That Old Black-and-White Movie Magic

“The best thing about the future,” Abraham Lincoln once said, “is that it comes one day at a time.”

We can all relate to those words, especially these days.  A worldwide pandemic has a way of making us pause and focus on our perspective, values, beliefs.  It’s been a remarkable and horrifying few weeks.  The world has changed overnight, it seems.  And all we can do is our part to get through this once-in-a-lifetime crisis, to help in any way we can, and to be smart and responsible.

 

Some, of course, the frontline emergency nurses and doctors, are at the center of this war on humanity.  They are fighting the battles raging in hospitals and ERs.  They are the soldiers fighting for each of us.  For most of us, however, we are either hunkering down at home all the time or only going out to work at our job and perhaps shop for necessities every now and then, only to return home as efficiently and quickly as possible.  Either way, a lot of people are spending a lot more time in their abodes.

 

For me, personally, this “social distancing,” as it’s called, isn’t that difficult to get through.  I’m a natural introvert.  Nevertheless, the degree of hunkering down at home is a challenge even for a lifelong loner like me.  I spend most of my days working from home, editing and proofreading manuscripts for book publishers and individual authors.  But at night, or when I just need a break, I am seeking an escape, a place to turn to, a temporary refuge from the world and the work.

 

Sometimes I read–either books or my vintage comic books, which, with their musty, magic smell and corny, dated story lines, have been my loyal companions since junior high.  Other times, I’ll pop in a DVD (I am old school that way) of a favorite sitcom or a Ken Burns documentary or an episode of The Twilight Zone.  But more and more these days, I am watching old movies.

 

I love old movies, and by old, I mean old.  Black-and-white Cary Grant, James Stewart, Fay Wary, Katherine Hepburn old.  I have a number of DVDs acquired through the years; for ages now, a lot of them have sat in piles, tucked away, gathering dust.  Now I am watching them.  They provide a comfort, I suppose, a lightening, before sleeping at night during such dark and uncertain times.  They are my own personal island, a tropical beach of the soul where I can walk along the water’s edge, sand in my toes, getting lost for an hour or two.

 

There is much to choose from.  Hitchcock classics like Rope, Rear Window, and To Catch a Thief.  Sappy Christmas movies that I love–It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Meet Me in St. Louis.  Film noir classics with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Veronica Lake, John Garfield, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, and Robert Mitchum.  And the dramas like Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, The Lost Weekend, just to name a few.  The classic romances–Casablanca, The Philadelphia Story, Rebecca, and so many more.  A virtual treasure trove.

 

 

Admittedly, sometimes I’ll go for something more “modern” like Forrest Gump or Field of Dreams or Back to the Future.  But, by and large, when I fish for a movie to go with the overly salted popcorn, it’ll be a vintage film from the 1940s or 1950s, and then I will allow myself, temporarily, to take a detour from reality with Clark Gable or Ingrid Bergman or Burt Lancaster.  I know I need to come back to the real world soon enough, so while I’m gone, I make sure to enjoy the journey.

 

 

 

I hope each of you is finding a way to cope and push through this insecure and troubled time as well.  Whatever your pleasure, whatever your method of dealing and persevering and finding some solace, somehow, please be careful, take care, and stay safe.

 

Thanks so much for reading!

Mike

35 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ParentingIsFunny
    Mar 30, 2020 @ 15:41:04

    I love old movies. I was just thinking about To Catch a Thief yesterday. Funny you should mention it today. And The Philadelphia Story has long been another favorite. Thanks for the fond memories. 🙂

    Reply

  2. ritaroberts
    Mar 30, 2020 @ 17:45:54

    I too love old movies and the ones you already mentioned are among my favourites. I also love epic films starring my all time favourite star Charlton Heston, of which my favs are Ben Hur and El Sid.They don’t make em like that anymore do they. Thanks for your well wishes and likewise stay safe yourself.

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Mar 31, 2020 @ 10:48:36

      Hi Rita! You are absolutely right. There is a magic to old movies that cannot be replicated by contemporary films–or even movies post-1965! Nothing like sitting down to watch a black-and-white classic.

