Ten Valuable Facts I’ve Learned From Old Movies

I realized today that, unlike most 24-year-olds, I spent most of my impressionable years glued to Cary Grant classics. Even though this left me a little out of the loop when everyone was talking about Corey and Topenga (?) and someone named Zack Morris during Freshman year college orientation, I think I’m thankful. In a world where everything seems to take so much time and energy, sometimes I just wish we could all slip into an old classic.

Maybe you’re rolling your eyes right now. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like these movies exclusively! I’m a big fan of every genre, from classic to cutting-edge and most in between!  Its just that, after a truly insane week, I just spent a perfect afternoon winding down watching Meet me In St. Louis . And I can’t think of anything that would’ve been better relaxation. SO: in honor of Judy Garland and Hayley Mills and Audrey Hepburn and Deborah Kerr and a whole multitude of others, I have decided to share the top ten valuable things I’ve learned from old movies. 

1. Fact: Bloom. It is real. Don’t underestimate it.

Rose: “Nice girls don’t let men kiss them until after they’re engaged. Men don’t want the bloom rubbed off.”
Esther: “Personally, I think I have too much bloom. Maybe that’s the trouble with me.”

A sisterly conversation from the movie “Meet Me In St. Louis”.

2.Fact: Everyone needs a break sometimes.

“The best thing I know is to do exactly what you wish for a while.”

Wise words from Dr. B spur Princess Ann to take a break from her too-hectic princess life in Roman Holiday.

3. Fact: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Seven alphabetized and mannerless woodsmen brothers steal 7  girls from their homes, trying to shanghai them into marriage. . . and it all turns out juuuuuuust fine.

“There were no F- names in the Bible so Ma named him Frankincense because he smelled so sweet.”

Clearly their resourcefulness comes from their mother – this lovely introduction comes from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

4. Fact: It is possible to sparkle too much. But only if you are Mary Bennet.

Mrs. Bennet: “Oh, ah, Mary. Try to sparkle a little. . .”

*Insert Mary’s awkward smiling here*

Mrs. Bennet: “. . . Just a little!”

Pride and Prejudice ~1940

5. Responsibility occasionally supercedes love, but Integrity wins over prosperity any day.

Ann leaves Gregory Peck’s character (Joe Bradley) to be a good princess and Bradley gives up a moneymaking story to be a true romantic.

6.Fact: Never underestimate the value of witty repartee!

Terry McKay: “We were talking about the place where I was born… ”
Nickie Ferrante: “I can hardly wait for you to grow up.”

Terry McKay: “Being a woman, I’m more naturally cautious and I can think more clearly when you’re not around. So you go think in your room and I’ll think in mine.”

7. Fact: Being a “Pollyanna” wouldn’t be so bad.

Pollyanna: “My father said don’t let’s be gloomy. Let’s try to find something to be glad about. So we made a game of it, the glad game.”

Polyanna makes everyone’s life better with her sunny and constant positivity! But she also places a strong value on cake and ice cream. And steak. Smart girl. In fact, there is one particularly memorable scene with a cake that makes me wish I was her every time.

8. Fact: Sometimes  great hair makes everything okay.

Shirley: Oh! My goose can do something realy special, she can lay an egg!
Teacher: And just what is so special about that?
Shirley: Well can you lay an egg?

From the movie Curly Top . . . 

9. Looks aren’t everything. Sometimes starlets are squeaky and cake-top-poppers are quality.

Singin in the Rain

Lina Lamont: Gee, this wig weighs a ton! What dope’d wear a thing like this? 
Rosco: Everybody used to wear them, Lina. 
Lina Lamont: Well, then everybody was a dope. 

10. Fact: Sometimes your family is certifiable, but you can always hold out hope that you’re adopted.

Mortimer Brewster: “No, no. I’m not a Brewster. I’m the son of a sea-cook! Ha! Ha! Chaaaaarrrge!”

Arscenic and Old Lace

. . . And a final quote that didn’t quite make the top 10, but is highly true in any case:

“When a man is wrestling a leopard in the middle of a pond, he’s in no position to run.”

(Bringing Up Baby)

So: There you have it. Look at all the valuable life lessons I may never have gotten without old movies! I think I challenge everyone to find one thing in their life inspired by an old movie. . . and if they don’t have one yet, start watching!!

Published by Abby

Dabbling in decoratives is an ongoing obsession. I love having a go at This, That and the Other. . . tackling projects that tickle my fancy, hoarding costumes (for the "Someday" that I own a dress-up tea-house for grown-ups) and hosting themed parties whenever I am not immersed in teaching French and Writing to high school students. In the interest of full transparency, there's something serious you should know: I overuse the ellipsis . . . frequently. Embarassingly enough, it seems to be the punctuation that best captures my stream of thought as it flits off of one subject and towards the next!

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