When I’m in the middle of writing a book I rarely read. I save up all that lovely reading time for when the book is done and off with my editor and the reading for pleasure is my reward. I do, however, watch movies. Somehow, watching movies helps my muse and keeps my creativity ticking over. And my favourite movies to watch are old classics from the halcyon days of Hollywood. While working on my current wip I’ve watched some fabulous old films – like The Two Mrs Carroll’s with Barbara Stanwyck and an eerily creepy Humphrey Bogart; One of my favourite's, Rebecca with Joan Fontaine and the mesmerizing Lawrence Olivier. Yesterday I watched Laura – one of my all time favourites – was there ever a more beautiful woman than Gene Tierney. The women in these movies ooze class and style and most of them have gumption by the bucketload - even in the case of poor Ms Stanwyck who's husband is tyrying to make her crazy. She never loses her spirit even as she comes perilously close to losing her mind.
There’s something dark and alluring about these old thrillers. There’s very little violence, only the occasional gun shot and never anything gruesome. But to me, there is a sense of menace that doesn’t seem to need the gratuitous violence of modern day films – the stories are told through the characters, through a turn of a head, (channelling Lauren Bacall) through a line of dialogue, through the music and clever camera angles, or a well placed scream from a heroine in peril. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I would much rather watch an old Hitchcock thriller than Wolf Creek.
Helen, I love old movies too. I love the fashions, the style and class of the women, and the alpha-ness of the heroes. :-) Like you, when I'm deep in writing I find I'm watching more movies rather than reading -- though, that's mostly to give the eyes a rest.ReplyDelete
Favourites to add to your list -- Charade (Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant) and Pillow Talk (Doris Day and Rock Hudsaon). Both are such fun and have fab dialogue. Rain (Joan Crawford) for some serious drama. The Big Sleep (Bacall and Bogey) is a great thriller.
Really looking forward to seeing what others suggest.
And I really, really must see Rebecca.
One of my favorite old movies is the African Queen with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.ReplyDelete
The one movie I can recall the best after seeing it only once was Phycho. I was working as a waitress at a summer resort and the shower was out in the hallway. No one would take a shower without someone on guard after that.
Helen, I'm a fan of movies, old and new! My main complaint with some newer movies is that they rely on special effects to make up for poor dialogue and/or a rubbish story line!ReplyDelete
There were a few older psychological thrillers which I just loved - though I confess I haven't seen them for years and years. One I remember particularly was "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" with Bette Davis!
oooo, yes, Kaelee! The shower scene in Psycho! ARGH! LOL
Hi Michelle - I LOVE Charade. Actually, I'll watch anything with Cary Grant - love him in The Philadelphia Story with Katherine Hepburn. Thanks for the list!ReplyDelete
Hi Kaelaa - I love, love, love The African Queen - makes me smile every time I hear Bogie call Hepburn "A skinny old maid" - it's such a lovely romance and great chemistry between those two on screen. Thanks for the suggestions. :)ReplyDelete
Oops! I mean Kaelee!ReplyDelete
Hi Sharon - oh, for sure, anything with Ms Davis in the lead. Now Voyager is fabulous weepy, and Dark Victory. And Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte. Her resume is awesome.ReplyDelete
Michelle, Rebecca is amazing! Saw it again the other night and Joan Fontain was exquisite! The book is in my top ten favs too.ReplyDelete
Sharon, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane is just sooooo good, isn't it?! Don't want to think about that poor bird...
Helen, I'm ashamed to say I haven't seen The Two Mrs. Carrolls. Sounds right up my ally! Loved Barb S in the 50s version of The Titanic. Great characters in that one. (Love Leonardo's too!)
And Gene Tierney is just so beautiful. In fact, one of my favorite movies ever is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
Another is Waterloo Bridge with Robert Taylor and Vivien Lee.
Yeah. They don't make them like that anymore.
Okay, I really have to see it now! I so love the book that I've been a bit wary of watching the movie, but with 2 such high recommendations... :-)ReplyDelete
Helen, I'm a modern gal, loving thenewer movies, though every now and then an oldie comes on that I can't ignore.ReplyDelete
Like you, reading goes out the door when in the middle of writing a book, like at this moment.
I do love the Hollywood classics. When I visited my Mother a while ago, we watched THE GHOST AND MRS MUIR with Gene Tierney & Rex Harrison. It's just delicious.ReplyDelete
Hi Robbie - another Rebecca fan. Waterloo Bridge is my favourite Vivien Leigh movie (other that GWTW of couse)The music is just heartwrenching .... poor Robert Taylor was so tortured in that movie.ReplyDelete
Michelle - you HAVE to see Rebecca! Joan Fontaine is so wonderful and the second Mrs De Winter. And Mrs Danvers...... shudder.... that's one creepy woman.ReplyDelete
Hi Sue - new movies are good too! I have loads on my keeper shelf. And of course I watch the BBC P & P every six months (love Colin Firth)ReplyDelete
Hi Marybelle - I adore Rex Harrison in that movie. Love the way he always called her Lucinda. Thanks for stopping by.ReplyDelete
I like old and modern movies.ReplyDelete
Helen, so many of my favourite old movies have been mentioned. Coincidentally we just watched 'The Big Sleep' last night with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Not one of my faves but definitely worth viewing. How about some of the lighter movies too? Bringing up Baby with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, or I think it was His Favourite Wife (where Cary G finds himself an unexpected bigamist) or even the Thin Man series. Watched The Third Man again recently - another great old film. Love this topic!ReplyDelete
Hi bn100 .... liking both is good, the best of both worlds! Thanks for stopping by :)ReplyDelete
Hi Annie - I love Cary Grant movies. One of my fav's is Every Girl Should Be Married with Betsy Drake - I think she even became one of his many wives. Must check out the Thin Man series :)ReplyDelete
Oh, "The Spanish Gardener" with Dirk Bogarde. Sigh...ReplyDelete
Helen, I love old movies too! But not the scary ones. I like a non-scary mystery like Charade, but I especially like the fun ones like The Philadelphia Story. Great post, Helen!ReplyDelete
Hi Lou - The Spanish Gardener - one I haven't seen for ages. Must add that to my list :)ReplyDelete
Hi Rachel - yes, Charade is awesome. Anything with Cary Grant really - but add in Audrey Hepburn . . . gold.ReplyDelete