      Reply

  3. Rilla Z
    Mar 30, 2020 @ 18:32:16

    I have a stash of old movies, too. When we used to rent movies (in the Stone Age 😉), my husband and I kept mistakenly bringing home “The Philadelphia Story” and “High Society.” Neither of us could remember that we’d already rented them—and that they were just the same story! Some of the titles didn’t relate to the plots—for *my* brain anyway (unlike the descriptive “Arsenic and Old Lace”). Great post!! Thanks!

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Mar 31, 2020 @ 10:50:19

      Hi Rilla! So glad you enjoyed this.:) Old movies are just fun, aren’t they? There is a magical quality to them. It will take me a while to go through my DVD collection–but that’s a good “problem” to have!

      Reply

  4. Alexis Chateau
    Mar 30, 2020 @ 18:41:19

    Social distancing is the world’s best invention. I rather like it. My break is that I go outside when I wake up (cover up my face to spare me from the pollen!) and enjoy the sunshine for a bit before starting my work.

    Stay safe and stay sane!

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Mar 31, 2020 @ 10:52:42

      Hi Alexis! Yes.:) It’s definitely easier on us writers, editors, and introverts, isn’t it? Social distancing is actually tailor-made for me. The day after day of being home–and “home” is a property where I can neither see nor hear a single neighbor–is rather nice indeed . . . Stay safe!

      Reply

      • Alexis Chateau
        Apr 02, 2020 @ 03:48:42

        Is your property big enough for walking? Mine really isn’t but I did a quick walk around the house this morning. Trying to use “light therapy” to work on my insomnia. 😅

        Stay safe yourself!

      • The Eye-Dancers
        Apr 03, 2020 @ 10:43:26

        Hi Alexis! It is indeed–we have five acres of meadow! Not to mention, our mailbox is almost a half mile up our dirt road. My daily outing is walking to get the mail.:)

      • Alexis Chateau
        Apr 04, 2020 @ 01:41:51

        A whole five acres?? 😱 Is it flat? Too bad your road gets muddy or I’d come impose myself one fall after I get the RV. 😅

      • The Eye-Dancers
        Apr 05, 2020 @ 10:49:22

        🙂 The meadow is relatively flat, but, since this is Vermont, “relatively” is doing some heavy lifting there! There is one steep hill that slopes down from the house into the meadow out back. At that point, once you’re out there, it is a gentle slope but flat enough! And, to top it all off, we’re up a long driveway (which is *not* flat!), and surrounded by 11 acres of woods on all sides (the woods ring the meadow). Cannot hear or see any neighbors. But we did have 9 deer visit yesterday!

      • Alexis Chateau
        Apr 05, 2020 @ 23:45:46

        Haha, sounds like I might not be able to drive the RV up there without causing some damage. 😅 It has to be parked on a flat surface or the fridge will die.

      • The Eye-Dancers
        Apr 07, 2020 @ 12:06:47

        Well, the very top of the driveway is flat! The trick is making it all the way up, especially in winter.:)

      • Alexis Chateau
        Apr 08, 2020 @ 19:03:13

        Haha, well I might find a spot after all. I would try to come early enough in the fall so I can see the colours and then leave before the frost! I’ll have solar, so I won’t need to plug in anywhere. We’ll see what post-covid-19 options we have when this mess is over! ☺️

      • The Eye-Dancers
        Apr 09, 2020 @ 10:35:05

        And let’s indeed hope things are at least somewhat back to normal by the fall!! Hopefully you can indeed come up to Vermont then!

      • Alexis Chateau
        Apr 10, 2020 @ 19:59:46

        Yyp! I’ll be pretty mobile and mostly on the west coast, but definitely can’t pass up a New England fall when I can take my home wherever I go. 🙂

      • The Eye-Dancers
        Apr 12, 2020 @ 10:32:18

        🙂

  5. joannerambling
    Mar 30, 2020 @ 22:26:06

    Old movies are awesome

    Reply

  6. Anna Waldherr
    Apr 05, 2020 @ 13:30:44

    It can be difficult to keep our spirits up at this sad time, when so many are at risk. I, too, love old movies. Stay safe. ❤

