The project for which I started this blog is due tomorrow, so this will likely be my last entry before I get graded. I'm still going to try and keep posting here even after I turn in the project, but I thought this would be a good time to stop and discuss some of the movies that first captured my interest in classic films. You may have noticed the badly-photoshopped banner at the top of this page. I made it a few months ago for another blog layout, and each frame in the film strip is a still from a movie that I've seen. My tastes have changed a bit since I put it together, so this isn't exactly a list of my favorite films, but I'll go through the banner from left to right and try to give you an idea of why I picked these movies.
Penny Serenade was the first black-and-white film I ever saw (willingly, that is; the usual holiday classics don't count). It was on PBS or a similar station one night when I couldn't sleep, and it was the first time I realized that movies without Technicolor contained actual plots and could even be entertaining. I was still in high school, and had no idea what I'd just seen or who had been in it (now, of course, I can't imagine not being able to recognize Cary Grant on sight), and it took two or three years before I was even able to track down the title of this film. After this I went quite a while without seeing another classic, but Penny Serenade is definitely the movie that opened my mind toward movies older than myself.
Top Hat was one of the first talking pictures we watched in my Film History class last year. After half a semester of silent films, a musical felt positively modern. Like Penny Serenade, Top Hat made me realize that old movies weren't nearly as outdated as I'd always assumed.
Notorious was my first Hitchcock film, and it's still among my favorite movies. The final scenes, in which Alicia is slowly poisoned by her mother-in-law and Devlin whisks her away right in front of them, still keep me glued to my seat every time.
It Happened One Night was my introduction to screwball comedy, and one of the first classic films I ever owned on DVD. I paid a tribute of sorts to this movie during last year's National Novel Writing Month; none of my friends got the reference, but it was my favorite thing that I wrote all month.
Now, Voyager is my second-favorite Bette Davis movie. Her willingness to appear completely unattractive for the sake of a role makes Charlotte Vale's transformation wholly believable. It gets sappy a times, such as the voice-over in Tina's room at Cascade, but it's still a film I never turn down the chance to see.
A Bill of Divorcement is the only film besides Penny Serenade on this list that I've only seen once. The plot is admittedly outdated, but Katharine Hepburn's performance is an early indicator of her outstanding career. I honestly can't remember why I included this movie, but I do remember that it's worth watching again to find out.
I probably should have done this post earlier, but better late than never and all that. At least now, if anyone's actually reading this, you'll have a better idea of where I'm coming from as far as my early experiences with classic films. Hopefully I'll get to do full posts on each of these movies at some point. That point, however, is not tonight.
A Bill Of Divorcement (1932). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022685/
Carrie. (20 April 2007). Photo Friday - Notorious. from Classic Montgomery: http://classicmontgomery.blogspot.com/2007/04/photo-friday-notorious.html
It Happened One Night (1934). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025316/
Kuersten, Erich. (3 May 2008). Mother's Day Salute to Cinematic Blonde Moms... of DEATH!. from Bright Lights After Dark: http://brightlightsfilm.blogspot.com/2008/05/mothers-day-salute-to-cinematic-blonde.html
Notorious (1946). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038787/
Now, Voyager (1942). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035140/
Penny Serenade (1941). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034012/
Top Hat (1935). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027125/