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The perils of old televisions

In my head, Mickey Rooney will always be young and wearing a cloth cap.

In my head, Mickey Rooney will always be young and wearing a cloth cap.

 

The death this week of Mickey Rooney got me to thinking about old movies.

I remember watching Mickey Rooney films as a child. They were in black and white and most seemed to feature horses. Or Elizabeth Taylor. Or both.

I started to think about my favourite black and white films.. started googling and then I made a startling discovery – many of my favourite B&W films are actually in colour.

 

A wonderful film with a young Elizabeth Taylor - in my head it is in black and white.

A wonderful film with a young Elizabeth Taylor – in my head it is in black and white.

 

 

 

I watched a lot of old movies as a child with my parents. We lived in a small bush town in Australia and only had two TV channels. Our TV was pretty old – my Dad wouldn’t buy a new-fangled colour TV when the old one worked just fine. After all – the colour on the screen didn’t change the content. Australia got colour TV in 1975 – but our family got it much later than that.

It turns out that many of the films that I fell in love with in black and white – classics like Ben Hur and Cleopatra and Breakfast at Tiffany’s are actually all in colour. I have the DVDs and tend to watch these old films when I am feeling poorly… and although the picture in front of me is colour – in my head, they are still black and white.

Some old films have been ‘colourised’ through modern technology to improve them. But the less said about that the better.

So here is a list – my favourite black and white films (the ones that really were in black and white).

To Kill A Mockingbird – a brilliant adaptation of a favourite book. Traces of Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch can be found in all the heroes I write.

To Kill A Mockingbird – a brilliant adaptation of a favourite book. Traces of Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch can be found in all the heroes I write.

Sabrina – who could forget Audrey Hepburn in that gorgeous Givenchy gown.

Sabrina – who could forget Audrey Hepburn in that gorgeous Givenchy gown.

Casablanca – If I hadn’t fallen for Humphrey Bogart in Sabrina – this would have done it for me. And Ingrid Bergman was sublime.

Casablanca – If I hadn’t fallen for Humphrey Bogart in Sabrina – this would have done it for me. And Ingrid Bergman was sublime.

The Ghost and Mrs Muir – There was a TV show adapted from this film. But good as that was, nothing matched the amazing chemistry between Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison.

The Ghost and Mrs Muir – There was a TV show adapted from this film. But good as that was, nothing matched the amazing chemistry between Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison.

liberty valance

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – I love everything about it … Jimmy Stewart’s honourable hero. John Wayne who is equally honourable as the guy who did not get the girl. Lee Marvin as Liberty Valance. I even love the song by Gene Pitney – which was not used in the film.

Bringing Up Baby – with the beautiful Katherine Hepburn and the ever so charming Cary Grant. The leopard was cute too.

Bringing Up Baby – with the beautiful Katherine Hepburn and the ever so charming Cary Grant. The leopard was cute too.

Roman Holiday – Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Need I say any more?

Roman Holiday – Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Need I say any more?

Wuthering Heights – the Merle Oberon / Laurence Olivier version of course.

Wuthering Heights – the Merle Oberon / Laurence Olivier version of course.

Psycho.  Hitchcock had to get in this list for creating the world's most famous house.

Psycho. Hitchcock had to get in this list for creating the world’s most famous house.

The Day The Earth Stood Still gets on my list, not so much for itself (I am talking here about the Michael Rennie version of course – let’s not even think about the Keanu Reeves re-make) but to represent all those lovely old B&W Sci Fi and Horror films. Looking back now, they really were terrible… but how I loved them!

The Day The Earth Stood Still gets on my list, not so much for itself (I am talking here about the Michael Rennie version of course – let’s not even think about the Keanu Reeves re-make) but to represent all those lovely old B&W Sci Fi and Horror films. Looking back now, they really were terrible… but how I loved them!

So now I am thinking, if I turn the colour off on my TV –what would happen if I watched some recent films in B&W – would a monochrome World War Z have the same terror for me? Would Nicole Kidman be as haunting in B&W as Ingred Bergman was? Would I fall for a B&W Hugh Jackman the way I did for Gregory Peck?

The answer - yes. So – that’s all my evenings this week spoken for.

The answer – yes. So – that’s all my evenings this week spoken for.

 

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Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild OneColorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild One
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