Why Do You Love Movies?

Discussion of programming on TCM.

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Lzcutter
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Why Do You Love Movies?

Post by Lzcutter »

I don't know if this topic has been broached here but what is it about the movies over the years that keeps you watching?

What do you learn? What do you love? What do you wish was different?

Why do you have a love affair with the movies? How did it begin? How do you nourish it?

How do you pass that love along?
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feaito

Post by feaito »

My acquaintance with movies consolidated due to the extreme loneliness in which I grew up as child (the lonely type par excellence). I had almost no friends and I became more and more isolated in "my world"- and, thus, in my room watching TV.

I developed a fondness for Classic Cinema, because I used to watch as much TV as I could and there I discovered many classics. I also loved to listen to my elders' (grandaparents and parents) stories about the movies and stars they liked. My father was very keen on Biblical films and mother just loved everything, especially if Tyrone Power or Charlton Heston were in it. My maternal grandmother had a crush on Nils Asther and loved "The Bitter Tea of General Yen", the first version of "Imitation of Life", "Letter from an Unknown Woman" and the 1932 version of "Smilin´Through". She always remembered those films.

Movies became my world and they became one of my most cherished passtimes and, later, hobbies. Classic actors were like friends of mine and it was much easier for me to relate to them than to actual human beings. I felt a deep affection and a profound admiration for them as icons and human beings. In fact I believe that they were more important to me than most of the people that surrounded me. Moreover, I think that situations depicted in certain dramatic movies were capable of affecting or moving me in a way that a similar real situation in everyday life could not. I was vulnerable when I watched films, but in real life I learnt to be quite invulnerable.

This got very personal, but being almost 40 now I really do not mind sharing this.
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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

Much like "Feaito" my love of movies was born out of a lonely teenage life. Many a weekend I spent in the basement watching them. Of course, they weren't that old then, still 20-30 years old but quite a few big stars were still alive so the chance to see them on Carson or Merv Griffin only enhanced my interest. Finding one star I liked lead to watching most everything they did which eventually lead to more stars (and genres.) Even bad films beat watching most TV fare.

They were full of people who were funnier, more attractive, in love, braver and more interesting than I. That sounds worse than I am/was but it was a world I was not part of. This all was more interesting than even the friends I did have. Funny, watching old movies tended to isolate me more as there were few that I did know that liked old movies. (It sounds even more maudlin.)

Maybe it's nostalgia but I still find them more interesting than most of today's stuff. Maybe today's films are too realistic.
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Post by knitwit45 »

Summers were movie times for me. Sometimes my mom and I would watch movies starting around 10 in the morning and ending at midnight. Watching with her was so much fun, because she remembered so many things that had happened in her life at the same time of the movie we were watching. Since there were a gazillon commercials, her commentary was never distracting.

From It Happened One Night "oh, my wedding dress was modeled after Claudette Colbert's" to It's A Wonderful Life "your dad and I have always talked about how one life touches so many others", I learned about love and life as it should be from Mom and the movies.

Of course it was a hard lesson to learn later, as a teen and young adult, that life doesn't imitate the movies, but often contradicts them. But my love of old movies and the stars that populate that magical world continues.
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be.. It's the way it is..
The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
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MissGoddess
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Re: Why Do You Love Movies?

Post by MissGoddess »

Lzcutter wrote:I don't know if this topic has been broached here but what is it about the movies over the years that keeps you watching?

What do you learn? What do you love? What do you wish was different?

Why do you have a love affair with the movies? How did it begin? How do you nourish it?

How do you pass that love along?


Hi!

Great topic! I guess the movies, old one especially, have always been an escape from reality to put it simply. And an avenue into a world with values that seem closer to my own than those of the "real" world.

I "nourish" it by spending far too much time watching TCM and dvds and spending far too much money collecting. :wink:

I spread-the-love by frankly telling everyone how much I love these movies and the old time stars and by playing them constantly at home (for visitors) and even at work at times (in the break room---they know when I've been there if the TV is on TCM).

Miss G
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mrsl
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Post by mrsl »

Why I love Classic Movies.

they take me away. Not just now, but all my life. I was never very outdoorsy, so my summers were spend in the cool basement reading, coloring, or whatever. I think we have several middle kids in this grup - too young to do what older brothes and sisters do, and too old to get away with what the littler kids do, so we formed our own little worlds.

I loved the sparkley gowns of the 30's, and the class and beauties of the 40's and 50's. By the 60's, married, with children, I needed escape at night.

I didn't watch movies to learn, only to get lost for an hour or two. I still get angry at the stupidity of some heroes and heroines, and feel joy and happiness at a happy ending.

Movies have been, and always will be my escapism. I always mention that I'm a classic movie fan, but rarely get a 'me to' response, although when I do, we talk for hours, while others just ignore us.

