Monday, May 04, 2015
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Passing the popcorn

Saturday, July 19, 2014 - Updated: 4:08 AM


For The Recorder

As promised, a biased version of two of the greatest movies, in my opinion, of all time.

In 1939 I was dressed in an orange sweatshirt, knickers, black stockings and high-top shoes. Along with 120 other guys I walked from 391 Western Ave. to the Palace Theater. We saw "Goodbye Mr. Chips" with Robert Donat and Greer Garson. Remember, this was 1939. The same year "The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone with the Wind" were released. When the Academy Award for best actor was presented, Clark Gable wasn't even close. The world at large fell in love with Edward Chipping. The man and his love affair with his wife was so pure and dignified you had to love him. To show you how politically correct the movie industry was, the third lead in this movie was a man named Paul Von Henreid. It was 1939 and we didn't know who the Nazis were.

By contrast, a few years later, what was generally agreed as the most watched movie of all time, "Casablanca," also had Mr. Henreid, but with no "Von." He was Victor Laslo, the French freedom fighter. At the end of "Goodbye Mr. Chips" several hundred boys pass by. One will look familiar. His name is Terry Kilburn. He tips his cap and says "Goodbye, Mr. Chips." He also played Tiny Tim in "A Christmas Carol."

Now comes the tough one. It was only released about six years ago. The title is "The Notebook." My children were big fans of this movie and when it aired on TV, they insisted that I see it. Well, I saw it twice, and was not overly impressed. My grandson advised me that I was watching it wrong.

Now pay attention. They bought me the DVD and the procedure for maximizing the effect of this movie is as follows: Have an early supper, lock the front door, call anyone who might care and let them know that you won't be available that evening. Press play and start a very pleasant experience. There is a catch. Should you want popcorn, chips, soda or to use the bathroom, press the hold button. This is because the picture is a series of flashbacks so entwined with each other, that to miss even three minutes would affect your interpretation of what is happening in the movie. The movie is a textbook thesis on Alzheimer's disease, but done so well I can promise you a wet pillow.

First of all there is a young man named Ryan Gosling, already on his way up the ladder. James Garner, I always pictured in the comedic sense -- I remember "Rockford Files" and lightweight westerns he was in. His performance in this will knock your socks off.

The female lead, Gena Rowlands, has a bit of a Hollywood history worth reviewing. In real life, she was married to an actor John Cassavetes. He was good friends with Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara. They are all deceased now. When screen credits are rolled, you will see that the director of this picture is Nick Cassavetes, Gina's son. Please remember, my opinion about both of these movies is just that -- an opinion.

Thank you for reading this far. I promise that you won't be disappointed if you rent either of these.

Lord willing, I'll see you next Saturday.

JAMES SHERIDAN is an Amsterdam

resident and a frequent contributor.


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