A Kiss (vintage 59) is Not Just a Kiss (circa 1983)

Fortunate enough to watch two and two-thirds classic movies on what I’ll call Ash (Blonde*) at Burns Court Theater; North By Northwest (Hitchcock 1959) and The Natural (Levinson 1983).

First, an aphrodisiac about the films as a whole.
I’ve seen North By Northwest before and the movie encompasses limitless viewing. This time I kept my eyes mostly on the art of it all, the frenetic music by Bernard Herman and the richness of Hitchcock’s well planned storyboards playing out on the big screen. A specific this time, I’ll mention the Mercedes hood ornament which Hitchcock cleverly uses as both compass and viewfinder for Cary’s forced drunk driving scene through the windy Hamptonesque roads.
I hadn’t seen The Natural since I was 20 years old and distinctly remember being bored to tears, but I also am self-aware to know that I found surreptitiously throwing an occasional piece of cocktail ice at some pompous ass during a semi-formal ‘fun’ so I wasn’t exactly a sophisticate. My 58 year old self found it entertaining and Robert Redford was at his gorgeous peak, totally believable as an aging baseball player in extra innings. Two of the minor roles I’d like to highlight in gold are Wilford Brimley who was perfection as the gritty, but lovable coach, gosh, why didn’t he get any awards for that? And Robert DuVall, as the journalist/scout though any compliment for a perfect actor seems superfluous at this point in time. Artistically, I enjoyed the interplay between black and white and color film, helping feel as we had gone back in time decades before.

And now you must be screaming , ‘shut up and kiss me’. Ok, as I’m sure has been noted about classic films before, on screen kissing was flat and anything but titillating. In North By Northwest. Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint’s* dialogue might have been spicy, but their kisses were as dry as the desert. Twenty-three years later, Kim Basinger* hungrily kissed Redford with alluring unchaste passion, even whispering the sultry phrase of “Touch me”. Sizzling! This is not a knock on Hithcock as rules were so different, but more of a liberating freedom that the late 60’s and 70’s had ushered in. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a mainstream theater movie that’s been that sexy as of late, streaming yes, Deep Water, Blonde (though much more negative raunch) and the Greek directed “Monday” from 2020. One of my only complaints about Top Gun Maverick is that Connelly and Cruise don’t get to really kiss, instead all we get is gauzy fluff.
So here’s to changing the line ‘a kiss is just a kiss’ to longing for the passionate special ones which hopefully will appear in this year’s award movies season.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at irun2eatpizza@hotmail.com

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