Anne
Anne


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* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

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jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Both of my parents were movie lovers, and so movies were always a part of my life. My mother used to take me with her to the movies, especially in the summer ("Come Inside - It's Air Conditioned!"). There were several cheap "second-run" houses in the neighborhood which filled up the afternoon's program with older movies as well, so I got to see many of the classics, even if I didn't understand them at the time.

My father, being European, liked foreign films, and often took me with him to see them (usually at art houses in Greenwich Village, although there were indeed quite a few art houses in Brooklyn at the time). He also liked documentaries and newsreels, and many Sunday afternoons we would go to the Trans-Lux in the Times Square area - that theater showed only newsreels, and documentaries, and an occasional interesting foreign movie of the type they like to run on PBS.

When I was very young, I liked the spectacle movies, musicals and comedies. As I grew up I began to appreciate the melodramas, and by the time I was in high school in the 60s we were bombarded with foreign movies in the theaters (mostly from Britain), which gave me a taste for Janus films.

Many of my childhood favorites are still my favorites, like Danny Kaye and Sabu, but now I like stars I might not have liked much in the past, such as Joan Crawford, who kind of scared me when I was young.

I like classic movies because they have a definite literary structure, tell a story, and have a moral, that is, a satisfying conclusion drawn logically from the action we have been seeing. That element is increasingly blurred in modern cinema, but that isn't to say that modern films are any less enjoyable or have any less impact.

I also like the iconic nature of the classic stars - the feeling that you are seeing someone onscreen that you might aspire to be in your own life. I think that feeling is woefully absent from the performances of today's group. They are, for the most part, the same shallow, self-absorbed and rather anti-intellectual people milling all around us every day.

If I can manage, before I shuffle off this mortal coil, to be one iota as elegant and gracious as the screen presence of Claudette Colbert, one scintilla as sweet and appealing as Marilyn Monroe and one itsy bit as smart, self-sufficient and confident as Katharine Hepburn, I'll die a happy woman.
feaito

Post by feaito »

jdb1 wrote:such as Joan Crawford, who kind of scared me when I was young


What a coincidence jdb, my sister-in-law, was scared until recently (well into her 30s) of Joan Crawford and couldn't stand her presence in any film, due to the traumatic viewing of "Strait-Jacket" when she was a child. The hardened facial features of the mature Crawford scared her forever after watching the movie on TV one night, especially the scene when her character discovers her husband in bed with another woman and kills them with an axe. Not until I gave her both "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" and the aforementioned "Strait-Jacket" as gifts (on DVD), and with repeated viewings of both films from an adult's viewpoint, could she forget the traumatic experience.

Then I've shown her pictures and films of the young Crawford and she thinks the star was so beautiful, with a much softer facial expression and features, especially in the late '20s and early '30s. She wonders why Crawford ended using that trademark look of the later years (with the very thick eyebrows and enlarged mouth with lipstick delineator).
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Well, I suppose Crawford felt she needed to stand out in a crowd of other middle aged actresses that some viewers might find hard to distinguish, and to make herself memorable compared to the younger actresses against whom she was competing for screen attention.

Certainly in terms of the many "women's films" Crawford made, she was an ideal choice. She brought a combination of fragility and strength to her roles that many other actresses found hard to maintain. She may have been battered and bruised, emotionally and physically, but you always have the sense that she will overcome and move on. Perhaps this makes her an early method actress, since she surely called upon her own life experiences to portray these women.

My only reservation about her is that as she progressed, her dramatic acting skills may have gotten stronger, but she lost a sense of humor in her performances (not in the comedy sense, but in the human sense). In her earlier work there is a bit more of a playfulness, a little more lightness, more humanity, even in her most dramatic roles, that she rarely used in later work.

Many older actresses could offer a bit of parody of their iconic selves without looking ridiculous, but I think Crawford may have been too insecure to do so (save for her appearance on The Lucy Show, and that wasn't all that wonderful). IMO, this made her very last films (not counting "Baby Jane," of course) seem a bit ponderous and unintentionally funny (who can forget Trog?). Nevertheless, I'm a fan and her name in the credits is enough to attract me to any film.
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Post by Moraldo Rubini »

What a coincidence jdb, my sister-in-law, was scared until recently (well into her 30s) of Joan Crawford and couldn't stand her presence in any film, due to the traumatic viewing of "Strait-Jacket" when she was a child. The hardened facial features of the mature Crawford scared her forever after watching the movie on TV one night, especially the scene when her character discovers her husband in bed with another woman and kills them with an axe. Not until I gave her both "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" and the aforementioned "Strait-Jacket" as gifts (on DVD), and with repeated viewings of both films from an adult's viewpoint, could she forget the traumatic experience.

