The colour of black and white.

16 08 2016

I visited LondJack Lemmonon a couple of weeks ago. One of the highlights was to be the South Bank, and in particular the British Film Institute, hidden within a myriad of grey concrete complexes. After a lot of walking, people watching, building watching and coffee, we decided to retreat from the sun and find out what lay within the huge glass doors a large party of visitors had just entered through. Inside a 1960’s film poster caught my attention. A garishly coloured image of Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon seemed to jump out from the five or six other film posters lined up across the wall. (Andy Warhol eat your heart out). It portrayed another time, other values and a world I felt intrigued by and wanted to learn more about.

Seated in the immaculate red velvet seats with gold embossed numbers, black and white images filled out the screen. Initially I felt disappointed. Black and White? But the poster is in colour. Within minutes though I became absorbed by the setting, the characters and the story line. Television it seems just doesn’t do justice to these films, but on the big screen they bounce back to the life they once had again. There was so much to take in, so many revelations, so much set detail, and all that 1960’s fashion of course. And as well as being entertained I learned a lot. I hadn’t realised for example that fast food existed back then (Pizza), that sex was just as much a topic then as it is now. That power (money) corrupted moral’s in the same way that it still does and so on.

The performances of Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray were magical. Enchanting. Faces alive with all the faults, frailties and emotions recognisable in both myself and most of those that surround me now. The love affair between two quirky people on the peripherals of society who eventually succeed in being together is a triumph. Its a true tear jerker, but in a good clean honest way.  But the ultimate lesson for me was just how much colour could spring from the black grey and white screen.



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