Monday, August 06, 2018

Classic Movie Night: "His Girl Friday"

Some friends and I recently decided to watch one classic movie together each month. We cleverly call it "Classic Movie Night."

We kicked the tradition off with His Girl Friday, a screwball comedy released in 1940. I remember watching Turner Classic Movies in high school and college and hearing Robert Osborne sing praises for the movie, but for some reason, I never wanted to watch it. Looking back, I think it's because I didn't (and still kind of don't) like farcical rom-coms, but I dunno . . . I suppose I was feeling generous tonight. "Try something new," I told myself, as my friends and I were going through classic movie titles. "Just give the screwball comedy a try. Maybe there's something to it."

Well, whadaya know? I actually liked it. It's not on my Top 10 list of favorite movies––especially not my Top 10 favorite movies of the 1940s––but I liked it and I'd recommend it. The dialogue is crazily fast-paced, with the actors barely giving you enough time to recognize a joke and laugh, but that's one of the things I liked so much about it. It's like a British TV show of today––just plumb full of smart and quick humor.

I don't tend to like humor, however, without some melancholy lurking around somewhere, and the movie didn't disappoint in that regard, either. The sub-plot centers around a mayor who's up for re-election and trying to swing the vote by hanging a white man who shot a black sheriff. Let me say that again: "A white man who shot a black sheriff." Wait––Is this really 1940?

And there, dear readers, is why I love Classic Hollywood Cinema. Filmmakers didn't rely so much on special effects; they focused on storytelling and character development. They introduced and sometimes commented on rather serious social topics, even by today's standards. People often say, "We're much more progressive than our parents and grandparents," but the truth is that humans are pretty much the same. We struggle with the same stuff now as we did 75 years ago. I like movies that highlight that fact, and His Girl Friday does. It just adds a little humor. And Transatlantic accent. :)

Thing I'm thankful for: neck massages