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Why Do You Love Movies?

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sugarpuss
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Postby sugarpuss » June 20th, 2007, 1:14 pm

Thanks for the nice words about my post Brad, MissG and Tracey. Sometimes I have a tendancy to ramble and when I reread my posts, I just cringe in embarrassment.

Tracey, I'm with you on the overactive imagination part (actually, I never grew out of it--my imagination still works overdrive, especially when I'm bored). And I miss the over-the-top glamour that's shown in the old movies! Everyone looked so beautiful and dapper back then. I kind of wish people still dressed like that today, but honestly, who wants to wear a suit and tie or a long dress with perfect hair and makeup when it's 90 degrees outside? Ugh.

I could go for one of those gigantic hats that the women used to wear though. They seem like good protection from the sun. I've been looking everywhere for one, but to no avail.
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Postby benwhowell » June 20th, 2007, 2:20 pm

Good points, tracey and sugarpuss! I have a wild overactive imagination too. Movies fuel that fire. They inspire me. Just last night I received much inspiration watching "Beware, My Lovely" with Ida Lupino. First of all, that house was incredible! I've been (mentally) decorating it to fit my taste since. I even woke up thinking about it. Second, it gave me a great decorating idea for Christmas. (Yes, I think about Christmas all year long.) Her psychotic handy man (Robert Ryan) placed a large mirror underneath the Christmas tree...I don't know why I've never thought about doing that before. Actually, I don't think I've ever seen that done before...and I have tons of Christmas decorating books/magazines-vintage and contemporary.

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Postby traceyk » June 21st, 2007, 12:42 pm

sugarpuss wrote:And I miss the over-the-top glamour that's shown in the old movies! Everyone looked so beautiful and dapper back then. I kind of wish people still dressed like that today, but honestly, who wants to wear a suit and tie or a long dress with perfect hair and makeup when it's 90 degrees outside? Ugh.
.


The best part aboiut the whole glamour thing was how effortless they made it look. Anyone who has ever gone for the glamour look (any brides out there? LOL) knows it is anything but easy. It's a right pain in the keister. And even though intellectually I know those stars got there hours before they had to be filmed and were plucked and painted and sprayed to within an inch of their lives, once they are on the screen, you'd never know it. Never let them see you sweat, bay-bee.

Tracey

PS--Sugarpuss--You might try ebay for the hats--I've found antique cloche hats from the 20's on there, so hats from the 40's shouldn't be too hard to find.
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. "~~Wilde

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Postby pktrekgirl » June 22nd, 2007, 1:11 pm

Interesting topic, and I really enjoyed reading everyone's responses.

I think my story is more similar to sugarpuss's than anything else. I was not a classic film fan growing up or anything like that. I had seen some of the basics - Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, Roman Holiday and stuff like that....but those were only in passing, and purely by mistake. My father was a huge John Wayne fan...and while I didn't watch many of his films all the way through, I'd also seen bits and pieces of those. However, since I thought cowboy and war stuff was lame, I wasn't drawn to classic film by my dad's late-night John Wayne flicks either.

It's sort of odd that I never made more of an effort in those days...because I always though Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca was the absolute *coolest*. And in college, I actually had a life-sized poster of Clark Gable (as Rhett Butler) hanging on my dorm room wall!

But for years, I never moved past that mere flicker of an interest.

Over the years I happened on to a couple of other classic films that I enjoyed - Doctor Zhivago, & The Nun's Story being two of the more notable ones. But that was quite literally IT, until about 4 - 5 years ago.

It started innocently enough one day when I happened upon an airing of Casablanca, and once again was overwhelmed by Bogie's utter 'coolness'. In that moment, I realized that Bogie must have made other films besides Casablanca...and I decided to make it sort of a life project to see all of them. Sort of one of those odd-ball things to add to my life resume: "Seen all of Humphrey Bogart's films" - Check. Intended to be purely a novelty item among all of this HUGE expanse of scifi TV and films I have digested over the years. Cocktail party chatter: "Yeah...and oddly enough, I have seen every film Humphrey Bogart ever made."

