Some months ago I picked up a dvd collection of 50 mystery movies, all for under $20, in fact if I recall correctly it was about $12 for the collection brand new. I mention this because this evening as I was enjoying Basil Rathbone portraying Sherlock Holmes I thought to check the date of that movie, and others in the collection. The dates sounded about right as I read them, as many of these movies are in black and white, but then I did the math only to realize that the oldest are nearly 80 years old!
This in no way takes away from these movies, in fact often it adds to them as mysteries are not about the special effects, or the nifty camera or CGI tricks, but rather about the story itself. Certainly these are serving as fine entertainment for those rare occasions when I simply want to watch something rather than read.
I was struck when I purchased the set, which includes parts by Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, the aforementioned Basil Rathbone, Peter Lorre, Reginald Owen, Frank Sinatra, Mickey Rooney, Glenn Ford, Orson Welles, James Cagney and many others, as to the reasonable price of this collection, but watching it now I am also impressed by the frugality of "recycling" or re-using entertainment. These performances entertained my grandparent's parents, and who knows how many others since then, and now, nearly 80 years later in some cases, I too am enjoying them. Moreover I will enjoy them again in the decades to come, and I sincerely hope that I may pass these along to another who can not only appreciate the historical aspects (London with double decker electric trolleys in front of Big Ben) but also simply enjoy well made and well told stories.
The actors, the writers, the cameramen, and probably all who worked on the oldest of these have passed away, but the pleasure that they bring to others lives on today on my personal computer, and upon the screens of others who recognized this bargain. Were these furniture, or cars, they would considered antiques, but these antiques can be enjoyed by all today because some foresighted individuals thought to repackage them today for our enjoyment. Tonight I tip my glass to both the original producers and the creative individuals who "recycled" this material so that it may live on, and the enjoyment of these portrayals may also continue to grow.