Archive for March 24th, 2014


Sure, I shoulda been writing this blog instead of being on the phone forever with my sister. But you know what we were raving about?

Old movies and how they’re fantastically well-written.

thin man two

And I mean the REALLY OLD flicks—those black white gems from the 1930’s and early ’40’s. Back in the days of Cary Grant and savvy, sophisticated women of all ages.  How sophisticated, elegant and striking, you ask?  Just watch the scene from The Thin Man that introduces us to to Nick and Nora, the private eye married to the society lady.  Wow.  This is how grown-ups used to talk.

Apparently Johnny Depp was about to star in a remake of The Thin Man when Warner Bros got cold feet over the (gulp!) $100 million budget.  What a joke.  The original is perfect and cost just over a couple hundred thousand–about $4 million in today’s money.

Anyway, this rant began on Friday at work when I made a wonderful discovery:  I can watch old movies on YouTube on my computer.  I HAD NO IDEA!

Of course I didn’t watch an entire flick (I’m a dutiful employee), but I couldn’t resist bringing up a gorgeous HD version of one of my faves, My Man Godfrey, and watching it with a colleague.

Godfrey

After six or seven minutes we had to get back to work, but in those minutes we were introduced to the main characters, their relationships, the plot, the theme, and more jokes, literate dialogue, and poignant moments than can be found in entire novels.  Godfrey is one of the best of the screwball comedies, but like many movies of the Depression there’s also a strong social conscience and an underlying shadow about how we treat our fellow man when he’s down and out.  All of this, yet woven together in seamless storytelling.

I could go on about some of my other faves (The Philadelpha Story, Dodsworth, His Gal Friday), but then I’d be up writing all night. Instead I’d love to hear what old flicks you think are especially well written.

Sure, there’s also a lot of old crap and plenty of modern masterpieces.  But old movies that have made a strong impression on you—which ones would you name?