Sunday, December 02, 2007

Take those old movies off the shelf

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..."


  1. I have oodles and scores of old black and white movies in my collection. Especially Cary Grant films. He was so dapper. Few men had an on-screen presence like Grant. I love Stewart, too, though. The Mr. Smith movies and Harvey . . fantastic!

    Don't apologize for your excitement! These movies are timeless. They capture a world few of us have known. I love your term alluring simplicity; it couldn't be more true.

  2. The humor is subtle. Understated, but hilarious, without ever being crass. When did that type of comedy go out of style?

    I know somebody who has an ability to write like that and does more and more often

    I live strategically located between 2 mulitplexs and many other theaters and get the "I can't believe...." all the time

    When you were watching The Shop Around The Corner did you think "wow, this is the movie, you've got mail was based on?

    I totally enjoyed learning this new side to Bone--old movie buff. Next month might be satellites--oh sorry. DVRs?

    I'm too lazy to do the whole I'm a non-Blogger person so I have to put in my URL thing--resent that greatly

    Some people are saying they won't comment on Blogger blogs anymore but ....

  3. I really envy people who truly enjoy classic movies. I just find them corny and boring. I know, shame on me. I want to like them, I try to watch them. Glad you have found them irrisistable.

  4. My 2 favorite classic movies are Auntie Mame and Holiday Inn. In fact, I'll probably be watching Holiday Inn sometime this week.

  5. the classics are, well, classic. ooooh, cary grant. now there's one handsome man. try watching the philadelphia story. grant, stewart and katharine hepburn. fantastic.

  6. Avery Laine: Thanks. I will definitely put Mr. Smith and Harvey on my list.

    Pia: I know somebody who has an ability to write like that and does more and more often

    Really? I'd like to read them.

    Well, I'd seen a promo on TCM for Shop Around The Corner and in it, they told the You've Got Mail thing. So I cleared out my schedule for Sunday night, which was easier than one might think.

    Yes, much like the moon, I have many phases.

    Thanks for the comment. You can find Pia at

    How's that?

    Carnealian: Well, I'm sure there are some bad ones. But I haven't found the ones I watched boring at all. Last night, ninety minutes zoomed by before I knew.

    Xinh: Ooo, I googled Holiday Inn. It said the hotel chain was named for the film. Sounds like a perfect movie to watch this time of year. Thanks.

    Citta.poplin: You girls and Cary Grant :) I have seen The Philadelphia Story. It was wonderful. Thanks for visiting.

  7. Thanks but it's the principle :)

    For the season--Since You Went Away

    It happened one night

    Any film directed by frank Capra

    late 40's-50's--any film directed by Elia Kazan

    One kind of leads into the next

  8. Couldn't agree more. TCM is a great channel. Even better than AMC, for the classics.

  9. i love those old b & w's. good choice! i'm fond of lauren bacall and bogart personally but jimmy and audrey have their special place in my heart too.

    if you haven't seen "it happened one night" you should. clark gable is awesome in it. so funny! and "to have and have not" is great. i believe that's bacall's first film. and where she fell for bogart. awww.

  10. I'm not so much on seeing all the newest movies either. However if I see something while flipping through the channels...even if I've watched it a ton of times or might even own it...I watch it again. LOL!

    Jimmy is just awesome.

  11. Pia: Thank you. I should probably make a physical list and not just a mental one, huh? :)

    Bun Bun: I agree. Occasionally, I'll see one on AMC. But almost always on TCM.

    Sizzle: Thanks for the recommendations. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing some Bogart and Bacall.

    Renee: I'm the same way. If it's one of my favorites, I can watch it again and again and again.

  12. Welcome to the 'party' Bone, glad ya made it! :)

    Though watching tons of movies (+/-365 a year) is nothing new for me, I still get excited.

    Hmm, come to think of it, there is a lot of 'classic' movies I haven't seen yet...I'm sometimes amazed at how many movies I haven't seen, than at how many I have.

  13. I haven't seen too many classics (so I'm still on my way TO the party). One that I saw and really liked is "Charade". I love that movie!

    I don't get to the movies too often myself. That's why I love youtube and really chatty coworkers. If a particular movie clip is really popular I can usually find it online (although copyright laws are making that harder now) or have someone explain it to me. It only takes 5 minutes, I feel in the loop, and I'm not out 8 bucks. Call me cheap~ I prefer to think of it as outsourcing.

  14. I love "North by Northwest". You must see it if you haven't yet. I am a huge Cary Grant fan. Another great movie is "The Philadelphia Story" With K. Hepburn, J. Stemart and C. Grant. I also Love "pillow talk" with Rock Hudson and Doris Day. I could go on and on but these are some good ones.

  15. You're so right, Bone. I adore old movies. I especially love the ladies - wait, that came out wrong. I simply mean, they were so elegant and CLASSY. None of this "attitude" and vulgarity you see today.

    I also envy the courtesy and respect these characters have for one another - even when they're angry with each other. lol

    Wait, there's a lesson in here somewhere.

    Write From Karen

  16. The classics, yes, I love the way they could tell deep stories, but like you I havent seen many myself, one of these days I will catch up... maybe once my daugher goes away to University! :) Nice thoughts on this post, thanks as always.

  17. A streetcar named Desire
    On The Waterfront
    A Face in the Crowd
    and any other film directed by Elia Kazan or written by Tennesse Williams
    The Long Hot Summer
    Splendor in the grass

    Explicit but 50's classics

    The Apartment with Tony Randall--one just leads into another
    courting destiny

  18. GirlFPS: I know what you mean. It seems like I've got so much catching up to do.

    Charlotta-love: OK, so I google each of these everytime someone mentions a new one. Charade has Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant! Looks like a good one.

    And outsourcing your movie viewing. I like that!

    HotPink: Thanks. I'll check those out and if I run out of movies to see, I may hit you up for some more suggestions :)

    Karen: You said it! Class without crass. I wonder if movies simply reflect society?

    UL: Thanks. Yeah, even though they may appear simple at first, the characters and the stories have such depth.

    Anonymous: Thanks much for the suggestions. Oh, and nice hyperlink.

  19. It is exciting to discover something new to you, no matter how many others discovered it before you, kind of like finding your blog, grin.

    Old, new, if the story line is interesting, the actors great, casting correct, and there is no graphic violence or gross actions - it's a good movie. Of course, the latter two rule out a lot of movies for me.

    Wait until Dark has to been seen on a large screen; I screamed so loud when he jumped out at her.