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Roadside Diners & Rainy Nights...


ArchieCarstairs
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Folks in a roadside diner on a rainy night, huddling over a 5-cent cup of coffee and smoking a cigarette...maybe splurging on a piece of pie...this image seen in so many Depression-era movies speaks volumes and, for me, remains one of the most compelling in early-30s films. These were places where people sometimes just "wound up" to get out of the rain, taking small comfort in small pleasures, banding together to stay warm and waiting for the storm to pass. It's interesting to see just how often this scene pops up in those movies; a kind of shorthand for America weathering out the storm of hard times, perhaps? I should start keeping a list.

 

What are your favorite recurring images from films of this era?

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What are your favorite recurring images from films of this era?

 

Single room cabins, fireplaces aglow, Mom sitting in rocker sewing, Dad smoking a pipe, children laying on the floor in the firelight, wind blowing.and so forth. They always looked so content and I always wonder why? Guess they thought they had the best?

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Intriguing topic, *Archie*. Some of my choices carry over form the early 'thirties

all the way into the late 'fifties/early 'sixties:

 

Backstage the old man by the door was called "Pops".

 

Newstands and newsboys shouting "Extra!" "Extra!"

 

Saloons with solitary drunks seated at them, bartenders that

were alternately surly or someone who knew everyone by name.

 

At some point somebody ends up wearing a tux.

 

Every swank party or ball, the hero and heroine eventually drift

onto a terrace and into a garden to talk and kiss or fight and kiss.

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Hmmm...

 

Reporters running en masse to nearby phonebooths with a scoop.

 

Rotund Irish cops who seem to hang around the station all day.

 

Nightclubs where everyone is famous for something, run by someone who is extremely shady and wears a moustache.

 

A family huddled around a radio, laughing to Charlie McCarthy.

 

Joan Blondell looking sharp, sexy, and sassy.

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I?d like to be in some swanky nightclub joint, around 1932, with Louie Armstrong playing ?St. Louie Blues? in the background, when a group of well-dressed gangsters come in and they sit down while the music plays. The gangsters of today just don?t know how to dress right and they don?t have any class. Ahh, the good old days....

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKRdn4zMfVw&feature=related

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Forget the hustle and bustle of a post 9-11 airport.

 

Walk along the deck of a cruise ship.

 

The night - pitch black. The lights from the ship and cabins illuminate the deck; the light from the moon illuminate the heart. The long flowing gown of a beautiful woman moves from the breeze of the ship gliding along the ocean. The man is in a tux, impossibly tall, dark and handsome. He's most likely smoking a cigarette, walking hurriedly towards the woman with her shawl draped over his arm. (There were gentlemen in 30's movies. They'd go back to the cabin to get your shawl). Soft music plays in the background and you can hear the murmur of other passengers in the ballroom. But you also hear the ocean slapping rhythmically against the hull as they tell each other their secrets. His arms are around her. She didn't really need the shawl. She has him. The ship lulls them into falling in love. The woman looks like Kay, Merle, Joan Bennett, Roz or Bette. The man could be Brent, Gable, Henreid, Cary or Boyer.

 

<SIGH!>

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Nice one CineMaven,

 

I have always been fascinated with the boarding houses in old films. Maybe you're just passing through town, maybe you're trying to make it in the big city, maybe you're on the lam. You pay five bucks a week to the old lady who owns the place, you get a furnished room, a bath down the hall, and an assorted cast of interesting characters. Sometimes you get trouble. Sometimes you get a surrogate family.

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Forgot one that I recall so well from so many Thirties films...

 

A man and a woman meet for the first time, she can't stand him, he pursues her several times, she rebuffs him each time, then she gets in trouble and he comes to her rescue...after 90 minutes of several scrapes together and capturing the bad guy, he or she announces to the press who have come on in the finish that they are getting married and the other person is overjoyed at the news. No courtship, no checking to see if they have any pet peeves about each other, how the other half lives, what their family is like, etc. And even now ex-boyfriend she had is happy, because he has also met a great gal during the adventure.

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