Does it Matter if it’s Black or White?

12 Aug

In my novel, Dirty Laundry, my character, Imani loves watching old black and white classic movies.  When she meets a guy with the same interest, she decides he is definitely a keeper.  There’s nothing more romantic than watching a black and white love story–especially with a hot guy!

Before I got rid of cable (long story, even longer list of charges on my bill), I used to watch AMC (American Movie Classics) a few times a week.  The world could be crashing down around me, but I would always get stopped in my tracks by a good black and white movie.  From love stories to comedies to who-dun-its, those movies held my attention like a water fountain in a desert.

My husband once told me that he remembered the day his parents bought the family’s first black and white T.V.  He and his brothers were so excited–it was like nothing they’d ever seen.  But with all the gadgets of today, you probably couldn’t pay a teenager to watch a black and white movie.

I may be alone in thinking this, but I just don’t feel like the movies of today hold the same mystique.  Therefore, today I’m paying homage to all the black and white classics.

One of my favorites is An Affair to Remember, where Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant were supposed to give up everything to be with each other.  They were scheduled to meet at the top of the Empire State Building, but Deborah Kerr didn’t show up.  Cary Grant never knew the real reason until he saw her a year later in a wheelchair.  She’d gotten hit by a car on the way to meet him that day.  Damn, I’m getting misty-eyed just thinking about it!

I’ve listed my favorite black and white classics below.  What are some of yours, whether they’re romances or not?

  • Imitation of Life (Get the Kleenex out!)
  • A Raisin in the Sun
  • Lying Lips (good mystery with James Earl Jones)
  • Philadelphia Story
  • Bringing up Baby
  • Wuthering Heights (I was on Heathcliff’s side)

 

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17 Responses to “Does it Matter if it’s Black or White?”

  1. Rob Shelsky August 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Definitely Lilies of the Fields with Sydney Poitier and also Now, Voyager with Bette Davis.

    • chantarandblog August 13, 2012 at 1:58 am #

      Rob, I forgot about Lillies of the Fields. Yes, that was a good one. I’d never heard of Now, Voyager. I looked it up and it looks pretty darn good. I’ve added this to my list along with Dark Victory, another great Bette Davis movie I keep hearing about.

  2. Delaney Diamond August 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    I’ve watched some black and white movies, but I do prefer modern ones, with a few exceptions. Alfred Hitchcock movies are so good. They’re downright spine-tingling. He truly is a master of suspense. One of my favorites is Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. I also enjoyed watching Whatever Happened to Baby Jane with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Great movie!

    • chantarandblog August 13, 2012 at 2:03 am #

      Delaney, those Hitchcock movies still scare me to this day. I remember watching The Birds when I was young and I can’t get it out of my mind. But you are right. He was a master at his craft! And yes, I have seen Rear Window and Baby Jane. I’m telling ya, they just don’t make movies like that anymore.

      • Rob Shelsky August 13, 2012 at 3:08 am #

        I have no preference over color versus black and white. It’s the movie itself I go by. And let’s be honest here, nobody ever refers to a color movie as being “film noir.” That was a style I found fantastic, the lighting on the faces, the focus on the pure essence of the actors and the actresses. How anyone cannot be taken, enthralled by film noir is beyond me. I quote:

        The cinematography reinforces the darkness in the plot and theme. Long, sharp shadows are used in film noir as well as inky blackness. Tilted camera angles with a claustrophobic feel emphasize a nocturnal underworld.

        Ingrid Bergman, Veronica Lake, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford and all. Now there were some actresses! If you haven’t seen the Blue Dahlia with Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd, you haven’t seen film noir! I was just a kid when I saw this for the first time on television, and I fell in love with Veronica Lake!

      • chantarandblog August 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

        Rob, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. What I enjoy so much about the classic black and white films is the cinematography. Filmmakers couldn’t focus on the vibrant colors of a woman’s dress or the deep scarlet hues of a sunset. They found other ways to capture our attention with plot, lighting, and effects. And let’s not forget the dialogue. Some of it was off the chain, especially when two characters got to bantering. The back and forth was amazing.

  3. Niambi August 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Paris Blues with Diahann Carroll, Sidney Poitier, Joann Woodward and Paul Newman. Those four in Paris? Jazz and romance. It has been burned in my romantic soul (lol) since the first time I saw it.

    • chantarandblog August 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      I’ve never seen Paris Blues either. See what an education I’m getting today? I did love Paul Newman in The Long Hot Summer, but that’s not a black and white movie – still a good one!

  4. Angeline M. Bishop August 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Chanta,

    I’m right there with you on ‘An Affair to Remember’. I downloaded it on my KindleFire because it’s the best movie featuring Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant.

    • chantarandblog August 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

      I like the remake with Warren Beatty and Annette Benning too (Love Affair). There’s a scene when she walks into one of the ship’s cocktail bars and Warren sidles up to her and says, “I like the way you move.” Damn! That is the mac daddy of all pick up lines. It was so smooth. I mean, how could she resist him after that?

  5. vannieryanes August 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    All About Eve, Now Voyager, Penny Serenade, One Body Too Many. I love the slyly sexy Topper movies but my favorites are, The Univited, The Women, Rebecca, My Man Godfrey, The Thin Man, Cabin In The Sky. I can’t list all because I could watch old black and white movies forever.

    • chantarandblog August 13, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

      Yes, I forgot about Cabin in the Sky too. There are so many good movies that get lost in the shuffle. I haven’t seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but that sounds hilarious!

  6. vannieryanes August 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    I forgot, Mr. & Mrs. Smith with Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery. It is wink-wink funny. Man finds out he and wife are not married because of technicality. Later, while talking on the telephone to his wife, he writes Mrs. Smith, then with a devilish smile on his face crosses of Mrs. and writes Mistress. She gets better hand because if they are not married she won’t….and her mama backs her up.

  7. shawn August 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    I’ve watched Imitation of life a hundred times and still cry like a baby every time. If you loved Imitation of Life you would also like Madame X. It’s another classic I watch when I want to have a sob fest. Stars Lana Turner, Ricardo Montebaun(sp) John Forsythe, Earnest Borgnign (sp) and Richard Chamberlain. All of them were great. I also loved Joy in the Morning, Splendor in the Grass, and A Summer Place.

    • chantarandblog August 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

      I’ve definitely got to check out Madame X – although I don’t know if I could handle another tear-jerker like Imitation of Life. That was so bittersweet.

  8. dahliadewinters August 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    I am a huge fan of the old classics. Some of my favorites? Double Indemnity, with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. An American Tragedy, Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters and Liz Taylor. Suddenly Last Summer, Monty Clift, Liz Taylor and Katharine Hepburn. I’ve got tons more….old movies are the best!

    • chantarandblog August 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      I LOVED me some Barbara Stanwyck. Double Indemnity was one of my favorites. I also used to watch her in the Big Valley every day in re-runs. That was good stuff!

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