Recently a question was asked by a fellow member of the RWA Kiss of Death chapter about a scene from a movie whose title she couldn’t remember. The scene was at a funeral where a man enters, goes up to the casket and sticks a pin in the dead man. Three of us immediately e-mailed the right answer. It was from CHARADE starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Since we have a DVD of the movie, it inspired us to watch it again that night.
Then yesterday one of the blogs I follow asked readers about their favorite old films that they’ve watched more than once. Those incidents, combined with the visit of a young relative, results in this blog post.
The young man who visited us last weekend is 26, has been to college and served in Iraq, not a clueless teenager. But he didn’t know who many famous movie stars of the past were, including Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart. He did know the name of Marilyn Monroe and we took him to Palm Springs for lunch so we could visit the twenty-one foot statue of Marilyn recently erected there.
Each evening we showed him an old movie from our collection: SOME LIKE IT HOT, RUTHLESS PEOPLE, and THE BIG COUNTRY (The latter is, in my opinion, the best Western ever made and stars Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston.) He loved all of them.
But it occurred to me that part of our culture is being lost. Many events and lines of dialogue from these old films became part of our shared experience. And one had only to say a few words to make a connection to another person’s memory.
The obvious one is “Frankly, my dear, I don‘t give a damn,” the almost last line from GONE WITH THE WIND. Another is “Rosebud” from CITIZEN KANE. One of the funniest is “Nobody’s perfect” from SOME LIKE IT HOT, when Jack Lemmon tells Joe E. Brown he’s a man. A Bogie fan, I loved his lines from THE MALTESE FALCON, such as “I’m sending you over,” and, “It’s the stuff dreams are made of.” CASABLANCA gave us “Play it again, Sam,” and “We’ll always have Paris.” To say nothing of the fabulous chariot race in BEN HUR.
Of course, it’s possible I’m just old, but I urge everyone who didn’t recognize these scenes, to join Netflix and rent those old movies--and lots of others. You won’t regret it.