Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The movies that time forgot

It's about Turner Classic Movies. The promise of 1930s musicals and 40s screwball comedies drew me in, but - can you believe it? - those don't run daily. The best my commitment and insane knitting schedule has got me was a (fascinating) documentary on Cecil B. DeMille.

Last week during the day I watched Candleshoe (better than I remembered) and Escape To Witch Mountain (which I'd been wanting to see again for quite a while now, but lost interest in after 10 minutes.) Today I saw something about a safari with Victor Mature and Janet Leigh, and after that it was My Sister Eileen, which I have always loved. There were a few years there before Jack Lemmon perfected the beaten down Everyman when he was a hot romantic lead, and this is one from that period, which was one reason for my devotion - and as it turns out, the only reason that still stands up today.

After that it was Houdini, with Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. It was Janet Leigh day, apparently.

I grew up on old movies but.... these ones haven't aged well. As with silent stars during the shift to sound, I expect Victor Mature would have found the path to stardom a challenge were he starting out today. At one point during the safari movie he moved his eyebrows to show some form of emotion I couldn't quite make out, and later, when (spoiler) Janet Leigh says, breathlessly, I love you Ken, and I always will - he lights a cigarette and gives a look like he has a cramp. (Okay, I know I'm describing a Keanu Reeves performance here, but still.)

To summarize: you can see a whole movie for free without commercials on TCM! and you mostly get what you pay for. Which isn't to say I won't be planting myself in front of the TV again today, only in part because the knitting and continuing back/neck problems deem it so. It's like gambling, really - you keep losing, but you keep thinking that next time you'll win, if you just hang on long enough.

1 comment:

Kathleen Taylor said...

So many favorite movies don't hold up well- that's what makes The Wizard of Oz such a treasure. I know it played fast and loose with the story, but the movie itself is amazing.

It's not as old as those Turner Classics, but if you get a chance, watch The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming- it's nearly perfect (the love story is a bit sappy, and I wanted to brain the bratty kid, but the rest... the rest is... well watch it)