It’s about that time of year for me to reacquaint myself with my old movie collection.
Usually as fall approaches (I’ve been cautioned recently that it is too early to start using the “f” word), I get ready for a couple of things that have followed the same pattern for years.
Football, both pro and college, is about to kick-off. Catalogs are starting to clog the mailbox with a reminder that sweater weather (and Christmas previews) offerings are in full swing. Fall foliage changes are starting to appear. Rabbit’s brush is blooming already; sage is fragrant; bushes and trees are starting to show glimpses of yellow.
During my continuing interrupted sleep I ran across a Humphrey Bogart film. It was one I’ve seen countless times, can remember most of the dialog, and can still be amazed at the subtle creative genius of black and white cinematography.
So, I started to review the list of Bogart films I possess (which I think is most of them) and thought through when/how/in what order I would begin my binge watching. I’ve taken an unplanned hiatus from movie watching.
I don’t watch much television as a rule, and the house is generally quiet, except for BeBe and Toby and their antics. I suddenly felt some anticipatory delight as I planned to watch some Bogart, Bacall, Davis, Raft and others.
A day or so after my late night Bogart, I decided to go through my collection of movies. I couldn’t find my list that I made many years ago. As I recall I made the list during my obsessive-compulsive period. It also made it easier to look at a paper list rather than flip through my actual collection of homemade DVDs, store purchases and the still applicable, and playable, VHS tapes.
I amazed myself at the breadth and scope of the collection. Many were things George was interested in, I as well. War movies, comedies, sci-fi, westerns have a place next to Bogart and company. The Thin Man sits next to Superman. Indiana Jones and Mr. Spock share a shelf. Scarlett and Dr. Zhivago; Karen Blixen, T.E. Lawrence, Oscar Wilde still can teach us something. The Sharks and Jets face off; “Oklahoma,” “Carousel” and “The Sound of Music” still can remind one of the great musical era, and make one ask why can’t they make them like they used to. Watching the grace of Fred Astaire, Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner puts the current dance competitions to shame – in my humble opinion.
I still think Bogart was some special talent. I wonder what stars of today will be watched by an audience some 70 years hence. And, it’s not just Bogie. Many stars and movies of yesteryear still have the capacity to entertain and tell a story that is relevant today.
Maybe it would help if we all took a couple of hours and watched “Inherit the Wind” or “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” We might be reminded of a few things that should still matter in our discourse and our society.
In the meantime, I’ll plan my Bogie binge for the not so distant future. Here’s looking at you, kid.