STORYTELLING IN THE ’30’S AND ‘4O’S – WHAT WE CAN LEARN

After watching a documentary RUNNING FROM CRAZY (only fair) which touched on the relationship between Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway, I watched FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLL (166 minutes), starring Cooper, a radiant Ingrid Bergman (they were having an affair) and an amazing cast including Katina Paxinou, who won an Oscar; and SARGEANT YORK (133 minutes), a true story of the WW1 war hero, starring Gary Cooper, which had 11 Oscar nominations.

They were both over two hours…long by today’s standard…slow in starting, but the noticeable thing was how wonderfully satisfying the story telling was.  They had time to cross the emotional t’s and dot the psychological I’s…to butcher a cliché.

The storytellers took their time.

Today’s multi-tasking audiences used to the fast cut world of TV, don’t have the patience the audiences in the 30’s and 40’s had…and motion picture experience is worse off for it.

As an aside, the wonder of Netflix is the ability we have now to ‘follow a story’ in movies…I started with the documentary about Mariel Hemingway dealing with the family’s penchant for suicides, to her grandfather’s relationship with Gary Cooper, then do two of the great Cooper movies.

We’re awfully lucky to have that kind of choice at her movie-going fingertips.

The bad guy in FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLL was a stand-out Akim Tamiroff.  I’m going to follow his movie trail next.

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