Saturday, August 15, 2009

North by Northwest in the Food Cupboard

Thanks to Silverback, I am catching up fast with my film viewing.

I've got up to a mere fifty years ago now. Last night we watched Hitchcock's North By Northwest (1959) and a splendid film it was too, with a witty script and excellent acting.

Cary Grant! Eva Marie Saint! James Mason! I knew that James Mason was British - from our very own Yorkshire in fact - but I didn't know that Cary Grant was British too - from Bristol.

I was also surprised to find out how old the two leading actors were. Eva Marie Saint, playing the twenty-six-year-old Eve Kendall, was thirty-five. Cary Grant, playing the suave leading man, was a very well-preserved fifty-five.

To me, one of the delights of it was all the Fifties decor and clothes. That's what I remember from when I was a very small child (VERY small, I tell you!) Many things in Britain then still had a wartime drabness but the new buildings and new decor - such as were featured in this film - filled me with that late-Fifties war's-over hope- for-the-future feeling which I remember from the atmosphere of the time.

At one point the heroine was wearing a lovely red dress with what I used to call a "sticky-out skirt". As a small child I longed to be old enough to wear one. Of course, by the time I was, they were out of fashion and had been replaced by straight, short Sixties mini-skirts. Shame!

Our house is Victorian, built in 1896. The year we moved in here, however, was 1959, the year of North by Northwest. Sadly my parents, in that looking-to-the-future late-fifties way, took out all the original Victorian features and replaced them with Fifties fittings.

Most are now gone and replaced with - - well, I'm not quite sure what. White walls, mostly, which I like.

But a couple of days ago I cleaned out the kitchen food cupboard. Took absolutely everything out and washed all the shelves and everything.

And there, on the floor of the cupboard, remains one last little blast from 1959.

The linoleum, or "lino" as we called it - always synonymous with the Fifties in my memory. The whole kitchen floor used to be covered in it but now there's just this bit left. One tiny little bit remaining of the lost land of 1959. It's old, it's worn - - but I'm keeping it.


Anonymous Milo said...

I also like the 50s. I quite like what people wore back then. I think of it as a forward looking decade with people putting war behind them and austerity having ended.

I remember the zeitgeist of the 80s but think the 90s didn't have much to define them.

3:13 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I was 18 in 1959. Now I'm old, and worn, and worth keeping, too.

6:49 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Milo - yes, I agree, I don't think the nineties had any particular "feel" to them - but perhaps others feel differently about this.
Bob - - yes, definitely, I hope to keep you too!

9:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such wonderful films back then and the clothes were so beautiful and stylish. Hmm may have some nostalgia viewing myself today.

10:01 am  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Thank God you're not running a restaurant! Possessing a cupboard that hasn't been cleaned since 1959 is hardly something to draw attention to in your blog. Didn't they cover domestic science and housekeeping at your posh girls' school?

2:05 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Lachatnoir - I still hanker after those 1950s dresses. Sighhh.
YP - - Did I say it hadn't been cleaned since 1959? No I did not. I clean it out regularly, every couple of decades or so. Cheek!

2:40 pm  
Blogger Debby said...

I'd keep the lino too!

I haven't seen North by Northwest...I mentioned that to Ian last night and he said that if I hadn't bothered to see it in 50 years it wasn't that important! I'm assuming that means he's never going to let me watch it.

4:25 pm  
Blogger mutikonka said...

I have just seen NBNW again after many years. I'd forgotten it was in colour, and how stylish everything looked then - the cars are just amazing.
What also struck me was the quite brazen flirting between Eva Saint Marie and Cary Grant's characters. Modern day film characters would be far too cool to utter lines like
"I'm Eve Kendall and I'm unmarried."

Or "I'd invite you to my bedroom
if I had a bedroom."

Was it just the Technicolor or were colours really brigher in 1955?

3:40 pm  

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