Tuesday, June 26, 2012


One of the great things about Netflix is the wide range of classic movies the service offers.

By “classic” I mean “old.”

Sure, the special effects usually are not as slick and there aren’t as many explosions, but I find them a nice, comfortable way to spend an hour or two in the evening. Most of the film noir classics are under 90 minutes long.

It’s easy to watch one and then catch the last few innings of a ballgame on TV.

What makes these movies even more interesting is to see the differences in the way people lived their lives back then and the way we do today.

For instance, men nearly always are wearing ties in the movies. Even the bad guys.

The men also wear hats when they are outside, always, it seems, felt fedoras. Especially the bad guys.

Men wear pajamas in bed and when they get up, they always put on a robe. Same with women who are wearing nightgowns that cover more than girls wear to proms these days. They always put on a robe.

And nearly everybody smokes and drinks, just about everywhere. I saw a John Wayne movie where he was in the hospital and they were smoking not just in the hallways but in his room!

Offering somebody a cigarette was a way of breaking the ice.

And drinking?

William Powell in The Thin Man series doesn’t go ten minutes without asking for a martini -- and getting it.

Another little quirk I have picked up concerns cars.

In those days, all the cars had bench-style front seats and in the movies you’ll often see the driver get in on the right side of the car and then slide over to the left to get behind the wheel.

I don’t know why they do that, because it’s not the way we did things when I was growing up. If we were driving, we got in on the left side, just like you do today. Our girlfriends would get in on the right side but then slide across to the middle to sit next to us.

Can’t do that in bucket seats!

Those are just a few of the things I’ve picked up watching some of the black-and-white oldies. It’s also kind of neat to see the buildings and such in the background and how different they are today.

Of course, since most of the movies were shot in California when they were on location they were in the LA area and not where I grew up, I don’t have a lot to compare the scenes to. But I still enjoy them.

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