Friday, April 04, 2008

Why I Like Old Movies

The only channel I watch is TCM, Turner Classic Movies. Well, there are exceptions, but it's my default channel. Why do I watch old movies?
1. My generation and younger ones don't get the coolness of black and white. It leaves so much to the imagination, it allows the director to use light and shadow so much more, and it makes the movie about the story as much or more than the scenery. This is not to say the old color movies aren't great, but most of them are black and white.
2. The actors spoke their lines, rather than mumbling. It is a treat to understand everything that is said.
3. Some of the acting is "theater-acting" as I call it, for large audiences rather than cameras. Of course, some of it is incredibly campy. Greta Garbo is the standout example here.
4. Speaking of campy, how could anyone resist Bette Davis? One of my favorite old movies is "All About Eve." Davis is magnificent, and MM is a crack-up.
5. They could tell a story of evil without the "f" word, could portray lust without nudity, could draw a despicable character without blasphemy.
6. The clothes--oh, the clothes! No one knows how to dress anymore. Rita Hayworth, Myrna Loy, Jean Arthur, and Claudette Colbert, among others--they knew how to wear the clothes, how to walk in the clothes. The government let the studios have enough fabric to make costumes for the movies so that audiences would have something to entertain them. Imagine, Hollywood being patriotic.
7. Yes, patriotic--all those old actors who went to war, who stopped making money and movies to fight for their country. Those were human beings.

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