April 22, 2010

This is MOVIES!

Over the last year, Nikki and I have been all about the LIBRARY! The Provo Public Library is the beautiful, restored Brigham Young Academy, the quaint precursor to what is now the sprawling BYU campus. It houses loads of treasures: music, magazines, awesome old VHS tapes (we have a great old video-cassette player), DVDs, and books. At some point it would be great to talk about the great reads found at libraries, but for now we are going to discuss the world of classic American cinema!
I have long been a fan of black-white-movies. The idea that people (even my own mother!) lived in a world sapped of color yet vibrant in character and detail captured my attention as a little boy. Watching Katharine Hepburn lovingly tease Cary Grant while tagging around a leopard enthralled me. What was love if not a raucous game of tag? And to my childhood mind, there was nothing more fun then tag, thus love! I fell in love with the movies, the wonderful films of an era when love was the fulfillment of hopes or the remains of dashed dreams, manifesting itself as jealousy, adoration, or bumbling idiocy. In life, like the movies, I am jealous, adoring and a bumbling idiot. Nikki I love you and love sharing this world of make believe.

Norma Shearer transcended type in her best roles. Some cinematographers found her difficult to photograph on film because she was not considered a beauty of the times. They saw her asymmetrical face as a problem to correct and made popular the notion that there was a "good side." Because of this she lost parts to other actresses. However, her lure as a strong woman with an unparalleled gift for acting meant that if she were replaced, certain directors would follow her, leaving the film.

In George Cukor's pitch-perfect satire The Women, Norma plays the woman at the center of a barnyard of bevies who let their need to gossip supersede their bonds of friendship. Most of the surrounding characters are stereotypes, albeit very funny takes on the established ones. (With the exception of Joan Crawford whose ugliness seeps out like a poison, creating the perfect match for Norma's realism.) Anyway, I am smitten by her multi-demontionality, equal parts independent modern woman, hopeful, vulnerable, unsure, and all-too certain. Sadly, this is the only film of hers I have seen. Anybody have another?

1 comment:

  1. all i know is you need to check out the photography of George Hurrell. you will love him, if you love old black and white movies :)