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behind the times
lost in a forest
After watching Casablanca a few weeks ago i kindasorta fell in love with Humphrey Bogart. I've sinced watched The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, and kindasorta fell in love with Lauren Bacall too. These kids are witty as hell, cynical and suave. Or the writers are, at least. And everyone is so sharply dressed. I think i was born in the wrong decade. I also watched Saturday Night Fever to see where Travolta came from before he became the smarmy dreamboat i know him as, and was pleasantly surprised to find out it wasn't the same sort of film as Can't Stop The Music.

I am now debating whether to watch all of Bacall and Bogey's catalog, or just cherry-pick more Hammett and Chandler adaptions. There is also the question of whether to continue my catching up on post-golden age classics, which would mean i might finally see films like The Godfather, or delve deeper into nitrate obscurity, which will probably culminate in me writing a dissertation about Fritz Lang while sipping espresso and smoking unfiltered cigarettes.

Alternatively i could spend the rest of my weekends in Ontario touring Mennonite diners.

Or i could take my computer, stay at seedy motels and do it all.

It's good to be quit.

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You already hit some of the the best ones, but for Bogart, I recommend In A Lonely Place. He doesn't play opposite Becall, but it's probably the closest to character to his own personality. To Have and Have Not is also good. He's the villain in most of his films in the '30s, so If you want to see him get shot by Edward G. Robinson and/or James Cagney, you have a plethora of choices. There were a few duds in the '50s when he was getting sick.

I also recommend the first 2 or 3 films in The Thin Man series. Somewhat comic Hammett stories. William Powell and Myrna Loy are very suave and elegantly drunk.

The Thin Man was just the ticket for tonight, totally cheered me up. That couple is delightful.

I'm not sure why i'm on such a classics kick lately. I think i started because i wanted something that wouldn't remind me of my everyday life, then was pleasantly surprised to find how well-made they were. It's oddly reassuring to find people 80 years ago had a great sense of humor and enjoyed well-paced flicks with intricate plots (though admittedly that might just be noir).

I think i am going to explore your films tag. It only took me 10 years.

The acting style was more theatrical and less naturalistic. Some people mistake that for bad.

Early sound pictures from Warner Brothers are tend to be really gritty. They did a lot of the early gangster films like Public Enemy. I Was A Fugitive From A Chain Gang is a terrible title but an excellent film. Sadly, it may be even more relevant now than it was then. Warner Brothers harbored the fugitive in question so he could consult. Because they were kinda nuts.

I still like old musicals, but most people can't get around the total lack of realism. So for non-musical comedies The Bachelor Mother and Ninotchka are fun. Both were given bad musical remakes in the 1950s in which some of the best dialog was cut to make room for musical numbers. Bleh.

Cheers for the recommendations.

I don't so much mind the lack of realism in musicals - i see that more as the filmmakers simply owning the fact that they're making films. Which is similar to your observation on the acting style too - perhaps people back then were just more comfortable with the idea of movies per se?

What i am realizing is that my enjoyment of any type of musical hinges hugely on the style of music. I find it physically painful to listen to a lot of those operatic/choral-type numbers, and that can turn me off the whole film. I guess the contemporary equivalent would be one of those incessant Danny Elfman scores. I'll take surreal tap routines any day.

You know i am still yet to see any of the famous gangster flicks of the 70s and 80s too. I'm sure i'll get round to it some day, and perhaps i'll like them. The first time i watched the Dollars Trilogy i was amazed to find out that apparently i did like westerns after all, just as long as the cowboys didn't sing.

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