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What got you into classic films?


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Reading all of these, I realize how strongly I identified with classic movies as a child. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, and growing up I thought they looked a lot like James Cagney and Patricia Neal. (Yes, my grandfather was a lucky man). To this day, I can't see a picture with either star without thinking of them.

 

sineast, what a nice recall of Bill Tush, who was also the jack-of-all trades on WTCG (which became TBS). Remember Jan Hooks also sprang from WTCG to greater fame, if you were around in the TCG days.

 

TikiSoo, does your group screen rarities or more widely popular classics?

 

bbmm, your being introduced to TCM because of Rose McGowan is exactly why I always said I approved of her being chosen --- that she would attract new viewers!

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Bill did seem to do just about everything during that time. Maybe he wouldn't have made

it in "established" network TV, and he probably wouldn't have been permitted to do some

of the things he did on TBS in it, but he sure seemed to be the right person in the right place

at the right time. Hope he's doing well now.

 

Back then, TBS used to show a lot of films from the 40s and 50s when it wasn't all that

common. I think they used to have a nightly movie, often 'classic' films, on the weekdays and

some good things on Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons. Of course there were

commercials, and the films were probably cut, but that was better than nothing. Also seems

they showed about 95% of the Atlanta Braves games.

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I'd say it was probably a few different channels at about the same time (early '90's) AMC and TBS in particular. I believe use to have their "100% Weird" block on Friday nights, where I got my intro to the gloriously cheesy horror flicks like Vincent Price in "House of Wax" and "The Tingler" while AMC was showing the more A-list stuff.

 

I have a terrible memory for what channel i saw a movie on that long ago, but if any particular movies fave me a shove toward the classics I'd say some were The Manchurian Candidate, Sullivan's Travels, the Hitchcock duo of Psycho and Rear Window, Forbidden Planet and even Voyage to the Bottom Of The Sea (stop laughing!)

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> {quote:title=ChipHeartsMovies wrote:}{quote}

> TikiSoo, does your group screen rarities or more widely popular classics?

 

Funny you should ask....generally speaking I'd call them "unusual". Although our season's titles may sound familiar to us, the general public never heard of them. For example we screened Trail of The Vigilantes starring (sigh) Francot Tone. Our yearly Cinefest is where the _really_ rare stuff is projected; silents, early films, shorts, movie star's home movies, etc. It's for hardcore film lovers. Anyone interested in attending should PM me.

 

And I must comment on OllieT's post re: "Rewatchable Films"

> I can't re-watch (they're just too hard, too emotionally powerful)

 

I feel the same way about a few films; excellent, but too emotionally draining. I think it has to do with a downbeat ending, feeling of hopelessness. The Miracle Worker is emotionally draining, but I could watch it again because the ending has positive resolution.

Paths Of Glory I saw first on the big screen, and then on TCM once. I'll never watch it again. Oh yeah, another is Ace In The Hole , never again. Too bad because I love Kirk Douglas, maybe he's just too intense.

 

What are some of your "too intense" films, Ollie?

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When I was younger, my Dad used to work the 3rd shift & Mom

would wait up for him, watching the old black & white movies in the dark.

Oftentimes, I'd get up during the night & lay on the sofa where she sat, with my head

on her lap & end up watching the movies with her, before falling asleep. One of the movies

I remember was 'Penny Serenade' with Cary Grant & Irene Dunn. The part that their little girl had, in the Christmas Pageant, where she 'echos' the tune of 'Silent Night' & guides that Star, behind the scene, before taking a Fall . . . had such an deep impact on me.

And on Friday nights, my brother & I would wake up in the middle of the night, go to the living room sofa & huddle in our own blankets, & watch the late nite, black & white movies on TV, until we'd fall asleep. One of the movies we remember & talk about, even now, was "The Horn Blows @ Midnite' with Jack Benny. We continued this 'Friday Nite' ritual from the time we were about

6 years old until we were about 11 years old . . . with Mom & Dad's approval of course.

Oh, And many were the laughs, too, that we had.

And since then, we've had a Love for the Old Black & White Classic movies.

We've passed onto our own children (my 2 sons & his twin daughters), which they've passed on to their own children (our grandchildren).

I still remember my son telling his 2 sons, "Hey guys, wait 'til you see this one,

'Captain Courageous', you're gonna love it !" And they did !

