This is a fun week since I love movies ( no kiddin') but, when I was young, we had to wait for a movie to come on TV or go to see a film in the theatre. It was a great time because old movies were always shown on TV. I grew up with "Movies for a Sunday Afternoon" and, the great Canadian, Elwy Yost who hosted "Saturday Night at the Movies". Elwy showed 2 movies on a Saturday night and in between he interviewed some very famous people in the industry...I miss him and that show. This is not about Saturday morning cartoons so no cartoons for me..um...animated films. Wandering Through The Shelves is a great blog to check out and who hosts this weekly event. I’m a really weird nut and chose Movies I watched first with my dad who loved movies. My dad would be 105 as of March 14th so this is for my dad who developed my love for film.
1. KING KONG-1933
This film started it all when it comes to a big hairy ape and I am not talking about Harvey Weinstein. Sorry for insulting Mr. Kong because this ape didn’t deserve to be taken back to the big apple. My dad had us all sit down on the couch on a Sunday at noon to watch King Kong since he was 20 when this movie came out and it must have blown his mind the way we were blown away with Jurassic Park. From that beginning, I was hooked on movies because it scared the hell out of me. We know the plot where a starving actress during the Great Depression is told she will be made a star by a director known for his exotic locale films. He takes her on board ship where she is considered bad luck by the crew but they venture to Skull Island. They find the natives who love the golden haired gal and decide to take her to be the new bride of Kong. Instead of eating her, Kong falls for her and takes her to his lair with the men in hot pursuit. I loved her outfit on the ship when she first screamed her heart out and Fay Wray became famous for her scream (Love the Winnipeg, Canadian native). I was enthralled by the fight between Kong and the dinosaur and was freaked out by the giant spider in the gorge. Funny, I remember that scene so well, yet I have read that this scene is considered lost. I remember feeling sad for Kong at the end.
My dad loved Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy films and, unbelievably, they were huge stars in their day and I can see why. I doubt most of you would ever want to see their films, which is a shame, because they were big in their day and this film is considered their best. She plays an old lady who tells a young girl about when she was young and fell in love. Due to ambition and loyalty, she leaves her true love and marries the jerk only to be reunited with her one true love on the Opera stage years later. As a very young girl, needing to escape my reality of my life of abuse and bullying (school, never home), these films made me forget and I loved them and still do. My dad and I would watch and he would answer all my questions about the stars. The music is great and, yes, it is opera/operetta but how I loved the costumes, the singing and the ending which made me sigh..and I am not into typical romance flicks. My dad was a true blue Lumberman but, only later, did it strike me that this tall, rough and tough man loved the sentimental/schmaltzy films.
3. IT STARTED WITH EVE-1941
I was quite sick, with a high fever, and hallucinating so my mom had a hard time calming me down. I thought people were watching me so my dad sat beside me, made sure I was under the blankets and turned on Saturday night at the Movies. There, on the screen, was this film starring Deanna Durbin, another Winnipeg Native with a fantastic operatic voice. A young man’s father lay dying but wants to meet his son’s fiancée before he dies. The young man’s fiancée is out of town so he asks the hat check girl to play his fiancée for an hour and she agrees. No one expects that the old man, played so well by Charles Laughton, would get better so now she must continue being the young man's fiancée. It’s a sweet, funny screwball comedy showing Deanna was more than just a singing voice. I calmed down while watching this movie asking the same questions I always asked my dad about the actors.
4. THE GOLD RUSH-1925
I believe I talked about this film before but I have to include it since speaking with my brother, who remembered our dad laughing with tears coming down his face during the very funny cabin scene. I was laughing right along with my dad. So Charlie Chaplin plays, of course, a tramp who heads to the Yukon Gold rush. He befriends a big man and they decide to work together to strike it rich. Throw in a cabin on the edge of a cliff, starvation(the shoe eating scene) and a gal the tramp falls for and you have a very funny comedy. Yes, it is silent but you could watch this movie with your own music and just laugh at the antics.
I had my dad for 23 years before he died of cancer and he has been gone for 30 years come April 30th but the length of time doesn't matter, only the quality. This blog post is for him and he would have loved to be part of this. Just think, my dad would have seen The Gold Rush in the movie house, as he used to call it, since he was 12 years old at that time.