    Reply

  7. selizabryangmailcom
    Apr 07, 2020 @ 17:40:24

    Interesting how many people love old movies! I wouldn’t have suspected so many.
    Coincidentally, Observation Blogger was just talking about It’s A Wonderful Life recently on his site and how it actually didn’t do that well back in the day. Audiences thought it was “too saccharine,” which I found amazing, ’cause I thought the movie was simply reflecting the way people actually were back then anyway. But evidently not!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Apr 09, 2020 @ 10:33:44

      Yes–It’s a Wonderful Life only became the beloved movie it is long after it was released. They started running it during the holidays on TV and audiences loved it–decades after the fact. The other interesting tidbit about that movie is the lead actor–James Stewart. He’d been serving in WWII, and hadn’t acted in five years. He was worried he was “stale” and wouldn’t give a good performance. I think it’s safe to say he was okay.:)

      Reply

  8. Karina Pinella
    Apr 11, 2020 @ 03:46:04

    Hard to beat the classic black and white films. They make nice escape breaks from today’s horrendous pandemic.

    Reply

  9. Ste J
    Apr 11, 2020 @ 09:57:36

    Social distancing should be mandatory whether there is a pandemic or not. Like you I am going old school as well with DVDs. I’m currently enjoying the 60’s black and white Doctor Who, such a far cry from the curent agenda driven nonsense that it’s descended into now.

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Apr 12, 2020 @ 02:29:55

      Doctor Who is a series I have–remarkably–never seen. I really need to remedy that! I have no doubt I’d enjoy the classic episodes.

      Reply

      • Ste J
        Apr 12, 2020 @ 08:41:33

        I know you would, some of the writing is superb, You have many stories to choose from, I believe a good 800 odd episodes were filmed until it finished for the first time, in ’89.

  10. K E Garland
    Apr 13, 2020 @ 21:00:35

    I wrote something similar not too long ago. I guess bloggers are more similar than different in a lot of ways. Reading as escapism is a thing…and it is helpful, if only for a little while (https://themighty.com/2020/04/reading-helps-feel-powerless-coronavirus/).

    Hope your’e doing well ❤

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Apr 17, 2020 @ 11:04:59

      Thank you! I really enjoyed your post as well.:) These are crazy days, and long days, and it definitely helps to have something to escape with. There are few friends as loyal and comforting as books! Stay safe and well!

      Reply

  11. stormy1812
    Apr 22, 2020 @ 01:29:01

    Gosh, I haven’t seen as many genuinely old movies as I need to but I recall watching Casablanca for the first time. Wow! I also remember being called, jokingly of course, “UnAmerican” because at the time I hadn’t seen any John Wayne movies lol. I’ve since remedied that naturally. I remember seeing Cary Grant in “Arsenic and Old Lace” and I was astonished at the dark comedy that it was but I sure enjoyed it. It’s funny, you wrote this a few weeks back but I finally finished The Singularity Wheel during my last weekend and I found myself mesmerized by the book. I read virtually two halves (or close to it) in what came out to about two or three days (I’m a bit of a slow reader and that was over several months time – I had stopped reading for some reason and it took me quite a while to get back to it). Anyway, I really loved the ability to escape my own world for a bit and go somewhere else, two somewheres to be precise lol, and think about a totally different set of problems completely unrelated to what I’m experiencing at the moment. I love to read and it was such a lovely reminder of why and why I so need to do a lot more of it, especially these days. Just a side note – I loved The Singularity Wheel and I found myself somewhat hoping for a third book (not to commit you to anything ha!). I just got to the end of the book and while it felt like there was closure, I couldn’t keep my imagination from wandering and wondering “what if.” That’s the best part of books isn’t it? 🙂 I hope you are doing well! I’m sorry I’ve been so absent for so long and that it took so darn long to read the sequel. Take care, stay safe!

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Apr 23, 2020 @ 02:12:34

      Thanks so much, Jen! It’s funny that you mentioned Cary Grant–he’s a longtime favorite of mine, Somehow, I find him soothing:) and like to watch his movies when I need to relax. And I am so glad you enjoyed The Singularity Wheel! That makes my day.:) I don’t really have any plans for a third book, but for a while there, I did have an idea for a possibility. You never know.:) Thanks again, and stay safe.

      Reply

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