There is something about old Hollywood movies that I find really indulging. I usually don’t like movies that look dated. I try to stay away from movies that were made in the 80s or even early 90s, with the exception of a couple Meg Ryan classics (Come on, I’m a hopeless romantic!). To this day, I still haven’t seen any of the God Father movies. However, movies made prior to the 60s don’t seem old school to me. They are like antiques, and I watch them with a different mindset with different expectations. When The Artist won the Oscars two years ago, my friend was worried I couldn’t stand it, but I was totally okay because I had been a fan of that era and of some silent movies made by Chaplin already.
I wouldn’t call myself a movie addict or sophisticated movie goer because my taste for contemporary movies is really shallow. I mostly only like blockbusters, superhero movies and romantic comedies. Movies shown in film festivals are usually not my cup of tea, but when I watch really old movies, I like that I could finally focus on the plot, the sound effect, the cinematography and the acting.
Modern audience is spoiled. Everything is 3-D, and sometimes you just don’t care about the story anymore. I have no idea why Avatar was such a big deal. To me, that movie is so predictable and so cliché. The only merit is the 3-D effects. Black-and-white/early colored talkies or silent movies, however, are purer forms of entertainment. The directing, plots development and acting were not polluted by other fancy add-ons. One of my favorite movies of all time, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, was so moving that my heart ached for James Stewart’s Mr Smith during his famous filibuster scene. No special effect was needed. All that was needed were phenomenal acting and relatable and sensible dialogues.
Another favorite of mine is Twelve Angry Men starring Henry Fonda, James Stewart’s lifelong best friend. It was so phenomenal. The entire movie was filmed in one set. It was all about wise scriptwriting and acting. I was intrigued the entire time just watching and listening to the banter of 12 men. No offense to Fonda, there wasn’t even any good looking hot guys with their shirts off, but it was enough to blow me away.
Perhaps there are also many bad old Hollywood movies, but I just happened to have seen those on best movies lists. It’s true those we call classics now were blockbusters at their times. They are basically foolproof. Isn’t it neat?
I have seen most of the most critically acclaimed Alfred Hitchcock movies, and I can totally understand why he’s still so celebrated. He was an innovator. He pushed the envelope of moviemaking. Rope was filmed in a way that made the audience believe the entire movie was filmed in one take and in real time; Vertigo was an autobiographical piece that exposed his obsession with molding women. Suspicion was underrated as it kept me wondering whether Cary Grant really was the bad guy after all; North by Northwest was first James Bond movie that didn’t have James Bond in it, and the climactic scene on Mount Rushmore just made me regret not having visited it when I living only one state away! Hitchcock lived up to his nickname. He is the master of suspense, and he plays a huge influence on my writing too. He introduced me to some of the most iconic actors and actresses of all time. I wish I could be stunning and graceful like Grace Kelly, be swept off my feet by Cary Grant and be lucky enough to marry James Stewart!
Here is a list of my favorite old Hollywood movies (1920s-1950s):
1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
2. North by Northwest
3. Citizen Kane
5.It’s a Wonderful Life
8. Rear window
9. City Lights
10. Twelve Angry Man
11. Gone with the Wind
*Six were directed by Hitchcock; five starring James Stewart; two starring Cary Grant