Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Movies and the Memories

Last Friday afternoon I was lying in my bed, my back so painful I couldn’t sit or stand. Wallowing in a bout of feel-sorry-for- me blues, I scanned the television guide for something to take my mind off my aches and pains. What I found was the movie Chill Factor.

An action/adventure movie made in 1999, Chill Factor stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Skeet Eldrich. It’s a chase thriller, with the two unlikely heroes racing to get a chemical weapon to the military while eluding a group of terrorists. There’s a lot of action, plus some comical moments between the two main characters.

I watch this movie whenever I see it listed, for emotional reasons more than for the movie itself. At the time this movie was out and in the theatres, I was in Florida. My siblings and I had gathered in a hotel to oversee funeral arrangements for our grandmother, age 99, who had recently passed away. To kill some time one afternoon, we went to the movies.

Now, every time I see that listing, or watch this movie, I think of my grandmother, and remember what a wonderful person she was.

Movies can do that for you. Something about the movie itself, or maybe who you were with, or where you saw it the first time, brings back memories. It made me think about other movies that I link with people or events in my past.

My father and I had some favourite movies that we watched on television when they happened to be on. We are talking pre VHS, in the olden days when you couldn’t buy a copy to watch any time you felt like it. Maybe that’s what made those times special, it was impromptu, and chances are if we could have watched that movie when ever we wanted, we wouldn’t have made the time.

For Dad and I it was Errol Flynn and the movies Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood, two excellent swashbuckler films for the time. As the years went on we had others that became must-watch-movies, like High Noon with Gary Cooper and Shane with Alan Ladd.

I’m sure it’s the same for everyone, when you have a favourite movie that you’ve watched over and over again. There’s one line or one scene that you wait for, that makes it all worthwhile.

From Here To Eternity, was a World War II movie starring Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr and Montgomery Clift.

The scene my Dad liked took place in a bar where a group of soldiers were sitting around the table, one the company bugler, toying with his bugle. Montgomery Clift’s character, turns with exasperation, grabs the instrument from the man’s hand and stands up, letting go with some pure jazz notes, to the surprise of everyone.
My Dad would laugh as he loved the look on the soldier’s face when he was handed back his bugle. A dumbfounded “I didn’t know it could make sounds like that” kind of look.

After I went away to school, I wasn’t home as much and missed those times with my father. I think maybe he did too, for on one visit home he and I went to the show and saw the movie Where Eagles Dare. Another WW II movie, starring Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton, it’s considered one of the greatest war movies ever made.

Dad loved the scene when the British team, after parachuting into the Bavarian Alps, got their first look at Schloss Adler, a castle built on the top of a mountain. Their assignment to penetrate that German fortress seems impossible.

Von Ryan’s Express is another excellent war movie, starring Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard. Though it may seem strange, my husband and I watched this movie in a hotel in Watertown, New York, on our honeymoon. We were married on a Friday evening and didn’t travel far as we only had the weekend away before returning home to our new apartment and my new job.

I loved this movie and used some of the feelings it generated for a character in one of my books. In the movie, soldiers both American and British were prisoners of war in Italy. When Italy fell, they attempted to escape only to be recaptured by the Germans. On a long train ride through Italy on route to Germany, they planned another daring escape.

It has all the required action and chase scenes, and stands the test of time.
I watch movies over and over again, just as I read books over and over. The selection of what I watch, or what I read is based on my mood at the time. I thought that was just me, but then I read an article about something called Movie Therapy. More on that next time.

Tonight I think I’ll watch The Bourne Legacy. I love the Alaskan scenery, the huge old house in the woods, and the contrast when it moves to the streets of Manila. It’s got everything, action, chase scenes, and a love interest with a happy ending.

I’ve watched it a few times, and when I watch it later I’ll multi-task and finish the crochet project I’m working on for a friend. I don’t want to be too distracted, I might drop a stitch.





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