We were talking about Jimmy Stewart at dinner the other night, as I have a colleague who believes that Tom Hanks is Stewart’s analog now. The usual movies were listed; there are some collaborations among actors and directors that become special, and for Stewart, his work with Frank Capra and Alfred Hitchcock always come to mind, but my favorite of his is actually a movie directed by the undeservedly obscure Otto Preminger: Anatomy of a Murder (Lee Remick is luminous in that movie). I also liked Stewart’s work with John Ford, but if I were stranded on a desert island, I would have to select Harvey.
Anyway here’s my list of lesser known (at least among contemporary audiences) favorites from Stewart
1. Anatomy of a Murder, Otto Preminger 1959
2. The Shootist, Don Siegel, 1976
3. The Big Sleep, Micheal Winner, 1978 (Surprisingly good adaptation in which Stewart brings great dignity to General Sherwood)
4. The Greatest Show on Earth, 1952Cecil B. DeMille
5. You Can’t Take It With You, 1938, Frank Capra, where I adopted much of my money management strategies
6. Rope by Alfred Hitchcock
7. The Shop Around the Corner by the wonderful Ernst Lubitsch, and the inspiration for Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail
8. Harvey by Henry Koster, where Elwood P Dowd gives the very best advice for academic life I have ever heard:
Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.