But like Sugarpuss, my interest in Bogie and my challenge to myself to see all of his films lead me to interests in others. I saw a couple of Bogie films that included Bette Davis in the cast...and off I went on Bette Davis. And then, a few films into my investigation of the films of Bette Davis, I watched THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX. And well...we all know how THAT turned out. :P I positively fell in LOVE with Errol Flynn (who I had also seen in VIRGINIA CITY and liked...even though it WAS a 'cowboy movie')....and starting branching out yet again. Errol Flynn, of course, lead me to Olivia deHavilland...who led me to Montgomery Clift in THE HEIRESS....who of course led me to Elizabeth Taylor...who led me to Richard Burton. Other 'strands' included getting interested in Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca...and that interest led me to Charles Boyer as a result of GASLIGHT. Charles Boyer, in turn, led me to an interest in Irene Dunne as a result of LOVE AFFAIR....and an interest in Jean Arthur as a result of HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT. Yet another 'strand' was getting interested in James Cagney as a result of all the gangster films he was in with Bogie....and off I went down his 'road'.

I was having so much fun by this time that I decided to do the same thing with my favorite 'poster boy from college' Clark Gable as I had done with Bogie. And Clark Gable led me to stars like Claudette Colbert, Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy, Joan Crawford, Loretta Young, Rosalind Russell, Norma Shearer, and others. And of course, those stars, in turn, led to others - most notably William Powell (through Myrna Loy) and Franchot Tone (through Joan Crawford).

One thing that is funny to note, however, is that at this point, I was actively AVOIDING this actor called Gary Cooper...who I had mentally associated with westerns and war movies (YAWN). I didn't even know who he was or what he looked like - but the sort of movies I thought he was in sounded lame...so I decided that I didn't care about him. Without seeing a single one of his films, I wrote him off as another John Wayne - one of those actors who made 'guy movies'. "Yeah. WhatEVER. I mean, there is only so far I am willing to go with this classic film stuff." :lol:

But then, because of Jean Arthur, I got ahold of MR DEEDS GOES TO TOWN.

And instantly fell in love.

He was absolutely *adorable*. I couldn't believe it! I had made all of these assumptions...and I had been wrong, wrong, wrong. Naive, cute and adorable Longfellow Deeds wasn't ANYTHING like a John Wayne-esque 'guy movie' character. And Gary Cooper wasn't anything like John Wayne!

Well, after that I became pretty much unstoppable when it came to Gary Cooper. I really got into Barbara Stanwyck because of him and BALL OF FIRE. And now, those two are my favorite actor and actress!

Oddly, I had also been kind of semi-avoiding Barbara Stanwyck up until that time as well...although not as vehemently as I had been avoiding Coop (who I wouldn't have been able to identify in a film star line-up). No real reason - I guess I just associated her with 'dark' movies because of CRY WOLF...and never really saw the true range of her talent until I saw BALL OF FIRE.

It is funny how the one actor and the one actress I thought I WOULDN'T like are now my two favorites.

Life can be strange.

As for the silents...well, pretty much the only silent stars I had ever *heard of* were Greta Garbo, Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton. And Buster Keaton ONLY because of the Johnny Depp film BENNY AND JOON.

So when I decided to give silents a try, those were the names I sought out. In particular I was curious about the whole aura around the Garbo and Valentino legends....and really wanted to see at least one film of each, even if I ended up hating the silents. And I wanted to see a Chaplin film because...well, I saw The Tramp as pretty much a fixture in film history, and indeed, in popular culture!

Falling in love with Valentino took about 20 seconds. All it took was the tango scene in THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, and I was a pile of Valentino-obsessed mush. :lol:

However, Chaplin was yet ANOTHER star who I had misjudged before even seeing any of his work...and ANOTHER star who I had pretty much intentionally avoided.

I have never been a fan of slapstick, or puns. I don't care for The Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy, The Marx Brothers...or anyone along those comedy lines. And I had wrongly assumed that Chaplin would be like that...so I was in no big rush to get to Chaplin and The Tramp.

But finally, I discovered that CITY LIGHTS and THE GOLD RUSH are supposedly included in alot of lists of the 100 best movies of all time...and I broke down and bought a copy of CITY LIGHTS. I just knew I'd hate it and end up thinking it was the stupidest film ever....but by the end of it, I was sitting at my computer ordering both of the two big boxed sets that make up The Chaplin Collection. And my Chaplin obsession was born.

Since my first experiences with Valentino and Chaplin, I have watched many silents....but unlike my experiences with talkies, I can't say that either of them led to other stars that I became interested in. Maybe Gloria Swanson to an extent, after seeing BEYOND THE ROCKS....but SUNSET BOULEVARD was my first Swanson picture, so I'm not sure Rudy can take credit for Gloria. :lol: I suppose Chaplin can take credit for introducing me to Paulette Goddard....but I have still not seen that many of her pictures...so there is not really much to take credit FOR there. With silents, I have skipped around much more, and have never really focused a maximum effort on any other stars besides Valentino and Chaplin. I like Buster Keaton alot...and I like Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Vilma Bankey, and others...but none have simply 'wowed me' to the extent Valentino and Chaplin have, where I just rushed right out to find every film in their filmology I could get my hands on.

