I always imagined that Hollywood’s heyday was hurried along by the need for edifying entertainment to transport a country consumed by the horrors of a world war to a world of lofty glamour and cheerful distraction, if only for a little while.
It worked, and the alluring sophistication and wholesome merriment of these old films continue to relieve modern-day audiences of some of the stress forced upon us by such disasters as ISIS, Ebola, illegal immigration, and Barack Obama.
Thanks to advances in technology, classic movies are readily available and will be around for a while. A good thing, considering the solace we find in the old black and white pictures is nowhere to be seen in the empty, forgettable, cinematic smut being produced nowadays.
Let’s compare. In 1942, Casablanca was in theatres, an enduring, sentimental masterpiece that captures the conflict “between love and virtue,” set in a captivating time and place with Hollywood’s most legendary actors delivering some of cinema’s most memorable lines.
Out in theatres today we have a film called Sex Tape.
Also out today is the news of the passing of silver screen siren, Lauren Bacall. Bacall was known for her slinky figure, a sexy voice that “purred every word,” and a tough, too-cool attitude that enabled her to blend seamlessly yet femininely with on-screen gangster types, including her husband of twelve years, Humphrey Bogart.
Film stars of Hollywood’s golden years volunteered for military service and to entertain with the USO. Today they lambaste everything our men and women in uniform fight for.
Not to mention movie stars were really good looking back then. They had to be. There was no Photoshop or Botox or special effects to speak of in those days.
Bacall was not the last of her breed; there are still a handful of Hollywood greats left: Maureen O’Hara (age 93) and Olivia de Havilland (98) are not to be forgotten. But Hollywood isn’t producing any more of their type. It seems the only good thing the modern age has given us is the ability to revisit the past.