Thursday, July 23, 2009

Movie Time

My granddaughter and I have been watching "old" movies (=movies from the 80's). And in our conversations about the movies we've discussed such things as how movies used to be distributed when I was a girl.

When I was her age, I was allowed to enter a movie theater to view one movie--Bambi. The next time I attended a show, I was dating the househunk.

The theaters back then regularly ran double features. And when we were dating, it was the heyday of the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. So one of those features was always one of the Eastwood westerns. To this day, I can quote line after line of the dialogue for those movies. For some reason, no matter what time we arrived at the show, the Clint Eastwood movie was playing. We had to sit through that movie to view the new movie.

It was also during that period that Disney released several of their non-animated comedies. I remember laughing hysterically while watching With Six You Get Eggroll, Parent Trap, and several others. In addition, there was Yours, Mine, and Ours with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, and a very odd Peter Sellers movie titled The Party. For years I've tried to locate a copy of The Party to no avail.

There was also a strange French farce type of movie. I have no idea what the title was, who the actors were, or any pertinent facts from the movie except it took place in a Victorian mansion and mostly consisted of various members of the cast of thousands sneaking in and out of bedrooms. Weird that after all these years I'm still curious about that movie.

Since you couldn't buy or rent a copy of a movie back then for personal viewing, if you missed it at the show, you had to wait until it was played on television. And of course, the movie was chopped up to fit the time frame for television so bits and pieces were left out... usually the "good" pieces.

There were such classics as Cool Hand Luke, Camelot, and The Exorcist (which I refused to watch!) We watched Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in a downtown theater in Chicago. For it's time it was quite a shocking movie, even if it DID have Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in it. But that was also the height of the Civil Rights Movement. There was In the Heat of the Night, too.

Unlike many of my friends, I've always been perfectly content to go off to the movies by myself. In my turbulent life, a bit of peace and quiet was welcome. That's how I ended up viewing Dances with Wolves all alone in a theater I had completely to myself. When I went back two weeks later with my kids, the place was packed.

I think there's a certain something lost when viewing films on the television at home. Oh, I know it's very expensive now to go to the show--ridiculously so. But some films are truly made for the big screen and viewing them on a small screen doesn't quite have the same impact.

Watching Independence Day or Schindler's List on a small screen drastically limits the scope of those films. I think the same holds true for films about space or with wide panoramas in them such as Star Wars or Willow.

I confess that I seldom go to the movies now days. Too expensive. Waaaay too expensive. But I miss sneaking into a nearly empty auditorium to watch the magical wizardry from Hollywood. Yes, I do.

How about you?



  1. We get to maybe one or two movies a year, but yes, it is a totally different experience.

  2. kids asked several years ago how we watched movies when we were their age, and how big was the machine/videotape. It was a shock when we answered 'when it played on TV' or 'was rereleased in the theatre'. Sometimes they don't 'get' our fascination with either renting or buying the ones we loved but only saw once or twice. And they TOTALLY don't get why I'm buying classic TV shows...I didn't have 'Nick at Nite' when they were being shown:)

    I'd love to see the original 'That Darn Cat' and some of the earlier Kurt Russell Disney movies:)

  3. I think it's all in the mind - big screen or small screen. You use the same set of eyes regardless

  4. You are right, Anny. Nothing like going to the movies! I remember seeing Bambi, also Benji. Star Wars, and then with my own son, so many awesome summer flicks.

    It's never the same at home, but there's nothing like that overpriced movie theater popcorn!