Friday, 27 February 2015

How It All Started

A couple of years ago I completely despised classic films. I thought they looked strange and black & white films in particular were incredibly hard to look at. But this one day I was looking for something on the Internet (for the life of me I can't remember what it was) and I found mysef on YouTube watching a clip from Singin' in the Rain (1952), that "Moses Supposes" bit. While I still thought it looked kind of weird, I have to say, I actually really liked it. I was really impressed by Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor's dance skills and how they were able to move so frenetically and yet so precisely and in synch.

Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelly during "Moses Supposes"

I had heard of Gene Kelly before, but I had no idea who he actually was. So, out of sheer curiosity as to who this amazing dancer was, I decided to watch the film. And you know what? I absolutely loved it and as for Gene Kelly, I fell completely in love with him. So much so that that week I watched three more of his films in a row: Anchors Aweigh (1945), An American in Paris (1951) and Marjorie Morningstar (1958), I think it was. Needless to say, I was a bit obsessed. I loved how charming and athletic and innovative and exuberant and playful he was. And his smile... I think that was actually what got me, his big, beautiful smile.

With Anchors Aweigh, I was introduced to another actor who would play a huge role in my love for classic films, Frank Sinatra. I watched more of his films as well and all of a sudden I started discovering all these new films and actors and a completely new and magical world I didn't even know existed. My despise for classic films was gone.

Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in Anchors Aweigh

COLOR classic films, that is. Because there was still one tiny detail: black & white films were still a no-go for me. They still looked weird. Until the day I came across a Bringing Up Baby (1938) tribute on YouTube made by the incredibly talented Laura (shoopdancer2504). Laura included a lot of quotes in the video and one in particular got my attention: "Susan, when a man is wrestling a leopard in the middle of a pond, he's in no position to run." That got me laughing out loud! So, what did I do? I went and watched the whole film, obviously. However, I couldn't watch the whole thing on one go. I had to watch half on one day and the other half on the next. Crazy, I know. But still, I was really proud of myself for having been able to watch a black & white film.

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby

Besides a Bringing Up Baby tribute, Laura had quite a few other classic film tributes, so I went and watched them all. There was this one in particular (forgive me, Laura, I can't remember which one it was) that featured a clip of James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), that scene when he looks up at Jean Arthur after reading the note in which she says she's in love with him. I had no idea who he was but man, was he handsome! When I figured out that his name was James Stewart, I typed "James Stewart" on YouTube and the first thing I watched was a clip from The Philadelphia Story (1940), the drunken scene with him and Cary Grant, you know, the one the starts with Jimmy shouting "OH C. K. DEXTER HAAAAAAVEEEN!"

I watched that clip three or four times in a row and it got me every time. So what did I do next? You've guessed it. I went and watched the film. I tend to fell in love with people very easily and once again, I was completely in love with another actor of classic Hollywood. Similarly to what had happened with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, after watching The Philadelphia Story I went on a bit of a James Stewart film marathon and suddenly I realized that black & white films didn't bother me anymore. From then on, I started watching any classic film that seemed interesting to me, regardless of whether it was color or black & white.

Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story

And that's it. That's how my love for classic films and the entire Old Hollywood era came to be.

The idea of creating a blog has been in the back of my mind for quite some time and today I decided that I would finally do it. Besides Old Hollywood, two of my greatest passions are History and writing, so I thought I'd combine the three and create a blog all about the Golden Age of Hollywood and the films and people that made it unforgettable. The idea is to share my passion with you in hopes that you will come to love this amazing period of time as much as I do.

Take care and I hope to see you around.

-Cátia.

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