Friday, September 11, 2009

Under the Influence

In many cases, classic films are not realistic. And when, plot-wise, they are, it is still true that normal people would not have looked like old movie stars in the same situations. This glamorous haze of classic film can be a dangerous, manipulative thing, especially if you are an impressionable, sentimental pushover like me. And I think most of us classic film buffs are alike in that many of us probably like the idealized images of life in many classics. We don't want realism, we want magic. Or good old magical realism, so often absent in modern films. Some movies are so idealized they can convince you certain situations are wildly romantic and dramatic...and very desirable. (See the danger yet?)
These are the ones that do it for me:

His Girl Friday: Every time I watch it, I start considering becoming a reporter. Because, of course, my boss will be Cary Grant and suddenly I'll start speaking the fastest dialogue in motion picture history. Isn't that enough incentive for anybody?

Bringing up Baby: This one makes me want to be a nut al a Susan Vance. Blondes don't have more fun, nuts do!

Vacation from Marriage: This is a less well-known movie about a dowdy British couple that joins the armed forces during WWII and undergoes miraculous transformations. At the end of the war, each remember only how the other was before and decide before they reunite that they should get a divorce. Then they meet each other. Doesn't just the plot make you want to join the army? Even if it wasn't portrayed almost like a finishing school?

A Place in the Sun: The theme "Men kill for pretty women" is one of many reasons to avoid this depressing fare. I didn't think Shelley Winters was all that bad looking, but there is a distinct feeling to this film that unless you're Elizabeth Taylor, you're nobody. This is the "make yourself want to be a perfect beauty" film. Since in most cases there isn't much you can do about that, it get's classified as a depressant. A strong depressant.

Splendor in the Grass: The perfect film to convince you your eyes are too small.

Rebel Without a Cause: It makes you want to be a rebellious, victimized teenager. Judging by the stories of teenagers after its release, the effect is somewhat universal. Luckily, the plot of the film is good at convincing you you have a great life.

Breakfast at Tiffany's: The best advertising for New York ever! And who doesn't want to be Holly Golightly at some point in time?

Which ones do it for you??


Kate Gabrielle said...

lol I have the same reactions to these films! Even though I know movies are "make believe" I can't help but think it's a real reflection of life, just life somewhere else besides where I am right now :)

Millie said...

LOVE this post!

I was laughing out loud at each description.

I want to be a reporter now, again, just cause you mentioned that movie...;-D

About the new "eyes" poll (actually my next poll was gonna be that, so you've stolen it from my brain...;-D): You have some great choices...and a few I could do without (;-D). I voted for Audrey's, but Ava was number two.

Merriam said...

@Kate Gabrielle: Thank you! People try to convince me I'm deluded all the time, and I guess I know they're right, but I just can't make myself believe it. I know how you feel. It seems like somewhere, it's real.

@Millie: Thank you! "And a few I could do without" can just see you sitting at your computer, asking yourself when I will realize you've been right all along, shaking your head. But no. I cannot be convinced Monty Clift is ugly. (Seriously, sometimes you remind me of my mother.)

Di said...

Bringing Up Baby is hysterical! I also love It Happened One Night :) Not to mention every Audrey Hepburn movie.... my favorites are Two For The Road, Sabrina, Roman Holiday (of course) and Paris When It Sizzles.

Millie said...

You will soon realize! I am invincible! Sooner or later I will get through to you!

VP81955 said...

If you like "Bringing Up Baby," you'll love "My Man Godfrey."

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