Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Reasons I Love Old Films

I'm no expert on old cinema, but I have discovered a great appreciation for films made back in the day. I have really been taking advantage of my free Wednesday mornings recently by going to quite a few of the 25 cent classics shown at The State Theater. Today they were playing "Woman of the Year" staring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. The movie was made in 1942 and was in black and white.

I love black and white films because they are forced to rely more heavily on lighting. The lighting in "Woman of the Year" was flipping amazing; I just could not get enough of it.

I also love the softening affect old films can have. I'm sure much of it is due to lighting, but I've noticed at times there is a lack of sharpness that adds a certain level of romanticism to an old film. The softness of femininity is enhanced on slightly blurred out close ups of actresses, especially when they're crying.

Part of me gets annoyed that even when there's a strong female character they are always portrayed as somehow "lesser than" or subservient to a man, but then I have to remind myself that life was different 60 (or however many) years ago. (Actually I can argue in some current movies this is the case, but I won't go into that now.) Also just as a note, there are plenty of female characters that challenge those beliefs as well as those that fulfill them.

Oy with the poodles already. Stop grabbing her like you're trying to shake a doll.

Just the same, there's something about a man whisking a woman up into his arms to kiss her that just makes me so happy. Seriously some guy needs to come along and kiss me like that one of these days. Speaking of kisses, those really meant something back in the day. Since there were no sex scenes in old movies, every bit of passion was stuffed into those kisses. On screen smooches were pretty next level electrifying in old films.

Now on to one of my favorite topics, fashion. Oh the fashion, how can I even express in words my love for vintage fashion? From the dresses, to the skirts, to the shoes, to the jackets, to the hats and the gloves, I just can't get enough. It's all so pretty. Seriously with the polka dots and the stripes, the velvet and the beautifully structured jackets. Plus the gorgeous silhouettes of Katharine's ball gown in "Woman of the Year," or her wedding dress. And lets not forget all the spruced up men in suits, always topped off with a hat. There was just a different level of quality that was upheld when someone left the house 60 years ago compared to today's society.

What are you trying to do to me people? This dress is too perfect for my eyes. Ugh.

On top of everything, most of my favorite old films are musicals. Maybe it's not true, but I feel like there's more emphasis on music back then. All actors and actresses seem to know how to play an instrument or have impressive voices. Movies really showcased all of the person's talents.

I guess all of this stuff can be applied to movies that are made today. Modern movies still harness the power of lighting, provide plenty of women with gumption, help showcase other talents, and give us amazing wardrobe and costume designs. Despite all the similarities, there's still something that provides a different level of excitement and romantic feelings for old Hollywood films.

That look ladies and gentlemen. 

Do you like old films? What's your favorite film made before 1960?


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