• July 31, 2021

TV puts me in the front row of all my favorite old movies

These men were big stars and they could act. In addition, they acted in films that had real plots and dialogue, films that caught your attention when they started and held it for the 90 minutes it took to get to “The End.”

Actresses from this period – they call it “Hollywood’s Golden Age” – were just as dynamic and compelling as their male co-stars. Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Katherine Hepburn and many others from that time dazzled audiences film after film.

The movies were really cool. I can think of such memorable films as “It Happened One Night,” an award-winning film made in 1934 and starring Gable and Claudette Colbert. It was a romantic comedy, a film genre that was popular back then. John Wayne’s heroic acts in seemingly countless movies, beginning in the 1930s, helped him gain immense popularity among movie fans that lasted until his death, but it is his appearances in WWII war movies. World Cup (made while the war was still raging) which have made me a fanatic.

James Cagney, the tough guy from the movie, made me sit and watch as he danced and sang across the screen in his portrayal of George M. Cohan in the movie titled “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” If you had already seen Cagney play a crazed bad boy in “White Heat,” you could never imagine this other side of him. And drama or musical, Cagney lit up the screen.

I’ve always loved movies starring Cary Grant … and there are many. His sophistication, clean appearance, and talent for comedy (and drama) helped him achieve international fame. But his performances on “North by Northwest” and “The Philadelphia Story” really highlight his brilliance.

I often wonder if movie audiences in the 1930s and 1940s realized that they were witnessing great performances. I am certainly aware of this and so I am grateful that my television programming package includes networks that show old movies. I honestly can’t get enough of them.

And I’m happy to say that my passion is being served wonderfully because I can watch old movies almost anytime I decide to … they’re on TV every night.

Author: Frank Bilotta

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