Hands up: who likes the movies? And hands up to all those who have often watched a film, enthralled, and then almost taken on the persona of the character of one of the actors when walking out of the cinema or after switching off the TV?
I know I have. I suppose most guys and girls growing up had a fascination for the movies – the great ones, the not-too-great ones, plus the memorable one-liners and quotes from the hundreds we have seen over the decades.
I remember watching many old James Bond movies (well, they weren’t old at the time!) and, at the age of about 12 or 13, walking out of the cinema into the glaring sun and deciding I had enjoyed it so much I would keep up the enjoyment and slide into James Bond’s character for at least an hour or two.
I think it drove my friends and parents crazy as I tried (probably not very well) to mimic Sean Connery, or Clint Eastwood, Charlton Heston (Ben Hur), Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and many others when I was growing up.
Even now, old and decrepit, I find myself breaking out into a US accent, or a posh British one now that I have finally succumbed and started watching the first two series of the hit British TV drama Downton Abbey.
Oh yes, plum-in-the-mouth stuff from the upper classes, not to mention the Yorkshire accents of the servants.
Then again I am not too shabby trying to be Michael Caine and impersonating his Cockney accent. Yes, what’s it all about, Alfie? Luverly, innit!
I can also do Humphrey Bogart quite well. As I have watched the classic Casablanca about 100 times and have it permanently saved on my PVR, I cannot help (and, believe me, I have done it), turning to a girl on a date, looking her in the eye, clinking wine glasses, and saying: “Here’s looking at you, kid!”
I either get a smile and a kiss from those who know that famous line, or a look of bewilderment and a slap on the face. Sorry – I can’t help it.
I just wish I had been born a brave and tough guy.
How many times have I got annoyed with people or, after a bit of bullying at school, would have loved to have wrestled the culprit to the ground, stared him down while he lay on the playground grass, and said: “Go ahead – make my day!”
Clint had those words down to a tee while playing Harry “Dirty Harry” Callahan in the movie Sudden Impact.
And I was also pretty good at doing a Marlon Brando impression after watching The Godfather trilogy with my throaty “I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse”.
I guess many of us would have loved to have been a star in the movies, whether we were born in South Africa, the US, England, or anywhere in the world.
What enjoyment I got (and still get) from watching a commanding performance, hearing a magical line, and thinking back on the laughs, tears and even the boredom.
I reckon I have seen just about every commercially successful movie ever made, and plenty of smaller art-type movies in my time.
Ever since I was a kid, I have also had a weird fascination for the introductions to the movies.
To this day, I find it irresistible when the lights dim and I see the familiar and not-so-familiar images of Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Miramax, Columbia, and so on. I always feel I have to name the production company before the images appear on the screen.
If it sounds like I never grew up or am a bit odd, you’re probably right. Blame it on the magic of the silver screen.
And, as the wording went in the final seconds of the cartoons we watched as kids: that’s all, folks!