I can relate. I too saw Strait Jacket as a child and was traumatized by it. That axe scene revolted me. It's probably one of the reasons that I loathe horror films today. I don't think I could watch it again. Or is it completely innocent when viewed as an adult?
feaito

Post by feaito »

I agree wholeheartedly with all that you wrote jdb. I like very much Ms. Crawford but I prefer her early appearances in those Pre Code films, because of that refreshing, playful quality her performances had.

And Moraldo, "Strait Jacket" also left a lasting impression on me as a child, but, thankfully, not a trauma. I think you could give it a try by now; I wouldn't say it's completely "harmless", because that face is really something... but one must face one's own demons :wink: ... Besides, IMO the film is quite entertaining.
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Post by sugarpuss »

I've wanted to comment on this for the past few days, but I wanted to make sure I was making sense.

Like a few of you, I was lonely growing up. Part of this is because I'm an only child, but also because I felt different from the other kids. I was shy and reserved and I just wanted to be left alone. So to escape, I used to listen to a lot of music on headphones. I could shut people out that way. The stuff being released in the early-mid 90's connected with me, emotionally. I'm not sure if it was teen angst or that better singers/songwriters were working then or a little of both.

A few years ago, I fell out of love with music and wound up turning to classic movies. So I guess you could say I fell in love with classic movies out of boredom. I never was a big movie person (at the risk of sounding like a total prude, there was too much sex and gore in a lot of them), so I just avoided them. I started watching TCM--the first movie I really loved was "Arsenic and Old Lace", and then "The Apartment" and I'm not sure what happened, but something inside just clicked.

I have a somewhat OCD personality, and once I get interested in something, I wind up throwing myself into it. I started watching films almost obsessively. Cary Grant was my first "obsesssion" and then because of "Indiscreet", I started watching Ingrid Bergman movies, which lead me to Joseph Cotten via "Gaslight". It's like a cycle. And once I latch onto a particular actor and fall in love with their acting style, I find myself having to see all of their movies, good or bad.

The more films I keep watching, I've noticed the more obscure I get. I particularly love character actors. I notice things like the lighting and cinematography. I love things that just make me happy. There's nothing that brings me more joy than watching Fred Astaire dance or really good storytelling and character development like in "Ball of Fire", "The Flight of the Phoenix", "Some Came Running" and "The Guns of Navarone". I'm not big on pretentiousness. I like plots and I love, love, love good acting. I've said this before, but I fall in love with good acting. It's what really makes a movie for me. Where there's good acting, I can emotionally click with the people and the plot on the screen. I can empathize with the characters or hate them.

And then there's the idea of watching a time that's passed. I love how people get married at the drop of a hat or fall in love in the blink of an eye. This has never happened to me, but it's nice to imagine it. I also love how naive and innocent people were. Like in "Miracle in the Rain"--Van Johnson helps Jane Wyman across the street with her groceries and boom, they're in love! If that happened now, you'd run as fast as you could away from him. But back then, it seemed like you could fall in love like that. I'm not saying there wasn't some terrible things that happened, but movies allowed you to get away from your problems or that everything was solved with a dance number.

It's hard for me to share my love of classics with my friends, because they're not really interested. They like the "big" classics like "Casablanca" or "Singin' in the Rain", but they like the current movies more. Because of this, I wound up connecting more with my mother because she's lived through all these movies and she loves to watch them as well. We love to watch movies together, no matter what the genre is. Just as long as it has a good plot and good acting, we'll watch it. We're closer now and that means a lot to me because I have so many great memories now.
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Post by bradtexasranger »

Very interesting post, Sugarpuss. Thanks so much for sharing :)
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Post by MissGoddess »

That was a thoughtful and nicely expressed post, Sugarpuss. I think a lot of us classic movie fans are attracted by the same elements in these films.
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traceyk
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Post by traceyk »

Very nicely said, Sugarpuss.

I wasn't particularly lonely as a kid, but I was blessed (cursed?) with an overly active imagination. I was always acting out things I read in books, either by doing a little play or using Barbie dolls or just pretending. In the 70's they used to play old movies at particular times of the year on TV--like "Wizard of Oz" and "It's a Wonderful Life" and all those old Christmas cartoons and Claymation things. And I used to look forward to them, as well as the "That's Entertainment" specials they used to play. I loved the look of old movies--they way everything was so over the top and glamorous.

As I got older, it was a nice way to connect with my grandmother and I used to watch old movies with her on Sundays and late at night. It was fun to hear her talk about how my grandfather always looked like Errol Flynn to her and going to the movies on Staurday and staying like all day because there was a stage show and newsreels and who-knows-what-all before the main feature.

I've also always been sort of fascinated with origins of things too--everything from sayings to archtypes and mythology. And old movies gives a great reference point. I love when I see somethng in a modern movie and I know where it had it's origins.

Tracey
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. "~~Wilde
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