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    Finally Viewing the Old Classic Movies

    I first want to tell you today that Herman for years has been trying to get me to watch old classic black and white films. I would generally scoff at the idea and tell him I was most influenced by my Hollywood years of watching films in color and with modern day situations.

    So this past weekend Herman finally coaxed me into watching a great film called “It Happened One Night,” which was filmed during the depression.

    Another black and white classic, “Sabrina,” with Audrey Hepburn in the title role was also on.

    I’d only ever seen the remake with Harrison Ford, Greg Kinnear and Julia Ormond playing Sabrina forty years after the original.

    In the original classic, which was circa 1954, Humphrey Bogart played the older brother, Linus and William Holden played the younger brother, David.

    I’m going to take a flying leap here and assume most of you have seen if not the classic, then the remake of Sabrina.

    I had read “It Happened One Night” was in the genre of the “screwball comedy” while “Sabrina” is a more traditional romantic comedy.

    Both black and white films start out with a young woman falling for the wrong guy and an unlikely suitor appears. In the depression era “It Happened One Night,” much of the focus is on not having enough money, and in “Sabrina,” the title character is below the social level of her intended.

    Both films show the social climate of the times they were made, but the relationship slant is timeless and both easily recognized and empathized with.

    I was surprised how much I enjoyed the black and white films because of the timeless subject matter.

    One reason I became interested in these classic films was not only Herman’s interest, but because in Turner Classic Movies presentations, Robert Osborne has an impact with his commentary and views on the films for the modern day viewer.

    What I found of immense interest is that “It Happened One Night” swept the Oscars with wins for Best Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay and Best Film. No recent comedy I know of has done anything like that. And I’ve been a devoted Oscar watcher for many years. (The Academy Awards are synonymous with the Oscars.)

    Some of the greatest nominated films seen on Turner Classic Movies are in black and white and they stand firm all these years later. 

    As I just reread what I wrote I see that I’m going to have to revise my opinion of what makes a great movie. It also opens up a whole new group of movies for me to watch.


    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com