Since I’ve been having a tough time being motivated and finding inspiration to write posts, I figured why not go with something simple and obvious, a movie. I was watching Bells are Ringing earlier, and voila, here we are. Released in 1960, it stars Dean Martin and Judy Holliday, along with a fantastic supporting cast. It is based on the Broadway musical of the same name from 1956, which also featured Judy Holliday playing the main role of Ella.
With Halloween approaching, I figured writing about horror movies would be appropriate. I could write about horror movies any time of the year, so it’s not completely limited to just now. I’ve talked about some movies to creep you out before, specifically a couple of my favorite silent movies. This time I chose four, each from a different decade. There were so many I could have chosen, but as I said this time there are four, the numerous other options will have to wait until future posts. And while my intention is not to reveal any spoilers below, something may come out that I don’t even think of as a spoiler. I’ve seen all the movies so many times, I may not even realize I’m revealing something groundbreaking to someone who hasn’t seen it. I apologize ahead of time if I do so.
House on Haunted Hill (1959), starring Vincent Price, isn’t necessarily the most chilling movie, but it sure is fun. By today’s standards it’s quite campy, but that’s precisely one of the reasons I love it. I think I remember reading somewhere that when the movie was originally in theatres, a skeleton would fly out over the audience. How fun is that? I can only imagine audiences of the time, not jaded by CGI or heaps of blood in their movies, being startled and screaming at the sight of the skeleton suddenly appearing. What a grand time!
A few months ago I wrote about watching Casablanca in the movie theatre, and what a sublime event that was. Select theatres showed the classic because this year is the 70th anniversary of it’s release. Another great classic, Singin’ in the Rain is celebrating an anniversary, as well, it’s 60th.
It was brought back to select theatres for the viewing pleasure of those of us happy to be taken back to another place in time, or those who just want to see a movie much talked about and treasured through the years. It is widely considered the greatest musical in movie history. I would say it’s hard to argue with that sentiment. I’m a lover of musicals, they are fun and vibrant, and can make the gloomiest of days brighten and bloom. Singin’ in the Rain definitely does all these things. It makes me feel happy. It causes a tremor in my feet that makes them want to move across the floor. It brings a smile to my face and makes me want to burst out in song.
The first moment I saw/heard of The Artist, I had an overwhelming desire to see it. As a lover of silent films and classic movies, it was a no-brainer. I have written before, encouraging the viewing of silent films, for them to be given a chance in our age of technology, computer generated special effects, and, quite honestly, too many overproduced, mediocre movies.
With a flip of her hair, Rita Hayworth could drive scores of males wild. She was the “love goddess,” a pinup for military soldiers, and she was a presence on-screen that demanded attention.
I may get a lot of complaints, but there aren’t movie stars like her anymore. On screen she was almost always glamorous, to the point of it being unrealistic, but isn’t that what movies are about? Older movies are my favorites for a lot of different reasons, but one is because you know you’re watching a movie, it is an escape from reality, it is entertainment. In real life, Rita Hayworth was still gorgeous, but from what has been told she was very humble and shy, and not always decked out in elegant gowns and glamorous make up. It seems today, it’s the opposite with stars. In their movies they all play worn out characters, wear prosthetic noses or “ugliness,” and try and “nail reality,” but in real life they always look like an unattainable perfection. Personally, I prefer the way it was in Rita Hayworth’s time.
Foggy train station platforms swarmed with scampering travelers and misty-eyed loved ones saying goodbye dressed in hats and traveling gloves, toting sturdy, hard-shelled luggage and trunks. . .
Attention spans are wonderful things. Too bad they are noticeably lacking in society today. I would appreciate even a small attention span, going to dinner with someone or walking along having a conversation without them looking at their cell phone, sitting down to watch a movie in its entirety without needing to log on to the Internet, and so on. So I’m reaching here when I suggest watching silent films. An activity that not only requires one to read (how dare I suggest such a thing), but paying attention to body language, facial expressions, and a story entirely dependent upon the viewer actually grasping it. Plus, there are no explosions to distract you and no computer generated creatures to stifle your own creative insights. Forgive me for wanting you to use basic reasoning skills, an imagination, and an awareness while viewing a film.
I thought I would start with a couple of my favorite horror films. (With other installments for other genres to come.) If you are of the minority (as I am) and love silent films, then you most definitely know about Nosferatu (1922) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). If you are of the other or some how think silent movies are “dumb” or “too old”, then you are greatly missing out (and mistaken).
For those who haven’t seen Nosferatu, it is the story of Dracula. Pretty simple. Although it is a German expressionist film, it doesn’t carry heavy signs of it. That fact makes it no less beautiful in it’s scenery and lighting, nor it’s artistry. The use of shadows, sweeping shots of the sea, and towering buildings all speak to an expressionist subtlety.