Saturday, February 13, 2016

What Love Looks Like When It's Triumphant

When it comes to movie-watching, there are two kinds of people.

There are Netflix lovers, that is, those who prefer to stay at home with easy access to kitchen and bathroom (and the ability to pause the movie at any point) and watch a flick on the cheap. Then there are fans of the  true movie experience, those willing to pay more to watch a movie as the director intended it to be seen, in a public place surrounded by strangers in the dark.

And, yes, I know some people do both. Not me. It's the theater of not at all, but its been rare that I find anyone else who felt the same way. Until now.

Consider how the Washington Post describes theater my way: When it comes down to it, movies aren't even about the movie-going experience. They're about getting lost in the movie itself. Cinema should make us fall in love with storytelling, gasp at technical feats and forget that there's anything else beyond the screen in front of us.

Can I get an amen? I have a friend who won't watch movies at home because they make her feel guilty for all the things she could be doing around her house instead, while she has no such qualms in a theater.

Sorry, watching a movie at home can't ensure that you forget about your world beyond the screen. It just can't.

So you can imagine my satisfaction in finally finding a like-minded soul, and not just in terms of the cinema experience, but also willing to walk the two miles to the theater with me on a day like today where Old Man Wind is making it feel like 14 degrees out there.

Our faces didn't freeze off, although they were numb with cold by the time we got to Movieland, but afterwards we agreed that it was well worth it to see "It Happened One Night" on the big screen.

Doubly so because everyone should see a classic romantic comedy on Valentine's Eve.

Sitting down in my favorite row, the large man chomping popcorn next to us welcomed us to a classic and then observed sarcastically, "I hear that Clark guy is going places." Har-har.

I'll tell you what, he was a gorgeous hunk of man meat in 1934, leaner than in "Gone With the Wind" five years later, a fact easy to discern during the undressing scene. Who cares about big ears when you you see a 33-year old with a body like that?

Having read a biography, "Long Live the King," of him last summer, I was surprised to hear his cronies in today's film refer to him as "king." In fact or fiction, I guess he was.

There was dame wisdom ("The cooler they are, the hotter they get"), period details (fabric curtains with tiebacks on buses, pillows available for "two bits") and men like Gable who traveled with two pairs of silk pajamas in their overnight bag.

Americana was represented with "auto camps," places for overnight stays, which naturally had outside showers, a  fact that surprises our heroine, the heiress Ellie.

"Outside?" she asks Gable incredulously. "All the best places have them outside," he assures her. Yes, indeed, I do love an outside shower.

The only recognizable scene from the movie for me was the hitchhiking scene because the still of Claudette Colbert hiking up her skirt to entice a driver to stop is a classic, as was her wisdom about hitchhiking: "The limb is mightier than the thumb."

Tell me about it. When I got a flat tire on the way to a show in Norfolk, my friend asked what we were going to do about it. Unknowingly taking a page from Colbert's book and proving that the limb is mightier than a distress flag, I got out and stood fetchingly beside my car (in shorts) for about a minute before a kindly offer to change that tire was proffered.

Being a Frank Capra film, it was decidedly picaresque, with a screwball comedic leaning (nothing tops him carrying her over his shoulder, handing her his suitcase and smacking her ass), plus lots of snappy '30s dialog.

Your ego is absolutely colossal!
Yeah, yeah, not bad. How's yours?

And, given tomorrow's impending blizzard of Cupidity, appropriately self-deprecatingly romantic.

I asked you a simple question. Do you love her?
YES! But don't hold that against me. I'm a little screwy myself.

Walking home (but happily with the wind behind us this time), we agreed that we'd just seen a glorious movie. How glorious? Neither of us had had a single thought beyond the screen in front of us.

Don't hold that against us. We're screwy that way.

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