It has certainly been an interesting ride into a whole new world. And it is STILL rather a novelty to me when I stop to think about how my favorite stars are not any of the big names today...but are people who in some cases died decades ago. I mean, 5 years ago I didn't even know who many of these people were! And now they are all I watch besides scifi.

But it has been fun - no doubt of that!

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Postby MissGoddess » June 22nd, 2007, 1:55 pm

PK----I have a suggestion to make to you. Why don't you send your post, exactly as it's written here, to some newspapers or movie critics. I think that it's one of the most well written and amusing summations of how someone can fall in love with the classics I've read and I bet you it would get published. And I think some potential converts might be willing to follow your example.

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Postby movieman1957 » June 22nd, 2007, 2:34 pm

PK:

Only five years? Still so much for you to find. It will be fun.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Postby sugarpuss » June 22nd, 2007, 2:49 pm

PK, TERRIFIC post! You're right in both of our stories being somewhat similar. There was so much in your post that I found myself going, "Hey that happened to me too!" And apparently you have the somewhat OCD gene as well. Interesting how Ingrid in "Gaslight" seems to lead people to discovering other actors (Boyer for you, Cotten for me). And your avoidance of Gary Cooper (ha ha ha, I have to laugh at that! One of Gary Cooper's #1 cheerleaders actively avoided him in the past! :wink: ) reminds me of my avoidance of musicals.

I mean, 5 years ago I didn't even know who many of these people were!


I know! Five years ago I could spit out band discographies at the drop of a hat. Now I'll watch a movie and know all the character actors and what other movies they starred in. It's really amazing how classic movies can really become an obsession!

What a great post. I love it!

I always wonder down the line if I'll look back at the movies I currently love and still love them or if I'll think, "Geez, why did I think that was so great?" Or will I be interested in a different genre, like foreign films? It's amazing to think of what waits ahead!
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Postby pktrekgirl » June 22nd, 2007, 5:03 pm

Oh yes, Sugarpuss! The whole time I was reading your post, i was thinking "Wow! This sounds exactly like me!" :lol: In fact, you were the one who inspired me to post in this thread...because our experience sounded so very similar.

And I also noticed how GASLIGHT was one of those "Oh, he is SOOO COOOL!!" junctures for you also!

I think that for me, GASLIGHT got me interested in Charles Boyer as a villain - he was so good in that role and was such a great actor! So...cold. But then I came across him again as I continued down the Bette Davis road, in ALL THIS AND HEAVEN TOO. And that REALLY got my attention. Soooooo romantic!!!!! Good lord, I thought I would just melt into the sofa! :lol:

In a way it was sorta like Errol Flynn in VIRGINIA CITY and THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX. I first saw Errol Flynn in VIRGINIA CITY (which I watched for Bogie) and though "Wow...he is really good! I need to check him out some time!" But it wasn't until ELIZABETH AND ESSEX that I totally fell in love with the man and went ga-ga crazy over Errol Flynn.

And yeah...the Gary Cooper thing is very amusing to me now as well. I remember when I was a baby TCM fan, flipping through the offerings on TiVo. If I saw 'Gary Cooper' in the credits, I went no further: I skipped right by it, thinking to myself "Nope - Guy Film". :lol:

Needless to say, I don't do that now. :P

And the way you are with music, I am with scifi. There isn't much in the way of scifi TV that I have not seen...and there are a couple of shows (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5) where I can tell you what happens in every single episode, just by the title of the episode!

I still am very active in the scifi community...and with my interest in the genre. I watch all the current scifi shows and see all the scifi movies.

Only now it shares space with classic film...and so I am in this perpetual state of panic over all the unwatched stuff on my TiVo!

Tonight I will go home and watch Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis...and then watch one of the Errol Flynn films I TiVoed on his birthday.

I wonder what it says about me that I love the past...and I love the future....but not so much the present. :P

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Postby Sue Sue Applegate » June 22nd, 2007, 5:39 pm

I was very ill when I was in 8th and 9th grade, and movies and music helped me learn about the world at large even though I was confined quite a bit. Plus, I became a voracious reader. I've always continued to learn about movies, continued to read a great deal, and continued to nurture my musical nature since those times.

I so enjoyed reading your posts because you all verbalized so much that I've felt. The movies helped me to be more creative and realize that my feelings and abilities were more in tune with my peers than I had originally thought.

