Movies, I have been a fan for more years than I want to count but for perspective’s sake, let’s say I have been a movie buff for six decades.
When I first fell in love with the movies there were only two ways you could see them; one was to go to the theatre.
When I was growing up in what was then known as Alderwood, which later became Etobiocke and then Toronto, there were three movie theaters on Lakeshore Blvd, all near each other.
We would take the bus and streetcar to them or sometimes walk and save the fare for candy. The movie cost us a quarter and we saw a travelogue, a carton, and two films on a Saturday afternoon, usually, a western, a war movie or the latest Tarzan pic, with Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan.
I can still feel the ripple of anticipation that ran through me as the movie began, what would happen? Where would this adventure take?
I still feel a similar excitement when I sit down to watch a movie that I have not yet see, although these days it is more likely to be a DVD in my living room than in a theatre.
The other way to watch a movie, way back then was, on the rare occasion, a movie was shown on TV. We got our first TV set in the mid-fifties and it was some years later before there was much to choose from when it came to movies.
Now remember we are talking about the days before remote control, cable, satellites, DVDs or even VHS. Back in the pioneer days of home movie watching, when one of the major networks would air a movie special in prime time or when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) aired late night films.
Many of my favourite films from the 1940s and 50s were seen curled up on my parents couch or later on in the basement rec room, funny, the commercials did not bother me then as they do now.
I do not think that the movies then were any better than the movies today. There were great films then and there are great films now. There was junk then and there is junk now.
I do feel that the sensuality of some of the 40s films such as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not (1944) which was based on an Ernest Hemingway book, with Bacall as Marie 'Slim' Browning. I will always remember when a very sultry Bacall says:
"You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. You don't have to say anything and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."
The Big Sleep with Bogart and Bacall is a thriller/detective story based on a Raymond Chandler novel and a great film but then so are Casablanca and the African Queen.
There are so many movies that it is impossible to come even close to mentioning them all but two are musts; 1965’s Von Ryan’s Express with Frank Sinatra and Frank again, in From Here To Eternity, the 1953 version with Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr and Montgomery Cliff.
I rarely read movie reviews as I do not care what the critics have to say, I can make up my own mind, after all it is my money and my time.
The Road Pictures with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are treasures with their tongue-in-cheek approach to movie making and the antics of Abbot and Costello are classic.
When we live in Ontario we used to watch Saturday Night at the Movies, then with Elwy Yost as host and he would occasionally play these gems along with many other great old movies. They were commercial free and that was a treat.
Saturday Night at the Movies is still on the air but we no longer live in Ontario and since moving to our new location have given up TV watching and do not have cable, satellite or even an antenna, the two television sets are used for watching movies and we are regular visitors to our local movie rentals where we are fortunate enough to be able to purchase VHS tapes to feed our old machine.
We watch about six to nine movies a week and some we have seen over and over again. I cannot actually say which my favourite film is but I can say which movies I have watched most often; the Wizard of Oz would head the list, I have watched it at least once a year ad sometimes more for the past 50 years.
In a distant second place would come Jurassic Park 1 and 2, I do not own 3, yet; followed by Terminators 1 and 2, all four Lethal Weapons, Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first four Harry Potter movies.
I am just scratching the surface but the movies have played and continue to play an important role in my life.
I admit to feeling cheated when I have spend 90 minutes to two hours watching a bad movie, not one that starts out bad and stays that way, those I turn off, but one that starts our promising something but then gets lost along the way. These such you in until about the ¾ mark and then suddenly die, leaving me feeling cheated having wasted time that I will not get back, but then sometimes you just have to go along for the ride.
There is now way I can come even close to talking about all the films I have enjoyed or even the ones that just made me mad, maybe I will, in another hub, compile a list of my favourite ten films of the past 60 years, time will tell.
There is no one genre that I prefer, it all really depends upon my mood, the day of the week, what I have been doing and son on.
I do enjoy a good romantic comedy and Love Actually and Three to Tango are fun films, but there are so very many more, would you like to mention a few?