February 9, 2017

A Valentine’s Day Guide to Vintage Films.

I have long said that I am a vintage kind of girl.

Some of us are born with old souls. I am an incurable romantic, and I don’t think one can have an old soul without also enjoying romance. Because there is romance in loving old, often forgotten things.

Handwritten letters.

Smooth jazz or big band on vinyl.

Long telephone conversations.

Old books that smell of leather and memories.

Antiques with a past one can imagine.

Tea cups and old lace and opera gloves and finely crafted furniture that gather dust waiting to be loved again. Lovely and fragile objects. And my favorite: classic films.

I love them all. From science fiction to horror and especially the love stories. I love their style and the amazing storytelling. Most of us have been exposed to the popular Christmas classics—It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. And I love them.

My classic movie love affair began with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I saw it on television, and I was simply riveted. Of course, it’s written by Tennessee Williams, so the drama is phenomenal, but it is more than that. It’s the performances, staging and style. I couldn’t get enough.

And so I began to slowly collect the classics, watching one after another and soaking them into my old soul like a plant soaking in the sun.

In today’s world, how many of us get the sense of romance we crave? Not romance as in hearts and flowers on a special occasion, but romance in the everyday sense. Romance in the small things. We don’t find this in social media or text messaging, and it’s often absent in a world filled with technology that actually makes us sometimes feel more disconnected to one another.

Single or coupled, old souls have a deeper need for romance than most. I find that on days when my soul craves nourishment, I can put on an old record and light a few scented candles and drink a cup of tea from a vintage teacup. I might listen to an old radio program on vinyl or put on a little Andy Williams or Ella Fitzgerald. But I may also choose to watch a classic film and soak in all of the romance.

My love affair with classic movies has been long and faithful. I offer you this vintage viewing guide for Valentine’s Day in hopes of igniting the romance in your old soul.

The thing about nourishing your soul in this way is that you can watch it by yourself with a cup of tea and piece of gourmet chocolate or watch it with someone you love, be it a friend or lover. May it nourish your soul and be of benefit.

1..Casablanca: This always tops my list. It has everything—a world war, resistance, style, intrigue, romance and danger. I’m biased because this is my absolute favorite film, but it has every element that can nourish a vintage soul.

2..To Have and Have Not: I don’t know what I love more—this story or the story behind the film. This is the film where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall fell in love. If you don’t know their story, you must learn about it or have your incurable romantic card revoked immediately!

3..An Affair to Remember: This has been made at least twice, and I personally prefer the version with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr (pronounced car, by the way). Grab a glass of pink champagne and enjoy the clever banter and tender romance.

4..The Philadelphia Story: This story is fantastic, and the casting is amazing. I love Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart and Cary Grant’s stellar performances in this story. There’s ample style and romance, but I love all of the strong characters and the sharp dialogue.

5..The African Queen: I cannot mention Katherine Hepburn without thinking of this film. You might want to turn it off during the first 15 minutes, like I did, but stick around until the two main characters are stuck on a boat together. This is another story of strong, conflicting personalities, but the love story is beautiful. I saw this one recently and was so amazed that I’d never taken the time to watch it before.

6..Notorious: This is a suspense film, but it contains incredible romance. There’s such tension and misunderstanding, but there’s also a lot of love. This is a Hitchcock film, and it’s personally one of my favorites.

7..Breakfast at Tiffany’s: This one makes the list, purely on its style. My favorite scene features a casual Audrey Hepburn sitting on a fire escape playing a guitar and singing “Moon River.”

8..Now, Voyager: This is literally the only movie that makes me want to smoke, and you’ll know why when you watch it. I’m sure cigarettes sold like hotcakes after this one. I include it on this list because it’s a beautiful story of a shy woman getting out from under the influence of her abusive mother, transforming herself and falling in love (with herself and someone else) in the process. It’s a spectacular story and deeply romantic.

9..Laura: This is a story of murder, obsession, suspense and love. I love Gene Tierney, and there’s also an atypical performance by Vincent Price, who I adore.

10..Sabrina: There is, of course, an updated version of this film with Harrison Ford, Greg Kinnear and Julia Ormond, but I like to watch the original version with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn. It’s such a lovely story, but either version of the film is worth watching.


Author: Crystal Jackson

Image: Pixabay

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock 

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