We got talking about old movies at work today and we agreed that there is just something about black & white films. If the quality of the recording is good, you can ignore the absence of special effects, and simply lose yourself in the story.
Old Hollywood just did things differently. Forget the expletives. The worst you'll hear Sir Laurence Olivier say is "oh blast, well dash it all" and you won't ever see Greer Garson caught in flagrante on a car bonnet - she merely breathed adoring words at her co-star, and then smooshed cheeks with him. Anything worse just never happened.
We were reminiscing about "Mr Movies" himself today (Aussie TV icon Bill Collins) who you might remember used to host a weekly series of movie screenings on the ABC. [As a side note, I was delighted to learn that Bill is still hosting such screenings, though he's leapt into the modern age and has left Aunty ABC for the more salubrious surrounds of cable TV. I want to call him a traitor but I can't.]
Anyway back when Bill had his late-night show on the ABC, and even his midday Sunday screenings on Channel 7, I seemed to have a sixth sense to just know whenever he was screening "To Kill A Mockingbird" which, to this day, remains one of my favourite books and films. Me and the Mamma would curl up on the couch and watch Gregory Peck become an everyday superhero and always treat his kids like little adults. I never got sick of it then, and I doubt I would now.
My mum has quite a thing for "An Affair to Remember" and I can't tell you how many times I've seen that one. And yes, I probably do cry every time - even still.
K's favourite is "Random Harvest" with the abovementioned Greer Garson. I am disappointed that I haven't seen it because the story sounds like an absolute cracker. Another tear-jerker, and just about as long as "Gone With The Wind", but it's now on my list of things to see.
But then we sighed over "The Ghost & Mrs Muir", and everything with Audrey Hepburn in it, as well as the couple of Hitchcock movies I watched over the weekend ("Spellbound" and "Rebecca"). But try as I might, I didn't spot Hitch's famous cameo in either of them. Drat.
One of my friends is a school teacher back home and I remember her telling me once that her students hardly ever realised that a lot of the movies they saw at the video store were actually remakes of old classics. It had never occurred to them that Hollywood might just be getting lazy and recycling old storylines. "Sabrina", anyone? "Ocean's 11", "Psycho", "The Italian Job"...the list goes on. And even with all the latest technical wizardry, I still don't think a remake has yet been better than the original.
Unless you can think of one...