Friday, February 13, 2009

Starting a long weekend; a ramble about TV and movies

As I surfed my blog roll last night, I was amused and interested to see two bloggers holding forth about their DVD collections and how they provide much more satisfaction than the hundreds of channels they get on cable TV. I don't have cable, but I do have a nice flatscreen and a gradually increasing DVD collection of my own. The flatscreen was an upgrade from my iMAC theater a couple of years ago. My only broadcast TV comes through the rabbit ears on a trusty old Sony picture tube TV (so the flatscreen is a Sony, too). I only watch news and weather on this old TV, so when we go digital at the end of the month, I'm not following along. I'll see how long I can get by with news and weather on the Internet and radio. (Disclosure: If I'm stuck in a hotel room on a road trip, I'll surf the cable channels to see if I'm missing anything. On my last vacation, I became addicted to "Cops," but as the vacation stretched out, I did feel like I had better things to do than watch that show. It was strangely fascinating before it got depressing, though.)

So this weekend I have a stack of new DVD's of old movies to explore -- "Dinner at Eight", "Twelve Angry Men", "The Children of Paradise" (a favorite which arrived quickly when I ordered at Borders)....I already watched the original "Lost Horizon" from the 1930s, with those stills taking the place of scenes too damaged to restore, but they are few and the movie is beautiful, and the score is by Dimitry Tiomkin with Max Steiner as music director....The other night I watched "The Black Swan" again. Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara are in it, but for me the most delicious roles to watch are George Sanders as Captain Leech (sp?) and larger-than-life Laird Cregar as Captain/Sir Henry Morgan. Can that really be the same Sanders of "All About Eve" and "Rebecca"? He's obviously eating up his pirate role here, with great results, somewhat like Geoffrey Rush in the first "Pirates of the Caribbean". Eye-grabbing Technicolor. Wish I could see that opening scene of a ship in full sail on a big theater screen.

I'm not a vintage movie snob, but I'm going to the cinema much less than before. Of recent releases, I chose to go see "Valkyrie" and was not disappointed. I could see it again on DVD, too. There are plenty of bad old movies, to be sure. My Black Swan DVD has some trailers, and one can tell the "Pirates of Tortuga" is absolutely awful without seeing the whole movie. But the trailer is entertaining. The announcer informs us that we can watch the star of the movie conquer his female lead just as he would conquer any pirate (as he grabs her in his arms and kisses her full on the mouth). Run that by me again, please?

Well, there is also another concert this Sunday which I hope to attend, and I just heard about another interesting one that day as I listened to 91.5 FM, "Baltimore's classical music station", this morning. Perhaps more about that later, but this news made me aware of a couple of links I need to add to my list. (And I'm still working on those opera company links in my new page, previous post.)