Friday, February 02, 2007

The Whole World's in Tune...

I should probably preface this entry by admitting the fact that I succumbed to the television commercials and marketing strategy of Blockbuster video by subscribing to their rent-by-mail service. Its like NetFlix but you can also trade things in at the store too. Its fantastic. The movies ship in one day's time and I've gone a little movie crazy over it.

Anyway, this has awakened a part of my viewing habits I had always felt dormant: I love old movies. Black and white, singing galore - when movie stars were movie stars. The problem is that you cannot find most of these movies in your local store. But along comes the internet and bam: they're available.

Over Christmas the local Blockbuster put out "The Bells of St. Mary's" starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman in the Christmas section (ahem, its not really a Christmas movie, though Christmas does occur in the movie.) I loved it and by reading the production notes on the DVD found out it was a sequel to a movie I had previously only heard about: Going My Way.

Well, in my mailbox this week cam Going My Way starring Bing Crosby along with another movie - Holiday Inn, with him and Fred Astaire. Going My Way was fantastic. I understand why it won 7 Academy Awards and 3 Golden Globes back in 1944. This movie just makes you feel good all over. A priest comes into a parish to gently wean the old pastor out to pasture (sorry, pun) and save the parish from foreclosure. Of course the movie can only have one ending - and its fantastic. Almost makes this grown man tear up. (almost...) We need more Father O'Malley's in our movies today. Such a great view of the priesthood that is entertaining and good natured.

The other film, Holiday Inn, which is a classic that had also escaped my eyes previously was probably better than most current movies. The blackface scene was a little jarring by today's standards that put some things in perspective for me. I guess those were much different times. So different in fact that if someone did that now in a mainstream movie the ACLU, NAA(L)CP, and who knows who else would be screaming for someone's head. If you haven't seen the movie then I'm sorry because you've really missed out on a good bit of history. The blackface scene was not offensive (IMHO, but then again I'm not black...) and I was barrel laughing hard during it - because it was just so odd to see that. They actually put on the makeup to celebrate Lincoln freeing the slaves - and the black people were singing right along. It was fascinating to see.

I've got a ton more old movies on the way, and if anyone has any suggestions I'll be glad to take them. They help me connect to history which has always been a huge part of me. I love old stuff, as anyone who knows me is aware of.

1 comment:

Moonshadow said...

Capra's movies are fairly patriotic and religious.

I have a couple of posts on Capra's Mr. Smith, here and here.

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton