Saturday, 16 February 2013

For the Love of Classic Movies

I love old movies.  Let me put a qualifier on that - I love good, classic movies.

There was a time in my life after I finished university but prior to finding a full-time job when I used to stay up after everyone else had gone to bed to watch the 11:30 PM Late Show.  Those were the days when the American TV networks used to program a late show of movies from the 1930's and 40's.  That's when I came to appreciate the work of some great actors:  Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jean Harlow, to name just a very few.

Nowadays, I usually sit down in front of the TV with my bowl of instant peach oatmeal around 7:30 AM and flip to TCM  to see what old movie they're showing.  They usually program "B" movies at that time of day; most of them really deserve that label, and I'll often flick to "House Hunters" after about five minutes.

Today I saw a film with Myrna Loy, Frank Morgan (the Wizard of Oz), and Robert Montgomery.  I stayed because I had never seen this one before, and because I'm a big fan of Myrna Loy.  The bit I saw before I had to leave for work was about how Loy, an author, was unhappily in love with her married book editor, Morgan, while a newspaper reporter (Montgomery) was getting in the way.  Now, I've never seen Morgan in a romantic role before, so that was fun.  The baby-boomers might remember Montgomery as the father of Elizabeth Montgomery from the popular 1960's television show, "Bewitched," but he had a long, illustrious acting career of his own.  He was very funny playing a drunk interrupting a rendezvous between the two lovers, and quite charming being creamed in a golf game with the editor's wife.

I looked up the movie, and it's called "When Ladies Meet," made in 1933.  Please watch it, if you can; I hope to be able to catch all of it one day.  You see, I'm afraid that these actors and movies will be lost to future generations.  Even if university or college students take a film class, I doubt that they'll be showing this movie.  I've tried to expose my two daughters to classic films, and they probably know more about old movie musicals than a lot of my contemporaries.  But when I sat in on an undergraduate writing class last Fall at the university where I work, the students didn't know who Clark Gable was.  That's sad.

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