What is your favorite old movie and what makes it so special to you?
Many of us have favorite movies from the past, whether they be from our past or a more distant past. Old movies can evoke personal memories and feelings of nostalgia for by-gone days.
I have favorite old movies from my childhood and I especially remember Disney movies and drive-in theaters with my parents and brother. We’d snuggle into the car as a family, eat popcorn, and slip into the world of Walt Disney fantasy for an hour or two. As a teenager and young adult in the 1980’s, I loved John Hughes movies. My favorite was The Breakfast Club, and I still like to watch it, now with my own kids. We also enjoyed watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off together and I discovered that kids today can relate to the character’s experiences in both of these movies, even almost thirty years after they were released.
All the great movies of my personal past notwithstanding, my favorite “old movies” are ones that are even older than me. Ones from the 1940’s and 1950’s. When the mode of dress and style of speech were just a bit different from now. When a good mystery was creepy and suspenseful without lots of blood and gore. When there was a bit more elegance and formality. When actors like Cary Grant, Rita Hayworth, Clark Gable, and Fred Astaire were in their prime.
I got to indulge in my love of old movies when I wrote The Portal’s Choice and call it research. Part of the plot of the book involves characters who died in 1948 and who escape from the spirit realm seeking revenge for their violent deaths. When those ghosts entered the story they needed to sound like they would have in 1948, when they died. I used other forms of research to find old words and terms to make my characters sound realistic. But I wanted to hear how those words were used, what the proper context was for each phrase. The movies weren’t only fun to watch, I really paid attention to the language used. I was then better able to create realistic dialogue for my characters.
In the picture are some of the movies I watched for my research. The genres spanned family type stories like Andy Hardy and The Bachelor and The Bobby-Soxer to more suspenseful tales. I referenced the classic, Gilda, a tense love triangle starring Rita Hayworth, in The Portal’s Choice. All of the movies were enjoyable and all of them grabbed my imagination, taking me along on the journey with the characters.
I’m on the lookout for ways to do more movie research as I write the next books in The Gatekeeper’s of Em’pyrean series.