My passion for Bogie & Bacall, Kate & Spence, Barbara & Bette, William and Myrna, and Jane and Marilyn led me to realize the greatness of film and discover the genius of John Huston, Preston Sturges, Jacques Tourneur, and Billy Wilder.

I was also influenced by Hollywood at the History Font and loved Elizabeth and Essex, and was extremely fond of Young Bess with Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons. This past summer I was extremely lucky. I was able to "follow that dream" and paid a visit to Hatfield House in the UK. I felt so lucky to be able to make that trip and take in the history of that part of the world, and I know that dream might not have been realized if not for "the movies."

Just recently, here in Texas, I paid a visit to Fort Parker, where Cynthia Ann Parker was abducted as a young girl, and lived with the native Indians until she was returned to her original family. (Sometimes thought of as inspiration for The Searchers) Her son, Quanah Parker, became famous as his tribal spokesman for several years, but Cynthia Ann died, some say of remorse at having to leave her native ways and family. Without the inspiring stories of many of the films I viewed as a teenager, I feel my desire to pursue the story behind these films would not be as compelling.

I am grateful for the larger body of knowledge that these films helped me to develop, and grateful for a place to learn more about their history, like our Silver Screen Oasis.

Passing the love of film along is always a joy. I do it by using classic film in my classes, discussing classic film with my friends, and by watching classic films with my family, and my hope for our future is that we all do a little bit of that nurturing so that what we loved and enjoyed in our past is revealed to the folks who will carry on in the future.
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Postby SSO Admins » June 22nd, 2007, 7:00 pm

sugarpuss wrote:I could go for one of those gigantic hats that the women used to wear though. They seem like good protection from the sun. I've been looking everywhere for one, but to no avail.


I know they sell them somewhere around here. They're very popular around Preakness time.

Have you tried vintage clothing stores?

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Postby SSO Admins » June 22nd, 2007, 7:04 pm

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Just recently, here in Texas, I paid a visit to Fort Parker, where Cynthia Ann Parker was abducted as a young girl, and lived with the native Indians until she was returned to her original family. (Sometimes thought of as inspiration for The Searchers) Her son, Quanah Parker, became famous as his tribal spokesman for several years, but Cynthia Ann died, some say of remorse at having to leave her native ways and family. Without the inspiring stories of many of the films I viewed as a teenager, I feel my desire to pursue the story behind these films would not be as compelling.


I am in some way related to her, although I can't remember exactly how. One of my relatives did a complete genealogy years ago, which I read.

The only other ancestor I can remember was a guy who froze to death in an Oklahoma winter when his butt apparently got stuck to the toilet seat in the cold.

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Postby pktrekgirl » June 22nd, 2007, 7:16 pm

MissGoddess wrote:PK----I have a suggestion to make to you. Why don't you send your post, exactly as it's written here, to some newspapers or movie critics. I think that it's one of the most well written and amusing summations of how someone can fall in love with the classics I've read and I bet you it would get published. And I think some potential converts might be willing to follow your example.


Well, thanks for this comment. I always hesitate to write about this journey in such detail, because it makes me sound like so much of a rookie compared to some of the classic film fans around here who have been at it forever.

But when I saw Sugarpuss's post, I could really relate to what she wrote, and wanted to basically say "Yeah! I did that too!"

The good part of this, however, is that I remember so many 'firsts' in such vivid detail. Which actors led me to other actors...which of their films I saw first, which of the films 'grabbed me' for the first time...and in some cases, where I was or what I was doing when I watched one of their films for the first time.

For example, when I watched MR DEEDS GOES TO TOWN for the first time, I was sitting in a hotel room in Hiroshima, Japan, watching on my mini-DVD player after a long day of (rather grim) site-seeing. After I watched that movie, I actually remember being FRUSTRATED that I was on vacation in Japan...because I had no more access to any Gary Cooper films until I got home. :D :roll: I was SOOOOO hooked! It was almost painful. :lol:

And I remember the first time I watched THE KID as well. It was my second Chaplin film - the first one I pulled out when I got that boxed set. When I put that film in the DVD player, I had no idea what I was in for. But during that next hour I laughed more than I had in years (so much I had to stop the film because my stomach hurt so much)...and incredibly, ended up crying as well. And when it was over...I couldn't believe how much I had LOVED that film. And I couldn't believe how much Chaplin had affected me...in a single hour. And in a silent, no less.

Sometimes around here, I read posts and wonder if I will EVER get to this film or that film. But movieman is right...I do have alot ahead of me, which is a nice feeling. And I do have some fun memories still with me of some of these firsts.

