Culture and the Movies

12668631_sI had this post marinating in my blog post folder for some time, but since I had culture on my mind this week – I figured, why not. What brought about these thoughts? On Sunday, instead of writing, I curled up on the sofa, and spent the afternoon watching, Out of Africa. Just as I’ll also do when I find another one of my favorites being shown, Fiddler on the Roof. I will put everything on hold to watch – yes, for the umpteenth time. Yes, I have watched a movie or two in my life, but do we have to turn to a foreign film, or the Cannes Film Festival to find the culture any longer? My husband always has a difficult time understanding my junior and senior years of high school, because my classes, I guess, leaned more toward Liberal Arts. Why do I mention this?  Because I attribute those high school years to igniting the cultural sense that completes me. For instance, instead of Physical Education, I had Modern Dance where we learned interpretive moves to the music of West Side Story and Dave Brubeck’s Take Five; even though that composition hit the shelves as I gave up formula. From there I sauntered over to the music room. In there I began my love affair with strings in what they labeled, Music Appreciation. Finally, I had Journalism, which took me to the Associated Press Club, and Reuters; not so academic, but definitely preparing the mind culturally. I think back in the day, especially in the north-east, schools were big on exposing students in a way to enlighten and polish.

What do you think of when you hear the word culture? Does it bring about thoughts of your heritage. Nowadays, I guess it’s politically correct to proclaim ones ethnic background. I mean, celebrities do it all the time. My lineage is of African-American, Native American and Scottish descent. But if that had become public knowledge many years ago my grandfather would have given birth to a literal cow. However, it has never been something that bothered me. Why do I bring this up, and what does this all have to do with a classical movie? What you’ve been exposed to over time. When you settle in to watch a movie such as Out of Africa does that mean your nationality has to be one of European decent? I don’t believe so, but I do think what you’ve been exposed to over time, plus one’s background will produce such an end. But, for me, I would definitely have to attribute those beginnings to high school again.

Please forgive me if I’m rambling, I merged two different posts, attempting to make one point. Anyway, with all that said, I also caught The Last Voyage on American Movie Classics (AMC) not long ago, which is another fine Hollywood classic. Who do we thank for these wonderful works? The actors and actresses, the powerhouse directors/producers; the novelists/writers who gave birth to the book/screenplay? The three movies I mentioned earlier, definitely set my brain to recall the best of Hollywood. Yes, I love to read, but I love a good old movie as well as the next person, and especially if they’re classic. Because of my cultural exposure in school, I wouldn’t trade any of that teaching for anything.

Let me end by saying, the task of breaking down the best from the list did not prove at all easy, but I have noted a few of my all time favorites?  Okay, thirty. Are any of these on your list? And, let me warn you, I’ve reached way-way back for some:

  • Dark Victory – 1939
  • Wuthering Heights – 1939
  • Cabin In The Sky – 1943
  • Rhapsody In Blue – 1945
  • Mildred Pierce – 1945
  • The Big Country – 1946
  • The Best Years Of Our Lives – 1946
  • The Ghost & Mrs. Muir – 1947
  • The Snake Pit – 1948
  • Bird Of Paradise – 1951
  • Moby Dick – 1956
  • Carousel (Musical) – 1956
  • Peyton Place – 1957
  • South Pacific (Musical) – 1958
  • Imitation of Life – 1959 Version
  • The Last Voyage – 1960
  • Fanny – 1961
  • West Side Story (Musical) – 1961
  • To Kill A Mockingbird – 1962
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane – 1962
  • Lilies Of The Field – 1963
  • Fate Is The Hunter – 1964
  • Dr. Zhivago – 1965
  • A Patch Of Blue – 1965
  • Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte – 1965
  • Bonnie & Clyde – 1967
  • To Sir With Love – 1967
  • Funny Girl (Musical) – 1968
  • Fiddler On The Roof (Musical) – 1971
  • Out of Africa – 1985

Haven’t we all watched a movie or two? After a look at my list, do you have any that I may have missed, and are your favorite?

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