like the Movie Marathon with the Woodman idea :) With some creative thinking, you could do a Woody Allen marathon any number of ways. Me, I’d probably want to follow “the Woody Allen character” through a journey that went like this:

    Take the Money and Run
    Annie Hall
    Hannah and Her Sisters
    Crimes and Misdemeanors
    Husbands and Wives
    Manhattan Murder Mystery
    Mighty Aphrodite
    The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

  • KC

    Thanks, Mr. Allen… couldn’t have picked a better line up.

  • mike

    What about Godzilla and Kong. Aliens. Andy Hardy series is incredible fun. I know people like to knock Star Wars as a whole but I don’t know if Star Trek would have ever been redone without A New Hope. Cary Grant films. Disney Classics. I have been off work for the last year because of surgery and the one highlight was that I picked a category like horror and tried to watch 1 movie I loved and 1 I have never seen and I was astonished about some of the things I have missed over the years. This month has been Disney with my daughter and it has been a blast.

  • BobinTX

    I have a few suggestions to put in the “Crime and Punishment” slot… the four Die Hard movies, and representing the B&W era, all those great Charlie Chan flics and the Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone.

  • CHB

    For a marathon that would take DAYS to complete…Try the HOPALONG CASSIDY westerns all starring THE Hopalong Cassidy: William Boyd. 66 Films! And 90% of them are excellent B++++ westerns.

  • simbasguard

    Using your rule of Four or more. If I’m looking for an animated movie marathon I’d go with The Ice Age Franchise: Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Ice Age: Continental Drift.

  • jumbybird

    This is TV but go to Netflix and start “24″ Day One and watch it in its entirety.

  • dirkwrestler

    How about themes: Disaster flicks, Doris Day-Rock Hudson rom-coms, but for me I’d like to see all the AIRPORT movies: AIRPORT, AIRPORT 1975, AIRPORT 77!!