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Shelter-in-place Film Festival: Part 1

Watch a film with us during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders.

Editor’s Note: In this feature, The College of Liberal Arts asked Daniel Humphrey, an associate professor of film studies, about movies he would recommend to watch during a shelter-in-place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Humphrey provided two types of film suggestions: movies for those who want to take comfort through escapism, and movies for those who want to lean into those anxieties with adrenaline and a healthy bit of enthusiasm.

For length and clarity, this feature is broken into two parts. The “Shelter in Place Film Festival: Part 1” spotlights on films for those who want to escape through light-hearted, quality films. The “Shelter in Place Film Festival: Part 2” spotlights on films for those who want to press into their anxieties and watch more adrenaline-pumping films. 

These two features were written by Humphrey.

When a historic event like the coronavirus pandemic appears, people have some combination of two impulses.

On the one hand, when we have extra free time, we desire to take comfort in escapism whenever possible. On the other, we may cope by leaning into the situation, experiencing it fully, with the resultant anxiety and all. The movies we want to watch likely fall along the same lines.

For the former group, we may seek films that help us forget our anxieties. If you consider yourself gravitating toward this, here are seven blissfully carefree films for your consideration. They’re not only fun and engaging, you can watch them with pride as they stand as classics that even the toughest critic can only respect. 

Watch them — any one or all six — and escape your coronavirus cares. 

The Band Wagon - Wikipedia

The Band Wagon (USA, 1953) 

One of the best golden-age Hollywood musicals. Eye-popping Technicolor and a dancing Fred Astaire. Come for the tap dancing, stay for the catalog of great songs. (Available on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.)

EVERY FILM': 7. Duck Soup; movie review

Duck Soup (USA, 1933) 

Arguably the best, and craziest Marx Brothers comedy. A surreal anti-war satire filled with now-classic comedy bits and perfectly timed gags. (Amazon, Google Play.)


The Phantom Lady (USA, 1944) 

A gripping, but rather jaunty classic film noir with a rare female point of view. The hophead’s drum solo is the stuff of legends. (Amazon, Google Play, iTunes.) 

Rio Bravo (film) - Wikipedia

Rio Bravo (USA, 1959)

 One of the great John Wayne westerns. Enjoyably relaxed with thrills and humor.  Film scholar Robin Wood once said, “If I were asked to choose a film that would justify the existence of Hollywood, I think it would be Rio Bravo.” (Amazon, Google Play, iTunes.)

To Have and Have Not (film) - Wikipedia

To Have and Have Not (US, 1944) 

It’s Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall falling for each other in Martinique while thwarting the Nazis. “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve?” What’s not to love? (Amazon, Google Play, iTunes.)

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown - Wikipedia

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Spain, 1988) 

A wickedly funny Spanish farce from one of the masters of contemporary European cinema, Pedro Almodóvar. (Amazon, Google Play.)