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Thursday, September 11, 2014

It's Just A Chronic Condition

I've said it before and will say it again. I love movies. Gram, who raised me, had met her husband at the movie theater where he was working as a projectionist, and she spent some of their years together working in movie theaters with him. When I came to live with her, she was really great about letting me stay up and watch movies on Friday and Saturday nights, and that's where my love of movies was born. I am pretty sure I was the only kid on my block who got to do such an awesomely cool thing as stay up late to watch wonderful movies! I loved the Saturday night Creature Features, but my biggest love was classic films. I know that there are varied opinions about what the word classic means. For many people, for example, a classic means a movie from the 1980's. When I refer to the classics, I'm digging a bit deeper into the film archives. Yes, there were great films going back to decades that start with numbers as low as 1 and 2, believe it or not. 

When anyone asks me what's my favorite movie, I go into a mental tailspin. I need guidelines, for crying out loud! Like what is my favorite romantic movie from the 1930's? Oh, gosh, even that category is too broad! It could be the original version of A star is Born, which starred Janet Gaynor (the first actress to win an Academy Award for Best Actress) and Frederic March. A lot of people think that movies from this era are all daisies and sunshine. Not so - this is the story of an actor whose career is failing due to his alcoholism. He meets a lovely aspiring actress and they fall in love and get married. As his career declines, hers is on the rise, and this makes him slip even deeper into the bottle. When he realizes that his that drinking is hurting his wife and her career, he goes out for a late-night swim, knowing that he will never make it back to shore. And then it gets even more dramatic. Even though I've seen it several times, it still makes me cry. 

There's such a wealth of movies from that decade that I absolutely adore. And so many of them have memorable lines that I use frequently. This is the decade of the first Fred Astaire movies, many with Ginger Rogers. It's also the decade that gave us such gems as It Happened One Night, Gone With the Wind, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Wizard of Oz, to name just a few. I guess this must be the decade that also gave birth to my love for great movie lines. My weird mind at work - I might forget to pay a bill when I intended to (thank goodness for online bill-paying!) but I have a head full of movie lines. Partly due to his association with me, Trent does now, too. Almost everyone loves the moment when Dorothy says, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more." Or one of the most famous movie lines of all time (which resulted in an amendment to the Hollywood Production Code), Rhett Butler telling Scarlett, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

We enjoy our little moments when we slip movie lines into conversations with each other or with friends. Since a lot of people we know haven't seen all of the same old movies we have, we have to fess up from time to time when people think we're extremely witty. Or just plain weird. I could go on and on about various movies and lines we love, but I'd like to leave you with a gem from the wonderful musical play-turned-into-a-movie Guys and Dolls, from 1955. The character of Nathan Detroit, played by Frank Sinatra, has been engaged to Miss Adelaide, played by Vivian Blaine, for nearly fifteen years. Every time they get on the train to Niagara Falls to get married, he gets off at Saratoga to gamble at the racetrack instead. She still loves him, though, and sings a song about how the stress of the relationship makes her have coughs and colds. When Nathan is speaking with her, she begins to sneeze, resulting in the following delightful exchange.

Nathan Detroit: Gesundheit. Your cold does not seem to be getting any better.
Miss Adelaide: It comes and goes, comes and goes. It's just a chronic condition.
Nathan Detroit: Even if it is, it sure hangs on.


I guess you could say my love of movies and movie lines is also a chronic condition. That keeps hanging on! 




Postscript: Are there movie lines that stick with you, too? Feel free to share them in a comment, or send me a message. Happy movie-watching!