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Hubby had to hit me over the head to get me to understand how evocative black and white movies were. I was in the place of Technicolor or nothing. This was a long time ago and now sometimes when I watch a movie that's in color I think how much more of an impact it would have if it was in B&W. I wish I could think of an example...

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For me, it was all about Bogie.

 

Before I started really watching classic film as a serious pastime, I had seen very few. Interestingly, all the films I'd seen I really liked, but yeah...they were definitely few. IIRC, they included having seen Casablanca, Doctor Zhivago, and A Nun's Story (saw all three of these several times) as well as single viewings of a few other films - Gone With the Wind, Top Hat, To Catch a Thief, Roman Holiday, and North By Northwest. Additionally, I'd seen bits and pieces of various unnamed John Wayne pictures, which I watched with my father late at night when, as a young child, I couldn't sleep and would go out to the living room to sit with my 'night person' and John Wayne Fan Extraordinaire Dad.

 

Then one day as I was watching Casablanca for about the millionth time, I decided upon a challenge to myself - I was going to watch all of Humphrey Bogart's films. I really saw it more as a personal challenge and an achievement to chat about at cocktail parties more than anything else, but that challenge was what really got me started.

 

Watching Bogart's movies got me interested in other actors (Errol Flynn, Bette Davis and James Cagney in particular - mainly the WB actors) and watching their pictures, in turn, got me hooked on still more actors. Then I decided that Bogart had been such a huge success that I'd do the same with Clark Gable...which got me familiar with all of the MGM crowd, including some of my favorites like William Powell, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy.

 

Interestingly, it took me quite a while to 'discover' a few of the actors who are today among my favorites. For example, I didn't discover Ronald Colman for a few years after starting my Bogart Quest. Finally got around to Random Harvest, though, and that was all it took. Same with Gary Cooper, who as everyone who has been here a while knows is by far my favorite actor of all time. For some reason I had actually avoided his movies because I thought they'd all be like John Wayne pictures, and one John Wayne was enough for me! But then I saw Mr Deeds Goes to Town, and the rest is history. It took me even longer to 'discover' Valentino since silents where not really a priority for me then...but then I happened to catch The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on TCM and became totally transfixed by the guy....and rushed right out to collect all of his movies.

 

To this day - I guess because I stared with Bogart in this manner - I still collect and watch films sort of by actor. Not that I do these 'quests' much anymore - I think the last one was over a year ago, when I went on a Dirk Bogarde quest...but I still keep careful track in my collecting of which films I am missing, however obscure or badly reviewed, from among those done by various favorite actors.

 

I collect books in the same manner, so I did stuff like collect first editions of all books written by or about Errol Flynn in English - did that a few years back. Tracking down first editions of obscure books about Errol Flynn, or Gary Cooper, or better still, Rudolph Valentino, became a hobby unto itself!

 

Heh. I guess I like a challenge and a chase.

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Hard to answer. Growing up in the 1960s, I can recall a lot of old movies being shown on TV in my hometown of Syracuse, N,Y., and that certainly played a part -- but I suppose that in my youth, I had a major interest in the culture of America between the world wars, because that's when my parents grew up. It helped me understand them a bit better. (And this didn't only apply to movies, but music, radio and so on.)

 

In ensuing decades, I began reading more about the films of the era and learning more about the actors, directors, writers and executives. I got to see my share of films at places such as Theater 80 in lower Manhattan and also through the original TNT, when it played a lot of old movies, albeit with commercials (at the time, that film library was all Ted Turner had to work with). TNT really wasn't a repertory channel like TCM, but its importance shouldn't be overlooked -- especially in making people aware of pre-Code product (the term really hadn't come into vogue yet), since many of those movies were deemed too racy for '50s and '60s TV audiences and either cut severely or not shown at all.

 

(In 1964, a Syracuse station showed "If I Had A Million," which I wanted to see because it had W.C. Fields, but for some reason the segment where Wynne Gibson plays a prostitute who inherits $1 million -- and uses it to sleep in a fancy hotel, alone --- was retained. When Gibson was shown in undressing to lingerie and stockings, my mother hurriedly changed the channel. I don't think I ever saw the Fields segment.)

 

Message was edited by: VP19

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