In the last couple of weeks the old movie channel has shown some real winners. I go there when all the other channels have failed me with their repeats, laugh tracks and horrible world news coverage – like how much air should a football have if a football could have air. Stuff like that. Anyway, the thing about favorite old movies is – there’s always a scene or two that’s kind of stuck in your mind and you wait for it. Maybe it brings back a precious memory or reminds you of when you were young. Take, for instance . . .
The Sting – I try not to get sidetracked by the totally awesome handsomeness of Robert Redford and Paul Newman, but their acting does trump their looks in the scene where the whole sting goes down. In a completely fabricated off track betting parlor the scam artists pull one over on their “mark” played by Robert Shaw. It all plays out like a beautiful ballet and for a few breathtaking moments I really did think Redford got shot. I was so relieved when he grinned and pulled the fake blood capsule from his mouth. We saw The Sting years ago with friends after a dinner where the beer was only a quarter a glass. Sigh. Those days are gone.
Or how about . . .
A Place in the Sun – Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. What a pair. Rich girl, poor boy, big mess. The scene I wait for in this movie doesn’t include Taylor. Nope. It’s all about the annoying, whiny character played by Shelly Winters. The one in the canoe where Clift is trying to figure out how to get her out of his life. My mother-in-law used to comment that she was always on her guard in a canoe. Any suggestion of changing seats and she’d blurt “I’ve seen that movie!” Winters meets a watery end when she makes a move on Clift and his life goes down with her when he’s accused of murder. Even Liz can’t pull him out of the soup.
And then there’s Singing in the Rain . . .
Will there ever be another Gene Kelly? Doubt it. Set in the time just when movies were going from silent to talkies, Kelly, Donald O’Connor and um . . . what’s her name . . . Princess Leia’s mom . . . oh yeah . . . Debbie Reynolds, do a bang up job of making us snap our fingers and prance through the sunshine every morning. But The. Scene. Is. When Kelly sings and dances in the rain. I can’t watch it enough. I wonder how many takes he had to do to get it right. I mean - he had to have lost his footing at least once in all that slop, right? Maybe not. We're talking Gene Kelly here.
So what old movies do it for you? Only two per person please. Grinning.
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