“And then there was the cinema.” Sketches From a Life by Anne Scott-James

Anne Scott-James by Cecil Beaton
Anne Scott-James by Cecil Beaton

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the cinema to my generation. I went at least twice a week (on Saturdays all seats were a shilling for the noon performance at the local fleapit) often taking my brother John, and soaked in celluloid emotions from the c’est-la-vie melancholy of French films to the happy-ever-after optimism of Hollywood. I would sit rapt while Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, Fred and Ginger, the men all romantic idealists, the girls all virgins, went through an hour and a half of misunderstandings until truth triumphed in the last reel and the couple united at the altar.

Of course I was not deceived by this simple view of life. I was a sophisticated character and knew that most of the plots were cheapish and some of the acting pure ham (and I would not exempt Garbo). But the films of the thirties were so superbly produced, so dazzling, so enjoyable, that I do not regret the hours I spent in my red plush seat. Such was their charm that later generations have rushed to every revival…

via Sketches From a Life by Anne Scott-James

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