Five years ago I published a list of my five favorite Bing Crosby movies, and in honor of what would have been Bing's 116th birthday, I figured I would update my list. I did not look at the 2014 list when writing this to see if there are any changes...
5. JUST FOR YOU (1952) - This Crosby film is not widely remembered today, but it should be. It is probably the closest Bing ever got to a biographical film about himself. In the film, Bing is a father to two children (Natalie Wood and Robert Arthur), but he is also trying to juggle fame and stardom. This was the second pairing of Bing with actress Jane Wyman, and the duo got to introduce the new song "Zing A Little Zong", which is a personal favorite.
2011 ranking:#7 2014 ranking: NA
4. HOLIDAY INN (1942) - This movie cemented Bing Crosby as a Hollywood movie superstar. This film was destined to be a classic with Bing, Fred Astaire, and an Irving Berlin song track. Bing got to sing countless Irving Berlin standards like "Easter Parade", "Be Careful It's My Heart", but it was in this movie that Bing got to introduce his signature song "White Christmas". This movie would be the first movie Bing would make with Fred Astaire, and it was also his first movie with songs by Irving Berlin.
2011 ranking:#3 2014 ranking:#3
3. BLUE SKIES (1946) - This was the second pairing of Bing, Fred Astaire, and Irving Berlin. It almost did not happen because Broadway dancer Paul Draper was supposed to be in the Astaire role, but due to his stutter and his disagreements with Bing, Draper was replaced. This was also supposed to be Fred Astaire's "swan song" from movies. Bing got to sing countless great Irving Berlin tunes like: "Blue Skies", "All By Myself" and the new "You Keep Coming Back Like A Song". The story was corny spanning the time between two World Wars, but this has always been one of my favorite Crosby films.
2011 ranking:#2 2014 ranking#2
2. HIGH SOCIETY (1956) - After Bing would leave Paramount Studios in 1956, after 24 years he moved to MGM for this great Cole Porter musical. Bing was paired with Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm, and Louis Armstrong, and the result is film magic. Bing had a hit with Grace Kelly on the song "True Love", and I named my daughter after the Grace Kelly character and Cole Porter song "I Love You, Samantha". Bing and Sinatra were great together, and they got to duet on the great number "Well, Did You Evah". In my opinion, this is one of the last truly great MGM movie musicals made.
2011 ranking:#4 2014 ranking:#4
1. THE COUNTRY GIRL (1954) - I would always have a debate with my Grandfather about this movie. He hated this movie, because Bing played a different role that he was used to. The film was dark, and Bing played an alocholic actor who gets one last chance to make a comeback. Bing was nominated for the third time for this film, but lost to Marlon Brando. Grace Kelly won though for playing Bing's lost suffering wife. Reportedly for the one drunken scene, Bing paced and stayed up all night to get a more haggard look. Watch this movie, and I dare you to say that Bing Crosby was not a great actor!
2011 ranking:#1 2014 ranking:#1