#299 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Watch an old movie

The term old here is ‘relative’… depending on your current age, the movie that comes to mind when I suggest watching an old movie may be Casablanca from 1942 or it may be Saturday Night Fever from 1977. Frankly though… I am specifically referencing something that was filmed before the mid 1950’s when color films were the new standard. Black and white films starring Cary Grant, James Stewart, and Humphrey Bogart or the actresses of that era Irene Dunne, Ginger Rogers or Ava Gardner. There is something special about allowing your imagination create the color of the scene – to imagine that the sky is a light blue or deep azure – depending on the context of the screen.

Does a character soften in your thoughts if she is wearing a light pink blouse instead of a stark white one? Would it matter to you if a sofa was dark grey or brown? How might the tension in the scene change if you imagined bright orange walls? While I am certainly not a film critic or even a student of film direction, there is most definitely something to the lighting techniques and shadow play in those old films that lend to the character of the scene and so black and white movie viewing is an experience worth having. If you can’t quite get there, try something from the sixties like The Graduate from 1967 or The Apartment from 1960. Old movies remind us that the shot is everything… that techno effects and post production editing, while nice – aren’t absolutely necessary for a good film.

For me, old movies remind me of rainy Sunday afternoons when Shirley Temple reruns were played back to back or a childhood sick day when mom and  I curled up on the couch to watch Esther Williams synchronized her swim strokes to Hollywood music. It’s like a stroll through an antique store missing only the musty smell, dust, and occasional cobweb. The next time you don’t feel well or are treated with a lazy Sunday afternoon, forget about binge watching The Office or catching up on Hulu’s latest hit and try treating yourself to something unfashionable but classic…

Watch an old movie.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.


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