Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why I Love Classic Movies

It’s no secret that I love movies. While I love new movies, with their high tech gadgetry, for me, there's nothing better than a classic movie.

Last weekend, two things happened to prompt this article. The first was Avatar's continued shattering of box office records. The second was a viewing of "That's Entertainment" on PBS Saturday night.

Hollywood used to know how to make movies and I mean really make them. They didn't have to make political statements left, right or center. They didn't have to break new ground. All they had to do was entertain you, because when you go to the movies, that's what you're looking for-entertainment.

Last year, we saw the 70th anniversary of the best year in Hollywood. 1939 saw such eternals as "Gone with the Wind," "The Wizard of Oz," and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Experts on Hollywood are undecided as to what made that year have it all, but it’s not the only time of Hollywood's Golden Age that produced good movies.

It’s easy to go to the movies today and be dazzled by some feat of computer generated imagery. But back then, it took more than talent with a computer to dazzle an audience. Don’t believe me? Check out 1951’s “Royal Wedding” starring Fred Astaire. Whether he’s dancing on the floor, walls and ceiling of a room or dancing with a hat rack, Astaire brilliant talent makes the whole thing look effortless, and no computer aid was involved.

I invite you to watch a classic movie you've never seen. Our library has a ton of them on VHS and TCM plays them 24/7, commercial free. Check out the song and dance numbers in an MGM gem. Look at what used to be entertainment. If you appreciate movies, you may just see a few things: No amount of special effects will ever beat hearing Judy Garland sing. No action sequence will ever compare to watching Gene Kelly dance. And regardless of totals, no blue aliens will ever compare to the cunning of Scarlett O'Hara.

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