Break away from today with classics

By Hayley Devitt

Society often overlooks films from the past; however, there are many reasons for turning back to the classics.

For instance, they make for a unique date night and are family-friendly. Also, they make an interesting diversion from the culture now surrounding us, but, most importantly, they are entertaining.

Black and white movies are unintentionally educational; viewers learn about the past by glimpsing once commonplace objects and behaviors.

Whether they are silent or of the first to use Technicolor, there is something both exotic and comforting in watching classics. Whatever you’re in the mood for watching, there is a relatable range of genres to accommodate your movie night.

To demonstrate this, I compiled a list of my favorite films from the ’60s and earlier.

• Remember The Notebook? Remember the much better movie that Ally and Noah see on their first date? That would be Li’l Abner (1940), a black and white comedy about the handsome yet brainless Li’l Abner and his hillbilly friends. Although I first found the DVD in Target’s dollar bin 10 years ago, I still find Li’l Abner hysterical.

• My choice for the action/adventure genre would have to be Captains Courageous (1937). Based on the Rudyard Kipling novel, Captains is a coming of age tale about a pampered young boarding school student unexpectedly brought aboard a fishing boat. Along the way he must mend his selfish ways and learn the meaning of hard work.

• Probably America’s most well-known, well-loved film of the silent era, 1921’s The Sheik is my pick for a classic romance. You will be touched and maybe a little surprised by the complexity and depth of The Sheik’s leading couple: the powerful yet misguided young man and the beautiful adventurer who falls for him.

• Next, my pick for chick flick is It (1927), and I’m not talking about the clown. This silent romantic comedy—and origin of the term “it girl”—is full of personality, light-hearted wit and girly hilarity.

• On the other hand, I wouldn’t dream of excluding a film noir from this list. Sunset Boulevard (1950) is the dark tale of a self-deceiving, has-been actress, as told by a trapped observer of her glitzy psychosis.

• This next item is more recent than my other picks. I chose Rosemary’s Baby from 1968 for horror, mainly because a surprising number have never heard of what I consider a classic.

• However, for truly antique horror, amazingly spooky use of shadows and possibly the origin of the Thriller dance, Nosferatu (1922) is a must-see.

In addition to choosing my own recommendations for old movies, I sought the opinions of a video store employee. Josh from Blockbuster recommends Stalker (1979), The Third Man (1949), and “most of Hitchcock’s work.” He also handed me Lifeboat (1944), On the Waterfront (1954) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) to rent, which are all outstanding.

Sunset Boulevard