I had been thinking about doing a list of reasons why I love old movies. Then I found two cool lists of love for classic movies on Another Old Movie Blog and Self-Styled Siren. These lists don't bother to mention the obvious (good writing, acting, etc.) but instead focus on the little things that make watching the classics so enjoyable. I decided to follow suit with my own list of things I love to see in old movies.
From the classic top hat or fedora to the ridiculously tall, pointy, floppy, or drape-y numbers, I am fascinated by hats. Sometimes a poor hat is sat upon, and this always makes for some funny moments. I love that no matter what other craziness is going on, people remember to put on their hats. Why did we ever stop wearing them?
2. Real-looking people
Sure, old movies have their share of unusually pretty people. But I rejoice every time I see an actor (character or star) with some odd little quirks and imperfections. I'm not saying that nobody ever had work done in the old days, but at least the actors in classic movies don't seem totally propped up by silicone and botox.
3. Glorious black & white!
Ok, maybe this is a bigger point than some others, but in our world of sensory overload I appreciate the simple contrast of light and dark and the soothing shades of gray. Some things just look better in black and white.
4. Special effects (or the lack thereof)
Sometimes old movie special effects are so bad they're good, sometimes they are so slight that they still require plentiful use of the imagination, and sometimes they are nonexistent, allowing the focus instead to be on character building, witty dialogue, and actual plots and stories!
5. Train travel
Self-Styled Siren mentioned trains on her list and I have to concur and expand on that because there is just so much to love about trains in old movies. Shots of the wheels on the tracks and going through tunnels, hiding from the porter, sneaking into a sleeping car or someone else's berth, eating with a stranger in the dining car, those awkward moments of passing someone in the tiny hallways... ah, movie train travel!
6. Obsolete jobs
Seeing elevator operators, gas station attendants, soda jerks, milkmen and switchboard operators is always bittersweet; they remind me of simpler times past and the illusion of job security all at the same time.
7. The corner drugstore
The corner drugstore is the place to be for sharing a soda, making a phone call, or getting a full meal. Pot roast, pie, milk, and some snappy advice from the guy or gal behind the counter -- all this for less than a quarter.
Some people probably don't like the censorship involved with the old movie Production Code, but I happen to like the subtlety and lack of explicit sex, violence and bad language that it enforced. I especially like when the bad guys get what's coming to them, although this doesn't always mean that the law has to be involved. There are lots of creative and artistic ways old movies use to show that crime doesn't pay. (I guess this just appeals to my sense of justice.)
9. Old cars and driving scenes
Cars don't have to be aerodynamic to be cool! I love the way old cars look and always enjoy driving scenes in classic movies. Conversations in cars are great, too, either when characters pull over to really talk or when they chat away while driving. Who needs to look at the road when the car is stationary anyway, with the scenery projected in the background and a machine providing the wind in your hair?
10. Use of the phrase "Take it easy."
Hearing someone get told to chill out in this way gets me every time.
Go ahead, tell me what I missed.
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