“The Cradle”

“Life is like a good black and white photograph, there’s black, there’s white, and lots of shades in between.” -Karl Heiner
Some time ago, I made mention that I wanted to take some time to watch some old classics. This was brought on by a Nevada Public Radio segment in which Dustin Hoffman was interviewed for the 40th anniversary of “The Graduate” from 1967, which effectively put him on the Hollywood map. I had actually never seen the movie and it made me realize how many classics I had never seen despite my love of movies. As a kid, I never wanted to watch old movies preferring the blood, gore, violence, and sex of the modern era of film. But then over the last decade or so, I’ve noticed a decline in the quality of film. Oh sure, there are always the blockbuster franchises that come out and the sequels of other popular films, but everything seemed to be a remake. Originality was lost.

The same was happening with television as well. Much has gravitated toward the reality genre, but sometimes browsing the channels late at night, I’d catch an old sitcom, or drama series. Maybe I’ve grown up since then, but I have been able to appreciate good TV. Sometimes its just funny watching shows from back then and noting the dress styles or the politically correct way of addressing an issue that wouldn’t even get a second look today, such as teen pregnancy or drugs in school. These issues, while remaining important, are not the tender subjects they once were. School shootings are much more of a factor now. I can recall seeing an episode of Sesame Street from way back in the day. Kids were being followed playing in a local city dump using old refuse for play things. That kind of stuff would never fly today!

A few days ago, I watched The Graduate and Casablanca. These films don’t need my review by any sort of the suggestion, but Ben, in The Graduate, would have been considered a stalker if he were casing a school and following a young girl around campus. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but Casablanca was brilliant to me. I especially enjoyed the lighting. Nothing is lit very brightly and the shadow play is much like I try to do with my photography now. The B&Ws are still a fave of mine and the low key, sometimes soft imagery was especially to my liking. I now know where some of these famous quotes come from: “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in the world, she walks into mine.”, as well as some that were misquotes, “Play it again, Sam”. According to IMDb trivia, that line was never in the movie, but was misquoted from Bogart’s actual line, “You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it!”. Ingrid Bergman also has a line that’s close: “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By”. So I am wondering what classic I’ll watch next…maybe The Maltese Falcon, Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Cane, A Streetcar Named Desire, or maybe To Kill a Mockingbird? Suggestions?