As for writing an article, I had never really thought of that. When I think of classic film articles, I tend to think about all of these super-knowledgeable people writing almost scholarly articles about this star or that, this director or that. But ME? What do I have to say that wouldn't make me look like a total fangirl goober? I see your point...and it would be great to see others discover the road that I have taken here. But I wouldn't know where to start!

I don't mind looking like a fangirl goober around here. Most people accept that...and I suppose the ones who don't just roll their eyes whenever they see my posts...and skip right on by, knowing that I'll say all sorts of ridiculous fangirl-esque sorts of things...but certainly nothing 'scholarly'. In short, I have my fun...but I really doubt most people consider my opinion to be worth much. Except maybe when it comes to Errol Flynn...given that I have read SOOO extensively on him.

At the other film board I mainly post at, I just know a couple of people there think I am an utter boob. Some of them are some really hard-core scholarly fans...and I just know they think my squealing, particularly about Valentino, is really silly. And they have no use for the stuff I do in PhotoShop either - I suspect they view it as still more evidence of my uneducated fangirl status. :lol:

But I just chock the whole thing up to having my fun and grabbing a few laughs. And if my idiotic insights have made a single person smile, then I'm good with that. In fact, to an extent I've come to relish the fangirl label....sorta like us scifi fans have come to wear the 'geek' label with a certain sense of pride.

In the past, I've even tossed around doing a thread - maybe reviewing my top 10 favorite fangirl films. No doubt it will make the scholars wanna smack their heads on their desks repeatedly to get their mind off the pain I am causing them. But it might be amusing to some. :P

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Postby knitwit45 » June 22nd, 2007, 7:27 pm

GOOBER???? I think not! You and Moira and Sue2 and Miss G and Sugarpuss make me glad I chose Dorothy for my Avatar...every time I check in on this board and read all your intelligent, informative, well written posts, I say to my little dog Murphy, "We aren't in Kansas anymore!" I probably have 20 years at least on you guys, but my knowledge of films is still in the infancy stage.

Thanks to all of you for sharing so much of your vast stores of information.

the ks kid :shock:
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Postby Sue Sue Applegate » June 22nd, 2007, 10:20 pm

jondaris, I actually attended Cynthia Ann Parker Elementary School in Texas. As a student there, I was fascinated with a large mosaic depicting her life. One day, a man came to talk to us about his ancestor, Cynthia Ann Parker. Nine years later, on my first teaching assignment, that man who came to visit my school ended up being one of my supervisors. He told me all his family stories. I felt so blessed at that "coincidence" and he was so pleased to know that I had remembered much of what he had said and inspired in me lo those years earlier, even though I didn't recognize him.

Genealogically speaking, we've everything from horse thieves to Hyannisport in our family "arbor." And if our toilet seats stuck too closely to
our "selves," that's cuz they ain't no heat in the outhouse.

knitwit, thanks for putting me in such "high clover" company.
I so enjoy reading about all the inspiration on this thread.
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Postby MissGoddess » June 25th, 2007, 9:29 am

>>>As for writing an article, I had never really thought of that. When I think of classic film articles, I tend to think about all of these super-knowledgeable people writing almost scholarly articles about this star or that, this director or that. But ME? What do I have to say that wouldn't make me look like a total fangirl goober? I see your point...and it would be great to see others discover the road that I have taken here. But I wouldn't know where to start! <<<

PK you've already started without realizing it! Just send your post in as written to Variety or NY Times (the film comment section) or Leonard Maltin and I cannot believe they wouldn't want to print it or use it somehow.

I see what you mean about the "scholarly" type of material that's out there and that's great but I don't think those are the types of articles that can persuade average movie goers to give classic movies a chance. Enthusiasm and an open-mind is what is infectious, and your post was filled with both. Really, I'm rooting for you to send it off. At least "save" it somewhere and when you see an opportunity you can have it handy to share.

I am afraid I fall into the "fangirl" category myself and like you I am fairly unblushing about it! What I lack in ability to retain almost any facts at all (or to keep them straight) I try to make up for in enthusiasm and general gushing. :lol:

I can relate to your accounts of those historic "firsts" with Chaplin --- I had the exact same reaction to his films when I first saw them. Laughing and crying at the same time and wondering how in the world that was physically possible.

The strongest and most lasting impression still remains my first vieiwings of Gone with the Wind as a child---I cried like a baby for hours when Rhett left Scarlett (my Mother feared for my sanity) and I thought Clark Gable the most exciting actor I'd ever seen.

Cheers,

Miss G


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