Ricky sent me a text message from London. My coursemate was delighted to tell me that Turner Classic Movies (TCM) would be available to viewers in this part of the world. This was the same guy who told the class that TCM made its debut on April 14, 1994. And our professor thought that there was a crash in the stock market.
I've been a regular viewer of TCM, which would showcase mostly black-and-white films. It was the studio era, where producers would have a control on their stars. There were good scriptwriters back then, prompting me to wonder what happened to the current crop (of screenwriters). It couldn't be a coincidence that more Hollywood studios opted for sequels, remakes, and reboots. I would suspect that filmmaking became a costly venture, and producers wanted a guarantee on profit. This was where the trend would enter the equation. It would be up to actors, who have enough money to venture into production, to come up with the so-called independent features. Some would remind me of the movies from the bygone era.
No one asked me about my favorite films, as I rather listened to what my coursemates would say to the rest. We would agree on a number of movies, so I would choose the ones that they didn't include on their list. Here's the list:
Red Dust (1932) by Victor Fleming. Jean Harlow may be the funniest lady I've seen on the big screen, and it was a tragedy that she passed away at a young age. She had a sense of comic timing, even knew how to break the ice (on the set). And she stole the show from Clark Gable. This romantic drama might have turned me off if another actress portrayed Vantine Jefferson. It was a unique name, if not a campy one, which would suit no other than Harlow.
Penny Serenade (1941) by George Stevens. My coursemates didn't expect me to fancy this melodrama. They have seen "The Awful Truth," probably the best by Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Perhaps I wanted to see another side of Mr. Grant and Miss Dunne. The drama would suit them as well.
Designing Woman (1957) by Vincente Minnelli. Opposites attract, and it would be possible for a married couple, who hardly share any interest, to live happily ever after. Maybe a sports reporter and fashion designer might have a clash of egos especially if one was more famous than the other, but a compromise could be arranged. It would happen at the dining table.
Green Mansions (1959) by Mel Ferrer. Audrey Hepburn might be miscast in the role of an Indian-like woman living in the Amazon forest, but this would be Audrey Hepburn sans the chic outfit.
How the West Was Won (1962) by John Ford, Henry Hathaway, and George Marshall. This was my favorite epic Western picture, where the big stars would get wet and dirty. They could outwit the bad guys as well. Enough said.