Friday, July 29, 2011

Great Old Movies for Hot Weather

Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush

In a world where the temperature goes up over a hundred outdoors for three or four days running, and hovers around 80 indoors, and the humidity is so thick you can't see into the next block, it's useless to try to write. Instead of producing items of popular culture, it is time to consume them.

My binge of choice is a supply of frozen treats and a string of movies of the sort I used to watch on television when I was fourteen. I would lie on the rug, not so close that my mother would tell me to move back before I ruined my eyes, and get up only for the jingle of the bell on the Good Humor Man's ice cream truck. Lime ice pops. The Million Dollar Movie. Hot weather heaven.

Nowadays Turner Classic Movies usually does the job, but on a day when they're showing crappy stuff from the seventies and eighties Netflix offers some good choices, or I might pull out something I bought off the rack at the drugstore. Amazon also has a nice selection of old movies. If you click on any of my links and buy a movie from Amazon they might send me the price of an ice pop.

There are certain criteria for great hot weather movies. They should not try to make you think. Climate-wise, you can go one of two ways: go with the flow and watch a movie set in the tropics or the burning desert (The Letter,  KimLawrence of Arabia, Casablanca) or flee to colder climes and wallow in snow (The Gold Rush, The Road to Utopia). Or you can watch a movie with a lot of water in it. An Esther Williams movie. Captains Courageous. The Hurricane. You can watch a cold-hearted film noir such as Double Indemnity. Or a horror film frightening enough to make you shiver, like Them.

My favorite hot weather movies are in black and white and made way before I was born. I Cover the Waterfront is exemplary. The crimes of the old fisherman are chilling and involve a lot of cold water. The romance of the newsman and the fisherman's daughter is hot. What more could you ask for? Besides a soft, cool rug and an ice pop.

Kate Gallison

1 comment:

  1. My grandkids and I watched The Wizard of Oz. They said the set looked painted. I said there were no computer graphics in those days and asked if it bothered them that it looked painted. They said, "No. It's awesome!". Even for seven year olds, old movies are great.