Family Movie Night
Do you ever get on a kick to watch certain types of movies?
I have had weeks in which I only watch movies based on Jane Austen books or Jack Black movies.
Sometimes, the only thing I want to watch is musicals or animal stories or something I know will make me cry my eyes out.
Lately, I have wanted to watch nothing but classic movies. I am talking about movies that were made during the 40s and 50s with actors who brought a certain something with them to the silver screen.
Case in point – the other night we watched Casablanca (1942). Our 14-year-old stopped to watch the movie with us. I kept saying things like “look, there is Humphrey Bogart. He was a great actor.” Or “look, there is Sydney Greenstreet. He was one of the best character actors around, in his day.”
I made him wait for Ingrid Bergman, one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the planet. I wanted him to hear her voice and look at her face to see that glow that only Bergman possessed.
But more importantly, I wanted him to hear the script with lines that are ageless. We know the color of Ilsa’s dress when the Germans invaded Paris. We know Rick has a heart despite his front of disinterest. We know that Claude Rains plays the captain with an air of insouciance.
He is shocked to find there is gambling going on at Rick’s just moments before he is handed his winnings. The Germans sing their anthem proudly until the French citizen comes back strong, even those women willing to go out with German soldiers.
There are strong moments throughout that remind me what made this movie making so great. Moments that are presented by strong actors such as Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Paul Henreid and S.Z. Sakall.
It makes me think about current actors who are just as good. My mind lists quality people such as George Clooney, David Strathairn, Holly Hunter, Jodie Foster, Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, and Richard Gere. I think of Angelina Jolie, one of the few Hollywood stars that still glow. Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush and Brendan Gleeson get me excited. Alan Rickman has been thrilling in performances for over 20 years.
Could I see a re-make of Casablanca? I could and there have been remakes of this movie. My favorite is Barb Wire, a so-bad-it-is-good Pamela Anderson vehicle set in a post-apocalyptic world. Good idea, poor execution. I could see a number of men – or women – pulling off the role of Rick.
Directed by Michael Curtiz, this movie is a wonderful balance of fear and hope, of passive behavior and aggressive assertiveness. I enjoy watching Victor’s continued show of strength and Major Strasser’s determined path for the Furher.
Next classic movie I plan to watch is Rear Window (1954) starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. The director is Alfred Hitchcock.
Do you have a favorite classic?
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.