Just this weekend a classic old Hollywood film soothed a heartache for an evening. My Mom and I watched the 1945 Esther Williams flick “Thrill of a Romance.” It had been a tumultuous, emotional roller coaster ride of a few days, and maybe the sweet simplicity of that old film was just what the doctor ordered as a balm to our taut nerves. In any case, as soon as it started, we both immediately felt more at ease and slept better than we had in nights.
It’s no earth-shaking plot, just an old-fashioned romantic comedy of sorts but with plenty of yesteryear Hollywood glamour and elegance.
Think of some of the Hollywood stars of old: Grace Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Audrey Hepburn, Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Esther Williams, the list could go on…
Elegance, style, glamour.
With my affinity for 1940s and 50s music, movies and fashion, I often quip that I was born in the wrong era.
I think there’s something to be said for the elegance of that by-gone time. We seem to take a casual approach to so many things nowadays. Sometimes people barely differentiate what they wear to church from what they wear to the gym #athleisure. Read this article for an interesting take on athleisure and manners.
Whether we like it or not, fashion choices are a reflection of us, of our values and personalities and tastes.
The generation of our grandparents and great-grandparents had propriety. Certain clothes for certain occasions and locations. Maybe it was a bit too formal, but I think the millennial generation could use an infusion of that polish and refinement. Really, it boils down to respect. How one presents oneself in dress and deportment conveys not only respect for the people and places one encounters but also self-respect.
Then there’s the music of yesteryear. My family and I were listening to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald duets the other day, and it struck me yet again how, generally speaking, the popular music of long ago was so much more romantic than nowadays. There were true love songs to which one could slow dance and be wooed and fall in love. They present true depths of emotions from sorrow and longing to love and joy to just plain silly fun.
Again respect and elegance and beauty. Moreover, those singers and musicians did not have the technology of today to alter and tweak their voices or their sound. Pure artistic talent was required.
A lot of contemporary music leaves nothing to the imagination (much like today’s movies) but rather mires itself in vulgarity.
I know I am speaking in broad strokes about past and present entertainment, but the general ethos is, I think, pretty close to accurate.
In my experience, taking a little “sentimental journey” via old Hollywood movies or music from another era might just be good for what ails ya.
If you’re looking for some suggestions, here are a few of my favorite old films and songs in no particular order. What are some of your old favorites?
1.) “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
2.) “Sway” by Rosemary Clooney. I like Dean Martin’s version, too!
3.) “Swinging on a Star” by Bing Crosby
4.) “L. O. V. E.” by Nat King Cole
5.) “Sentimental Journey” by Doris Day
1.) “Singing in the Rain,” starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor
2.) “Roman Holiday,” starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck
3.) “Yours, Mine, and Ours,” starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda
4.) “Going My Way,” starring Bing Crosby.
5.) And since I just watched it and really liked it: “Thrill of a Romance,” starring Esther Williams and Van Johnson.