Monday, December 04, 2006

old movies

Ever since partner went away to school, I've been taping old movies. It started with "Topper" with Cary Grant, and some of the ones I've seen before, and others I haven't. It is like programming one's own film festival, which of course is what Netflix is like, but this is cheaper and once I record something I don't have the pressure of seeing it immediately. I've mostly been recording films from the 30s to the early 60s, with their massive sets, moistened and highlighted close-ups on the female star, gowns designed by Adrian, and mostly comedies.

These are our American dreams in a true since of the word. In some ways, we are like Mia Farrow in The Purple Rose of Cairo finding the movies as an escape toward what is missing in our ordinary lives.

But this past week, I finally saw Nashville, Robert Altman's multi-character movie from the mid-1970s, a period I remember well. I once rented a video of it, but the sound quality was so bad that I didn't finish watching the movie. One of the benefits of the films on Turner Classic Movies, AMC, and IFC, is they often show newly-restored versions.

What a wonderful mess of a movie Nashville is, mesmerizing the way one may feel overhearing a particularly eloquent crazy person on the street or a talkative peson in public retelling a personal story with way too many intimate details for public airing.


lemming said...

I know exactly what you mean about the gowns by Adrian!

Reel Fanatic said...

Nashville is indeed a glorious mess .. so many directors have tried to ape Altman's ability to layer to many stories together, but so few have succeeded in his footsteps

Don said...

Reel - thanks for posting. I always been a fan of Altman's "A Wedding," a movie that is mostly forgotten.

lemming -- I am going to have google Adrian. He shows up a lot as the fashion designer in MGM movies from the 30s.

Annie in Austin said...

We've never had cable, but when we first bought a DVD player had to buy "Nashville", a movie I can watch over and over, sometimes with captions turned on or with the director's commentary.
"A Wedding" was a treat - what a cast.

Have fun at your personalized film festival!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose