A Night of Film Classics

Last Friday evening, I had the wonderful privilege of doing classics movie night with a couple of amazing ladies. One of them is a volunteer lawyer whose passion for helping exploited women extends to Audrey Hepburn and silent films, which brought about this date night of film classics viewing.

She is a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin yet she has never seen a Buster Keaton or a Harold Lloyd film. I, being a huge Keaton fan, suggested I introduce her to her first Keaton short. It was a little challenging to choose which of Buster’s film shorts was best to introduce to a newbie, and so I kept going back to two of my favorites: “Cops” and “The Playhouse.”

Yet it was the “The Playhouse”(1921)  which really made a fan out of me. The technical expertise Buster has shown in the film, the precision of his acting and stunts, and the simple yet charming storylines he always managed to come up with were all significant factors into making a huge Keaton fangirl out of me . So I decided to show this film to her first, although “Cops” gained the most laughs from me. — [Check out The Art of Buster Keaton (The General / Sherlock, Jr. / Our Hospitality / The Navigator / Steamboat Bill Jr. / College / Three Ages / Battling Butler / Go West / The Saphead / Seven Chances / 21 Short Films) on Amazon.com]

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A scene from Buster Keaton’s famous opening where he is the sole cast throughout the dream sequence.

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Buster pretends to be the chimp after the real one escaped.

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Chaos begins backstage.

That night, as we were watching the film, I was thrilled to hear the exchanges between my new friends as they remarked how impressed they were at how such technical feats for the opening sequence were achieved at a time when the talkies were yet underway and CGI effects and other computer gimmicks does not yet exist. They applauded my choice of an introductory film to Buster Keaton and my new friend also took note that  he is one very attractive man! *wink* She, too, has become a instant fan!

We then decided to forego watching another silent film as we had initially planned (which is Louise Brooks’ “Pandora’s Box” [1929] )and to watch a talkie for a change. I suggested we watch Marty” (1955) which stars Ernest Borgnine, which I described as “a funny film with great dialogue.” I know, it doesn’t sound much of a disclaimer, but I proved them right when they found the movie to be timeless, where the issues were as relevant today as before, although the circumstances were slightly different back then, and it was a very relate-able piece of film gem. They were glad I picked that one out and applauded yet again my choice! What an immense relief that was! I was actually quite apprehensive that their reactions to my film picks may be contrary to my own — all of which, one way or another, managed to tug at my heartstrings. *whew!*

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Marty approaches Clara for the first time, who had been crying in the balcony.

It was a really nice movie night with snacks of trail mix, thai rice crackers, gouda cheese and red wine. Hoping to look forward to more vintage movie nights in the nearer future and pursue a magical discovery of hidden gems in the vintage film world.

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