Week Twelve: Watch a Black & White Film on the Big Screen
I am a sucker for a good story. I have been known to devour a novel in less than a day. I’ve also spent a few lost weekends trapped in a Netflix marathon after discovering a new TV drama. The characters become very real to me. As a child, I would become so emotionally invested in Lucille Ball’s role in I Love Lucy that I would hide my face in embarrassment each time she found herself in a (hilarious) scrape.
My reading habits are pretty varied. Right now I’m making my way through the popular Game of Thrones series. I also love curling up an, particularly one of the Georgian/Victorian classics (Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, etc.). Aside from a viewing of Citizen Kane forced on me during 11th grade AP English, however, I have never ventured far into classic cinema. With another cold and grey weekend upon us, a friend and I spent Sunday morning watching an old film at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD (See New Thing #37).
The theater itself was interesting. The lobby was filled with old movie posters featuring James Dean and Katherine Hepburn, vintage film equipment, and – oddly – an original Easy Bake Oven. After briefly touring the exhibits, we chose a couple seats in a screening room filled exclusively with patrons 30-50 years our senior. The feature film was Suez (1938) – a fictionalization of the story surrounding the construction of the canal connecting the Mediterranean and the Red Sea in the 1850s.
As the movie played, I found myself becoming just as attached to the characters as I would with any modern drama.I smiled at the beautiful and tomboy-ish Toni’s antics to win Ferdinand de Lesseps’ heart. My stomach dropped when Ferdinand was betrayed by a dear friend. It didn’t matter that the story appeared in black and white, or that the screenplay was written 75 years ago. As one of my favorite authors, L.M. Montgomery, once wrote:
The materials of story weaving are the same in all ages and all places. Births, deaths, marriages, scandals–these are the only really interesting things in the world.
A few days after our movie outing, I compiled a list of other classic films to watch. To start, I chose Gone with the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Stage Door (a homage to Lucille Ball). I now have an endless array of new stories to wrap myself in and characters to fall in love with. Rather than venturing out to Maryland to see them on the big screen, however, I think I’ll enjoy them from the comfort of my couch. I can only assume that its easier to admire Audrey Hepburn’s chic style while wearing flannel pajamas.
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