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Monday, November 29, 2010
War Stories - Intro
A typical “war movie” that shows battle is its own milieu. There are many fine battle films we can cover at some time in the future. But battles, however dramatically staged, are still staged. I believe the home front movies are the “war movies” that really show with a degree of reality what The War did to define that era.
This blog, because it examines old movies within the context of the times in which they were filmed, shovels around a lot of history, which I know may be off-putting for some old movie buffs who just want to reminisce about favorite films or actors. But, I think without the history background, a good chunk of the pleasure of watching old movies, i.e., really understanding context, is lost. Many plots and conflicts transcend time. Many just don’t, and to appreciate them we need to bend their way rather than require they conform to our modern understanding.
Imagine sitting down to eat a pizza, everything on it you like.
Now imagine you have no taste buds.
If you eat it, you’ll still get all the calories. You won’t feel hungry anymore.
But you will have tasted nothing. It will be like eating the box it came in.
Watching an old movie without “getting it”, is like eating a pizza when you have no taste buds.
Understanding the background is what puts the color in a black and white movie.
These three films for the next three posts are: “Mrs. Miniver” (1942), “The More the Merrier” (1943), and finally “Love Letters” (1945).
The next movie, “The More the Merrier”, finds us in Washington, D.C. during the middle of the war. This film is a romantic comedy, but it shows some enlightening aspects of wartime tension, and entertaining scenes of sexual tension.
Both attitudes, to some extent, were whistling in the dark.
The final movie, “Love Letters” takes us back to England in the later days of the war.
So join us on Thursday for “Mrs. Miniver” and the other two movies following next week. You won't need to pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, but you will need to bring along your ration books, and your patience, and your empathy.