By no means am I a movie buff. I go to the theatre maybe once a year. I've probably heard the phrase "I can't believe you haven't seen that" more than any human being on the face of the Earth. (As opposed to humans currently inhabiting other planets?)
But times, they are a-changin'. My new found love is classic movies. These days, I can frequently be found scanning the television in search of an old black and white film. My new favorite channel is Turner Classic Movies.
Tonight I watched The Shop Around The Corner, with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. It's the movie that You've Got Mail was based on. It was a delight, funny and captivating throughout. Several times I found myself laughing out loud.
There is an alluring simplicity to classic movies. Without all the distractions and special effects of films today, the focus is entirely on the story, the writing, and the acting. And what wonderful acting.
The dialogue is quick and clever and delivered flawlessly. Even supporting actors seem to be perfectly placed and add so much to the film. The humor is subtle. Understated, but hilarious, without ever being crass. When did that type of comedy go out of style?
Classic movies often offer a look at America during a simpler time. A time when, as in the movie I watched tonight, a man could support a family working at a retail shop. There wasn't all the excess that there is today. Even though times were hard, there is something comforting about that to me. Appealing, even.
A lot of the stories also seem to be set in New York--romantic old New York. Those are the ones that make me wish I could climb thru the TV screen and take my place as a bystander just to experience what it was like to be there. It's a time and place I obviously never had a chance to see. Now at least I can go there for brief glimpses.
Bear in mind, I've only seen a very few classic films, but my favorite actor so far is Jimmy Stewart. Young Jimmy Stewart, before he got into all those Westerns. I'm ashamed to admit that up until a few months ago, I only knew him from It's A Wonderful Life.
My favorite movie has been Wait Until Dark, with Audrey Hepburn. I don't have the vocabulary to adequately describe Hepburn's performance, perfectly conveying both innocent vulnerability and immense courage. Almost the entire movie is set in a single basement apartment, yet a complete, captivating story is told. How brilliant is that.
I apologize if I sound overly excited. After all, it's not as if I've discovered some hidden secret no one else knows about. But for me, it is something new. I know I'm very late to this party, but I'm looking forward to catching up. I'm open to any and all recommendations.
"It's Saturday night at the movies, and those black and white reruns are bringing back old time memories when Hollywood was young..."