Tuesday, May 27, 2008

American Classic Cinema

Because this is a library blog I am going to explain some library rules here. There is one big advantage to being a part of a library system and that is, you can borrow any item your library doesn’t own. It is for this reason that I have not bought a lot of classic films. I love them dearly but most people want to see the new movies. But if you get tired of the new films and want to see a guaranteed winner, go back and take a look at the classics. Last week I watched a couple of oldies: Casablanca (1942) and Sunset Boulevard (1950). I was struck again by the beauty of black and white film, and the use of shadows is wonderful. I would guess that Casablanca is the more beloved of these two films so I thought it was interesting that my college age son preferred Sunset Boulevard. It was less of a love story and more of a mystery (my son has yet to develop a fondness for love stories). Both of these films have familiar scenes and lines:
Casablanca: Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Sunset Boulevard: All right, Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close up.
It’s fun to go back and see them again, to anticipate the famous scenes/lines. Neither of these movies is owned by VPL but both are available in the system. Stop by the reference desk and we’ll show you how to request items from another library. But if you don’t want to wait, VPL does own the following:
The Pride of the Yankees (1942) Gary Cooper won an Oscar for playing Lou Gehrig in this classic baseball film.
Notorious (1946) Directed by the great Alfred Hitchcock, this is one of his very best.
Johnny Belinda (1948) Starring Jane Wyman as a deaf mute, this film helped to change the way people with disabilities were treated.
In a Lonely Place (1950) Bogart’s worth watching in anything. He’s the ultimate tough-talking man.
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957) Robert Mitchum is a personal favorite of mine. He makes a great villain but in this one he’s a good guy.
Rio Bravo (1959) John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson…can you beat the cast? Remade as Assault on Precinct 13, the original is lots of fun. It has Walter Brennan in a classic Walter Brennan role. He’s super and so is the film!
So give yourself a treat and go back and take a look at the classics. I guarantee you’ll have a good time!

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