by Cindy McGuire, Programming/Marketing Coordinator
I sometimes feel like I was born in the wrong generation. My taste in books tends toward old classics. My taste in movies is similar; when I tell people I like old movies, they think I mean movies from the 1980s. But my favorite films are those made in the silent era up to those from the 1970s. I have seen some of them more than 25 times yet they never get old.
The movie studios back then were masters at entertaining an audience. They took the time and money for the best script writers, directors, actors, cinematographers, etc. The end results were movies that people still enjoy 75 years later.
My love of old movies comes from my parents. They both grew up watching them, especially my dad. He would pay 10 cents to watch movies for hours on Saturday afternoons. He used to take us to special showings at a local theater or college. When I was in high school, one television station would show old films late on Friday and Saturday nights with no commercials. I would stay up until 2 a.m. watching horror classics, along with dramas, film noir and screwball comedies. When Turner Classic Movies began in the 1990s, it was a dream come true for me.
I passed on this love to my son. Together we have watched “The Maltese Falcon,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “The Godfather” more times than I can remember. We would much rather see these for the 45th
time than go to the latest superhero, spy intrigue or buddy humor sequel. New films may have spectacular computer-generated imagery and exciting explosions, but they lack the quality that will attract viewers in 5 years, let alone 75.
DVDs are among the Library’s most popular checked-out items. Along with new releases and television series, we have a number of classic movies in our collection. If you have never watched old movies, here are a few suggestions to start you out:
- “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” – drama about greed with Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt
- “Two Women” – drama with Sophia Loren
- “Laura” – murder mystery with Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb
- “The Awful Truth” – comedy with Cary Grant, Irene Dunne and Ralph Bellamy (This is available from another library.)
- “Father of the Bride” – comedy with Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor - This is the original and far superior version than the one with Steve Martin, which we also have.
And if you don’t think that old movies have relevance today, I would suggest the following:
- “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” – political drama with Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur
- “All the King’s Men” – political drama with Broderick Crawford
- “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” – political satire with Peter Sellers and George C. Scott
At the end of “The Maltese Falcon,” Humphrey Bogart says, “It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.” Sweet dreams, classic movie lovers.