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South Texas Living

Watching old movies

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Rainy Days and Starry Nights
April 9, 2014 | 3,833 views | Post a comment

Recently we watched an old movie that I had recorded from Turner Classic Movies. I love watching movies on that channel. They don’t have commercials. It is like going to the theater. We really liked watching “31 days of Oscars.” All the movies they showed during that time had been nominated or won Oscars or the actors and actresses in them had been nominated or won an Oscar for that movie. We had a whole month of old movies and I was happy!

“The Night of the Iguana” stars Richard Burton as Rev. Shannon, an alcoholic defrocked minister who scratches out a living as a south-of-the-border tour guide. His latest customers are several American schoolteachers, and he guides their bus to a rundown hotel owned by flamboyant widow Maxine Faulk (Ava Gardner). Then there arrives another lady -- forgot her name in the movie but the actress was (Deborah Kerr) with her ailing 94-year-old grandfather. John Huston filmed it on location in Mexico. It was a fantastic movie with a little bit of humor.

Tennessee Williams was not one of my favorite authors. His books are too morose, dark, and depressing for me. And his movies are too. But I did like watching the play, “Summer and Smoke,” because my son Trent played John Buchanan Jr. in the L.D. Bell High School adaptation in 1969 in our hometown of Hurst, Texas. He was a junior then. He was good, and the play was very good!

But it was a “dark depressing” story too. “The Night of the Iguana” was kind of depressing too, but the acting and story line and the scenes, filmed near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, were awesome. It was in black and white, which contributed to the depressing and dark movie. I was wishing my granddaughter Miranda was here watching it with us. She and I used to love watching old movies on the Turner Classic Movies channel. Richard Burton was good in this, as were Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr. I wish I had had a movie buff to discuss it with me, like my daughter Kristi, or my niece Lisa, for instance. They like old movies and especially classics.

I usually don’t like to watch depressing sad movies. But sometimes when I watch an old black and white movie, I get nostalgic and remember the good old days when there weren’t many movies in color. Remember “Hush, Sweet Charlotte”? I remember when we watched that one around 1968. I think it was on television because we let Kristi watch it with us that night. I don’t know why! She was only 4 years old. What were we thinking? She had nightmares for days afterwards. From that time on, she always had to have a light on in her room when she was sleeping, she was so scared. Later on I felt like a bad parent. I have asked her to forgive me.

This is one of the scenes in “The Night of the Iguana” movie. I laughed at this scene! But the characters were very serious!

Maxine Faulk: What’s this mess supposed to be?

Chang (the cook): Soup.

Maxine Faulk: Well, it’s burnt!

Maxine Faulk: [walks over to Chang, who is smoking marijuana] Chang, I’ve warned you before. I don’t allow this stuff on the premises, even if you’re on vacation. You remember the time you got it in the enchiladas?

Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. Email her at loiswauson@yahoo.com.

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