Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Couple of Great Movies

We watched a couple of great old black and white movies recently, something we really enjoy doing. The first, Suspicion, starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine, was a 1941 Hitchcock thriller about a charming playboy and a shy and proper rich girl who fall headlong in love and marry before she learns the truth -- he has no money. His strange behavior leads her to believe he is going to kill her. It's the kind of movie that gets your heart beating but not so fast that you can't breathe. I never really suspected where the movie would take us until the very last scene.

Last night we saw Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Filmed in 1953, it was also in black and white. It was wonderful! Beautiful Princess Ann, from an unnamed European country, was visiting Rome, fulfilling the obligations of the crown -- meeting dignitaries, addressing crowds, dedicating buildings, and being interviewed by the press. When she had what we'd call at our house a "meltdown" in her room one evening, she was given a shot and tucked into bed. But before the shot could put her to sleep she dressed and went into the street to explore the city and the life she could see from her window. Her Roman holiday includes every day life experiences she's never had before: a trip to the beauty salon, an ice cream cone, romance. Just delightful.

We love the older movies, and probably watch more in black and white than we do in color. Maybe that explains why, when we were watching a 2002 film about Winston Churchill, we were only slightly surprised to see that it was also in black and white. The movie was introduced in black and white but just as it really got going we noticed that through the top left pane of his office window we could a hint of blue, and we expected the color to begin to spread across the screen. But the color never materialized. Well into the movie we discovered that the cables at the back of the TV had gotten bumped. One simple adjustment of the cables colorized the movie.

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