Thursday, August 20, 2015

Classics Rule

Years ago, living on my own downtown, I always enjoyed watching old movies; the classics. I still do.

Last night, I watched “Till the Clouds Roll By”, a 1946 movie based on the life and music of American songwriter, Jerome Kern. I didn’t know his name before yesterday, even if I knew his music. In fact, “The Way You Look Tonight”, one of my favorite songs to sing, was written by Kern.

I’m not sure the televised version I performed for International Jazz Day did it justice.

The film, which got a little slow at the end, featured musical performances by Judy Garland, Lena Horne and Frank Sinatra, among others.

What an easy and fun way to casually learn about musical history, not to mention history in general.

We were recently sent a letter by our cable company, explaining NHL Network would be disappearing, so I lobbied successfully for the Silver Screen Classics channel as a replacement. Not only do classic movies allow me to appreciate North American film heritage, they show viewers many techniques, shots and story plots existed well before we became aware of them in newer movies. The classics also give movie fans a chance to compare today’s actors and actresses with the legends that came before them.

I’ve even got a soft spot for songs about old movies, like “Goodnight Mrs Calabash” by Ian Thomas and “Friends of Mr Cairo” by Jon and Vangelis.

Sunday night, I started watching “Love Affair”, the 1939 romantic film starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. I had seen Boyer in the charming “Barefoot in the Park”, but wasn’t familiar with Dunne. I got hooked on the story. Unfortunately, the film, because of apparent technical problems, repeated segments twice and never showed the end of the story. Seeing it was scheduled again Monday morning, I watched, only to see it repeat again and abruptly stop before the end of the movie.

I had to go on-line to find out whether the characters, painter Michel Marnet and singer Terry McKay, end up together.

They do. Sigh.

Irene Dunne won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in “Love Affair”. The film also won Oscars for Best Supporting Actress, Best Writing, Best Original Song and Best Art Direction.

Can I pick ‘em or what?

Oh, popcorn’s ready!