Friday, November 16, 2007

Silver Screen Dreams

In my junior year of high school, I lived at a foster home for my most of my second semester. I had problems sleeping, so I would put in VHS tapes in my VCR and play them softly on repeat all night long. I had about 10 or 11 tapes full of Simpsons episodes.

After I moved back home, my brother confiscated the tapes on the grounds that he's a bigger fan. Whatever, Mitch. I started a new collection of tapes based on a new obsession: old studio movies from the '40s and '50s.

I grew enamored with Doris Day and Cary Grant, Katherine and Audrey Hepburn, among many others. I recorded almost every movie I found with my favorite actors starring when they aired on TCM and AMC. By the time I was 20, I had a rather large collection. Over 50 tapes with 2 or 3 movies on each.

Over the years, many tapes have worn out and are no longer playable. Others have been recorded over and over again. I still prefer to fall asleep with the TV on. Instead of the Simpsons, I play my old movies. This is one of the reasons my husband and I don't have the same bedtime. He waits for me to fall asleep, and then he comes in and turns off the TV.

In honor of my quirky habit, I present my Top 5 favorite movies that I have recorded on tape. These movies are in no particular order.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy

This is an off-beat comedy with a simple premise that has been redone a few times. Husband and wife buy/build dream house, encounter problems along the way, fight, make up, live happily ever after. Myrna Loy is absolutely charming in this. I especially love the scene when she's describing paint colors to a painter. (Soft, fresh butter yellow, winesap apple red, robins-egg-peacock blue grey, white, but not a hospital white, warm white, but not to suggest any color but white).

Bringing Up Baby
with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn
This hilarious farce is on many famous funniest-movie-of-all-time lists. I totally know why. I've seen this movie dozens of times, and it still tickles me. The crazy romantic comedy is about a scientists who finds himself trapped in the madcap escapades of a ditzy young heiress. His career is dependent on how things turn out, and the mish-mash of personalities is classic.

Woman of the Year
with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn
The first movie to pair the two, this classic showcases the undeniable chemistry between the two leads. It's hot and fiery. Less comedy than drama, I love the woman-power aspect of the movie. Spencer has to figure out a way to fit into the jet-set-political life of the woman he loves. The ending suggests a compromise between a suzy-homemaker life for Katherine and the I-am-a-liberated-woman power trip she was on before.

The Awful Truth
with Cary Grant and Irene Dunn

I love these two together. In this romantic comedy, the married couple fight and begin the divorce process. They still have to see each other because they share custody of the dog. They both move on to new loves, but still find themselves drawn to each other. With comedic moments bordering on farce, the movie has a quick pace and quicker wit.

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
with Tony Randall, Betsy Drake and Jayne Mansfield

The only color movie of the group, I have this one memorized. Advertising man loves his secretary, but finds himself having to publicly romance a starlet in order to secure his job. Hilarity ensues. It's almost cartoonish, really. Absolutely silly, and I love it. The moral of the story is that success isn't the most important thing in the world. Happiness is.

So there you go. My top five old movies.