Can’t Beat the Classics

It’s Movie Month here at HSG, and thus far the blog has been conspicuously lacking in mention of classic movies. I have always been a fan of classic films–this is undoubtedly due to my mother, who watched Thin Man movies with me in my infancy. I still love The Thin Man, and just about anything with Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, or Fred Astaire.

Inspired by my son, with whom I have recently begun to watch every James Bond movie in chronological order, the other day I watched Charade on Netflix, with a 59-year-old Cary Grant and a much younger Audrey Hepburn. In addition to those two, the cast was a who’s who of talent–James Coburn, George Kennedy, Walter Matthau. It’s been a little while since I indulged myself in this way, and what struck me the most, besides the banter that you never see onscreen nowadays outside of Aaron Sorkin or Joss Whedon, were the funny little moments: Matthau doing squats while on the phone with Hepburn, for example. It was subtle, easy to miss if you weren’t paying attention, and very funny.

The movies were often beautiful, too. The opening scenes in To Catch a Thief are stunning, and I still remember watching Rear Window in college–Grace Kelly’s extraordinary face literally filled the screen, and every man in the auditorium gasped aloud. I do enjoy modern movies, but despite the technological advances in filmmaking, they seldom seem to capture beauty the way older films did.

Although I never really thought about this before, it occurs to me that I look for similar qualities in the books I read. I recently finished Julia Quinn’s The Sum of All Kisses, which has many of the same qualities as a classic romantic comedy. Her writing is quirky, lighthearted, sexy, and funny as hell. Eloisa James is poetic, with sometimes heartbreakingly lovely descriptions of places, people, and emotions. There is beauty and innocence, in their writing and that of many other talented authors, which makes a refreshing change from the fast-paced, non-subtle world we inhabit.

Perhaps by this post I am revealing that I sometimes think I was born in the wrong decade–or century–but I also think there are definitely times when, no matter when you were born or what world you inhabit, it is good to sit back and enjoy a simpler life, even if only for the time it takes to watch a movie or read a novel.

So what about you? Classic movie fan? Favorites?


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About Marin McGinnis

A lawyer in real life, Marin McGinnis feeds the more creative part of her soul by writing Victorian era romance and mystery. She's spent almost half her life in a tree-lined, unabashedly liberal suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She's been married to the same great guy for over 20 years, and has one teen-aged son. They all live together in a drafty old house with their two standard poodles, Larry and Sneaky Pete. While her very first book will languish under the bed, the next book, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next two books, Secret Promise and Tempting Mr. Jordan, are also available from Wild Rose Press. Marin currently serves as President of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Romance Writers of America and is hard at work on the next book. You can find her here, at, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

6 Responses to Can’t Beat the Classics

  1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is such a beautiful film in all the ways you describe and it speaks to my heart.

    Also enjoy Julia Quinn and Eloisa James! Great post!

  2. Barb H says:

    I’m eclectic. I like the really old. Jane Eyre, Roman Holiday, etc. then the romantic comedy films of the 70’sand 80’s. Anything with Meg Ryan, etc. I agree with Lori Sizemore. Aubrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I could go on.

  3. IreAnne says:

    Cary Grant favorites are An Affair to Remember, Bringing up Baby. I also have to say I had a thing for all the Elvis movies back in the 80’s. I remember pretending to be sick so I could stay home from school to watch them in the afternoon 🙂 But, now a days I love the period films from any of the Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell novels — those are my favorites. And, many others from that time period.

    • Oh, I love Bringing Up Baby! Along with The Philadelphia Story it’s definitely one of my favorites. Another is Theodora Goes Wild–I named one of my characters after her, although Theodora from the film is nothing at all like Theodora in my book. And I too love the BBC productions of Jane Austen and Mrs. Gaskell books. The Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice–swoon.

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