In my family, it is not unusual to pair a nap with a good movie. Are we such multitaskers that we have to have something going even when we sleep? Are we so lost in the movies that we want to spend every possible moment (waking or sleeping) on good films? Are our favorite movies so familiar and comforting that they make it easy to drift right off to dreamland?
I'm not sure. But I do know that some movies are better to sleep to than others. Musicals and films with lots of explosions are (for obvious reasons) not the best choices. And while there are some good newer movies to put on when you want to sleep, as usual I tend to lean toward older films.
Here's my list of five great classics for sleepy-time:
5. Sabrina (1954) - Like most of the best bedtime stories, it begins "Once upon a time" and has a happily-ever-after ending. The fairy tale story in between features a charming Audrey Hepburn in some fantasy princess-like outfits. As a bonus, if you fall asleep to this one, you just might dream of Billy Wilder's first choice, Cary Grant, playing the Bogart role.
4. The Magnificent Ambersons - Even if you only catch the beginning of this one before nodding off, you'll get an idea for some of the themes. The lovely Orson Wells-narrated opening illustrates the changing times with Joseph Cotten trying on a variety of mens' fashions. You'll soon get introduced to the bratty Georgie and hopefully wake up in time to see his comeuppance at the end.
3. North by Northwest - The exception to the "no explosions" rule, as the loud bits of the movie (usually signaled by the stirring Bernard Herrman music) are thrilling and fun and worth waking up to see. If you have your eyes open before the gunfire in the scene where Eva Marie Saint does some shooting, check out the kid in the back who (eerily) seems to know what's coming.
2. The Third Man - Because zither music is so soothing.
And the number one classic movie to sleep to is....
1. The Big Sleep - It's not just the title that wins this one the top spot. Thanks to all the detectin' being done, there are plenty of quiet follow-the-guy and examine-the-evidence moments that are very conducive to napping. The rainy mood is also great for making those eyelids heavy. And the convoluted plot is not much more understandable even if you stay awake and alert through the whole thing. So just let the banter between Bogie and Bacall lull you right off to sleep.
*Please note, if there's any of these movies you haven't seen yet, I'd recommend staying awake through them at least one time first. Then, the next time you are dealing with insomnia, or when you just need a mid-day snooze, try one of these fabulous sleep-friendly classics.
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